[062] Monument Ave 10k race report

Swim: 0 m/54,000 m

Bike: 10.2/164.3 miles

Run: 7.2/96.9 miles

It seems like this training stuff really works. Today I surpassed my highest expectations – the personal goals I barely dared to think about – and bested my 10k PR by almost 2 minutes.  

With the way my runs have been going this season (which started much earlier than any of my previous running seasons because of my triathlon goal), I knew I could probably get close to my PR of 45:04 (7:15 pace). In my most private thoughts, I allowed myself to think, “Could I do this at a sub-7 pace?” but quickly dismissed the idea. All I knew was that I wanted to race and not just run, and my “out there” goal was to get into the 44’s.

Then I caught a cold (or allergies?) about two weeks ago, and pretty much threw out the idea of meeting my PR. I lost out on the last two weeks of dedicated training and have just been so tired and congested. And then came race day.

My wife dropped me off about a mile from the start and I got in my traditional warm-up run to the starting corral. Once I got there I walked around to stay loose before taking my place about 10 minutes before the start. And then we were off…

The first mile felt a little crowded, but my worries evaporated when I reached the marker in 6:54. Suddenly my spirits lifted  – this pace required effort but I felt like I could keep it up for a while. For some reason I wasn’t worried at all about starting too fast. All I thought was that, suddenly, my “out there” goal was within reach.

Mile 2 passed in 6:56 and I still felt good. The thing about keeping up a race pace is that it takes constant effort. You can’t become complacent with your performance in the miles that are finished – you have to keep going. My next two miles crept over 7 minutes – 7:03 and 7:09. The running was getting a little harder, but when I crossed Mile 4 I knew I had to give it everything.

I didn’t time the fifth mile, but I know it was right around 7 minutes, and when I passed the Mile 5 marker I opened up my stride and let go. It was time for the last push, and I wasn’t going to let up until the end. At this point I realized that a 43:XX time was within reach and this thought filled me with an unimaginable joy and hope. I hadn’t even considered this possibility – I had only considered that getting into the 44’s was the absolute best I could strive for.

Sure enough, with about a half-mile to go I started to lose it. But I knew this moment was coming and I was prepared for it. As my body urged me to let off the pace, my mind kicked in. This was the moment I had trained for – it’s easy to run fast in the first mile or two, but the last mile is where you spend the capital you’ve built up during training. I asked myself, “How bad do you want 43? This is the moment to prove it.”

So I kept going. I ignored my fatigue and I passed the marker for 6 miles. I opened it up all the way and began what I thought was a sprint. Then, for no reason at all, I decided to pass the guy in front of me. There were two more runners ahead of him, and with no forethought I said, “Let’s pass all of them.” Now I sprinted, and I passed them. I saw the clock tick 44:02, 44:03 and knew I had it in the bag (I was in the second wave and started 56 seconds behind the clock). I crossed the finish line, saw 43:11 on my watch and felt a wave of elation. (Afternoon update: official results say 43:12.) I couldn’t stop smiling all the way through the finishing chute and across the park to the food tent. I just wanted to yell and hug someone. I had obliterated my PR and all of my wildest goals heading into this race.

I got home and calculated my splits – I ran the race at a 6:56 pace and ran the second half faster than the first.  It’s the first race in more than six years of running for which my pace has been below 7 minutes. I can’t even describe how happy I am.

Today’s race has filled me with excitement and anticipation for the triathlon season that is now officially under way. My first triathlon is 50 days away – the countdown begins now.

(The specs at the beginning of this post include the first two days of #30daysofbiking – 5.1 miles each day.)

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3 Responses to [062] Monument Ave 10k race report

  1. David H. says:

    Fantastic performance today. I’m glad we got to catch up for a few minutes. Congrats on the PR. You’ve set the stage for some awesome training.

  2. steena says:

    Awesome job grabbing a new PR!

  3. Dad says:

    That’s my boy! You were at the crossroads where what you wanted collided with everything standing in your way. You decided how you were gonna walk out when it was all said and done. It was then and there. There was only that one mile 4 moment, and then the mile 5 moment…. For each moment there were no second chances. Each was a test. Seems like you passed 😉 Congrats!

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