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Sole of the City 10K - Run

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Baltimore, Maryland
United States
Charm City Run
60F / 16C
Total Time = 47m 22s
Overall Rank = 176/3103
Age Group = M 40-49
Age Group Rank = 25/199
Pre-race routine:

This race should be called the "Sole of the City 10.3K"...but more on that later.

I'm smack in the middle of my build for an OLY at the end of May, but I've had a run focus since the middle of December. I'm just finishing up the Phase 3 portion of Daniel's 5-to-15K race plan, and had a 5K PR last weekend within a slightly longer race. This was a more-or-less full week of training, so there wasn't much of a taper other than backing off Thursday and Friday a bit. My sleep was kinda crappy this week, so I came in a little more fatigued that I would have liked.

I was shooting for around 46:15, based on my race results last week, hoping a perfect race would get me under 46. "The Plan" was pretty simple: hold 7:30 for the first four miles keeping my HR below 140 as much as possible, speed up a little mile 5 on the flat, and hang on for dear life the last 1.2 miles and start my kick right approaching the crest of the last hill of the race.

The course was pancake flat, minus a 1/2 mile hill at 2.5ish, and a soul-sucking 0.6 mile climb at mile 5.3 (again, more on that later...).
Event warmup:

Had the usual pre-race meal of pizza (no wings...Lent and all...) and a couple of beers. Got to bed early and slept OK but woke up about an hour earlier than I wanted to. Ate a little cereal, half and Zone bar, and coffee. Showered, swept up the girls (including my wife's aunt, who ran the race, too) and off we went.

We got to the race site about 8 AM and it was a madhouse already traffic-wise. This race had 3,000 runners and parking was a bit of a mess. Thankfully, I parked right next to the start at the Merritt (I think that was worth the gym membership right there). I used the gym to do my warm-up routine: 10 min on the spin bike up to Z2, 8 min on the treadmill up to T pace, then stretch and foam roller. Jogged over the race start and found mi familia. Usual pre-race announcements and the Star Spangled Banner (they had a HUGE flag up on a ladder truck - the race started and finished right in front of the firehouse). Erica Brannock gave a very inspirational speech; there was definitely a vibe of "Boston Strong" here today.

Off we go...
  • 47m 22s
  • 10 kms
  • 04m 44s  min/km

As noted above, The Plan was to hold 7:30 through 4 miles and then try to pick it up and see what was left. The two miles were slightly downhill, which gave me an opportunity to settle into the race. That was probably a good thing, because my legs didn't have much snap in them. They definitely weren't dead...but I was laboring to hold that 7:30 even with a little downhill help. My HR was just fine...130-135 through the first two miles. I was in a good rhythm even with the heavy-ish legs.

We crossed over President Street after mile 2, heading up Pratt to the first of the two hills on this course. I wanted to hold as close to stead as possible, so my HR went up pretty quickly, peaking at over 160. I got to the top of the hill and I was pretty gassed, but now I had almost a 1/2 mile downhill to recover. I hit mile 3 @ 22:30 on the dot...perfect pacing for a slight net uphill. The next 600 yards were downhill so I just tried to relax and get my pace down around Garmin 210 was having a hell of a time reading the pace through here, jumping all over the place.

After the downhill was over, we turned into Fells Point for a long straight, flat shot along Lancaster street. This was where I started to struggle. My HR was fine around 140, but the legs were not doing well. I crossed mile 4 at 29:56...right where I wanted to be but I already knew this sub-46 thing wasn't happening.

Mile 5 is through the Promenade, a waterfront walkway through Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Though it's really pretty, with all the pedestrian/stroller/dog traffic it made for a more technical course than I would have liked. We made a turn that wasn't on the original map that took us probably another 200-ish yards or so. Uh-oh. I tried to drop down into the 7:20 area but the legs just weren't having it. I just about finished the Promenade mile and my Garmin read 5.0 but the mile 5 marker was another 200 yards away. Double uh-oh. Mile 5 split was 7:35...the wheels are getting loose...37:31 through 5 miles.

We then turn off the Promenade up a short, steep, cobblestone hill...maybe like 50 yards but that was all that was needed to sap my will. The next 200 yards were downhill and I couldn't recover, and couldn't even hold the 7:30 pace anymore.

Then we hit the soul-sucking hill from hell. I mean, really, what sadist has an uphill stretch at mile 5.3 of a 10K??? I knew sub-46 was long gone, but I still had a shot at a PR if I could just get up this damn hill. I passed a couple people who were walking and some of us encouraged them to keep going. I was jealous of them walking. :-)

Mercifully, I got to the top of the hill and even pushed through the crest knowing the kick should start now. I crossed over mile 6 on my Garmin at about 45:20...dammit, I need to get my ass going!! Oh, and the mile 6 marker came later, of course.

I started to kick as best I could but the hill and knowing even sub-47 wasn't going to happen kept me from going all out. I still held about 6:30 over the final 0.3 miles, crossing the line at 47:22, 6.32 miles according to Garmin. I later confirmed this with Map My Run, which had 6.4 (!!!!) miles
What would you do differently?:

I ran this race exactly how I wanted to and hit mile 4 at the right pace, but didn't have enough left. I guess I could taper more.

I also made a mental mistake caring about the course distance problem.
Post race
Warm down:

Did the usual "scare the EMTs" thing for a few seconds and then walked through the finish chute. I grabbed a water and started to jog my cool down over to where my wife and daughter were waiting for her aunt, who at 67 years old ran a 1:12. After she finished I did my full stretching/foam roller session at the gym.

Then the real fun started. FREE BEER!!!! It was like a huge block party...over 3,000 runners all in beer lines, tons of food, all of the taverns were open early. We stayed about an hour to let the traffic clear (at least that's the story I'm sticking with) and drove the 10 minutes home.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

No taper, mental mistake.

Event comments:

This was an AWESOME felt like the whole city was running today. Tons of volunteers on the course and a really nice run course. The post-race festivities were top notch and the swag was good, too. A little pricey for a 10K at $60 but the jacket was probably worth that.

I can't give the race an "A+" because of the distance issue, but I'm definitely going to try to fit this into my schedule.

Last updated: 2013-12-31 12:00 AM
00:47:22 | 10 kms | 04m 44s  min/km
Age Group: 25/199
Overall: 176/3103
Performance: Good
Course: loop through Baltimore City
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2014-04-14 8:07 AM

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Middle River, Maryland
Bronze member
Subject: Sole of the City 10K

2014-04-14 8:46 AM
in reply to: #4981162

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Crab Cake City
Subject: RE: Sole of the City 10K
Great Race man! I know that hill that you are talking about and it is killer. I was downtown saturday for a friends wedding otherwise I would have loved to have been there and raced. I love the course how its all along the water.

Great job!
2014-04-14 12:45 PM
in reply to: dmbfan4life20

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Subject: RE: Sole of the City 10K

Great job! Just keep at it, those times will continue to improve!

2014-04-14 2:58 PM
in reply to: Asalzwed

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Raleigh, NC area
Subject: RE: Sole of the City 10K

Great job!  It's so much fun to find a race that you'd like to make a regular part of your calendar :-)

2014-04-14 5:12 PM
in reply to: #4981162

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Subject: RE: Sole of the City 10K

Mike, that sounds like a great 10K! 

You had a plan and executed well. <--always impressive.

Steep hills on these courses should be forbidden--especialy at the end.  Bastards ;)  And having a course that is long is really tough.  Why aren't they ever short!?!

This is speedy running, and it's been fun to watch your steady improvement over the last year.  You've really been good about getting the work in.  You and Steve are my beacons of hope.  Nice job, sir.


2014-04-14 5:38 PM
in reply to: #4981162

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Scottsdale, AZ
Subject: RE: Sole of the City 10K

First off, nice job and good work. I agree there are some sadistic RDs out there

I'd take caution to believe a garmin and mapmyrun to provide accurate distance. Have you verified with the RD on how the course was measured? Chances are, but not always, it really is accurate. 

2014-04-15 9:54 AM
in reply to: thebigb

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Bellingham, WA
Subject: RE: Sole of the City 10K

Nice race even with the hill.  I hear you on the extra length.  I hate that especially when you are shooting for a PR.  At 7:00 pace every .10 of a mile is :42 seconds which is huge when you are racing the clock.  Great effort though throughout the race.

We spent a day along the harbor several years ago.  A very nice area which we would love to visit again someday.

2014-04-15 12:41 PM
in reply to: #4981162

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Subject: RE: Sole of the City 10K

Great effort and nice results!  Stoopid hills.  The party after the race and the jacket sound like they made the race worthwhile.  Keep up the good work!

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