Two 10K wins and a cutback week.
On Cutback Weeks. I have this idea that a cutback week for the type of mileage I do (75-85ish range) would land me somewhere around 60 miles. However, due to some kind of perception-based mental witchcraft, 60 miles doesn’t seem like a cutback to me. I’m still running about the same number of times, and I’m still running usually over an hour every time. That’s… not much of a break for my brain.
I bring this up because I’m racing the Broad Street Run this May, and figured this past week would be a good opportunity to relax. As it happens, I’ve been getting raging headaches almost every afternoon starting about ten days ago, so it was easy to make good on my plan. I took two days off entirely and just ran about 45-50 minutes easy on every other day with the exception of today (which ended up involving a glut of mileage due to multiple race warmups and cooldowns since I was freezing and got to the race earlier than I needed to). I liked taking the days off and I liked running only six miles at a time this week, so if I take a purposeful cutback in the future, I’ll probably do something more like this — the mental “refresh” button of 30-40 feels so much better than 50-60 would have felt.
10K #1. To review: After the Philly Marathon, I ended up being a sloth for about six weeks this November and December. I hardly bothered with cross training while I was injured. I relaxed, slept in, rested, went for leisurely walks, and didn’t worry too much about taking an extended break. I was post-marathon PR and thick into the winter weather and the holidays — there was absolutely no better point during the year at which to be injured. I still can’t believe my luck at the timing.
Before my mini injury-induced hiatus, I imagined that I might PR at one of these 10Ks. However, I took it pretty easy coming back from the injury and, despite having about six weeks of training under my belt, simply didn’t feel hungry enough for a PR to do any meaningful speed work or 10K-specific training. As a result, my expectations weren’t particularly high for either race.
The first race was the Northeast Road Runners Winter 10K at the beginning of March. It’s flat and fast and I would have PRed here if I had been a bit more focused, but I came through the half at a pace slower than a PR, figured it was out the window, and got semi-lazy and complacent. Bearing down on the finish line clock, I realized I had a chance to squeak under 39:00, but my kick wasn’t enough and I crossed the line in about 39:03 to match my current PR. I stopped my watch a second or so across the line in 39:04. Unfortunately, the results were wrong on the website and I’m listed somewhere around 39:16, so I guess I’ll never know what my time was and it doesn’t really matter to me because it definitely didn’t start with a 38:xx.
PS. This race was excellent. It was small, old school, and reminded me of being back in Juneau. There were about 230 participants. Chip timing? Hahaha, no. You got a cotton race t-shirt and bananas and water at the finish line. No extras or marketing ploys or gimmicks. I appreciate that.
10K #2. The second 10K was a fundraiser for colon cancer research, and it took place this morning. The course seemed fairly fast except for one long downhill in the second mile and a giant uphill in the fifth mile. I came through 5K at about 19:15 (pretty quick for me) but knew the hill would slow me down. The race was a combination 5K and 10K, and we linked back up with the 5K in the last 3/4 mile. I did the old frogger-zigzag-dodge-sidewalk-leap dance for about 1/2 mile around the 5Kers and felt pretty good about it until I STREAMROLLED A CHILD who unexpectedly leaped to the side and began to walk. Nothing is more horrifying in the middle of a race than running over a kid. I honestly would rather have pooped my pants or had a wardrobe malfunction. I stopped to check on him and make sure he was okay. He was perhaps 11 or 12 and very polite, and he apologized profusely to me which made me feel even worse about it. There is no excuse for running over a kid at a FUNDRAISER RACE. Maybe if it were the Olympic 10K final this would have been understandable. In any case, I still feel like an idiot and wish my reaction time had been better.
Where were we? Right, almost done. So, I trundled my child-steamrolling self across the line in about 39:34, a fair ways off my PR, but my body felt good and I didn’t feel like I was redlining or working too hard, just regular hard. Aerobically, I’m in decent shape, but I have a lot of work to do in terms of gaining speed, increasing my turnover, and getting my legs to catch up with my lungs and heart.
The cool part is that I was the first female in both of these races, and even though the fields weren’t particularly large or competitive, wins are fun. In any case, on to training for Broad Street, I suppose. Today’s zig-zagging and sidewalk-leaping might have been a helpful tune-up for the field size at that race. I’m hoping to land somewhere in the 65:00 range (6:30 pace, maybe?), but I don’t know what the course is like, so I might have to adjust that goal.