Is there a better day than 10/10/10 to run the USA 10-Miler? I didn’t think so.
This race is always in early October but they got lucky with the date this year — and the weather! I keep waiting for it to get hot and humid again — you KNOW it will — but it hasn’t yet. It was nice and cool at the start of the race and while it got a little warm towards the end, all in all it was a lovely day.
I finished in 1:52:40 by my watch, or an 11:13/mile average pace. I stuck pretty well to my plan of using this as a long run, even though I felt great and was VERY tempted to go faster. Even still, since I’ve only run two 10-milers before, and both were done on less training than I’ve already done this year, 1:52:40 was easily a new PR — by almost 5 minutes — for me at this distance! Exciting! (And it’s even more exciting to know that I could’ve gone faster if I’d truly raced it instead of treating it like a long run. But I’m glad I didn’t, for training purposes.)
Mile 1 – 11:04
Mile 2 – 11:15
I started the race with Sandy, Debbie, and Cathy from my tri club. We’ve been doing our long runs together when possible since we all run around the same pace. We’ve been doing a 5/1 run/walk on our runs, but today we planned to push ourselves a bit and walk for a minute only at each mile marker. We skipped the walk at the first mile marker though, because it was still too crowded and we didn’t want to get in anyone’s way.
Mile 3 – 11:45
Slowest mile of the day! Not really sure what happened here. I suspect we walked for more than a minute at the 2-mile marker though, since there was a water stop there. This area of the course was nice. We passed Armand Bayou, saw a beautiful sunrise, and ran — literally — through a cloud. The early morning fog on Red Bluff Road was THICK, but it didn’t last long.
Mile 4 – 11:23
Mile 5 – 11:36
Halfway! This is where I’ve either stopped or started in the three years I’ve run this race as a relay, so I was quite familiar with exactly where the mile marker would be. I was feeling GREAT at this point. Cathy slowed down here and switched to a 5/1 run/walk while Sandy, Debbie and I continued ahead.
Mile 6 – 11:26
Mile 7 – 11:13
I still felt great, so I started pushing the pace just a bit. Sandy and Debbie were keeping up with me, although one of them mentioned that their heart rate was climbing. I wasn’t sure if they’d stay with me, but I wanted to keep the pace brisk through the finish. At Mile 7, a bunch of people from our tri club were manning the water station so we got a ton of cheers as we ran through there. Yay BAM!
Mile 8 – 11:24
I stuck with Sandy and Debbie for the first half of this mile, but either they were slowing down or I was speeding up. Probably a little of both! I decided to run my own pace from here on out and push things even a little more.
Mile 9 – 10:57
Mile 10 – 10:24
Woo! I still stopped for a quick walk break at each mile marker, but I picked up the pace each mile. At the increased pace, I didn’t feel as good as I had earlier in the race, but of course I expected that — and it’s not like I felt awful either. My legs were beginning to get a little sore but nothing unusual. It felt good to be running my fastest miles at the end of the race!
Sandy and Debby finished about 3 minutes after me, and Cathy finished over the 2 hour mark.
Overall it was a great race. I still have work to do — I can’t yet imagine running that course plus another 5K all under 10:19 pace, which is what I have to do to beat my half marathon PR. But I think I can get there if I keep working hard!