Finish Time: 1:22:39 (PERSONAL RECORD)
Placing: 783 out of 4207
560 out of 1823 (male)
124 out of 325 (male division)
The PRs are getting crushed in 2018. This is my fourth personal best of the year, my second one for the ten mile distance. These runs are just feeling….good. I feel like I’m coasting at the 8:30 paces, and feel like I’m pushing it but not too hard at the 7:45-7:50. I’m not sure what’s causing the uptick in my run quality. I think it’s partly due to strength training I’ve been doing over the week, and partly due to fact that I’m running less than my marathon training.
I really enjoy this race. The course is fast, and beautiful, and the weather was perfect. It’s not as crowded as the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler, but it does have a decent turn out, and it’s organized very well. The logistics are a bit tough, and that’s the only downside. But I’m glad I did it in ’18 and I’ll plan to do it years to come when I can.
Unlike the past two races I’ve run, I actually came up with a plan for this one. I knew that I had to because of the point to point nature of the run. Last year, I had the idea of parking my car at the finish line and taking the closest shuttle from there. It was a great idea in theory, which means that everyone else was thinking the same thing. I made the shuttle, but the lines were long and I was afraid I’d miss it. This year, I told myself that I’d plan it out a little bit better.
The planning was a bit more complicated because Jess ran the 5k with Mini. Thus, I couldn’t drive to Alexandria to catch a shuttle. And also, since the shuttles did not allow for strollers, Jess would have to park at the 5K starting line. The tricky part is that when you finish, there are no shuttles back to either the 10 mile start or the 5K start. So basically, that meant that we would have to figure out a way to get back to the car after the race was over. Running with a baby made the logistics tricky.
As for my plan, I decided that I’d take an early shuttle at a different pick up point from last year. So I got up at 5:30 and Ubered to the Eisenhower shuttle stop at 6:20. As I left my apartment, the weather looked great, and I knew we were in for a good morning:
I was in Mt. Vernon by 7, and thus had to wait about an hour for the race to start. It wasn’t so terrible. It would be nice to run with a friend next time, though, just to have the company.
I had a bit of a panic when I realized that my bib had the coloring of a 5K bib instead of a ten miler. I was the only one there with an orange bib. My fear was that my 10 mile time wouldn’t count, but when I worked it out in my head, I realized that as long as they had my name in the system properly for the ten miler, then it’d be alright.
It was fairly cold in the morning, so I grabbed a thermal sheet and basically just sat and waited for the start.
8:15 min/mile; 8:03; 8:11; 8:15 (GPS watch times)
Subconsciously, before every race, I segment the distance into manageable chunks to get through the mental aspect. As the gun went off and I started running, my mind decided that miles 6-8 would be the toughest miles of the race. So I was telling myself: “just get to mile 6, then you’re going to run two hard miles, and after that, it’s just two miles to the finish.” That breakdown seemed to work well for me, it kept me zen for the first half of the race.
The first mile is mostly downhill. Looking at the stats, it’s a 90 drop for the first 0.7 miles or so. This can be a blessing and a curse. A blessing because of obvious reasons of running down hill, but a curse if you have not trained properly to run down hill, because it can kill your quads. Fortunately, I’ve been doing tons of hill repeats around Capitol Hill, so that second part wasn’t a problem. When we hit mile marker 1, I was surprised with how fast it felt. After that point, I decided to just try and keep it at around 8 and see how it went.
It stays pretty flat after that downhill until you come up on mile 4. There’s a hill, but it’s not too crazy, going up about 100 feet in 0.3 miles before leveling off. I believe that I stopped for water at around mile 3 or so.
8:22; 7:48; 8:01; 8:25
As I mentioned before, my goal was to get to mile 6 however felt comfortable, and then to mentally push through miles 7 and 8 before coasting to the end. This plan worked out just fine. After the uphill to get to mile 4, mile 5 was relatively flat. I looked at my watch when I crossed the half way point. My previous PR at this distance was ~1:28, so I wanted to see what my time would be after five miles. I was going much faster than my PR pace, my watch said 42 minutes, so I knew I had a chance to really crush that record.
The sixth mile has a big downhill, dropping about 100 feet in 0.3 miles or so. So the sixth mile for me was the fastest of the race. I coasted on mile 7, but then started to get a little tired on the eight mile.
These miles were a little tougher than I thought they would be. The ninth mile is a really sunny part of the run, and I think that had a lot to do with it. I was afraid of my pace dropping below 9:00, and I also had this fear that I’d burn out and not finish, so I decided to try and just stay at 8:30 to finish, and not experiment with any crazy sprints at the end. The last mile starts with an uphill on Union Street by Waterfront Park, but it’s looks (and feels) steeper than it really is. The mental aspect of seeing a hill at the end of your run is deflating, but it builds your toughness when you get through it. After that hill, it’s a flat run to the end.
I met up with Jess and Mini and some friends. Jess and Mini did the 5K, and I am very proud of both of them for coming out and getting it done! We hung out for a bit before I picked up an Uber to get the car. Then the three of us headed to a brunch place in Del Ray, where I had a massive order of sausage and gravy to celebrate another PR!