I went into this race with a very specific goal- to break 40 minutes. I ran in this race two years ago (actually just a few days before I got pregnant with Ashton). At that time I my goal was to beat my 10K PR- one I had set when I was 17 years old- 41:42. I finished in 41:43 just 1 second shy of my goal. The Capital City Classic course is fast, flat and I knew I had a good shot at breaking 40 based on my recent unofficial 10K track run in February.
Going into the race I had a pretty light running week. After my 15 miler last Saturday I stepped back on the mileage. I really wanted to PR and that doesn’t happen on tired legs. Now that I’m not in marathon training mode I don’t feel guilty about mileage weeks in the 30’s or 40’s. All week my runs ranged from 6-7 miles. I know, doesn’t sound like much after months of marathon training but my body has welcomed the lower mileage. I did 6 x 800’s Tuesday for my speed work and that was it. I also took yesterday completely off. My legs were ready to race today!
I wanted to get to the course by 7:15 so I’d have time to pick up my number, warm-up at least 2 miles and use the bathroom. We live a good hour away from where the race was located in Little Rock so when we didn’t leave our house until after 6:30 I knew we were cutting it close! I know I could have gone on my own but John really likes making my races a family event when at all possible. John and the kids can’t go to every race with me but when it’s within an hour from our house we try to make it work. It just takes a while loading up 6 people with jackets, snacks, diaper bag, etc. I put the kids to bed wearing the clothes they would be wearing today so that helped a little.
Anyway… John dropped me off while he found a parking spot. Parking is crazy there and it took me a mile to jog to the registration table to pick up my number. Then I found a port-a-potty and put my number on while I waited in line. I was able to run a little more before lining up. I only did 1.5 mile warm-up instead of 2 but that was all that time would allow. The race did not use chip timing so I made sure to get as close to the front of the line as possible. The race director announced that this was the biggest crowd they’d had in over 10 years. There were over 800 runners, including a few elite runners so I knew the competition was going to be tough. I tried to block out all the people and I focused on pacing strategy.
Mile 1- 6:22. Perfect. I didn’t want to start out too fast. I knew it would be a fast start but I wanted to be conservative the first half.
|Finishing Mile 1 and smiling at John with 4 kids in tow cheering for their mama|
Mile 2- 6:28. A tad slower than I would have liked (needed to average 6:25) but I knew I had to get in the groove. Mile 2 is almost always my slowest mile.
Mile 3- 6:22. I passed the 4th place female at this point and I was feeling really good. At the 5K mark I was at a 19:50- something. Half way done!
Mile 4- 6:21. Passed a few more guys but never saw the women in front of me. Still feeling strong and in control of my race.
Mile 5- 6:19. My body was starting to get tired and I hoped I had enough kick left to maintain a sub 6:30 pace. I knew it would be close since my Garmin mileage was a little off. Don’t you love doing the mental math at the end of a race?!
Mile 6- 6:18. I don’t know how this was my fastest mile. I was worried it would be too slow so I kept picking up the pace. This race has a great finish stretch so I imagined myself doing my 800’s at the track and I told myself I could do this. I just counted down the laps of the track in my head.
Mile 6.27- 1:36 (5:54 avg.). I passed one more guy on this last stretch and sprinted as fast as I could! I saw the clock read 39:xx and I wanted to get it in under 40.
|Kicking it in to the finish line!|
I crossed the line at 39:48. (Official race time.) I did it!! Thank you, God!!! My race average was a 6:25. (My Garmin had my average at 6:21 but you know how that goes… I was prepared for the time difference since I am not so good at running tangents.)
I was the 4th woman overall. Next year I am going for Top 3! I will need to break 39 to do that. Seriously. The overall women’s finishing time was 34:58. Second place was 36:21 and third was 39:01. I did win first in my age division and I won a pretty cool prize. The race director’s daughter had painted a canvas and had prints made. Pretty cool!
Post Race Thoughts:
All in all, great race! I am happy to have executed my racing plan. I think I will be a little more aggressive in my next 10K and not hold back so much. My splits were pretty even but anytime I negative split I wonder if I could have pushed myself just a few seconds faster. I am not planning on racing a 10K until July so I guess we’ll have to wait and see…
This does make me want to race another half soon. According to McMillan Pace Calculator (yes, I’ve already punched in today’s race times!) I should be able to run a 1:28 half. I am really ready to break 1:30 this year. This race actually moves my marathon time to a 3:06 which sounds CRAZY to me but I know I’ve got potential to improve. I know I just need to keep working hard and it will pay off when the time is right.
Next up… Race pics by Abi. This is what happens when daddy hands the camera to a 7 year-old. I am actually quite impressed!
|Pretty day in Arkansas|
|Making his I’m-not-so-sure-about-smiling face|
|View of Anna by the finish|
|It was a gorgeous day!|
|Up close and personal with Anna|
|My official race photographer. 🙂|