—Thomas a Kempis
"God laughs while men make plans."
April 26, 2009, Pike's Peek 10K:
It was hot, and I tanked. The end.
Technically, this is a 17-second PR, if you don't count the 10K PRs I set in the Cherry Blossom 10 miler, or the National Half. (Which I apparently AM counting.)
I've been training for this race, the goal race of the Montgomery County Road Runners Club Speed Development Program, since JANUARY.
We ran in cold, wind, rain, snow, and ice. We did endless repeats. When there was too much snow on the track we ran in the surrounding neighborhoods, at night, in the dark. I missed ONLY two track workout in this 15-week program.
What I'm saying is: I DESERVED to run fast! Right?? Wrong!
My goal: 60 minutes.
My coach: 10:00 min miles. Coach said: "In general, I’ve noticed (over the years) about a 15 to 30 sec per mile improvement over the pace group I put you in at the beginning of the year." (He's been running this program for 7 years.) My pace group was 10:30. Sorry, big fella!
McMillan's Happy Prediction, based on my 10 mile PR of 1:47:02: 1:03:52
McMillan's Freakishly Accurate Prediction, based on my 1/2 mary PR of 2:27:36: 1:06:20
I have to admit I had a hate on for this race. I hate the course, which is 6.2 miles of a suburban asphalt jungle. No trees. No scenic nothing. Just strip malls, and cars. I don't even like driving on this road. Maybe I just couldn't deal with the heat (oh yeah, here's another race where they ran out of water cups! is there a cup shortage in D.C.??). Temps were 75F with 85 percent humidity. But quite possibly? The runner just didn't have it.
I had carefully planned to follow Coach Tom's advice, which is so good I'll just repeat it all here:
The most important thing I hope you take away from this program is a sense of pacing. Some of you needed to learn that you could still run harder even when you felt bad and some of you need to learn how to slow down to run a more even pace. In any case the most important aspect of becoming a better runner is to learn to listen to your body and adjust the pace accordingly. The better you become at that, the more successful you will become as a runner and racer.
...Start the race by feeling like you are holding yourself back...you want to hit those miles about 5 sec slower than your targeted pace. The middle two miles should be run at targeted pace. You will hit the up hills in this section, stay relaxed and don’t push too hard up the hills, save it for the downhills. The last 2.2 should be run about 5 sec per mile faster than pace. Remember to give yourself a little mental push around Congressional Plaza as you will start to feel bad around then and need to remind yourself to keep pushing the pace. Once you hit the 6 mile mark run as fast as you can into the finish. It’s a giant downhill so there is no excuse not to go really fast. You can make up for a lot of earlier mistakes in the race in this last downhill so take advantage of it.
Oh the plans I had! I scripted it all on the back of my hand:
Miles 1 & 2: 10:05, Miles 3 & 4: 10:00, Miles: 5 & 6: 9:50
Cleverly dismissing Coach Tom's advice, here's what I did instead:
Mile 1: 9:25
Mile 2: 9:44
Mile 3: 10:18 (just doing brilliantly! Not!)
Mile 4: 10:21
Mile 5: 12:34 (just gave up. Why? WHY???)
Mile 6: 11:50
On a good note, they had great food at the end! And despite my poor showing, I highly recommend this program. I set significant PRs at every distance—other than the one we trained for—over the course of this program. Coach Tom is truly outstanding.
Nov. 27, 2008: Bethesda YMCA Turkey Chase:
May 14, 2006: YMCA Mother's Day 10k:
Dec. 11, 2005: Jingle All the Way, D.C.:
"What doesn't kill us, makes us stronger."