I've been dreading/concerned/stressing about the Cherry Blossom 10-miler. I had a solid game plan to train, but it was derailed by ankle/calf problems over the last couple of months and further complicated last week when I twisted my ankle. Normally I can run through minor pain as it lessens as the muscles warm up, but this was different. It was a sharp "don't take a further step" kind of pain accompanied by swelling. So I walked a bit hoping that it would let go. After a few more running steps and I knew I was done. The frustrating part was this happened the day after my awesome track workout. I wanted to do an easy run - nothing fancy - to spend more time on my feet and imprint my form. As a result, I didn't get to run the entire 10 days before the race, nor did I get to run while I was in Miami (major bummer). Instead, I did a lot of walking and stretching, and decided that my mindset would be the difference in success or failure.
I read an article last week that said we can run 6 miles farther than we think. That's why doing a 20 mile run before a marathon is sufficient. The article surmises that the same should be true for a half marathon. So I decided to apply this reasoning to the 10-miler. I recently did solid 4 mile run, so I figured 10 miles should be within my reach. I also decided that I would use my Gymboss and do 2:00/0:30 run/walk intervals and not run by feel. This way I wouldn't get too tired too early or start too fast. I got a lot of sleep two nights before the race, ate properly, and hydrated well. The goal was to finish the race and not do anything stupid. A PR would have to wait until next year.
What a perfect day for a race! I stuck to my plan and it turns out a PR was possible. My official time was 2:14:05 with the first five miles done in1:06:06, so I ran pretty even splits. My Garmin was off by only 1 second and added .08 miles, but it was pretty accurate. What an improvement over my 2011 results: Five Mile - 1:10:11; 10 Mile - 2:23:33. My average pace and best pace per mile are below. I think my best pace was so fast because of the 2:00/0:30 run/walk breaks and sticking with them; and also because I was really focusing on form and cadence. When I up my cadence, my pace really drops and it seems like less work. Plus a higher cadence is much easier on my ankle since I spend less time on the ground. I need to work on my walking pace because I think it's really adds to my time.
Mile = avg pace; best pace
Mile 1 = 13:01; 10:46
Mile 2 = 13:09; 10:20
Mile 3 = 12:55; 5:59 (?) may be skewed cause I went the Kennedy Center
Mile 4 = 13:18; 6:37 (?) may be skewed cause I went under a bridge
Mile 5 = 13:08; 10:13
Mile 6 = 12:55; 9:56
Mile 7 = 14:22 (bio break); 8:54 (had to catch a runner who had dropped something)
Mile 8 = 13:25; 10:47
Mile 9 = 13:21; 10:44
Mile 10 = 13:42 (big hill at the end on tired legs); 9:06
Mile 08 = 10:18; 9:17
I'm extremely happy with this race because I think I ran it strategically and really paid attention to my form (kept my shoulders down). I'm really pleased with the improvement - basically a minute per mile. My coaches Becca Lipscomb, Chris Sloane and Heather Hanson, and all of my runner and non-runner friends really deserve a high five for believing in and encouraging me.They're awesome!