I ran my first 10K race yesterday. I loved every minute of it. More than the 5K, I have to admit. Much, much more. This race was in my city and the weather was perfect, albeit a bit on the humid side, but after the winter we had I am NOT going to complain.
My neighbor offered me a ride early so I took it and spent two hours alone, watching the crowds build and taking in all the sights. It was glorious, really, to be alone with my thoughts as I watched other runners preparing for their race. At atmosphere was friendly and cordial. Everyone had smiles on their faces.
As my start time loomed, I felt the familiar grumblings of nerves in my stomach but I was also just happy to be running again. I had taken the previous three days off to rest my legs and it was the smartest move I made. As I crossed the start line and started running, I could tell within a few minutes that my legs were happy and this was going to be a great run. I kept to a comfortable pace and at the first kilometer marker I decided to keep running and made a split-second decision to alter my plain. Normally I would have run intervals of 1 km running to 100 m walking but my legs felt strong, so I pushed myself and took walk breaks every 2 km.
1-3km. There was a beautiful cool breeze and as I found my pace, I just took everything in and watched others ahead of me. I had to weave a bit as I passed slower runners and a few walkers.
3-7km. I was starting to get hot. The breeze died and the air was thick. At the 4 km water station I saw a fire hydrant had been turned on and other runners were going through it. YES! I ran over to it and cooled down instantly. It was a glorious feeling. I got some water, drank some of my own Gatorade from my belt and kept going.
7-10km. Starting to get a bit tired. I kept my walk intervals consistent every 2 km and knew that if I kept it up I would finish strong. As I approached the 9km marker I honestly started looking for the finish shoot but it was out of my line of sight. My legs were tired but I knew I had a little more in them to push on and I went through the finish line with my arms up high and felt stronger than ever. What a great feeling!!!
I found my family and got big hugs and kisses and we walked over to the medal area. I frantically searched for my chip time and was thrilled. I really couldn’t have asked for a better day.
I woke up today with very sore quads and calves. Sore in that way you know you went out and gave it your all. I will take a few days off to rest and consider what’s next. 15k? 21.1? It all seems more possible now.
I just looked at my Nike+ app to see how many kilometers I’ve logged this month.
It’s a little bit less than the previous few months which have averaged between 60-70 km. I did manage two 10k runs this month which I’m pretty happy about, and I’ve even shaved off about 4 minutes since my first effort back in July. My current PB for 10km is 1:11:16.
I briefly flirted with the idea of increasing my distance to 15k but wisely reconsidered after some discussion with my Facebook running group. The 10k distance is still pretty new and I think I should focus on making it easier to run before increasing the distance.
I’d also like to break into the 6 min/km range. Back in August, I started incorporating hill repeats into my runs. I’ve read that hill repeats and can help make your pace faster. I probably did too many too soon without enough rest periods in between because my shins started bothering me. So much so that I ended up convincing myself that I needed a new pair of shoes. I had logged about 300km on my Asics, so this seemed like a reasonable thought. But interestingly enough, the shin problem settled down when I stopped running the hills. Or maybe it was the new shoes? Hmm …
The thing is – I like the hills. They are a royal bitch but I like the workout I get. I like the sense of accomplishment when I concur the repeat; I like feeling that burn in my quads and the pounding of my heart like it’s about to leap out of my chest. It’s the best kind of workout after a rough day at the office. It’s punishing. It’s invigorating. It’s hard. It cleanses the soul.
As for my pacing, I think the month of hills actually did help. My average pace in August was 7:39 min/km; in September it was 7:35 and now in October it’s 7:20. Slowly but surely, I am making progress.
So the next time I take on a hill, I say, “bring it on, bitch!”
After dealing with the Achilles issue, weak stabilizer muscles and the development of a particularly nasty (well, for me) case of shin splints on the opposite leg, I never thought I’d get close to my goal of 10K.
But today I did.
I have to thank a friend of mine – he runs marathons, so I believe his advice wholeheartedly. I complained about my shins hurting during a run about a week ago and he told me that if I had warmed up the legs longer, the soreness would likely develop into a dull ache if I kept running. After 3-4km, I had to stop early. I thought he was crazy. Run more on sore legs? Really? Well, turns out he was right. On the next run, I slowed down a bit made myself run through the soreness. Let me be clear, it wasn’t pain. It was just sore. To my surprise, the soreness did indeed develop into a dull ache and nothing more. I also stretched the calves and the shins a lot after that run. And by a lot, I mean, for at least a half an hour, so much so that the next day my hamstrings were feeling it.
I have to say, I was pretty stoked about the whole thing. Over the course of the next few days, the shin splint settled down. I didn’t feel it every time I walked down the stairs. I planned my long run.
I can’t lie. After the first 3 minutes of running, the soreness came back. I kept going. I ran in 10:1 intervals, had to stop a few times at traffic lights and stretched the legs whenever I could. My route had a few hills. I worked hard. About half way, I thought I might throw up; that was something new. I listened to my body and slowed my pace down. I got some energy back and ran for home.
7km! And the shin feels good. Not 100% but definitely on the mend.