Monday, March 14, 2011

10K Roundup: Time Is Relative, Right?


Ran the 10K Saturday morning. Did I beat my goal of under an hour? No. Of course not. I clocked in at 1:01:58. Did I run my race, crossing the finish line feeling like I had pushed as hard as I could? Yes. It burns a little more knowing that I held nothing back and still didn't hit the mark I had set for myself. Sure, there were a couple times that I can recall where I maybe could have pushed a bit harder, but I never slacked. I never purposely held back. I succeeded in my goal in that I ran the hell out of it. Sure, I missed my goal by almost two minutes, but at least I know it's not because I took it easy, and that's something, right?

Also of note, I didn't feel this way at all yesterday. I hated running because I failed and, by the way, I hate failing. It's why I didn't blog yesterday about the race. I knew I wouldn't be able to communicate anything other than disappointment in myself. After the race I went home, ate a power bar, then went to the gym and did another 7.1 on the elliptical. I had burned 1600 calories by 2 PM. I felt golden physically, but I was mentally drained. I have since put things into perspective and am trying to learn a positive lesson from this. Here's what I've come up with:

I am not going to be the best runner out there. I'll probably never even be a good runner by most standards. I can just be a runner. The reason I started running isn't because I was good at it. I started running because I was becoming a healthier person, it was good exercise, and I loved it. I started this blog not because I am such a fantastic runner, but because I love running and I wanted to share that with others and maybe help others develop their love of the sport. This is what I need to remember and what everyone needs to remind me of when I start to get pissed at myself for running slower than I want to. Anytime I start to hate running, I'm doing something wrong. If I don't feel like a Viking, I am not running for me. No more running for the clock. From now on, I need to run for love and love alone.


Yesterday was, and I'm probably exaggerating, the most beautiful day ever. Sunny, mid-40s at race time. There was a strong wind blowing hard enough to complicate things for the standing-around-waiting-for-the-start period, where everyone wants to only be wearing shorts and t-shirt, but you can't because you'll freeze in the half hour you have to stand there and not move. I wore my running tights, a thin long-sleeve wicking shirt, and a UK t-shirt over it to show my fan pride in honor of the SEC tournament (GO CATS!). I was comfortable enough during the waiting and I didn't sweat too much during the run. Again, perfect day.

The worst mistake of the race was not thinking of looking at my watch when I crossed the start line. If I did this, I would know exactly when I started and would be better able to judge the pace of my splits. Because I didn't do this, I was going blind on my split times. Everytime I saw the clock at each mile marker, I only knew that I was close to goal, but I couldn't guess too specifically. Drove me insane.

I ran the race pretty hard. I love to run hills, but I made sure to take it easier on them as to not risk ruining my later kick at the end. Still refused to sit back and cruise completely, though. There were only a couple of hills and they were mild. All in all, it was a relatively flat and fast course that went through some of the most scenic areas of Louisville. We have had so much rain lately that the Ohio River is currently quite out of its banks and we were running much closer to the water than we would have normally. Getting close to mile 5, the proximity was very refreshing because the wind was blowing off the water, making for a welcoming comfortable breeze.

I felt good physically throughout. I was feeling good, not much hip pain for once, and I felt energized. Didn't stop at any of the water stops because I wasn't feeling at all dehydrated and I was cutting it so close on time that I didn't want to risk anything slowing me down. I was on a mission. I spent a good portion of the race repeating "30:04" in my head to remind me of how I didn't want to repeat missing my goal time. It didn't work completely, but it kept my pace up when I was feeling like I should start relaxing a bit. It wasn't completely in vain. 

Coming out of mile 5 was the curve of the final stretch onto Main St. This is not a course that I usually run and am generally unfamiliar with the distance of it. It's quite a long straightaway. I thought I was much closer to the finish than I actually was so I started my kick way too early. I had to cut back quite a bit before the end before going in for a second shorter kick. This is why I don't like when races go through questionable urban areas. It's not so bad running through a sketchy neighborhood with thousands of other people, however, alone on a Saturday long run to get familiar with a course is not something I enjoy trying. Luckily, for the Papa John's 10-miler on the 26th, the course is much better for me. It is comprised of my two current training routes combined into one. Pacing will be much easier and I'll feel like I'm on my home court. I hope this will help my performance.

I don't know what to set for a goal time for the 10-miler. I was thinking about not creating a time goal since they seem to be throwing me off (see earlier reaction to the 10k time). However, I am far too competitive and goal-oriented so I need a target. I am going to think about it. Also, I've decided to start reactivating some fast-twitch muscles to improve my speed. There will be some good speed intervals happening at the gym in the evenings this week. This may seem crazy, but I love sprinting intervals and I totally missed them. I will feel pretty awesome this week and hopefully my runs will reflect it.

Here are a few pictures I took before and after the race:

Cheesy smile = pre-race excitement! And check out that cool Big Blue t-shirt!

My mother ran with me! She ran a 1:10:01. Her goal was under 90 minutes. She's better at modest goals than I am.

I am a *tad* obsessed with adorable dogs waiting at the finish line. There's always at least one picture of a dog at the finish line. I was in love with this little puppy.


I'd like to thank everyone for your support for the 10k and the kind birthday wishes. In the end, it turned out to be a pretty great weekend. My friends and family are pretty spectacular and I am lucky to have them around. They're what keep me going everyday. You guys are the best!

I have been bad this weekend for my birthday and ate like a pig. Also, there may have been a couple adult beverages last night. Most of today was spent being hungover and worthless (this is why I don't go out while training. I know my limits). I just finished eating way more ice cream cake than I should. Tomorrow morning I start back on track and it will be a pretty hard week of training. Looking forward to being back on my healthy routine. I really should enjoy not being so strict on my diet, but I feel terrible. How do people eat like this all the time? How did I eat like this for so many years? I miss spinach.


  1. Agreed, keep up all the great work.

  2. Guess what? You will not be the best runner. However, you will see improvement and you will achieve satisfaction. It can be frustrating but failure is part of the process. You might want to set a tiered goal next time – maybe a Gold, Silver, Bronze medal. In this case Gold would have been 59:59, Silver would have been 1:00 – 1:05 and Bronze would have been running the race as hard as you could and not stopping to walk or give up and any of those negative things. Congratulations for lacing up your shoes and putting it all out there in the line!

    In addition, it sounds like you had a great race but it was tarnished by you not realizing a specific number. Trust me, I understand, most of us are cut from the same cloth.
    Regarding the 10 miler -

    Check out the link (turn your speakers down) -

    Using the calculator, we can get a good idea of what you ‘can’ run at various distances. You still have to do the training and develop the base, however.

    Let’s give it a little bit of a cushion since it is pushing the distance out a bunch (your running base is not huge) – I say shoot for 1:45 for the 10 miler (that will give you about 30 seconds per mile extra than your 10k). That can be your GOLD MEDAL goal.

  3. First Happy Birthday. Second, your report indicates you did well. This race was a good gauge to help you reach yours goals at the Papa John. Go CATS!!!