|Whenever I PR a race the bib with the safety pins used that day go into my scrapbook.|
It was Feb. 1 and I arrived on the first day in-store registration was available for the Charles Harris 10K, a race that I have now run in five times. In years past, I used it to qualify for Group A of the Peachtree Road Race. This year I was gunning for my best race time of the 10K distance.
I was a little embarrassed to get such a low number. Once, in the AIDS Run 5K in Piedmont Park, I was given the "1" bib, usually reserved for the race's top seed, and when I ran in the race, people would cheer me on specifically because of that.
After last year's quest to break a PR in the half marathon that stood for me for nearly 18 years and breaking my 5K and 10 Mile PRs in the process, this year I turned to the 10K distance. My 46:29 best time had stood since I ran in the 2011 Charles Harris race. I came close last year with a 46:42 time in the Peachtree 10K and a 46:48 in the Big Peach Sizzler 10K.
It helped to have run in the Tartan Trot 10K and the Wiphan Waddle 5K in the last three weeks. The former helped me feel that if I ran this race at a 7:20/mile pace I would make a PR.
The race started and from past experience I knew the start would be fast. I resisted going out too fast but in the middle of the first mile, I found myself relaxing too much -- a 7:40/mile pace. So I sped up a little bit and ran 7:18 for the first mile.
The second mile went pretty much perfectly to plan as well, I ran that in 7:22. I was enjoying the race, not working very hard and listening to my iPod via Bluetooth headphones when ... the headphones cut out.
I couldn't figure out what was wrong and in the third mile I saw that my pace had dropped to 8:00/mile trying to troubleshoot. So I just put the iPod in my pouch and then focused on running the rest of the race (wearing the headphones the whole way). My 7:29 Mile 3 shows that I lost some time trying to restore the iPod.
Right before Mile 4, the race goes over the I-285 overpass. It's never been a source of trouble for me but I realized that it could slow me down. I tried to utilize a technique I gleaned from the Garmin Connect data a 3:10 marathoner posted on Facebook. Basically it looked like he attacked hills with higher heart rate effort but also faster cadence. So I went stick, stick, stick, with the balls of my feet (I pretty much ran the entire race on the balls of my feet) up this hill. Mile 4: 7:14.
At the top of the hill I finally saw my speedy friend Anna. When she crossed the intersection at the CVS, I started to count. She had a 45 second lead on me with two miles remaining. The race then became perfect conditions for me to PR since I knew I could motivate myself based on her pace.
In the past, I would kind of slow up at Mile 5 knowing there would be two large hills right at the end of the race but here I just kept pushing. I didn't think I realistically had a shot at catching up with my friend. Mile 5: 7:12.
Entering the last full mile of the race I kept pushing. I could hear the labored breathing of the people I passed and knew that I would not be slowing for anything. I was a little concerned when we turned onto North Druid Hills since I've kind of lost a little momentum here but today I kept pushing. We entered the neighborhood and the first of the hills didn't feel like anything. Mile 6: 6:55.
At this point I was tempted by something new. The gun clock for Mile 6 said something like 43:30, making it seem possible that I could even break 45 minutes for the 10K. I kept the momentum, although I didn't run as fast as I had at this point in races past. The last .2 miles: 7:02/pace.
I finished sequentially as the runner right after my friend, although I trailed her by 7 seconds. I was elated though to have logged a 45:17 (45:1699999 according to the race) and felt like everything clicked for a good race. I think the two months of core and body workouts via the FitStar app have helped tremendously.
It was awesome to do what I came to do. I guess the Big Peach lady was right -- 11 was good for me.
Time: 7:45 a.m.
Temp: 34 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, long (Locomotive Half Marathon 2010), Technical T-shirt, short (Combat Flip Flops), shorts, Brooks Pure Connect 3.