Martian Meteor 10K Race Report

Not ready to take off my warm clothes!

Two weeks to Boston so that means it was time for my last race leading into taper. Since I did the Martian 10k last year I figured doing it again would be a great way to compare my fitness to last year (plus the race is fun, they give out these wild shirts with aliens on them and they put blow up aliens all over the course). Well they actually changed the course this year, so what I had hoped to be a direct comparison to my fitness last year turned into more of an estimate. The course covered a bit of the same ground, but there were a few extra turns and a few more (small) rollers. I headed out Friday night to run the new course just to check it out, and other than being insanely windy it was a pretty nice course.

Saturday morning I was a bit lazy and slept an extra hour, waking 2 hours before the race. Ate a small breakfast and headed out. My stomach was a little iffy so for Boston I definitely need to eat 3 hours before. It was chilly out and I hadn't brought anything to race in except for my running skirt and my VR tank. Thankfully the sun came out and that outfit actually worked out well for me.

Spoiled as always my parents came to the race to cheer and chauffeur. I got in a 20 minute warm up while they read in the car. Did a few stride outs at my desired 10k pace, changed into my training flats and headed to the start. Stripped down and lined up a few rows back from the front of the pack. They cater to elites at this race, comping entries and putting up prize money for 1-5th overall, 1-3rd masters, and free shoes to 1st in each age group. So it is pretty competitive, and I definitely didn't want to be in anyones way. I didn't realize at the start they also had a 5k, so a few gals near me were actually in that.

My speed is a big question mark right now since I have been sick and my training hasn't really focused on speed in quite awhile. I was hoping to run faster than last years 41:17 and give myself a bit of a mental boost going into Boston. Well it was really windy out and I think I left my race legs at around mile 12 at the Youngstown half a month or so ago. I need to get my racing hat back on before Boston for sure. I ran pretty well yesterday, but I definitely could have raced better.

Mile 1 went well, it was slightly uphill and a bit into the wind. I tried to relax and get into my target pace (6:26). I was just a hair slow at 6:30 and was running about 16th gal. Saw my dad around mile 2.5 and waved and tried to push to stay with a gal in blue who passed me. I was hanging tight just behind her and a guy I am pretty sure I ran with last year. Before mile 2 I realized there was indeed a 5k race as runners came back towards us, and three gals just in front of me peeled off to the turn around.

Just before mile 2 my shoe came untied. I decided to let it go, with such a short race tying my shoe would have added at least 20 seconds to my time. The wind was kicking up and I probably should have moved left and tried to tuck in behind the few runners around me but I knew we were making all right hand turns on the course and it seemed silly to add distance running on the far left. Mile 2 was 6:37 and I started to let the untied shoe get to me a bit mentally falling back from the gal in blue.

The next mile turns onto a main street before running down a highway ramp to mile 3. Pushed to get my pace back down taking advantage of the downhill on the ramp I managed to eek a 6:31. From there I think I just got in a zone and couldn't crank it up to get out of it. The next mile is boring and you run out and back on a boring road, but at least you could see all the runners ahead of you. I counted about 10 gals, all but one(The gal in blue) of which had yellow bibs indicating they were running as elites. Ran a 6:44 for mile 4, which happily was earlier in the course than I thought. There is a slight uphill in this mile and it winds through the woods, I had lost contact with any runners around me and had obviously settled a bit on my pace.

Took a sip of water at the aid station and tried to up my effort during the next mile. I was right behind one guy and knew I was letting him dictate my pace as I watched the girl in blue get further ahead so I pushed ahead of him and tried to up the effort through the wooded path and the slight downhill. My efforts were not rewarded though and I hit mile 5 at 6:42. I tried to turn it on the last mile into the wind and I got passed by two guys. I did pass one female, but I am not sure she was even in the race, if she was she was hurting bad and pulled over to walk within a half mile of the finish. Coming through mile 6 in 6:45 I convinced myself I needed to treat the last .2 like I was running on the track and did finally manage to get my pace down, running 1:21 (6:07 pace) into the finish. I finished in 41:11, so unfortunately not really a drastic improvement over last year. Hard to tell whether that is an indicator of my fitness, an indicator that I am not strong in the wind, or an indicator that I need to suck it up and run a bit harder. But it is better than being slower than last year at this point in the season!

Placed 12th gal and 3rd in my age group (It said I was 6th in AG at the finish so I didn't hang around for awards, I could have scored a hat, bummer!) which is also about the same as last year. Would have been nice to at least have been running near some more people, but other than the gal in blue and a few guys who caught me in the final mile it was pretty lonely out there. The next closest girl was almost 2 minutes up.

Since this is a prep race for Boston I did take a few key things from this.

1) Put some damn zip ties on my race shoes before Boston.
2) Eat earlier
3) If it is windy I need to draft off someone

Also if the three races I have done leading up to Boston are indicative of my fitness I should be aiming for 3:13 to 3:16 at Boston, and while that isn't quite where I desire to be, I am glad it is at least faster than where I was last year. Now I just need to actually follow through on that in 2 weeks!

Coming into the finish


duchossois said...

Not you best, but a good race. The untied shoelace can mess with your head. After Youngstown, I vowed to never let that happen again. On the positive side, I did note the knee bend on your left leg in the second photo. Couldn't see your foot, but the bend looks about right for a midfoot strike. ;-)

Anonymous said...

You are such a strong athlete!

New Balance Bubble shoe laces help me, but I am also quite a bit slower than you, but they have never come undone for me.

You can buy them separately in white, pink, grey, navy, and maybe black at any new balance store.

runamanda said...

Way to go Good Luck at Boston

ramblings of a runnner said...

apparently my untied shoe lace disease is spreading. sorry bout that. Nice job on a good strong race here you come!!!

DaisyDuc said...

Way to fight it out lady. Can't believe you fought out the shoe string that long. It really is amazing the difference drafting in the wind makes. Almost Boston time!

Kurt in Boston said...

Hey E, good luck in your preparation for Boston. Progress is always good!

Bringing your husband this year?

Love2Run said...

You know you'll have plenty of company to draft off or with at Boston. Let's hope for a perfect day like last year. Good luck and learn to double/triple knot those shoes!

Brian said...

You're going to do great at Boston! Just over a week to go!!

iliketoast said...

"3:13 to 3:16 at Boston" lock that in .... don't be thinking yourself into another time. You have a very strong build up for this and Boston has a few hills that will make you pay if you aren't on your game plan. I can't believe we are running at the same time again .... how many times is it now? Eat early and have some hot drink to help "turn the engine over" .... i think you'll ace this one champ!