After accomplishing a couple of incredible PRs in the half marathon distance, I decided to “seek discomfort” (as my friend Katelyn puts it) and push to get a 10k PR. The 10k is my least favorite race distance. It is too short to take it easy, and a long distance to go all out. It is easy for me to go out way too fast like I am running a 5k and then burn out, or to just get stuck in a slower pace and not be able to push the pace to the end.
I gave myself a few days off after the Glass City Owens Corning Half Marathon in anticipation of a more strenuous 10k training plan and also doing a run streak in May. The fun started May 1st, with my new plan incorporated speed work – both intervals on the track and tempo runs. This training plan and run streak really pushed my running and especially helped to train my mind. I am capable of more than I think!
So when race day came on June 1st, I felt prepared. I had an A, B and C goal as usual (sometimes I even though in a D goal, but this time I did not.)
A Goal: Finish in under 60 minutes. Definitely a difficult goal to shoot for, considering I haven’t done a sub 30 5k in 2 years.
B Goal: Finish in 62 minutes, or a 10 minute pace.
C Goal: Get a PR.
Going into the race I actually thought my previous PR was a 1:04:something but it turned out to be a 1:06:something. So I needed to maintain under a 10:45 pace in order to get a PR. I was fairly certain that I could manage it, but you never really know until race day. So many factors can affect the outcomes… especially weather… and unfortunately the forecast wasn’t looking very friendly.
Days before the race the forecast was predicting thunderstorms, which is definitely not ideal for a race. It could mean the race is postponed or canceled, and it could mean being taken off course in the middle of a race. When you’re shooting for a PR the idea of being cut short is so anxiety building. Race morning the forecast as looking a little bit better but there was still a chance of thunderstorms. It was on the cooler side, around 60 degrees, which was lovely.
The race atmosphere was really fun. I had quite a few friends running various distances. Fortunately the 10k was the last race (besides the 5k walk and the 1 mile fun run) to start off, so Jenny and I got to see our friends take off before we did. Oh, by the way – I convinced Jenny to sign up for this race the night before, and she decided to run fast with me even though her training plan called for an “easy 6 miles”.
Jenny and I waited in the corral for our race to start. There weren’t a lot of people doing the 10k – I guess I’m not the only one who thinks that distance is awful! As we waited, we heard rolls of thunder in the distance. “Please just go south of us!” I pleaded, “I need this PR!” The race began and we took off.
I set my watch to alert me if I was going faster than a 9:40 pace (that’s just about what sub 60 would be) and if I was going slower than a 10:45 pace (so that I made sure I got a PR). I settled into about 10:15-10:30 pace at first. First mile 10:18.6. Okay, that’s great! Now I’m thinking, let’s go for negative splits. Second mile 10:10.3. Whew, lofty goals for negative splits there, Hammis. And we’re only two miles in. It helped having Jenny there to chit chat with me. Third mile 10:12.3. Keeping a consistent pace. Fourth mile 10:12.0. Okay, I can do this! Fifth mile 10:10.8. Rockin!
And then the wheels fell off. I started to feel pretty crappy. Like my legs were made out of lead. Jenny had started doing run/walk intervals by this time, and she would get far out ahead of me and I would catch up. I had adjusted by watch alerts to tell me if I was going slower than 10:20 per mile since I wanted to attempt to get negative splits or at least keep a pretty consistent pace, and in that last mile that stupid watch was beeping a lot. I kept saying, “Oh shut up!” I saw my pace creeping up to 11 minutes per mile a few times. I was determined to NOT let this 10k get me! Less than a mile, I can do this.
Mile 6 was 10:13.6 – for as slow as I thought I was getting, My pace was still very consistent. And my slowest mile was still my first mile. I had less than a quarter mile to go and I could see the finish. When we saw the 5k 3 mile sign, Jenny started to sprint and encouraging me to sprint with her. I told her, “You do you girl, I can’t keep up!” but I did push myself to the end. The last 0.22 of the race were at a 9:12 pace!
I accomplished my C goal – a shiny new PR! From 1:06:something to 1:03:18. I wasn’t too far off that B goal… I can see myself getting there this year. Probably not at my next 10k – Volkslaufe – but maybe this fall. After the race Jenny and I celebrated with orange slices, then waited for our friends running the half marathon to finish. After everyone was done – almost all with shiny new PRs, by the way! – Jenny and I treated ourselves to delicious burgers at Midland Burger Company. Overall it was a super fun day with friends and reaching a long fought for goal was the icing on the cake.