Of course I must remind you that I'm running the Boston Marathon this year on a charity number so I need to raise money in order to participate. If you are so inclined/motivated please click the donate button at the top right of my blog to donate to my cause and thank you in advance. Now onto the bloggy.
I have been struggling with not starting too fast and working hard to keep a steady pace while racing. If anything my posts, tweets, and Facebook status have showed you is I'm the "go as hard as you can" guy. Problem is you can get away with that for a 5k but once you stretch out to 10ks and beyond the idea of this mythical notion of "pace" becomes more and more important. The first 10k of my season, appropriately enough on New Years' Day (what better way to start the year I thought) I went out to turn the 1st mile in around 6 minutes and spent the race of the race trying to "settle" down. That effort led me to slowing down and being caught by very people I blew past at the start.
So being the good student, I decided to pick a long race a week in advance no less, as opposed to a couple days before which is my norm, and seeing if I could start "slow" and run a steady paced event. The race of the day was the "Old Fashioned 10 Miler" held in Foxborough MA. Luckily for me, one of my coworkers was running the race too and was hoping to run an 8-8:15min pace. How better to start well and then run negatives throughout I thought than to start with her? So, a light mile run to the start. Ya, I had no idea it was that far from the registration area but it was a great reason to get warmed up and tune the HR. We pushed our way along still iced over 3 foot snow banks to finally make our way to the front of the pack for the start. There we a lot of people racing today. A lot? Over 500 ran the event.
So while chatting about a run strategy with my coworker, the gun went off and the race was on. The course billed itself as "2 flat miles, 6 rolling miles and 2 flat miles". It may have been billed that way but couldn't be further from the truth. We were running uphill before even hitting the first mile marker. A quick glance down showed my HR at about 145 and we ran the first mile in 7:51. That's the slowest 1st mile I've run in a race in a long, very long time but I felt great! Pushing toward mile 2 my coworker said she was going too fast and was gonna lay of the gas. Goodbyes exchanged, we parted ways. I settled into a comfortable pace and the next thing I realize I hit mile 3 in 20 minutes. Guess I was feeling feel pretty good. Now it was all about keeping this comfortable pace and staying warm. Oh ya, did I forget to mention it was wicked cold?! We're talking 17degrees kiddies and with an equally wicked wind, the temp dipped down to the low teens. Brr, just brr.
This was a race of firsts all around. This race also had me wearing the most clothing I've ever worn for a race too. Nike head sock, Nike running gloves, under armor cold gear shirt, long sleeve t shirt, my new Polar running singlet and, and, and my new polar running jacket. Yes, it was cold kiddies. At one point I thought of taking off my jacket, rolling it up and running with it in my hand but then I'd hit a strip of shadowed road or a good gust would hit me and I thought better.
So while alternating opening and closing my jacket in rider to regulate heat I noticed a funny thing....I was actually ticking off miles at a steady 7:30 pace. Miles 4, 5, 6 ticked away and then toward the end of mile 7 was "the hill". Everest it was not but it was a climb nonetheless. So much so, you could almost hear my fellow runners' collective "pop" when they hit it. So if they hill is slowing them down then it's time to pump my arms and pass them. Which, I did like a champ however once I hit the top of the hill my hurt felt like it was gonna explode. A quick glance down to my Polar FT7 heart rate monitor showed my heart rate hit a dizzyingly high 236bpm. Less dizzy than black spot seeing which made me realize I need to adjust HR zones based on a massive max HR.
I have never been so happy to see a mile marker, even it it was only mile 8, even having 2 more to go.Mile 8 was tough however. I tried very hard to maintain my pace while getting my heart to settle down. Then there was mile 9. There is a certain happiness that comes from knowing you're closing in on the finish and it's only 7 to 7:30 minutes away. I wasn't familiar with the course so I gingerly started to get faster for fear theee was some dumb hill around the corner or I might gas out. After a few minutes I heard heard a local runner say there was about half a mile left so I tried to pick it up. I finished strong, crossing the line in 1:16:00 and flashed my new Polar togs with pride. I finished 138th overall out of 512, 118th male and 30th in my age group. Oh ya, this race seemed to be a training race for everybody in the Boston Athletic Association or ANYBODY who's racing Boston
So, first 10 miler in the bag (my first so it was a PR) with a decent result. Now I wonder if I can find another before the Army 10 Miler in October :)