Monday, November 16, 2015

Veteran's Day 10k Race Report

This race happened over a week ago, and I was waiting for race pictures to post before writing up a report, but it seems that’s going to take a while, so I decided to go ahead and post this thing without pictures of my not-so-awesome running form.

The week leading up to the Parks 10k was not optimal between some health issues and work travel, yet I still posted a 45 second PR that left me curious about what I could do under better circumstances. Luckily for me, the Veteran’s Day 10k was taking place on the same course exactly a week later, so when the weather forecast 3 days out looked promising, I handed over my $40 and got ready to give it another try.

Race day was sunny with temps around 45F, so it was a perfect day to go out for a nice, hard run. I got in my warm up and lined up at the start, mindful of the fact that I needed to hold back just a little for first mile to ensure I had a better chance at even splits.

Mile 1: 7:30
In an effort to avoid going out too hard, I repeated “relax and extend” to myself, as my two biggest running form flaws are carrying tension in the upper body and running with insufficient hip extension. Breaking down the task at hand into something so elementary kept my effort level just about right, and I put in pretty much exactly the same mile split as the week before without putting in nearly as much effort. Cool.

Mile 2: 7:35
Relax and extend, relax and extend, with a very tiny increase in pace. Decided to keep with it

Mile 3: 7:41
Wasn’t there a 5k somewhere in DC I could have done this weekend instead? (Note: I always think this to myself during a 10k. I bet a lot of people do.)

Mile 4: 7:42
Another 20+ minutes of repeating “relax and extend” to myself was going to get old fast. I needed some other distraction.

Mile 5: 7:55
Oh, headwind. That’s a good distraction. I spent a lot of time trying to tuck behind people, and the only thing I succeeded in doing was weaving around the race course and adding unnecessary distance to my run. Major fail.

Mile 6: 7:47
In the interest of not blowing up, I had been keeping the entire race “comfortably uncomfortable” – kind of a notch just above threshold pace. In retrospect, the last 1.5-2 miles should have just been plain old “uncomfortable.”

Last bit – 7:30/mi
Yeah, definitely waited a little too late to hop onto the pain train.

Final time: 48:18

I started my watch a good two seconds before I crossed the starting line, and didn’t stop it until a few strides after the backup timing mat. Yet, somehow, my “official” time was longer than my watch time. Upon discovering that other people had the same experience, I’m claiming my new PR as 48:18 instead of 48:22.

Because that matters.

Ideally, I’d like to be able to get my 10k time under 48 minutes soon. I think I had it in this race until I held myself back TOO long in the final miles. Proper race pacing is a skill that requires practice, so it looks like I’ll be trying to knock out that sub-48 at another race.


  1. I think you should absolutely claim that time. I think that unfortunately chip timing is just not as infallible as it should be. After the fiasco I had with my marathon recently I just want to go back to races small enough to just use gun time and a stopwatch/paper and pencil!

    I'm always impressed with how you pace your races - 10Ks in particular are nightmares for me in terms of knowing how hard to push at the beginning!

  2. Congrats on the PR! I haven't run an open 10K in ages...pacing is so hard. i've got a 5 miler for thanksgiving with a little hill action in miles 3-4. Should be a good test of where I am versus last year since I ran that same course a year ago. Will be excited to follow your progress in your quest for sub-48!

  3. "Relax and extend." I like it. Mine is "smooth and strong." Also, woohoo for PR-ing/smashfesting!

  4. Wow your such an inspiration. Could you please check out my blog? I would love to get involved in triathlons.