2 weeks after running the Alien Half Marathon, I ran the Big Peach Sizzler 10K. My big goal was a sub-60 minute race, which has always eluded me in races and in training. The night before the 10K, I picked out my outfit, set aside safety pins, and packed my bag because 4:50AM comes fast. My pre-race dinner consisted of pasta, broccoli and a dinner roll, along with lots of water.
Pre-Race: I arrived super early because streets were being shut down at 6:15am and I wasn’t sure which way my GSP would take me. I relaxed, listened to music to calm my nerves, and headed to the start line with 45 minutes to go. That may seem like a lot of time but the port-a-potty lines were long and I decided I was finally going to do a pre-race warm up (I normally just line up and go, which I learned is not optimal). I jogged about 0.75 mile and got my legs and hips ready for action.
The race kicked off with the wheelchair athletes! I got chills watching them line up and take off. The crowd went nuts! These athletes train hard and race hard!
Mile 1 (9:04): Before take off, I spotted the 55 minute and 60 minute pacers and lined up between them. My husband encouraged me to pace with the 55’ers but like the half marathon, I felt comfort in the 10 min/mile crowd. Due to crazy crowding, I lost sight of the 55’ers immediately and since I wanted a sub-60 minute 10K, I was off to race my best without relying on the 60 minute group.
Mile 1 was my slowest mile. I’d never ran that pace in a race (I’m usually at 10 or a little under). Unfortunately, a lot of the 1st mile was spent bobbing, weaving, and dodging elbows. You’d think I was in a boxing match reading that sentence! It certainly felt like it!
Mile 2-3 (8:38 & 8:41): I still felt like I was trying to find a rhythm. I knew I was running faster than I do in training so stopped looking at my watch, I didn’t want to psych myself out of a PR. I ate a gel when I hit mile 3 because I was hungry and worried I’d lose steam. I noticed a guy and gal who were running at my pace for a long time. Every so often, one of us would speed up but we’d all catch up. After awhile, I noticed the guy slowing down so I made my move and lost sight of them both.
Mile 4 (8:31): I felt a second wind and gained confidence by picking people off but then I got worried and self doubt creeped up when others picked me off (HA). I didn’t know my pace or how long we’d been running but I refused to look at my Garmin. I knew it would break my tired soul if it didn’t show a time I wanted to see! I recited mantras, reminded myself to check my form, and just tried to enjoyed the scenery.
Mile 5-6 (8:26 & 8:26): The final miles SUCKED because I felt the lactic acid taking over; my legs and lungs were on fire! I wondered, “How fast AM I running?!” I found a gal l recall seeing off/on throughout the race who looked like she was going fast, so I decided to pace with her as I clung on for dear life. Notice the consistent pace at 8:26? That’s thanks to her. We ran side by side and didn’t say a word to each other, we just stayed the course towards the finish line. I wanted to give her a high five and say “thank you” but I was out of breath and energy. When I knew the end was near, I took off (I was shocked I had anything left). Another young lady and I raced each other to the finish (we got the same time), which made for a fun, but agonizing ending. I guess this is how it feels to RACE A RACE.
FINAL TIME: 54:22; chip time 53:33! I couldn’t believe I raced my way to a sub-55 10K!