I know...I was "officially" done for the year. But, with the prospect of another free race entry sponsored by my company at the Jingle All The Way 10k, I decided to throw in another race to cap the year off and get a good baseline on my very Base type of training I have been doing over the past 2+ months. It also served as another opportunity to show I can pace myself, unlike the last 10k, where I failed miserably.
Despite the very questionable weather (winter weather advisory with ice in the forecast), I decided to run rain or shine, if for nothing else, the free t-shirt. Sunday morning came a bit earlier than I'd prefer for a Sunday (5:45 am) in winter, as I was worried about parking with the pretty large crowd expected (about 5000) and I still needed to pick up my packet. I ended up getting to the race about an hour early, which was perfect, allowing me time to check in, take care of business, and warm up, just in time for runners to begin corralling at the start line.
I set myself a solid 10-15 rows of runners back. I know there were a lot of fast runners there, so I didn't want to be that guy. After standing around for a few minutes and listening to a bunch of people talking about their expected pace before the start, I knew I was in the right place. Before I knew it, the gun went off and the race had begun.
My goal for this race was to not start off too fast and just go out at a steady effort that I could hold over the course of the race. I think I largely achieved that goal, or at least showed some improvement over my last race. My Mile 1 split was 6:34, which was in sharp contrast to the 5:58 I ran in the last 10k I did.
As we passed Mile 1, I found myself running next to DC Mayor Fenty, who I know is a fair bit faster runner than me (he finished in 39:17). Still feeling like I was moving at a comfortably hard pace, I stuck with him. Then, I found myself actually making sense in my head during a race for a change. Since I knew he was a faster runner, I probably should not use him as a pacer, as it will only burn me up early in the race, leaving me grasping for the finish line toward the end. So, with my competitive ego at my side, I sadly let him go and forced myself to slow as we neared the Mile 2 marker. As I crossed, my watch read 6:46 for my split.
Miles 3 - 4 were spent cruising along with a same 2 other guys, all of us nearly stride for stride the entire time. I came through mile 3 with a consistent split of 6:47 and passed the 5k point in 20:55, which was pretty darn close to where I figured I'd shoot for (21:00). At some point during Mile 4, I grabbed some water from the water stop, only to find the cup was filled really high. As I squeezed the cup to pour it in my mouth, the water jumped into my nose, causing me to cough quite a bit. I stopped coughing by the time I hit the Mile 4 split, which was 6:52.
Mile 5 is always the place in a 10k where my mind plays tricks. Here I was, cruising along with pretty consistent splits (on PR pace) and my mind is starting to tell me to just jog it in. I told it to shut up several times, responding with a few surges, but I just couldn't get out of the funk. I knew if I could hold any reasonable pace at this point that I was going to PR and scored my slowest split of the day with a 6:58. I decided that I would not allow there to be a split over 7:00, so I picked it up.
With only a little more than a mile to go, my mind started to get back on track. We crested a very short bridge, which left just a straight shot of about .8 mile to go to the finish. I could even see the finish line all the way in the distance and I knew I had more effort in me, but I just kind of ran fast, without pushing the pedal all the way down. Mile 6 came through back on pace in 6:48. In the last .2 to go, I kicked it up a notch to bring it home. It took 1:20, which is a 6:40 pace.
I crossed the finish line and looked down at my watch as I stopped it and saw that it read 42:05. This was yet another 10k PR of 35 seconds, bring down my 10k time a total of 1:41 this year without actually training specifically for a 10k. Not too bad a way to cap off the year!
Here are some of the overall stats:
Overall Place: 158/3700+
Gender Place: 137/1508 Males
AG Place (25-29): 34/355
I saw race photographers out on the course, so I may have some updates of the photos as they become available.