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10k on my Mind

December 19, 2008

As well it should be, since race day is tomorrow. I always have a little bit of doubt in my mind the day before the race day, especially on these last two when I know I’ve set fairly high goals for myself. That last 5k, I wanted to bring my PR down from 26:15 to under 24 minutes, bringing my pace down by close to a minute. And I was pretty vocal about it, so there was no such thing as sulking in private if I missed my goal.

For this race, I’ve already told Sarah and the Boss that I’d loooove to come in under 50 minutes. To do that, I’d have to run the 6.2 at 8-minute miles. My last 10k time was 59:15, or 9:33 pace, so I’m looking at shaving 90 seconds off my pace. Now that’s an ambitious goal, especially considering I have done no 10k-specific training.

I think that’s why I’ve been nervous in these short-distance races. I stepped up to the line in the 13.1 Fort Lauderdale knowing that I’d put in the training to run 13 9-minute miles, that I’d done the long runs and tempo runs and mile repeats to perform at the level I needed to for that race. But I don’t have that kind of confidence for these shorter events, which require a different kind of output from your body.

And honestly, the 10k is even more difficult than the 5k. The 5k is over just as your body realizes it’s dying. But the 10k, by the time you realize you hate it, you’re just at the turnaround.

I tried a 10k simulation for my speedwork last week, since the schedule called for a 6-mile tempo run. The goal was to run an 8:20 mile to start, then an 8:10 mile, then pick up the pace from there. Unfortunately, the math in this strategy was fundamentally flawed. I just couldn’t make up the time lost early, and I also couldn’t hit 8 minute miles in the middle miles. Instead, I ran that first mile at 8:31, the second at 8:13, and was even sluggish in the middle–8:08, 8:03, 8:07. I finally picked it up, hitting 7:52 and 7:58, but it was too late, and I crossed the “finish line” in 50:26.

My speedwork this week was similarly discouraging. I was to run mile repeats, 3 of them at 7:40 miles. Just didn’t happen. I ran them at a 7:51 average instead. My feet felt like lead.

Fortunately for me, a PR is assured. I could take this as an easy run and still come in under 59 minutes.

And race day isn’t training day. Adrenaline has fueled some pretty good runs for me, and I’m going to go to the starting line trusting it to come through again. My strategy this time: an 8:15 or 8:10 starting mile, to keep from burning through all my adrenaline early. After that, I’ve got to hit my 8-minute miles or miss my target. I know I can probably run a 7:50 finishing mile; I ran one in training yesterday at the end of an 8-miler.

So, goal A, what I’d be satisfied with: 51, 52 minutes.
Dream goal, 50 minutes or under.

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