Rebecca and I got to the race site right around 7 am, just in time to see the Canadian and US paratroopers jumping out of the planes and making their way toward the race site. No matter how many times I've seen this from doing this race before, there is nthing quite like seeing someone freefalling toward earth and pulling up at just the last minute for a smooth and easy landing. I get nervous everytime for those guys, but they are amazing. Before we knew it, I had to go get lined up in my corral, since I was in the first of 2 waves to go off. I placed myself toward the front of my green wave to give myself as much free space as possible, since the start of a race with 26,000 people can get kinda hectic. After the national anthem, an awesome flyover by some helicopters in formation, and a few minutes of waiting in the packed corral area, we moved toward the start line.
Even though I was in one of the first groups to go off on the day, it was still crowded enough that I was unable to begin running until after crossing the start line. I can only imagine what it was like for other racers. I know Rebecca said it was a little chaotic for her wave start. Shortly after, I was able to find some open room and began my race. Aside from a race PR, my only other goal for this race was to not do what I have done in the past years of doing this race: Go out too hard and crash and burn toward the finish.
I started the race at a moderate pace where I felt like I was pushing but not redlining it. Just a little slower than 10k pace. My strategy was to hold anything under 7:26 pace (my 10 Mile PR pace) and once I hit the 6-7 mile marker, let things loose and see what I have left. Below are my mile splits:
Mile 1: 7:01
Mile 2: 7:04
Mile 3: 7:12
Mile 4: 7:04
Mile 5: 7:04
Mile 6: 7:02
Mile 7: 7:00
Mile 8: 6:58
Mile 9: 7:00
Mile 10: 7:02
Mile .6: 4:38 (7:12 pace)
The first thing you might see is wow, thats a pretty steady race. And it was. I stayed in the game the whole time and held true to my race strategy. You can see where I picked it up right after mile 6 and even though the splits for miles 9 amd 10 aren't that much faster, keep in mind that this was while going over a bridge with the hilliest part of the course. So while the times were only slightly faster, I can assure you that I was pushing way harder than I was at any other point during the race.
The second thing you might see is that little .6 at the end. Kinda strange, huh? I don't get it. My watch has been spot on accurate for every run, race, bike I have done. It would seem strange that this one time it would go a little off. I've had it for almost 2 years. I know that in longer races like this, runners have a tendancy to record slightly longer distances, due to not following the exact line of the race measurement. However, in the past, this has been between .2-.3 miles, not .6. Seems a little fishy. I know it is the same course, so it has to be 10 miles. Just a little strange that my watch didn't get it right. This was also my first year running this race with my distance/pace watch, so I have no other data to compare with. I guess my only other question goes out to others who may have recorded data on the race. Did you also record longer distances or was it within the normal threshold of just running extra?
Based on the official time, my overall time was 1:15:04. This doesn't beat my 10 Mile PR of 1:13:49, but it crushes my Army 10 Miler PR of 1:20:07 from last year by just over 5 minutes. So even if the course was just 10 miles, I still PR'd the race by 5 minutes.
Now, factor in my watch and where it recorded when I hit 10 miles and my time would be 1:10:28. This would be a big PR overall for the 10 Mile distance by 3:20 and an Army 10 Miler PR by almost 10 minutes! Now that would be progress. Based on this, my average pace turned out to be 7:03/mile.
So take from it what you will. I PR'd either way. Great way to end my season.
Overall Place: 1793/18857
And lastly, congrats to Rebecca for killing it yesterday. She beat her expected finish time by nearly 9 minutes!