The Plan: Last week my running coach (Josh aka Speedy Sasquatch) wanted me to run a 10K race. But there weren't any 10Ks within 50 miles of my house that weekend. So I asked if I could postpone the 10K to this weekend and run the Atlanta Track Club's Peachtree City 10K. He agreed, I registered for the race, and then he forgot about it when setting up my running schedule for this week. When I looked at my week's running plan, he had listed 12 long-slow-distance miles (LSD) for today. So I asked if he had changed his mind and thought 12 LSD would be better than the 10K in preparing me for my upcoming marathon. He said he knew he was forgetting something when he set up my training week and came up with what he thought was a great idea. He changed 12 LSD to a 3 mile warm-up, 10K race, and 3 mile cool down for a total of 12 miles. Why did I ask?.?.?... He suggested paces of 11:15 for the warm-up and cool-down miles and less than 64 minutes for the 10K. I told him I'd love to do the 10K in under 64 minutes, but not sure if I can maintain 11:15 for the cool-down miles after running what would be a fast pace for me.
Pre-Race Challenges: Thursday and Friday I had an upset stomach. I was worried this morning when I woke at 5 a.m. still not feeling the greatest. I took an imodium and hoped for the best. I planned to leave home by 6 a.m. to arrive in time to be able to do the 3 mile warm-up. Unfortunately, although I had set out my running clothes, shoes, extra clothes, fuel, water, etc. the night before, I forgot to check the battery on my Garmin 405. So at 5:55 a.m., when I picked up my Garmin, I was unhappy to see that the battery level was at 11%. I opted to put it on the charger and leave a little later. I thought that if I didn't have time to run 3 warm-up miles, I should have enough time to run at least 1 or 2 and would make up the rest after the race. Thirty minutes later, the Garmin battery was at 41%; I hoped this would be enough to get me through the morning. I learned something new while watching the battery charge since I remembered the exact time I put it on the charger, the starting battery level, and the exact time I took it off; it charges at 1% per minute.
Because I desperately need to go grocery shopping, I stopped at McDonald's and had an egg mcmuffin for breakfast while I drove the hour and 15 minutes to the race. I stopped at the Chick-fil-A near the race start to use the bathroom. Then I took another imodium and prayed I'd be able to make it through the race.
Warm up: I parked near the Glenloch Recreation Center and picked up my race number, 983, and d-chip. After quickly pinning on my race number and putting the d-chip on my shoe laces, I headed out for a warm-up run. I didn't have much time. I was over-dressed. I was cold when I got out of the car. I had on tights, shorts (because I don't like the way my butt looks in tights), a tight long-sleeve tech shirt, a short-sleeved tech shirt (because I don't like the way my upper body looks in a tight top), a fleece vest, a thin wind jacket, and my "toenails are for sissies" hat. During the warm-up I unzipped the jacket and then the fleece vest. Then I dropped them off at the car before heading to the start line. This is the first time I have EVER done a warm-up run before a race! I'm actually glad I did because I usually end up having to take off a layer during a cool-weather race and wrap it around my waist; not today! I was supposed to run 3 miles for warm-up, but since I had to take extra time to charge my Garmin, I only had time for 1.12 miles. My average pace for that distance was 11:22.
10K Race: The race started at 8:30 a.m. There were fewer people than I thought there would be. The 5K and 10K started together. We started on a road through a neighborhood and about a mile later entered an asphalt nature trail. My first mile felt surprisingly easy at a 10:29 pace. The best part of the race was at about 1.6 miles when a deer was startled in the woods and ran towards and crossed the trail just a few feet from me. WOW! I wished I had a camera, but in hindsight, it happened so fast that I wouldn't have had time to photograph it. Amazing! Mile 2 was at a 10:20 pace and I felt good. Then I started picking up the pace and picking off runners in front of me. Mile 3 was in 10:01 minutes. At the 3-mile mark, the volunteer timer said the course was flat from here to the end. So I kept up the pace. Mile 4 was 10:20. Then I realized the timer was wrong. I slowed down on the hills and tunnels which resulted in mile 5 being 10:40. On the hills, I repeated the mantra "no walk, no walk, no walk". I felt dizzy going through the dark tunnels and am sure my pace slowed in each of them. During this mile, one of the people that I had previously passed, passed me back. I was really tired at this point and mile 6 was 11:08. I picked up the pace a little on the last 0.2 but it was mostly uphill so I wasn't able to hit the pace that I wanted. I crossed the finish line in 1 hour, 4 minutes and 40 seconds. I was disappointed that I didn't meet the goal of less than 64 minutes and that I missed setting a 10K personal record by 17 seconds. But... I was proud that I DIDN'T WALK, and was glad that my tummy felt okay. Click here for a link to the race results. I finished 9th out of 11 in my age group.
Cool down: After drinking a cup of water and using the bathroom, I started my cool-down run. I started slow and planned to go 5 miles. I ran through the soccer field to avoid the finish chute and then headed back on the race course. I said encouraging words to each runner making their way to the finish. My left heel, which has been bothering me while not running for months, was hurting now. The pain got worse as I ran on the asphalt trail. I decided to turn around and go back to the soccer field in hopes that the softer surface would be less painful. The surface was definitely less painful, but now I had another problem. My Garmin had a "low battery" warning on for the past few miles and it shut down completely. Since my heel HURT and I had no way of tracking time or distance at this point, I decided to call it quits. Later, after charging the battery, I learned that I went 3 miles in 39:20. Nowhere near the pace Coach Josh had wanted. Oh well...
Highlights: The highlights for me were: (1) didn't have to make an emergency bathroom stop, (2) didn't walk up hills, (3) saw a deer running very close-up, (4) came close to a 10K PR.