Sunday, October 9, 2011

2011 Army 10-Miler Race Recap

Final time: 1:42:25 (official)
Average pace: 10:14 minutes/mile

As far as shooting for somewhere in between 1:50:21 and 1:33:39 goes, well, I came close to splitting the difference. Sub 1:40 didn't happen, and that's okay because I went from zero to 10 miles in one season, which I've never successfully done before. And for those of you surprised that I ran essentially the same time that I did last week in a training run, last week's run was in my ideal conditions, to the extent that rain, wind, and low 50˚s can be "ideal." I'm just not conditioned to run 10 miles in warmer, sunny conditions, and it's something I was concerned about.

On to the race. I didn't like the new start or finish areas, and with the new course, the final half mile was a test of mental fortitude. And there was a major port-o-potty deficit. I know I'm not the only person who ran to her already-moving start wave.

Mile 1. Lots of jockeying for position and finding a comfortable pace rhythm. I was not a fan of the loop-de-loop (cloverleaf) onto Memorial Bridge - it caused a bigger bottleneck than the old ramp did. Here's where I also discovered that my Garmin and the official race measurements were inconsistent, and I didn't have the presence of mind to manually hit "LAP." The official mile marker was probably 20 paces ahead of what my Garmin registered, and this distance continued to increase throughout the race. Based on the extra time after the Garmin registered 10 miles, probably 7 or 8 seconds should be added to all my Garmin splits. Anyway, I had a mild panic when I looked at my watch and saw the time. Garmin mile 1 – 10:41.

Mile 2. More jockeying on Memorial Bridge. I found a couple that were holding a decent pace and stuck with them until we passed the Lincoln Memorial. Garmin mile 2 – 9:56.

Mile 3. A slight climb up Virginia Avenue. Nothing of note to report....still feeling good. Garmin mile 3 – 10:06. This is the pace I wanted to stick.

Mile 4. Remember that pace I wanted to stick? Yeah, for some reason, in every race over a 5K, mile 4 is always my fastest mile. It's relative, of course. I think here it's because there's a slight downhill as you round the Watergate and pass the Kennedy Center. Oh, and someone called out my name in front of the Watergate, but I think it was more coincidence. This happened in 2008, too, and was awesome. Garmin mile 4 – 9:46.

Mile 5. I don't remember much of the fifth mile, other than being frustrated as I bypassed the water station but still got caught up by people walking in the middle of the road drinking water. I glanced at the MLK Memorial on my right, and somewhere before the end of the mile, I took a few Honey Stinger chews. I bonk after about 1 hour and 15 minutes without replenishment. Garmin mile 5 –10:06.

Mile 6. I started looking for my dad around here. He's never been to any races before, and I had no idea if I'd find him. All I knew was that he was going to take Metro to Smithsonian. I was also wondering where the hell the water station was to rinse out the Honey Stinger chew mash in my teeth. Garmin mile 6 – 10:05.

Mile 7. Why the Army 10-Miler takes a 10K split rather than a 5M split is beyond me. Mine's not anything to write home about, 1:03:45 (out of curiosity, I looked up my 10K split*** in 2008 – 1:02:37). I was kind of hurting here. Then, finally, the water! No more chewed up Honey Stinger mash in my teeth! Garmin mile 7 – 10:23 (I can't drink water and run at the same time, but at least I hang by the side).

Mile 8. I was keeping an eye out for my dad on the way back up Independence Avenue, but I wasn't optimistic. I had a few fakeouts earlier. But there he was, on my left, maybe 50 feet past the Smithsonian Metro entrance! Yay, Dad, you made it to the race! And then I was off, around 14th Street and onto the Bridge. My nemesis. Garmin mile 8 – 10:03.

Mile 9. It's not a well-raced Army 10-Miler until you dry heave on the 14th Street Bridge. Granted, it's sort of embarrassing to be dry heaving at my pace, but whatever. You can't say that I wasn't at anaerobic threshold. I can't say anything nice about this bridge. I wanted to stop. My right calf was tight. And the Hash House Harriers weren't even out there giving out beer. WTF. Garmin mile 9 – 10:04.

Mile 10. The finish used to be exit off the interminable 14th Street Bridge, make a right under the overpass, another quick right, and then sprint to the end. Finit. Not this year. Yes, the last mile started on the bridge, but there was still close to half a mile after the bridge to the finish. Up the hill/ramp/overpass that we used to go up to get to the start. And that hill/ramp/overpass is a series of blind turns, so you have no idea where on earth the finish is. Dastardly. Garmin mile 10 – 9:51 

My Garmin picked up an additional .16 mile thanks to not syncing with the course, so my last .16 miles, per Garmin, was at an 8:45 pace, or 1:26. Way to kick it.

In the end, the one 9:46 mile wasn't enough to make up for the two miles significantly over 10 minutes, and although today's 10K split was only a minute and change off my 2008 10K split,*** I just didn't have the same amount of juice left in my legs for the last 4 miles. It's probably best that I had forgotten about that gem of a statistic, otherwise I would have been too fixated on pushing too early and barfing on the bridge, instead of just dry heaving.

On to Tough Mudder Virginia in two weeks!!!




***Okay...statistics geek that I am, I was in the middle of figuring out what my splits were were the last 3.8 miles in 2008 when it came up that I was running 8:10 miles. And that made no sense. In 2008, they took a 6.5 mile split, not a 10K split. Again, I have no idea why 6.5 and not something more intuitive, like 5.

2 comments:

  1. Congrats on making it within your range of paces!

    I hate not being able to tell when the end of a race is - it's hard to keep your mind in it when you tell yourself you're almost there...and you go round a corner...and still don't see a finish line.

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  2. Thanks! It wasn't the sub 1:40 that I wanted (although, I can't exactly say I trained for a sub 1:40), but it was good enough for Sunday!

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