Minuteman 10K Recap
I feel like I don’t have a whole lot to say about this one. I haven’t run distances much over 5 miles since my half marathon a month ago, and I purposely signed up for this one to keep me honest and pulling the higher distances. But when I woke up yesterday morning I was totally thinking, “Why on earth am I doing this?”
It was chilly when my friends and I left for this race, half an hour away at scenic Compo Beach in Westport. For those who don’t know, Westport is a tony suburb in lower Fairfield County. By the time we arrived at the race site, the weather had warmed up considerably; I had brought two different running jackets and decided I needed neither.
This race was a 5K/10K combo. Those aren’t my favorite, because not only am I slow in a 5K field, I am REALLY slow in a 10K field, and it makes for a really lonely race return. But, I remembered this race was a nice one; beautiful course, well organized, decent swag prior, so I signed up for the 10. My friends had signed up for the 5.
We arrived early enough to get parking but not too early to be bored. Hit the bathrooms, got some of the decent swag. The 5K started ten minutes prior to the 10K so I saw my friends to their start and realized I needed a bathroom. I bid them good luck and went off, figuring that with all the 5K people out of the mix, the line would be short.
Yeah, not so much. I sprinted to the lonely porta potty on the other side of the parking. It wasn’t the worst I’d ever used, but close. Ew. But it got the job done and then it was go time.
I can’t say enough how glorious the weather had turned out to be. Sunny, beachfront, glorious, 50 or so degrees, slight breeze. Perfect running weather in just my short sleeved tech shirt. Unlike the 5K, the 10K gun went off with zero announcements or fanfare, startling everyone around me in the back of the pack. I turned on the RunKeeper and tried to not go out to fast.
I have been encouraged by my shorter runs lately being faster, so I didn’t get too alarmed at my faster than normal pacing in the first mile. I was working, but feeling good, and also hoping to build up some insurance time for when I would lag later. The views were mostly of the water, which was lovely. I could feel myself slowly losing pace with the rest of the group. This was the race that I finished 3rd from last on last year; I had resigned myself to being one of the slowest out there.
I could tell my pacing was still a bit too fast in the second mile, but I was also kind of marveling at it….I had hoped to at least beat last year’s time (1:13:44) or at a minimum be under 1:14. Worst case I figured was 1:15, a long way from my very first (and disastrous) 1:26:17 10K.
The course was mostly flat in those first two miles, but in the third mile the hills kicked in. The gently rolling downward slopes turned into upwards ones. I turned a corner and found the big hill I remembered from last year. It was steep but relatively short, so I ran as far as I could before dropping to a walk and repeated this twice to get through the hill. I picked off a few people doing this, which helped my morale. I was sure I was ahead of third from last.
The third and fourth miles were hilly. The fourth mile ended at the top of a slow, long climb to a freeway overpass. Last year I remembered I never had to walk this. This year, I broke a few times into a walk. I had pushed myself too fast in the first few miles and was running out of juice. On the plus side I picked off a few more people there, coming very close to the skinny girl who had been way ahead of me up until that point. She saw me move to pass and picked up the pace, of course.
The fourth mile marker was at the top of the bridge over I 95. As I stepped up to it I felt my left knee twinge. It has been tweaking on and off lately. It was not terrible but it was noticeable. I knew I was going to have to take it a bit easier for the last two miles.
I was still feeling strong but ready for it to be done. By the time we hit mile 5 the course had flattened out some, blessedly. My head was telling me to walk but I forced myself to keep moving; the course was flat, after all. I kept moving, although slower than I would like. We got back to the water views by 5.5 and I let it pull me back to the finish line all the way. I got close to the skinny chick again, and one other woman. We ran one right after the other until the very end where they peeled away for the last little bit. I had absolutely no steam left to speed up, but was proud of the fact that I hadn’t walked in those last two miles. In fact I had hardly walked at all except to get through the hills.
My time was 1:14:27. Off of last year’s time by 43 seconds. I was surprised considering how good I felt mostly during the race, but when I compared my splits, I definitely went out too fast. My first two miles were much faster than last year, but then the last four were slower; last year I maintained a much more steady pace in the last half of the race.
Still, I felt really good about not switching to the 5K. In the end I loved the course and it was a beautiful run. And considering last year found me smack dab in the middle of half marathon training and this year finds me plodding along a month after my half? To be 43 seconds off really isn’t that bad.
Also, since the field was larger, I was further from last place. I finished 7th from the end. I’ll take it. 🙂