On Sunday morning, I ran my first ever 10K. For some reason, I am drawn to the longer races – marathons and half marathons. I have been neglecting the shorter ones. I’ve only run a handful of 5Ks and never a 10K. I was pretty stoked for an automatic PR, but I also had another ambitious goal – to maintain a sub-9 minute pace for the entire race. I knew the course had the reputation of being hilly, but I stuck with my goal anyway.
The starting line was packed and there was no designation for approximate paces. I lined myself up somewhere in the middle of the 2,000 runners and hoped I was in a good spot. Turns out most people didn’t try to think out their pace logically in the pack like I did so the first mile involved a whole lot of weaving.
My legs felt stiff in the beginning and the first mile was mostly uphill. I thought about throwing my pace goal out the window. I kept on trucking, reminding myself it was only a little over 6 miles. After training for 2 marathons back to back, 6 miles doesn’t seem so bad.
The hills were tough, but I tackled them the best I could and passed quite a few people on each hill. I was thrilled to see that I was actually maintaining a sub-9 minute splits the whole time. On the hills, I would see my pace creep back up over 9 so I’d force myself to push a little harder. For the last mile, I so badly wanted to pull my average pace down into the 7 minute range, but there was yet another hill and it wasn’t happening. My pace for the last quarter of a mile was 7:01 though! I’ve never run so hard for a race in my life. I was glad I made the decision to wear my hydration belt so I didn’t have to bother with stopping at any of the water stations.
My official time was 53:14; an average pace of 8:31 – super fast for me! I don’t know all my finish placement details, but I know I was number 580 out of over 1,700 finishers. Certainly not a win or anything, but that’s pretty up there for me!
I found that I really loved the 10K distance. I definitely want to run more shorter distance races after my next 2 half marathons. As much as I love distance running, I’m ready for a little break. Time to focus on shorter distances and faster running!
After I got home from the race, I went out and ran another 4 miles with Zain in the stroller. I’ve maintained a streak of running double digits every weekend since the Baltimore Marathon in October and I didn’t want to break it. I really had to fight to get it done because I was so beat from the race, but I did it!
What’s your favorite race length?