Race Report: Scotland 10K Run (squeak!)

My Low Expectations World Tour 2011 continues. And it’s going well.

I ran just under 45:00 (44:59), a 19 second PR for the 10K (my previous one being on the same course at the Mini 10K in June). I had no expectations for today, and no goals other than to race hard. While I wore my simple Timex and took splits, aside from mile split 3 (which I saw by accident when trying to locate the button), I did not look at the watch until crossing the finish mat.

Today was a near-perfect day for racing: wind chills in the upper 40s, overcast, not humid, and almost no discernible wind. I even had all my usual pre-race events that are indicative of racing success: a plumbing crisis yesterday, nightmares about our house being flooded, terrible insomnia and a messed up GI system in the morning. Seeing those bags under my eyes in the mirror, I thought, “Damn. You’ll run well today.”

I’ll cut to the chase. Since NYRR was doing a much better job of enforcing corral placement today, I was able to get up toward the front of the second corral, and crowding was not an issue after the half mile mark. I guess it wasn’t an issue at all, since it was my fastest mile.

The splits: 6:58, 7:11, 7:10, 7:37, 7:10, 7:17; 1:32. Mile 4, which comes around the top of the park, the second of two big hills, always kills people. I passed a lot of people in mile 5, which I was surprised to see the split for, since it felt like I was crawling through that mile. There was a lot going on in my head at that point in the race. I was getting very tired, but telling myself, “The weather is perfect and no one’s in your way; you have no excuse not to apply yourself.” But I was also aware of how spent I was between mile 5 and 6, so much so that I am now seriously doubting my ability to race a half marathon in three weeks. I’ll have to see how things go.

Nevertheless, I was happy with the effort and a PR is always a good thing, although I have run a faster 10K segment in a half marathon (the 43:00 range) way back in 2008. But I am coming back and it’s early days yet. Not looking at the watch helped, although at times I was dying to see how I was doing. I will keep racing blind in this way, since I’m finding that doing so removes a whole dimension of stress, especially in the final miles.

Stats: I was 7th in my AG (there’s a guy from Australia mixed in with us in the results), 132nd (or maybe 131st, given the guy) out of close to 4,000 chicks. Second New York Harriers masters woman (there were only two of us out there today). The big news is that Jonathan raced today too, his first race in 10 months. Given that he’s just started running hard again and his mileage is quite  low, he did not have great expectations either. But he ran without foot trouble and I consider that a major victory.

I saw lots of Harriers both on the course and out spectating. It does help to get acknowledged, even if I’m in danger of keeling over if I try to say anything in response. I also saw many kilts. Was there anything under them? I’m not sure, but thinking about that was a fun distraction while nearly puking my way to the finish. Two Front Runners guys effectively served as my pacers today. I thanked them afterward.

After the race we headed over to Ditch Plains on 82nd and Columbus for brunch with fellow New York Running Show co-hosts TK, Joe, Brenn (and his lovely wife and cute baby) and Steve. There, I eagerly shoveled eggs Benedict into my face, followed by s’mores. The shoveling has continued through the afternoon.

13 Responses

  1. Nice work on the P.R. Julie. Sounds like a sign that things are on the way up. Not looking at the watch must be tough, but liberating too, I’m sure.

    My fastest 10K right now is also part of a half marathon… funny how that happens.

  2. I love that “eating” is a tag for this post. I’m sorry that I missed the brunch. Nice job on the race, I dodon’t think you should be doubting your ability to run a half based on that stretch between 5 and 6, that’s a tough point in the race and something tells me you’d acknowledged the “suck” but carry on nice and strong. I say this because I had similar thoughts of stopping for a nap during the 15K at about that point. :)
    I’m on vacation from the 16th to the 27th, any chance we can meet for a run?

  3. congrats! I am amused that home catastrophes and insomnia are your indicators of racing success.

  4. She’s right — it doesn’t count. But she’s not that pure — only times for track races (excepting mary’s and halves) count as PBs .)

    Well done on the race. Good step. 10k “PBs” as splits of halves aren’t uncommon — people tend to go out at a more sensible pace in halves. That’d be a good selling point for a race — a timing mat at the 10k split.

    I like the Timex running — just like the old days.

  5. Congratulations! I’m loving the way you’re approaching racing right now, the low-stress, que sera sera method but still working hard and as your body wants to go.

    Wanted to thank you for the mention of 5-HTP too. Sometimes I’m in a no-reply mood on the blog but I did appreciate the info.

  6. Good running work!.

    • Nice race, and I think you’ll feel a little better knowing that 92 seconds for the last 0.2137 miles is actually 7:10 pace. It’s always nice knowing that you were kicking when you felt like you were.

  7. Hi. What was the thinking behind not looking at your watch? I’m just curious. Your mindset sounds awesome, but I would say forget the rules–any 10K PR counts–because who should set rules for our lives other than ourselves? Heck, a 10K PR in training coutns in my book, but then I’m kind of weird. Anyway, congrats and keep up the good work in training and racing!

    • I have stopped looking at my watch because it always seems to be the wrong thing to do: if I’m going “too slow” then I feel pressure to run faster, which may be a bad idea that day. if I’m running “too fast” then I psych myself out and think I’m going way too fast, which wrecks what may have been a great race. Since I’ve stopped looking at my watch while running, my race times have almost always been better than I’d have expected them to be. About the only exception I’ll make to this will be my next marathon, in which is really is critical that you stick to a particular pace range. I recommend watchless racing, because you’re learning to trust your body’s ability to run the right effort. Thanks for reading!

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