On Saturday I ran in the Sole of the City 10k put on by Charm City Run in Baltimore. It was my first 10k race, so no matter how the day went it would be an automatic PR. Since deferring my half a few weeks ago, I’ve been focused solely on this race. Despite the improvements I’ve made this winter and spring, I was not feeling at all confident going into the race. Even though I’ve done 4 half marathons, for some reason 6 miles still spooked me. All week I’d been worry about my leg acting up, whether or not I could do well in the race, and how I’d feel during/after the race.
Well, I have no idea why I was worrying so much – I kicked ass on Saturday!! It was chilly, much chillier than the last two weeks have been, and there was a persistent cold wind, which felt fantastic after about 10 minutes of running (even though it was cold enough I had to start to race with gloves on). The course started out downhill, then was basically flat for about 3-4 miles as we ran around the Inner Harbor, with the last two miles or so on some rolling hills through Baltimore’s Federal Hill neighborhood and one small bitch of a hill at mile 6. Once my legs got warmed up, I couldn’t be stopped. Running without walking is something I’ve been trying to work on all along, but on Saturday it kicked into over drive, and I ran almost 4.5 miles without a walk break (except for the 20-30 seconds we had to wait as the course bottlenecked under a bridge). There were plenty of times where, out of habit, I thought I should slow down or take a break to save my energy for later, but then I realized I felt fantastic and had no reason to stop what I was doing. I ran the fastest average pace (~11:20)and the fastest miles I have ever run. Hills that would have brought me to my knees last year were barely noticeable. At the 5 mile mark, I checked my Garmin and realized that I had cut almost 5 1/2 minutes off of my 5 mile PR – I got so excited by this that I almost started crying, until my throat closed off and made breathing difficult; I took 10 seconds to compose myself and kept pushing through the last 1.2 miles.
My goal going into Saturday was to finish in 1:15:00 or better; 1:12:00 or better if I was having an amazing day. My official time was 1:10:47!!!! I couldn’t have asked for a better day if I had written the script myself.
According to my Garmin, my splits were:
Mile 1 – 11:15
Mile 2 – 11:32 (there was a bottleneck going into Rash Field that ate up about 20-30 seconds, so I was actually faster)
Mile 3 – 10:52
Mile 4 – 11:02
Mile 5 – 11:46
Mile 6 – 11:20
Last .2 – 2:58 (9:57 pace)