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Bayou City Classic 10K - Run

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Houston, Texas
United States
Houston Area Road Runners Association
62F / 17C
Total Time = 49m 31s
Overall Rank = 196/817
Age Group = F30-34
Age Group Rank = 8/69
Pre-race routine:

I've always been a pretty mediocre runner and wanted to make some improvements between Pucon 70.3 and Santa Cruz 70.3, so I found this race and registered. We've just started to introduce some speed/tempo work into my run training, but it was not 10k specific, so this race was more about getting a baseline than anything else. I had some illusions of going sub-50 for this race, but the limited amount of work I did at this pace made me question how reasonable that goal was. Marc had said something like, "running is funny. You think you can't hold that pace, but then somehow you just do." So sub-50 was still kind of a goal, but not one that I was going to get too hung up on....especially given this is my first 10k ever, so it was a guaranteed PR :)

Had about 1.5 glasses of (red) wine with dinner and took it easy the night before the race (though had a full training week leading up to the race, so no taper or anything....swam and ran the day before the race). Slept pretty marginally, which isn't entirely abnormal for me in general....woke up feeling a little nervous and unprepared for this race. Running the distance is not an issue, but I wasn't exactly prepared to race this distance either. Marc said to think of it as a LTHR test....I reminded him that I get nervous for those too ;)

Event warmup:

Got parked at the race site about an hour before the start. Found the port-a-potties (very plentiful!) and got out a bit of my nervous pee before starting to warm up. I ran a little more than 15 minutes with a couple strides in there toward the end. There was a wind advisory this morning, so I had a chance to scope out just how bad it would be with the venturi effect between the tall buildings downtown -- I made a mental note to myself to be behind someone (preferably a big guy running at my pace) in certain sections!

Hit the port-a-potties again to try to get rid of the rest of my nervous pee before starting. They started a few minutes late, so I was a bit chilly and HR was down....when the gun sounded, my HR went from 80's to 110's :) And then it was time to go, no more time to be nervous or cold, only time to embrace the pain.

  • 49m 31s
  • 10 kms
  • 04m 57s  min/km

When I started, I told myself to keep it in check and concentrate on keeping good form (have been working with Marc and Kelly to address some major form issues and weaknesses; think I'm moving in the right direction). I was feeling good and wanted to make sure I didn't blow it by going out too fast....a few minutes in, pace showed 8:4X and my first instinct was "gotta pick that up....don't want to disappoint yourself or Marc with this kind of crap pacing!!" and then I questioned if my watch was telling me the truth because the signal is pretty bad with the tall buildings, so I just settled in and ignored it for a bit.

Pace felt good, form felt good, HR was coming up to where it should be, and then the first mile clicked off at 7:34 and my thought immediately was, "oh god, you're going to blow up! Or....maybe you underestimated your abilities." So again, I decided to ignore pace and go by HR and RPE. Next mile came in right at 7:36, so I was feeling pretty satisfied with my decision -- at this point, I wasn't fully aware that I was getting a decent tailwind/crosswind benefit (that would not stay with me throughout the whole race), but then we turned a bit and I felt the force of the wind. Right then, a guy was pulling even with me and about to pass me....he was about five feet to my left, so I immediately pulled left and got in right behind him and was able to stay on him for a bit and let him break the wind.

Houston is super flat, but in an effort to keep some of the streets from having intersections, they'll have overpasses or underpasses....we ran along a street with a number of underpasses (maybe three along this section?? so six total in the race) -- every time we would go down, I would catch/pass a number of people, but as it turned to go back up, many of them would pull even or pass me. I've never been particularly strong on hills (up or down -- have a nice black toenail to prove how bad I am at the downhills...), but I'm hopeful that this change in gait will help the downhills and that eventual hill work will help the uphills.

Third mile came in a bit slower with feeling the effect of the wind, but still sub-8. At this point, I started doing some math in my head -- how much of a buffer did you accumulate to go sub-50 in these first three miles? Gotta know this because I could tell it was not going to get faster/easier from here and because I need some way to distract myself. All I wanted was to keep pushing the effort and not give up....because I know that will simply result in being disappointed in myself later in the day (the momentary satisfaction of ending the pain is not worth the prolonged disappointment in myself for being was NOT an option).

As I was running, I realized that I think about a lot of things and a whole lot of nothing at the same time. I had a bit of a hot spot forming on the outside of my left foot that I thought about a few times. There were three people I was kinda running with (leap frogging back and forth) and I appreciated that they were there. There was a guy whose shoelace had come untied and I was sure he knew, but couldn't believe that he didn't stop to fix it with 20+ minutes left to run. I kept watching him to see if he was going to eat it. I started counting down the time, reminding myself that I could endure "less than X more minutes" of pain. I knew my HR had room to go up, but I couldn't get my legs to turn over any faster, so I was thinking about what my limiter is. With about a minute to go, they were calling out "5k to the right, 10k to the left" and I kept chanting that in my head as a way to distract myself. And that's some of the stream of consciousness "thinking" that I did throughout the race :P

The last three miles were over an 8:00/mile pace, but I was still doing the math in my head and knew I had a bit of a cushion remaining to stay under 50 minutes, but that it was getting close. I was annoyed with myself for positive splitting every mile (and was thinking that Marc was probably going to be annoyed too), but if I could manage sub-50, I could forgive myself for that! I'm also a pretty inexperienced runner (first 10k ever), so I also reminded myself that this is a learning experience. Now that I know what I'm capable of, I can probably pace it better!

Finally crossed the finish line and tried not to run over anyone who had just stopped right in the way. I think I got about two deep breaths in and then went into my "oh my god, I just put it all out there, and now I think I'm going to cry" actual tears, but I was close! I guess I did not push quite hard enough ;)

What would you do differently?:

Probably should have reigned it in a little in the first two miles so I could pace it more evenly (or negative split).

I also wish I could be mentally strong enough to just decide that I'm going to stay on someone's feet, regardless of how I feel, until we either cross the finish line or I implode. I am really competitive after the race (checking the results, seeing where I stood, seeing how close I was to the people ahead of me and what I would have needed to do to beat them, etc.), but in the moment, I can't seem to convince myself that it's worth really crushing myself and potentially having to shut it down and limp it in.

Post race
Warm down:

After I stopped "crying", I grabbed some water and then went for a short warm-down run before getting back to my car and changing into dry clothes.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Lack of running experience, run training that's not 10k-specific, confidence in myself when it comes to running

Event comments:

They started a few minutes late, but nothing excessive. This is a well-run race with 100% of the proceeds donated to the Houston Parks Department. This is my first time doing the race, but I can see it becoming a staple on my race calendar.

Last updated: 2016-03-19 12:00 AM
00:49:31 | 10 kms | 04m 57s  min/km
Age Group: 8/69
Overall: 69/817
Performance: Good
Keeping cool Good Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? No
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2016-03-19 4:34 PM

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Houston, Texas
Subject: Bayou City Classic 10K

2016-03-19 5:19 PM
in reply to: #5172882

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Bayou City Classic 10K

Great race especially for a first 10k. a Good 30 seconds better that the calculator predictor. Hard to believe you weren't running just a few months ago.

The good news is there is still plenty of speed to get. You are far from your potential.

The bad news is your training paces just got harder :-)

2016-03-20 1:46 PM
in reply to: marcag

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Houston, Texas
Subject: RE: Bayou City Classic 10K

That's the problem with PR''re all happy and proud of yourself till you realize the implications!  Oh well, whatever I have to do to eventually be able to hold that pace for the run leg of a HIM

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