Time is just flying by this spring into summer, and with that comes lots of racing, always tricky to try and balance training with all those summer events you like to do. As is clear from previous years on this blog I have been sporadic at what I race at best, coach is trying to reel that in a bit and each race now is a stepping stone to meet my ultimate goals, but sometimes an opportunity falls in your lap and you just have to take it.
Columbus 10k was just that. Having just ran Blossom last weekend it wasn't ideal, plus this would be basically my third 10k race in row (Blossom being 5.25 it's a pretty similar effort). Talk about going from no 10k races to a ton quickly!
I was looking forward to running with a lot of the same fast ladies from Cleveland and a few new faces that have been rocking it out in this shorter fast stuff. Saturday night headed out to dinner with a few of the girls from the Infinite Running and Run Ohio teams. Turns out everyone else is just as amazed at all the talent cropping up this year in Ohio. (Except they are all a bit faster than me, but it is nice to know even these super fast girls are noticing this shift towards more talent in the female field too.)
I was obviously nervous and wanted to perform well for the team, but also wanted to do well for myself. I tried not to worry too much about my performance, but laying awake in my hotel room it just sort of came to me, I could see myself lined up with the other women for the team, and it no longer seemed like a joke, it felt real, and it didn't seem so unreasonable for me to be there. I didn't have to be the fastest to be valuable, and the way I have been running I do belong at these events racing against the best, striving to make myself a step better with each race.
After a restless nights sleep listening to crazy storms I got up early and had some coffee and headed downstairs to head over to the race with the Infinite Running Crew. It down poured about an hour before the race, but ended up being sunny, warm, and windy by race time. I didn't know the course at all, but had been told it was relatively flat/rolling and that it would be fast. I had high hopes of running faster than Cleveland and fingers crossed wanted to try and run sub 6 pace for the 10k.
The planned finish was flooded by the river so there was a last minute detour that affected the start line and hence the mile markers. It was my impression at the start the mile markers would be short. We lined up and were off shortly after 9 am. I stuck with the second pack of females for about a half mile before settling into my own groove. We hammered up a small bridge and turned away from the city as we neared mile one. My Garmin went off well before the marker which made me think the course would be long, if these markers were supposed to be short. There wasn't anyone giving splits and no clocks. I ignored the watch the first mile (5:45 Garmin Split) and just ran strong trying to tuck behind a few guys to block wind.
Over mile 2 I slowly caught and passed one female from Second Sole. I told her good job and kept pushing to get up with the next group of guys to try and get into a sub 6 groove. I was having trouble sticking with anyone for very long, I would catch a few of the Columbus Running Club Guys and they would push to get away from me. (Garmin mile 2 6:02)
Since there was no clock I did start looking at my watches total time at the mile markers. Mile 2 was something like 11:55 so I knew things were going groovy. We were running through neighborhoods and I was just keeping the pace. I took water at the stop around mile 3 (6:04 Garmin split) total time was around 18:00 at the marker and I knew I needed to get to work.
I think I was behind one or two guys for most of the next mile as we closed in on the bike path. I was telling myself to push the middle miles and not let up. (Garmin Split 6:04) I noted at the mile marker that I was still in that low 6 range and told myself to check it at 5 to make sure I stayed steady. Well the next mile had some rollers, some turns, and I somehow got myself into no "womans" land and was running on my own. Saw at the mile marker that I had slowed but couldn't do the math (Garmin 6:18), just knew it was bad and that it looked like that PR was slipping from my grasp. I was definitely thinking racing two weeks in a row was not the brightest move at this point. The sun was draining me and I was struggling to mentally put the hammer down while running by myself. I could see the next girl ahead through this mile and while I told myself I was closing on her, it must have been an illusion!
The rest of the race is on a bike path and there are a few rollers. I managed to pass one guy and kept catching another only to have him dust me each time we reached a hill. Somewhere during this mile I saw that the next girl up was gone but then realized quickly why as I saw another good runner falling back. The girl I had been chasing had decided to step it up and take down 2 more runners before the finish. I was never in striking range of any of them, but should have strived harder that 5th mile!
As I closed in on the 6 mile marker (Garmin 6:11) I saw TR and SBF cheering for me that I wasn't far behind the next girls and only a quarter mile to go. That must have been what I needed because I finally put the hammer down and between the adrenaline and downhill finish managed to get away with a PR of 37:23.6. (Last .2 in 1:00)
I was pretty shocked because based on my 5 mile split I did not think that was possible, but in retrospect the initial mile must have been 60 meters long, not short and that would explain the surprising finish time :)
I had a great time chatting with the other gals from the Inifinite Running and Run Ohio Teams. It is nice to get together with other gals who are all working just as hard as you and understand the commitment and time it takes. Got to cool down with the Storage twins and they are just phenomenal, super sweet, super nice, super smart, and super fast! Also chatted with the Second Sole Runner who is just getting into this fast short stuff too. It was nice to cool down together and chat about life.
Our team was a shoo-in for the win taking 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 8th overall for females. While I wasn't a scoring member I definitely felt I put in a top notch effort and ran at least what was expected of me.