Going into the 10K this weekend, I didn't have much of a plan or really know what to expect, because I've never run a 6.2 mi race. It was such a strange distance to wrap my head around. Not a little blip of a race like a 5K, and yet only half the distance of a half-marathon. Although I work out consistently year round, I had mostly been cross training (HIIT, biking, lifting, swimming) for the bulk of 2014 thus far. I haven't done any speed work this year, and have only been running 1-2 times a week, mostly due to the weather since I'm not a huge treadmill fan.
Goal time: My 5K times are usually 25 mins and change. So if you double that, a 10K time would come out around 51 mins. However, I knew I couldn't realistically sustain 5K pace for that long so I was hoping to come in around 53/54 mins.
Attire: The forecast for Saturday morning was high 50's/low 60's (it would reach 75 later in the day) so I went with a short sleeve shirt, shorts, ProCompression socks...and I wore the cat on my head. HA! Kidding
Fuel: I had no idea what to eat for a race of this distance. Before a half-marathon I usually eat a bagel and drink a bottle of Gatorade so I did the same here. I kind of think it was too much food, even though I ate 2 1/2 hours before the start, because my stomach felt a bit nauseous at points during the race (could've been the heat too, I dk).
Getting there: I left later than I wanted to (happens every time) and there was SO much traffic once I got down to the race area in Federal Hill. Under Armour was one of the sponsors of this race, and they graciously offered up the lots on their campus free of charge for runners. The line coming off the highway and snaking into the Under Armour lots took FOREVER. Or perhaps it just seemed that way because I had to pee. So I finally got in and got a spot and then hi-tailed it the 6 or 7 blocks to the starting line just in time to spot 2 girls from my old job who were also running. It was now 8:50am meaning I had 10 mins to use the port o potty and get back to the start! I made it with 2 mins to spare. Giddyup.
The race: I believe the announcer said there were over 3,000 runners. I'm not sure, but in any case the first two miles were completely PACKED. I started at the back since I was using the loo, and it was very difficult to maneuver through people for at least the first two miles, maybe more. Oftentimes, I jumped onto the sidewalk and ran there for awhile just to get out of the crowd. The first few miles were all downhill which was lovely, but of course I knew this meant the return would be all UPHILL! Ahhhhhhhh The course itself was beautiful. We ran right through the Inner Harbor and through most of the picturesque areas of Baltimore. Its times like these, when I run through these streets that I have known for the past 10 years, that I am reminded how beautiful Baltimore can be. My memories here are of course mixed now after everything that has happened in my life, in this city, but there are times like this where I move the nostalgia out of my mind and just look at Baltimore with clear and present eyes, and like what I see. This was one of those days :)
We turned around at mile 3 and headed back to Charm City Run, the store where we started. Note: This was also the last mile marker I saw on the course! I have no idea where miles 4, 5, or 6 were. Didn't really care because I was wearing my Garmin but I guess my head was in the clouds (per usual). I was very warm by this point but not really tired. I had been running a little over 9 min miles so I wasn't sprinting and I think I probably should have started out a little faster. When I race I'm always afraid of pushing too hard, because I'm afraid I won't have enough left for the end, I'm afraid of being uncomfortable. Yet I know, getting outside of my comfort zone (in any pursuit) is what will lead to great results. Just another life lesson smacking me in the face today. In any case by the time we got back across the harbor (sometimes running across the little tourist footbridges, which were tiny and crammed!) to around mile 5, the hills began! This is when I started feeling nauseous off and on, and by this time I was just really HOT. This had been the hottest running weather all year so I guess I just wasn't ready for it.
The last mile was almost ENTIRELY hills! At one point, a woman next to me turned and said, 'Are they serious with this?'. Hahahaha. I was like, 'I know, who designed this course?!'. It was pretty nuts that the hills all came in the second half. Anyway I was enjoying myself but as I neared the end, I realized I was not going to come in around 53/54 mins, but I sprinted the last few blocks anyway once the finish line was in site!
Official time: 56:03. Oh the perfectionist in me really wishes I would have sprinted for 4 more seconds to come in under 56 mins! Oh well, room for improvement next time :) I finished 776 out of 3100.
Verdict: I kind of really liked the 10K distance. Like a lot. It's not as vomit-inducing as a 5k, but not as scenic as a half-marathon. I think I want to do more of these.
After the race, I met up with my friends and got all the latest gossip from my old job. Funny how far removed I feel from that world now. It was nice to see them though. We got food/water/beer. It was so warm, much warmer than it has been all year, and I didn't realize how much I had sweated, but after the race, there was salt everywhere on my body. This happens to me in the summer, but I wasn't expecting it this early in year. I was disappointed there was no sports drinks available, but I did eat a bag of really salty pretzels to make up for it. We hung around for awhile sitting in the sun and listening to the live music and some of the awards. At one point I heard them say the top female finisher in the 50-59 age group finished in 49 mins, and it was at this point I felt like the slowest person on earth. Wah wahhhh
Hope you all had a great weekend too!
Any races this weekend?
Do you like 10Ks?