I ran the BAA 10K today and PR'd. No surprise on the PR, my prior PR was extremely soft. I had never run a 10K without walking some sections. I knew I would PR when my easy training runs were faster than that PR. That's not the important part of the story.
My mind going in to this race was less on a specific time and more on running more evenly paced then the Run to Remember half. I wanted to learn from that experience. I also wanted to run a negative split. My 2012 goal of sub-60 would be icing on the cake. I didn't focus too much on that because I wasn't sure what kind of heat we would have.
Got up at 5:30 AM, bageled up, got dressed. Purple Nike tank top, purple running bra, purple/lavendar Lululemon marathon running skirt. Sense a theme? I didn't even mention the purple running socks!
Drove to Porter Square, took advantage of the free parking, jumped on the T. Got down to Park Street/Boston Common and wandered around a bit. I had run the inaugural 10K last year and I didn't see a whole lot this year that was drastically different. I picked up my t-shirt and checked it; I don't know what the deal is but the neckline is very small. I don't have a large head but I struggled to get it on. Weird.
I immediately went over to the port-a-potties - yay getting there early, short lines! Afterwards I wandered over to look at the starting area. The one thing that really changed this year was that they did wave starts. What was funny to me was wave 3 - which was entirely the 9-9:59 pace. I guess they assumed that this would be a large set of people?
Did some stretching, bathroom break, lined up. Lots of talking people around me blocked out most of the race announcements which I think did me a lot of good; I didn't want to know the exact heat because I think it would have psyched me out.
Started running. I had decided that I needed to run as I trained (duh!). I am slow at the start and will eventually speed up without noticing it.
Mile 1 - 10:03. Not too fast but definitely not a slow run pace. Felt comfortable and relaxed. Wasn't feeling too crowded even with a good amount of people around me.
Mile 2 - 9:34. Faster but not too much faster. I hadn't conciously turned up the speed, same comfort level.
Mile 3 - 9:24 - Grabbed water; had to pause to grab the water and even managed to splash some on the volunteer. Practiced the grab, squeeze cup, drink, run move.
Mile 4 - 9:16 - Accidentally grabbed gatorade instead of water. Good thing I don't react badly to Gatorade. Also good thing I didn't pour it on me to cool off.
Mile 5 - 9:27 - Definitely getting tired here.
Mile 6 - 9:26
Mile .28 - 8:48. I was tired but found enough in me to sprint to the finish.
Final official time - 59:26
Crossed the finish line exhausted. I was a little out of it for about a 1 minute or so, but felt okay by the time I got to the volunteers to grab my medal.
* I had to avoid trying to tell the story to myself before the race was over. I didn't want to psych myself out at the beginning.
* I feel ridiculous sometimes because right before the race all forms of "luck", good or bad, become portents for the race. Found a penny? Good race! Good number (which I did have this time - the first number was the sum of the other two which I love)? Good race! Person next to me drops iPod? Even though it has nothing to do with me? Bad race! Luckily I kept my mind clear and didn't let myself obsess over the randomness.
* It was interesting to come up on a hill around mile 2.5 - 3 and see this mass of people ahead at the 5K/turnaround point.
* I was particularly proud of how I handled the hills. I had heard something on Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me a few months ago about a study of runners that found that it was better to run by the same effort going up a hill as on the flat vs. running to keep to a specific pace and have a harder effort. The study found that recovery from the harder effort was worse on racing time than picking up time post slight slowdown on a hill. I kept that in mind and consciously moderated myself on the hills and I think that really made a difference.
* There were a good amount of people not running the race that were trying to cross the roads. A couple people cut across in front of me but luckily not close enough to cause me to pull up. The funniest was a pair of probable college guys that were running next to me around mile 3.5. I was a bit bummed that they were running in flip-flops and carrying a grocery bag/drinking a beer but running a bit faster than me. I passed them, however, so go me!
I think this was honestly one of my best races. Not because of the time (which was nice) but because I felt good running it.