Short version: I ran a 10K and it was not even close to the slowest I have ever run a 10K. Win.
Long version: The Marin Memorial Day Races are awesome. The women’s course record in the 10K is 33:03. The men’s is 28:45. That’s some fast shit. (Not that the course is actually fast. It’s fine, whatever. But, the people are fast. Stupid fast.) And, it’s 15′ away from my house. So, I’ve basically done it every year we lived here, except last year when I was coming off the stupid bone spur injury and a 10K sounded awful and running shitty and slow and getting my ass kicked sounded really awful.
This year, I wanted to do it because 1. why not and 2. it’s time to get my ass kicked into remembering how to run fast before Alcatraz this weekend. I wasn’t optimistic about it not sucking, though, since the grand total number of miles I’ve run at 10K pace or faster in the last three months is: one. And, also, Ironman training, etc. But, Thursday I ran some 1000s at 10K pace and I actually finished them all, so clearly that training would totally take effect in three days and I would be awesome. No worries.
I didn’t wear a watch for the race because, really, I didn’t need to know. Knowing wasn’t going to change anything. Anyway, usually, they have clocks or people yelling times at the mile markers, but this year they didn’t. So, it was totally blind running. Blind, except Steve was running with me, so he kept up a commentary about how fast I was going v. should be going. For the first mile he and I ran with Ilyce and I knew she was probably running in the low 6:20s. It is hard to describe how much that first mile felt like a full-on, all-out death sprint. 1200m into the race I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Near the end of the second mile, I fell a few seconds off her and was lost in contemplation of pain. So much pain.
After that, it actually sort of settled. Steve ran with me, which was good. I don’t know if I’d have finished or, at least, finished well without him running with me. And, slowing down just 10 seconds/mile made it go from feeling like a wheezing blind foray through a field of knives to just a normal sustainable level of hurt. By the time we hit the halfway point, I actually knew I was going to be ok. I was still rolling up on people and not getting passed by the girls who usually pass me — which meant either I wasn’t doing that badly or everyone else was doing worse. The fourth and fifth miles were long. I would guess I was running high 6:30s/low 6:40s and it felt really hard, definitely not Ironman pace (or at least if I could run that in an Ironman, I would win), but it also felt like I vaguely remember being able to run this speed all the time. Every time I tried to pick it up, though, it wasn’t happening. The last mile, people started passing me and I tried to push. Knowing the area definitely does not help, since the last mile is one long shot and all I could think is ‘this is so far until we get back.’
When we came around the track in the last 100m, I finally saw a clock and it said 39:52 (plus the fact that I started 10″ back) and I kicked to get under 40′. I was ecstatic. Fastest 10K I’ve ever run. Ironman training for the win. Then, I was like, ‘Everyone get out of my way’ and I rushed over to a trashcan to throw up for a bit. Good times.
Of course, it turns out that the clock was a minute off and I really ran a 40:58, not a 39:58. Ah well. Ironman training for the ok, more-or-less what was expected 42nd place?
Oh, look, here’s a picture of me running with terrible form with Steve and a high school kid from Nate’s class: