Monday, September 11, 2017

Plaza 10K: That's more like it!

The short:
When I put this race on my schedule, my goal was to hit 36:59, but as go-time neared and the forecast refused to cooperate, I revised my time goal to 37:30ish.  I believe I'm in shape to break 37:00, but I'm going to need 45* to do it; a temperature in the 70s with high humidity isn't going to cut it!  I finished in exactly 37:30.  This is a new road PR for me, and while it is not as fast as my track PR of 37:09, I believe it was a stronger performance due to the weather (it was in the 40s for my track PR), the course (this one had 170 ft of elevation gain), and running this during a 64 mile week (also it was kind of my third race in 8 days).  The field was deep, and I was 8th overall female and 1st in the 35-39 age group.  I ran smart and strategically with my competition, and could really only be happier with this one if I could have found 5 seconds more in the last mile and/or it had actually been 45*!  It was a huge relief after not feeling like my fitness showed at the Run for a Child 10K on Labor Day, and I am now ready to tackle my half marathon goal (which I get a taper for!) on September 30, weather permitting.
Clock shots are my husband's specialty
The long:
I was oh-so-hopeful for cool weather for this one, because we saw morning lows of 45-50* during the week preceding the race, but Mother Nature wasn't ready to hand me those conditions yet.  I contemplated pulling out of the race because I wasn't pre-registered, I was coming off of a fatiguing week at work (hello, 10-11 hour days!), and the main reason I put this one on my schedule was for a PR attempt, which would not be happening in the 70s (my Labor Day race had sure reminded me of that!).  I decided it would still be good for me to run it in order to race in a competitive field, and with the pressure of a PR attempt lifted I got pretty excited to just get out there and compete!

Race morning I did all of my usual routines and lined up at the starting line ready to roll.  There were a lot of very fast women on the starting line; some who I knew, others I knew of, and a few who just looked super speedy.  I knew pretty quickly that I wouldn't place in the money (top 4), but I also welcomed the competition because I always run best in races I do not win.
10Ks make Albani yawn
I got off the starting line behind a large group of Kansas City Smoke girls.  I knew there were several in the group who would likely be right around my pace (deja vu of the Big 12 12K).  In the first bit I was behind them all, but I felt like I was pacing well, so I looked down at my watch for confirmation and it read a big fat 0:00.  I'd pressed start at the gun, but clearly I hadn't gotten it started, and I hadn't noticed with thousands of other Garmins beeping.  I started it at that point, and then lapped it at the mile marker so I would have my real course splits from then on.  That was also the last point in the race I looked at my Garmin.

Start -- Can you find me?
The whole race was a "spot a ponytail, work to reel her in" endeavor for me, so with that strategy and the elevation variations I ran by feel.  I always seem to race better this way, but I'm always afraid to do it when I'm gunning for a certain time goal.  The race was large (5,000+), but it was still pretty thin out front so I really never ran with anyone, but there were always others in view.

If you look good in your race photos, you're not running hard enough!
There was a huge clock at the 5K, which I came through at about 18:38, feeling so much better than I had at halfway in Monday's race!  I knew ahead of time that the course would be difficult to negative split due to the elevation (chart below).  Mile 4 had a lot of decline, which I simultaneously enjoyed and worried about, because I knew we would go back up it on a road a few blocks over in mile 5!  Mile 5 was tough and I was surprised my split wasn't slower than it was, but I think it's what took a strong finish out my legs for the final mile (plus the final mile also had a lot of up!).  I'd been working on pulling a gal in front of me in, and I gave it my all to pull up on her at the end, but I ran out of real estate and she finished 2 seconds ahead of me.  Although I wished I'd have had a stronger 6th mile and moved up a place, I was still happy because I gained about 30 seconds on her in the final 2 miles.

I went pretty deep into the pain cave in the final 2 miles.  Dropping to 10K pace is challenging during marathon training, and doing so without being rested even more-so.  However, it is amazing what a difference small variables and a different day can make.  There was no difference in my fitness on September 4 vs. September 10, but there was a huge difference in my performance and how paces felt, and about a minute difference in my 10K time.  6:10ish felt like death on September 4, and 5:59ish felt maximal but do-able on September 10.  This further illustrates the need for ideal conditions for any of us to run our best, and also shows the benefits of being rested.  The Plaza course and weather were slightly better than the Run for a Child course and weather (85% humidity vs. 100%; 170 ft of gain vs. 240 ft), and I was a tad more rested for this one, but I sure can't wait to see how an actual taper feels!  This was a great check-point in my training cycle that showed my training is working; I'm so thankful I had the opportunity to find that out and I am ready to push forward to my next step.  I also still believe I have a 36:50 in me, but it's going to take 45* and a taper to find it (and perhaps also not running 3 races in 8 days!)!

Official results are here (the 5K splits are about 15 seconds fast for everyone, though).  Look at those smokin' top 4 ladies (33:57-35:15!).

"Anything is possible if a person believes." - Mark 9:23
Splits shown one way (missing first 0.4)
Splits shown another way (also missing first 0.4)

Elevation chart
It pays to be old
One thing Albani and Jon did during my 7 mile cool-down...
This trip to Kansas City also included our first trip to IKEA, a hotel pool, and fantastic family time with my sister's family!


Also in our hotel, hah
Cousin love


  1. Back in the day no one ever wore a watch to run or race. It was all about beating that other guy. Once or twice I've raced without and it didn't seem to hurt, either. But I really like having the numbers. Excellent race.

    1. Sometimes it's hard to believe we used to run without Garmins! I'm definitely not ready to give mine up, but there are big benefits to not depending on it.

  2. Woo!!!! I can't believe you were so close to your track PR in a road race. That is incredible!!! I think you weren't able to outkick that woman bc you were wearing shorts. Had you been wearing buns too you'd have had less wind resistance and taken her.😉😂😂

    1. I like the way you think, Liz! 😂😂😂 I told Jon that I knew I was in a competitive race when there were over 10 women on the starting line wearing buns. With as warm as it was, I bet those felt good! More power to those girls wearing them, but I just can't get behind them for myself.