Marin Memorial Day 10K: A Race Report

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:

From Pam Wendell
From Pam Wendell

What to Race This Weekend? Marin Memorial 10K v. Inside Trail’s Half-Marathon

Monday is the Marin Memorial Day 10K. I have raced this local 10K every year we’ve lived here (except last year when we were in Breckenridge) and if you really feel the need to get your ass kicked it’s the race to go to. I have nearly every year run a 40:xx and nearly every year I have been about 48th woman. The women’s course record is 33:26. So. Yeah.

This year I couldn’t decide if I should race it. On the reasons not to:

  • I’m not in shape.
  • I ran a 21:13 5K, so that doesn’t bode well.
  • It won’t be fun to go out there and be the 100th woman and get it handed to me by not just the usual Olympic hopefuls but also everyone else I normally can run with.
  • It won’t be fun to run slower than ever. For no new purpose or goal or experience.
  • There is absolutely nothing appealing about this.

But, still, I almost signed up, because it’s my local race, I’ve always done it, it’s usually a good time, and I’m currently ‘racing myself into shape.’ And, I needed to do something this weekend to keep myself motivated — but I didn’t want to have to drive anywhere.

So, instead, I have signed up for Inside Trail Racing’s Half-Marathon in China Camp tomorrow morning. I got the last open spot in the half-marathon. It has like 1,000 feet of elevation gain and loss twice, so it’ll be good practice for the Dipsea. My goals are 1. run fast and 2. try not to get as dehydrated as I felt running on Monday with Courtenay.

Race Report: Hellyer 10K

So, yes, I did run that 10K this morning. I almost didn’t. Last night, I was basically crying from the idea of having to run it. But, two things convinced me to get up at 5:40 a.m. and drive to San Jose, where no one wants to go. Well, three things. 1. If I was going to not do it, I should probably run that by Coach Mario and I didn’t really want to text him at 11 p.m. and be all like, ‘heeeeyy…’ and 2. If I didn’t do it, I would have to do a hard workout or something, I’m sure, and that sounded awful — it was either race or lay on the couch, nothing in between, and 3. I said I was going to do it on the internets and, well, I didn’t want the world wide web to think less of me.

Off I went.

The short story is I continued my streak of having run virtually all my 10Ks between 40:20 and 40:55, regardless of my fitness level. In all fairness, that’s only like three open 10Ks, so it’s not as impressive a streak as it sounds. The 10Ks in triathlons, of which I have run many many more, I do consistently in 41:xx. Obviously, I’m putting it all out there in the bike and the swim and that’s why I go so much slower than when I don’t bike and swim first. Um…

My goal for this race was 39-flat and I was going to run all my miles between 6:15 and 6:20. That didn’t exactly happen. The first mile I ran in 6:08, which wasn’t really between 6:15 and 6:20, but you know it was close-ish, so I felt pretty good about that, though I didn’t feel so good about how much my legs hurt 400 meters into it.

Side note: The first mile of a race always cracks me up. There were maybe a dozen guys hauling ass ahead of me for that first mile, full-out sprinting, who all promptly disappeared after the mile marker, and you kind of want to lean over to them and say: Really? You’re going to run sub-6’s for this whole thing? Really??

After the first mile, there were two guys up ahead and one guy next to me. My goal became revised to: top three overall and top woman. Don’t get passed! (As we’ve discussed, I have a huge psychological issue with being passed. More scared of that — and of looking stupid — than of not catching someone. Idiotic, yes.) My second goal became: do not lose this guy next to you. It turned out I wasn’t really capable of any other goals, like running between 6:15 and 6:20 miles. Since the guy next to me was running in the 6:30s, then 6:40s, then maybe a 6:50 in there, that’s what I ran. And, it took every ounce of strength I had to do so, especially in the middle miles when I had to claw my way back next to him each little up and down and turn.

Right before the second mile, we were gaining on the one guy right ahead of us. We had slowed down a lot (in case you can’t do math and thought I kept running 6:08s and somehow still crossed the finish line in 40:48) and yet we were gaining on him. And, then he stopped and was done. I wondered, then, if I was in enough pain to stop too, but I decided I wasn’t and cursed my shitty luck.

After that, it was just me and the one guy running down a bike path all by ourselves with some other guy like four minutes ahead of us. That doesn’t feel like a race. That feels like a workout gone terribly wrong.

A little before mile 5, we merged with the 5K runners, who had started 20 minutes after us. All of a sudden, there were people to pass and I could work my way up through the crowds, so I pushed it, dropped my running buddy (about which I felt slightly guilty) and pulled off a 6:28 last mile. What does this teach us? All that shit, it’s just in your head.

Here is the only photo available of me. Since there are pictures of the guys before and after me, I am convinced the race photographers didn’t post pictures of me because my shorts made me look fat. They were just being nice. Obviously.

The back of that girl in the white tank top. Yeah that's me for the brief period after the turnaround I thought I'd put the drop on my running buddy, but was just lying to myself.
The back of that girl in the white tank top. Yeah, that’s me for the brief period after the turnaround I thought I’d put the drop on my running buddy, but was just lying to myself.

Then, I hobbled my way through a cooldown and we called it a ‘training day’ for Boston.

Time to Run a 10K

I’m running a 10K tomorrow morning. I don’t know that I feel like I can run a 10K, but I don’t know that I can’t either, so. Steve keeps saying we should have a memorial 5K for Floyd to raise money to cure FIP — which, as a side note, apparently has almost no funding or research devoted to it, even though it’s a terrible 100% fatal super crazy mysterious viral mutation, because there’s just not the collective will or interest (which is why if you feel so inclined you should donate to the UC Davis research into FIP) — so I guess I can just consider this my memorial 10K.

Physically, this week has been light on workouts. But, my legs still hurt a lot and feel painfully heavy. That’s what ‘stress is stress’ means — your body can’t always tell if the stress is deliberate training load or emotional wreckage. Yesterday, I dragged myself out for a run with some 2′ efforts at goal 10K pace and, though I hated nearly all of it, I was able to do them.

That means, hopefully, tomorrow will end better than the last time I tried to do a race after an emotional shitshow of a week. Summary: that race ended with me sitting down six miles into the half-marathon and crying. Though I made it six miles, which as far as I have to go tomorrow, so I should be good.

Any bets? How will I do?