Austin 10/20 had its second annual race just a few weeks ago, right before we left for vacation. I loved the 10 mile distance so much last year when we did it, I signed up right away. This year it was the day before we left for vacation, and 5 days after I had surgery to break up a kidney stone.
Even with the stress of packing and getting everything ready for vacation, and the pain from the stones and the procedure to blast them to bits, I was able to pull off a great run -4 minutes faster than last year. Last year I was just coming out of half marathon season and running ten miles was no big deal. It boggles my mind that this year, I had a better time, and I haven’t been running that sort of distance or pace regularly for a while. I guess its all that zone 2 work we did for the last 3 months!
Lets do the recap portion.
Miles 1 – 3: I just took off, going down hill towards home from work. Yes, this race started from our work parking lot, and ran down the road to our house! See why I have to run this one every year? Well, ok, there was a small bit where we went up then down, but it was still great. I took off with what felt like a completely unsustainable pace, but for a few miles I didn’t want to think about that. I just was running fast.
Miles 4 – 6: OK, we have turned around and are heading back up hill from the way we came. That’s fine, I was ready for it. and just passing people left and right. I couldn’t believe the number of people complaining about the elevation change, saying “this isn’t as flat as they said”. The total gain for the entire race added up ends up being 381 feet. Most of that around mile 8. Wimps….. To be honest, I started to feel it right at the 10k marker, my leg was starting to hurt and I had eaten a gu quickly and forgot to suck down extra water with it. So I had a little side cramp from the GU, but that was resolved within about a quarter mile.
Miles 7 to 10: Dude in the orange shirt and giant mustache will not beat me! I had a small struggle going up the hill at mile 7.5 and then going back up it at 8, but there were some ladies there that ran up behind me and were talking about the Half Ironman they had competed in the weekend before and how easy this was compared to that. It got me back into the run. I did what I could to talk to them and keep up until the 9 mile marker, then they were all like, ” see you at the finish”, and took off the way the road runner would if I was they coyote.
I had passed the orange shirt big mustache man at this point and hadn’t seen him for a while, so right around the front of the Dicks Sports store, when I knew I had about .5 miles to go, I let up on the gas for just a few steps so I could take the last .25 miles as fast as I could. What do you know, who runs by me? Orange shirt and big mustache. OK fine, that’s not going to happen, so I just kind of dig deep into my memories of running pain, and try to channel a little bit of last years long run pains, and pull out a little bit of extra speed. We are neck and neck all the way until about .1 miles to go where I see him drop back a few steps. Not sure if I know how to breathe properly anymore, I let off the gas again ever so slightly. Then he steps ahead of me again. No more games, I took the deepest breath I could and then with everything else in me I sprinted to the finish.
Once I crossed the finish line I wanted to thank the orange shirt big mustache guy for running with me during the race, but he got lost in the crowd and I found Leah and the cold towels.
So over all a great race and it showed me that I do have that little extra power at the end if I really need it. I don’t think I would have been able to do what I did without having the goal of finishing before that guy. But I am glad he was there for my motivation.
Oh yeah and for food the night before we had Carrabba’s and I found the tri-force there. Maybe that’s where the extra power really came from.
Leah notes: Sub 10-or bust.
I had no business PRing this or even trying, if you looked at my training runs. Last year, I was just off half marathon season and a lot of speedwork and loving the lightness of my racing flats. 10 miles was like, not a thing to me. A 10 min/mile pace wasn’t a cake walk but totally doable. Long story short, I let my head get me on the back half of the course, and missed my goal time of under 1:40 by less than 2 minutes. Not that a 10:05 or whatever pace is bad, but still, I was a little bummed.
This year, I’m a different animal. I spent last year running really slow to get endurance for the 70.3 and marathon. Then, I lost all that endurance in offseason and just recently did ONE double digit run a month ago, but it was barely sub-12 minute miles. I haven’t clocked a run sub-11 minute miles except my run tests, which have been all out efforts on the oval (read: no elevation changes), and they’ve been BARELY sub 10, and only 3 miles. Also, I’m wearing these big clunky Sauconys because my stupid feet can’t run right after last year.
However, I had this burning DESIRE to PR. I wanted to show myself that I was a better runner than I thought. That this training is working. That my brain is stronger than it ever has been. Validation, I wanted it. I could taste it.
Yesterday, I was worried – I felt really really creaky, things hurt, I spent a lot of time on my feet, and I was just nervous I didn’t have any speed in me. I woke up feeling a little less creaky, but my head really was not ready to hurt myself. Boo. I had some breakfast and pooped and got going and we got in the car and the radio sucked and I connected my zune and OMG it was dead. We went back and grabbed the car charger and headed to the race. I made us stay in the car just as long as humanly possible and then we headed to the race (the charge did enough, it made it through the race). The race site was conveniently RIGHT next to my office, so we headed into work to bathroom in the nice office potties instead of the porta-ones, and then headed back to the corrals.
Corrals were elite, and then 1-10. We were in 3. I figured there had to be a mistake, as I’m not corral 3 material, but I wasn’t going to say anything. Normally, I get in my corral and I’m dodging people because people seriously underestimate their finish times, so I figured this was karmic payback. I got kinda emotional at the beginning. I was really scared of disappointing myself. Coming in at like 1:50 would really, really bum me out, but I really thought that might be a reality considering my training. However, the national anthem centered me, and then we were off, so there was no time to think anything but game on.
The first 3 miles went…. easy. I was keeping about 9:45 without much effort, and it was a little scary. I wondered what was to come on the way back, but I just tried to keep an easy stride and not worry to much. I hit the 2.5 mile tuckaway into the side street and only just saw the elites come out at mile 4 so I figured I was doing ok. I tried to run heart rate, and my goal was to stick between 165-170, but I found I was jumping between 160 and 180, and neither really felt like it was much harder than the other, so I just switched back to pace on my garmin and ran by feel, checking HR every so often. I realized this was baseline for the year, I haven’t yet done a race with enough HR data to judge, and since my goal was to PR, I’d keep myself on that track and if I fizzled at the end, so be it.
The up and downs between 3 and 4 weren’t so bad, but when I hit the long, slightly uphill stretch, I took a cue from Runthisamazingday, and pushed my visor down and just looked at feet and got into my music. I found some rainbow leg warmers I tried to stay with but they were too fast, and I thought about the fact that perseverance was following through on the goals I made when I was no longer in the same mood as when I made them, and I got up that hill only having lost about 2 seconds per mile and still felt pretty good as I hit mile 5. Half way done. And if I held sub-10s on the first 5, I could certainly do it on the last 5 because I was a badass.
Well, as last year, the last 5 was not as easy as the first half. Through 6, I kept pretty good pace. I hit 10k at just about 1 hour exactly, and I noted that it’s been a long time since I ran a 1 hour 10k. Nice. But, then we turned up to another uphill, and I threw my visor down again and chugged, and I swear it took 3 miles to get up that silly small hill, but I got through it, and then I got to my home turf. My lunch run I always run. And I got a “go Quix” and with my visor down, I didn’t know who it was, but either it was someone I knew or someone who read my bib, so I gave them the horns and kept going. It flattened out soon and I got back to sub 10 and got up the mall hill I run through often fairly quick and then got out onto the freeway onramp for the last stretch.
I found recognizable feet, one of my triathlon friends R, and stayed on him. He was coming off an injury from last year, but in his prime, he is a WAYYYY faster runner than me normally so I figured if I could stay with him, I was doing alright. I caught him on the other side, the uphill, and he was all, “hey, where’s the fire?” to which I had no brain to reply anything but “huh”? and then “words are hard” and ran ahead. 8 to 9 was HARD and while not a mountain, definitely uphill and I watched my average tick from 9:50 to 9:54, and then I made the call around mile 9 it was time to spend all the cash and try to get that average to go the other way.
I paid no attention to HR, and just did what I could without puking or passing out. R passed me, and I couldn’t quite catch him, but I kept him in my sights. I stopped looking at pace and just RAN. Once we hit the home stretch I just gave it everything and willed my cramping calf muscles to hold out just a little longer and willed my garmin not to hit 1:40 before I hit the finish line and then it was there and I was going as fast as I could and then I crossed it and celebrated and then I hit stop and it just clicked over to 1:40.
10.13 miles, 1:39:57. 9:52 average. 28% of my gender beat me, 30% of my AG beat me, and 36% of the whole field beat me. I’m pretty happy with that. Also, if I would have held pace (probably doable with similar terrain and some more fuel/water), I would have been within 1 minute of my half marathon PR, which I haven’t come close to touching in 2.5 years.
I waited for Zliten to cross and he did: 1:44! He got a 5 minute PR too! What an awesome day!
Then, we got sammiches, came home, biked 2h30 min on the trainer watching Les Miserables, and then ran 1 mile in 10:17 to fully brick the legs, and then, finally, relaxed. I will definitely pull on this day in 2.5 months when we do Buffalo Springs 70.3.