First timed 10K = automatic PR

I’ve run 10Ks before, but always just as fun family events. Today’s Rogue 10K was my first timed race at that distance. Still, I knew how long it had taken me to get to the halfway point of the 3M half marathon, and I mostly just wanted to come in faster than that.

The race started at the high school near my house–on foot through the neighborhoods, it’s about a mile and a half. Unfortunately, to get there by car it’s about three miles and three stoplights. Considering it was still dark, my race crew and I opted to drive. It’s a new-ish school with huge parking lots, but wow they filled up fast. Lots of people came out for the two races!

I saw a few familiar faces–Rogue runners and coaches, mostly–and at 7am the 30Kers took off. My race started at 7:20, I guess to give those running the longer distance a little bit of space since the first three miles we ran the same route.

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It was 61* and humid. Yee haw.

They advertised the 10K as a mostly flat out-and-back course with a slight incline on the way out and a slight downhill on the return. Er, not quite. It was mostly flat, but the first half-mile had a bigger downhill than I was expecting, which I knew would become a fun uphill on the homestretch. Otherwise there weren’t any real surprises. Most of the course followed a four-lane divided road, with the westbound lanes closed for the race. I can’t speak for the faster runners, but I had no issue with crowding–the road opened up nicely and seemed to give everyone plenty of running room.

Somewhere around two miles, two things happened. One, despite the cones, runners, and other signs that the road was closed because a race was going on, some dumbass drivers didn’t get the memo. As we ran along, about ten cars came up behind us. Just drove right down the course in the left lane. Police support had been excellent all along the road, so I don’t know how these jackwagons got through, but they did. And no, they were not race support vehicles–a family in a Suburban, a guy in a Mustang, regular (albeit oblivious) people. And this was all the more dangerous because right after the police at the next intersection forced them off the course, the race leader shot past me going the other direction. He had a cyclist escort and was flying. But because it was an out-and-back, he was sort of a harbinger that lots more returning runners would soon appear in the lane those idiots cars had just vacated.

Soon I reached the 3.1 mile turnaround. Good timing, because the road turned to crap right there–narrow and very rough. The 30Kers had to deal with that–and a lot more! I was happy to be heading back.

Just past mile four, the guy I’d seen leading the race earlier came at me AGAIN from the other direction. In the time it had taken him to finish 6.2 and then run back out for two more, I’d done half that. Agh.

But really, I felt good. My hip twinged a bit between miles 3-4 but it went away again. I walked about 10 steps through the two water stops (I can’t drink from a cup while running) but otherwise I maintained a pretty even pace. At least until I got to that hill at mile 5.5–I had to walk a few steps going up that sucker. As I reached the high school and the last .2, my nine-year old materialized to run in with me. We made the penultimate turn, and I felt a surge of energy and sped up as fast as I could go around the last corner and across the finish line.

By most 10Kers’ standards, my time was pretty slow. But for me, it was solid–I ran strong the whole way, and I was at least five minutes faster than the halfway point of the 3M. But best of all, because I’d never run a 10K for time before, well, by default it’s my PR at that distance. 🙂

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