I’m not sure if you all know this, but I hate the 10K distance. I never run it, and when I do, I’m reminded of how completely stupid it is. Don’t argue with me. It’s dumb. It’s basically a 5K that’s extended. You get to redline and hang on for 3+ more miles. It. Is. The. Worst.*
So, what do I do? I decide to race the 10K at Best Damn Race last weekend.
I spoke with Coach Jon about racing again, the weekend after a half marathon, and he wanted to know why I would like to race again so soon. I figured for starters, it was free. (Which we all know is the BEST reason to race.) I’m in pretty good with the race director so I got a comp. I also figured that since I plan to race the olympic distance triathlon at St. Anthony’s Triathlon this year it would be a good way to prove to myself that the 10K is really not THAT bad. And of course, bonus points for finally hitting a new PR at any distance. I haven’t run a PR in quite some time and I knew the 10K was my best shot at it.
I admit I had some trepidation about racing a 10K the weekend after a hard fought half marathon. My legs didn’t feel super fresh, but they weren’t shot either. Race morning conditions for the 10K looked more than ideal, save for the wind. I woke up super early, as per usual, and got to the race location about 16 hours before it started. I sat in my car and took advantage of a primo parking spot with the heater on full blast. In terms of temps, it wasn’t that cold, but the wind was making my teeth chatter.
Fortunately, the 10K started first and I love an early race start. I will never complain about a race starting “too early.” Those of us running the 10K or half marathon from Tribal were able to take a group shot, where almost everyone looked at the camera…
I did a warm up jog around, found a lone porta potty, and was ready to go for the race. In order to PR I just needed to run sub 50:07. I ran that 50 minute time back in 2015 in Las Vegas. My 10K times really don’t make a lot of sense if you look at my all time half PR (1:43:21, 2012) and my 5K PR (22:19, 2013). And I think mostly it’s because, well, the 10K is dumb. Ok, fine, it’s probably because I haven’t run a lot of them because, see first paragraph.
I digress. The race started promptly at 6:45 AM and off we went. I run this race route regularly so I knew exactly what to expect. It’s got some elevation changes, yes, in Florida, and while they aren’t exactly huge, they are enough to feel and see in Training Peaks. And for the record, I did correct the elevation for however well that actually works.
As I ran the first mile, I felt really good. There’s a slight downhill there, as you can see, and my first mile clicked off at 7:43. Uh-oh. I was aiming to run a 49 minute race. I knew that was about an 8:03 per mile, so naturally I ran about 20 seconds faster than that. I gave myself a “What have you done!” thought and then thought, “You know what self? I’m gonna hang on and see what happens.” Mile two was slightly faster at a 7:42. Oops. “You know self, you really aren’t so great at pacing today.”
But then, I hit mile three and it was a 7:41. I felt good. I felt strong.
And then I realized, I had three more miles. F$^king 10K.
This picture is when I was telling myself (and the photog) how much I loathe the 10K. I mean, have you seen a more stank face? I don’t think so.
Mile four is probably the biggest hill on the course. And I felt it. While I did pass several people on the climb, my pace dropped to a 7:55. Well crap. I told myself, “Get your shit together” and picked up the pace. Mile five was a 7:44, and then I knew I just had to hang on for the last mile as a PR was in was my grasp. Unfortunately, the last mile was straight into a head wind. I tried desperately to find someone to tuck in behind for wind blockage but we were all running like lunatics at this point – speeding up and slowing down. No one seemed to be holding a steady pace, including myself. One man I tried to tuck behind slowed down, so then I went to pass him and he sped up. I don’t think it was intentional, the wind just sucked and it was tough to get a handle on pacing for this final mile. I heard mile six (7:53) beep on my Garmin and I did my best to pick it up heading into the chute.
That is the face of pure relief. I had done it! A new 10K PR with an official time of 48:25. I crushed that 50:07 and felt damn proud of myself.
I’d like to say that several factors played into my personal success at this race:
- I lost 5 pounds. No fast food is still going strong and I’ve been really regimented on my nutrition. Do I love it? Not really, but I do love how much better I’m feeling.
- I’ve been training pretty well. The week before the Celebration Half Marathon I hit 9 x 1K just under eight minute miles and it gave me a good boost of confidence.
- Mental toughness. I’ve had some struggles with this in the past and lately I’ve really been working on shutting up my “chimp brain.” I named him Mr. Peepers and it seems to work when I divert his attention on to why I want to keep running hard.
For stats, I finished 8th of 147 in my age group as all the very fast local women showed up. I finished 28 of 880 women in the 10K. I finished 107 in 1264 overall in the 10K. But most importantly, I’m number one in your hearts.
Thanks for reading.
P.S. I still don’t like the 10K.
*All opinions are my own and you know I’m right about the stupid 10K.
Ah, home sweet home. Nothing like a trip to Las Vegas to make you really appreciate your quiet home life. As much as I LOVE sin city, it sure is nice to be back to that humidity I love to complain about.
I’d be remiss as a blogger to not mention how deeply saddened I was to learn of the events that transpired in Paris as we were touching down in Vegas on Friday. My heart and prayers go out to victims and their families.
Friday and Saturday
Now on a lighter note, we did have a really good time in Las Vegas. After arriving on Friday and settling in to our hotel, Bally’s, we met friends for dinner and then headed to what I call “Sad Vegas” to zip line. Two things: Bally’s, while not one of the high end hotels of Vegas was PERFECT for the race with quick access to the monorail. I highly recommend staying there if you are planning to run Rock N Roll Vegas next year. The second thing is that Sad Vegas is really just old Vegas and it’s quite an experience. Think: lots of interesting folks who are there for the cheap booze and even cheaper gambling. I ain’t hating, it’s just really different than the newer parts of the strip. And, the zip lining is a must do.
On Saturday morning, I met up with Lisa from Run Fast Mama
and another friend, Stacie, from the Century Club for a little shake out run. The Century Club is an online group that encourages each other to reach 100 miles every month. I was recently added by my new friend Beth that I met at the Cocoa Beach Half. The running community is so crazy connected that Lisa and I realized we have quite a few friends in common already!
|Me, Stacie, & Lisa
After the shake out run, I ate a super large crazy buffet breakfast and then putzed around the hotel as the S.O. slept off his late night of poker playing. We then headed to the expo to grab our bibs. As far as expos go, I think the Rock N Roll Vegas expo is fantastic. It’s got everything you need (or want!). I bought a pair of Brooks running shorts that I’m currently in love with. (I wore them for the race on Sunday.)
We left the expo, showered and changed back at the hotel then headed to dinner with friends at the Linq. The Linq is a newer hotel with a shopping area and it’s really nice. I recommend that too! After dinner we headed to Planet Hollywood to see the one and only…Britney Spears.
I felt it was my duty to see Miss Spears while in Vegas because I wasn’t sure how much longer she’d be performing. (As it turns out, she’ll be there two more years.) I knew that if we didn’t go see her, I would be sad and have a rare case of FOMO. Sadly, Britney was underwhelming. I’m fairly certain she sang one note and lip sync’d the rest. I didn’t like that the big screens weren’t showing her so I could only guess that I was actually seeing Britney way down on the stage and not just a really good impersonator. Ha ha. I will say she danced her derriere off and at least I can say I saw Britney in Vegas.
Sunday – Race Day
Finally, on Sunday, race day, there was a lot of resting. I learned my lesson last year and tried to do very little on Sunday before the 4 PM 10K race start. The S.O. went to watch some football while I read, grabbed a lite lunch, and napped until we headed down to catch the monorail at 2:30 PM.
The 10K start lacked much of the fanfare that the half and full marathoners receive but since this was the first year for the 10K that’s understandable. We didn’t get to see Kid Rock which was sucky but that’s what you get for running the smaller race I suppose. I knew this race was a lot smaller when I was assigned to corral one!
I did a mile warm up and then lined up with the 50 minute pacer and he and I chatted for a few before the race got started. He was really nice and I marveled at some of the folks starting right at the line. I do believe that some of these folks were not assigned to corral one and gave zero effs. They may have actually just gotten lost on the way to a casino. But, hey, that’s Vegas!
The horn sounded and I ran right next to the 50 minute pacer for the first mile. He said he was a little fast as we hit mile one with a 7:53. He was aiming for 8:03’s, but I felt really, really good. I had surged a bit in front of him and the pack by mile two and then I just kept going. Miles one until about the two and a quarter mark were slightly downhill, hence my initial pep. The rest of the race is a slight uphill. So yeah, uphill in the wind on the way back. Ouch.
The first three miles went by very quickly and I took advantage of the tailwind because I knew once we turned it was going to get tough. There were very strong gusts that came intermittently in both directions but the turn around was brutal toward the finish.
I can tell this photo is toward the end of the race because that’s when it got very dark out. I never gave up during this race and even with the wind I was determined to beat my current PR of 50:24. I even told the S.O. and Coach Jon before we got to Vegas that I was going to PR. Granted, my 10K PR isn’t as fast as my other PR’s but I’ll take what I can get!
I started really feeling my lungs and legs around mile five and told myself to hang on. I told myself that I wanted to keep hurting and to embrace the suck. And trust me, it felt like suck at this point. Ha!
As soon as I saw the finish line I knew I could beat my PR. I really wanted to go sub 50 and crossed the line just in front of the 50 minute pacer. We high fived and then I saw the S.O. waiting for me. He didn’t really race the 10K as he hasn’t been feeling so hot since his string of PR insanity.
My finish time was 50:07, a 17 second PR! Good enough for 4th in an age group of 616 women. That’s the best I’ve placed in a Rock N Roll I believe. Color me happy!
|Just in time to see the fountains of the Bellagio after finishing.
The S.O. and I had a fantastic trip to Vegas and will probably end up there again next year. We have become fans of the Rock N Roll series and while they are the 800 pound gorilla, they do put on a great race.
|Half & Full Marathoners on the strip.
Even with the cold wind and light rain, I’d recommend Rock N Roll Las Vegas, and hell travelling for a 10K is worth it. There really isn’t anything quite like running the strip at night.
Thanks for reading and as a reminder, go hug your loved ones.
The Top Five Things You Need to Know About My BDR 10K
1. I’m a total mental case sometimes. I was so very close to not running this race. It had nothing to do with volunteers. There were plenty. It had nothing to do with the weather. It never rained. And it had nothing to do with me being a total mental case. Oh, wait. Yes, it did on that last one. I woke up tired and anxious. I didn’t feel ready to run and I was nervous. All of the usual what-if’s popped in my brain. But then…something changed. I told myself to relax and made the decision to run. No sooner did I make this decision did I see my coach (who wound up winning the 10K) walking up. I had no idea he was racing and it was definitely a final push for me. It was go time.
|National Anthem. Don’t worry, I moved back with the normal people.
2. I ran hard and tried not to think. My friend Linda, who is a collegiate coach and badass athlete, told me “don’t think, just run.” And I really worked on that. Every time I started to write my blog in my head about how I fell apart at mile whatever, I’d say “shut up, just run.” I also listened to Coach Jon’s advice to smile every now again. That actually works too! Ultimately, I am very happy with how I executed this race. I tried to run eight minute miles for as long as I could. You can see I fell off on mile six, but it was my legs not my lungs and I think that’s a good sign.
Mile 1: 8:02
Mile 2: 8:06
Mile 3: 7:59
Mile 4: 8:09
Mile 5: 8:13
Mile 6: 8:34
The .2: 7:28
3. I got 2nd in my Age Group! I just moved up to the 35-39 age group which worked to my advantage at this race. The 2nd place overall winner is also in 35-39 so that bumped me. Bonus! My final chip time was 51:00*, an average of 8:13. I’m super happy with this time and know the work I want to put in to get better and stronger.
|I’ve coveted these GIANT age group award medals since day one of BDR.
4. I got to see a few college friends and return to my old home town. I went to the University of Central Florida in Orlando and BDR Orlando takes place right smack in downtown. I loved downtown as a college student, and even after when I remained living there for another six years. I was so happy to run through the streets, even if the cobbles were a little slick in parts. I was really happy to see my friend Ryan and meet his baby boy, who could not be more adorable.
This was the first Best Damn Race I got to run and even though I am biased, I’d say it was definitely the best damn race. I still got to pass out medals and help on the mic when the real MC went to start the 5K. I love volunteering at the finish line and I’m glad I got the opportunity to race AND volunteer.
|Me & UCF friend Ryan
5. I still hate the 10K. The 10K is such a tough distance for me. It truly feels like a longer, painful 5K. I suffered and hung on as long as I could. I like my pain to be in shorter time frames. I’ll take a 5K any day of the week!
It’s safe to say I’ve regained some run confidence that I really needed and I had a lot of fun out there, even when it hurt. I have a lot of work ahead of me but I’m actually looking forward to it.
Happy Monday friends! Don’t think, just run.
*My garmin time was a couple seconds faster, and I had 6.26, but we go by “official” results and the course is certified USATF.
Hey ya’ll! I’m back. And I’m suffering from a stupid cold still. It came on right as I left for NOLA last Thursday. Fortunately, I didn’t have to cancel my trip since my sister has the world’s best immune system and my nephew and brother in law basically already had colds.
|So excited to see this cutie!
I love love love New Orleans. The food! The jazz! The beads! The food! Did I mention the food? Unfortunately, this cold made things taste a bit flat and I wasn’t hungry so I didn’t do as much damage as I normally would have. I suppose that could be a good thing.
We had to make a stop at District Donuts
regardless of what my taste buds were doing. I didn’t even get a donut but I did get an awesome breakfast sandwich and coffee. NOLA has fantastic coffee.
I spent most of my trip hanging with my family and playing lots of “teenage” with my nephew. (Teenage is his term for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and you are only allowed to be Michelangelo.) It was exactly what the doctor ordered because by Sunday I was able to get up early and head to the Rock N Roll New Orleans 10K
start with my sister. She wasn’t feeling great and I was nervous about making this cold worse so we decided to “jalk” this one. There was lots of walking with a few spurts of jogging. I think this plan was perfect. It was actually a great way to see some other parts of the city. The bands on course had a NOLA flair and my sister and I posed for the cameras. I’m definitely going to order a few of the professional pics.
As this was my 3rd Rock N Roll event, I knew what to expect and as per usual, it was a well organized event. The expo was really nice and they did a great job with the merchandise. I am sure it’s because I love New Orleans, but I wanted to buy every single shirt they had. The course was nice and flat and the bonus of adding on a string of beads to your medal at the finish was a nice touch.
|Got my favorite new medal!
While we didn’t come in last, we definitely took our time and finished in 1:26. I am glad we got to do this event and am eyeing the full marathon there next year. My heel felt fine and as Coach Jon pointed out, getting a cold gave it even more time to heal.
I was feeling good enough to celebrate with some King Cake and I even brought one back for my co-workers. I can’t wait to go back to NOLA and see this little face again.
|King Cake is our favorite!
Remember how I said it was getting cold here in Florida? Well, Thanksgiving morning was downright freezing to us Floridians. I set my alarm to get up at 5:30 AM to be ready at the 5K Turkey Trot race start at 7 AM. And guess what? It was 39 degrees when I woke up. I didn’t want to get out of the car!
I had been thinking about this 5K for a long time now and really wanted to use it as a gauge on my fitness. Again, I wasn’t really pleased with my last two 5K races so I was hoping to get close to my old times. I had sent Coach Dror (my track coach) a text asking if he thought I could run a 23. He said he thought I could go sub 23 and to “get out” on the first mile because it’s downhill. To me, that meant, kill yourself the first mile. That’s obviously what he meant, right?
I jogged to the start and warmed up a bit before the race started. I ran into a friend named Lyle who asked what I wanted to do. I told him seventeen different things.
“I think I can go 23. My PR is 22:21. Maybe I will run 7:15’s. I would like to go sub 23 if I can. Maybe I will just run closer to 23 even. Dror said….”
Uhm, yeah. I was all over the place. Thankfully Lyle wasn’t racing the 5K and was using it to warm up. He kindly offered to pace me and with the sound of the horn, we were off.
I did EXACTLY as my coach said. I hammered the first mile. I heard Lyle say we needed to back off but I didn’t look at my watch until we past the first mile. I remember thinking my arms were really tired. I saw 6:54 on my Garmin and thought, “Oops.”
This course kind of levels out for the second mile. I found my breath and managed to calm down a bit. I ran that a mile more conservatively at a 7:13 pace.
Sadly, and this is not a new course to me, I knew what I was in for, at around mile 2.3 you hit a hill. And it sucks. On the one hand, I passed more people this year than I had in year’s past going up. On the other hand I was fading fast. Lyle was an amazing pacer and encouraged me to keep passing people. He had the idea to play a passing people game but I don’t think I played it very well. I was dying. Sorry Lyle.
As we got to the final two turns Lyle said, “You aren’t running a 7:45 last mile. Come on!” It made me laugh because I knew I was severely slowing down. I pushed on and as we entered the high school track toward the finish line I saw a 22 on the clock. I gave it all I had. Ladies and gentlemen, I have a new 5K PR: 22:19. It’s only a three second PR but I’ll take it.
My time was good enough to land me the coveted Turkey Trot mug amongst the top 125 finishers. Whew! I was nervous I wouldn’t get the mug this year. I love these mugs, they are huge! TWSS.
After the 5K I had a lot of time to sit around and wait for the 10K to start. I sat in my car and tried to warm up. Finally, at 8:45, the 10K race started. The S.O. ran it as did Lyle. They are both obnoxiously fast.
My plan for the 10K was to run it at marathon pace. I tried to stay around 8:35 but wound up running it at a 8:25 pace. Close enough. I was happy to run with my friend Constance, who scored a PR. I think I needed her more than she needed me. By mile four I was totally over it but I was trying to keep up the pace and encourage Constance. Fortunately, a couple of other running acquaintances showed up and they were a big help to us both.
Overall, I’m really happy with this 5K. How could I not be? It was a PR and even though my splits were really uneven, I know I can run a flat course and work on that. The 10K was almost exactly what I wanted. Oh, and I got in 9 miles before I ate my face off.
I hope you all had wonderful Thanksgivings. Tell me about your Turkey Trots!
P.S. As this race isn’t chip timed, I am going off of my Garmin and the race clock. When I finished a few women who came in after me got in front of me to get their cards to write their times on. I wrote 22:19 but I think they changed my time because of my card number. Oh well, I know what I ran.