Saturday, April 28, 2012

10K @ Illinois Marathon — race report

Great race this morning!

The day began bright and early, with the babysitter arriving at 6 a.m. sharp. The weather was cool and windy, with a 40% chance of rain. I checked the marathon site just in case and they had a message confirming the race was on, but we found some slightly warmer clothes to wear out. We parked our car just as the marathoners and half-marathoners were starting off. We watched the corrals set off one by one while trying to keep warm. But by the time we were getting lined up at the start, it was much warmer. It's amazing how effective a couple thousand people are at generating heat and serving as a wind breaker! We lined up with the 11 min/mile group; I was planning to run at a 10:30 pace and Lenore wasn't really sure, though we were thinking between 11 and 13.

As soon as the race started, Lenore just took off ahead. I decided to keep back to maintain my pace, though I noticed that, feeling the energy for the crowd, I was still running faster than planned. My first mile split was 9:54, but my heart rate was in the 160s, which I figured was most important. I kept looking ahead for Lenore, figuring that she would slow down at some point, but didn't see her anywhere, so I kept running.
Second mile felt great; feeling lots of energy from the crowd, still running faster than expected, for a split of 10:06. There was a small grade at the end of it, which sent my heart rate above 170, so I tried to moderate my pace a little bit.  During the third mile, I was starting to worry that I had gone out too fast; my pace was slowing down a bit and I was noticing having to breathe a little heavier. My heart rate stayed at about 170 the whole mile.

I crossed the 5K mark at 31:20, which was about 30 seconds faster than my last 5K race back in March. I was still worried about the pacing, knowing that there was another 5K to go, but I figured I could start tapping into anaerobic reserves now, and my heart rate stated creeping up into the 170s. After the 4 mile mark, I decided to throw caution to the wind and stop worrying about my heart rate; it shot up to high 170s as I pulled out a 9:42 split. Somewhere towards the end of the fifth mile, I noticed that my average pace was 10:04 and realized that a sub-10-minute pace was within reach. I kicked it up a notch, switching to 2-2 breathing, and then to 2-1 when there was about a mile to go. Around mile 5 is also when I realized that if I had not caught up to Lenore so far, it wasn't likely to happen. I kept thinking that maybe I had passed her without noticing, but that seemed unlikely.

Approaching the stadium, I was definitely having to push myself pretty hard. I remember feeling really disappointed when I saw that we actually had to run a little past the entrance and then turn around, since my body was ready to stop any minute now. I did manage a sprint towards the finish, crossing just after 1:02 on the clock time. And there, holding her finishers medal, was Lenore, waiting for me. She had finished ahead of me by about a minute and a half!

My official chip time was 61:08, or a 9:51 pace. This was way faster than I had planned, and I pulled off one hell of a negative split, with 9:05 for mile 6 and 8:54 for the last little bit. But Lenore's time was even more of a surprise; we were both totally convinced that I would finish significantly before her and I had at one point estimated her finishing time to be around 1 hour 20. Boy, were we ever off!

My results:
Clock Time 1:02:17
Chip Time 1:01:08
Overall Place 705 / 2218 (32%)
Gender Place 379 / 730 (52%)
Division Place 62 / 105 (59%)

Lenore's results:

Clock Time 1:00:41
Chip Time 59:33
Overall Place 595 / 2218 (27%)
Gender Place 250 / 1488 (17%)
Division Place 31 / 201 (15%)

I was pretty excited about beating the 10 min / mile mark, but a little disappointed when I realized that this still puts me in the bottom half of my age group. Lenore, on the other hand, was in the 15th percentile in her division! We were pretty excited about this, until we learned that everyone else we knew running this race was faster than us. We finally settled on thinking that we're probably faster than most of the people we knew who did not run a race this weekend! And we got medals to boot, which the twins loved playing with the whole day.

It's been great training for this race and a lot of fun running it. I have a week off and then it's time to start training for the Chicago triathlon in August! Lenore's not doing that one because she doesn't feel comfortable enough swimming, but she's excited to find another land-based race to kick my ass in!

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