Sunday, April 06, 2008

Cherry Blossom 10 miler -- Fenty is one fast mayor

The weather forecast didn't look to good, calling for showers and 14 mph winds at the start, but it wound up being nearly ideal. The rain stopped right before the gun, leaving us with temperatures in the upper 40's and overcast. According to wunderground, the winds were from the north and10 mph at the start and 13 from NNE at the finish. There was only a few sections where I felt the wind was a factor and I thought things were nearly ideal. Basically conditions were probably a hair better than the 8k and on a very similar course. McMillan says that 8k in 32:45 equals 1:09:10 (6:55 per mile) and age-grading says 1:07:56 (6:48 per mile). I planned to hit the first mile in 6:50 and see how it felt.

I got to start in the first wave this year which was kind of a thrill. I was in the "near seeded" section C of the first wave. (Like my 69:49 I submitted is anywhere "near" the 54 you have to run to be seeded in my age group.) I know the first corral was for times less than 1:12 last year, so I lined up around the back, which might have been a mistake. The new course starts at the base of the Washington monument and makes it's way around the tidal basin to Hains Point on some pretty narrow streets. I was worried about getting sucked out fast by all the fast first wave people, but the opposite happened. I was boxed in and it was very frustrating. I was pretty calm, but I did waste some energy trying to get around people and hit the first mile mark at 7:06.

The second mile opened up some, but I still had to pass people before I found an opening and settled into a rhythm. Last year I think it was less crowded at this point because I had outrun my corral and ran in between waves. The second mile felt kind of easy but my heart rate was at 180 and my split was 6:45. I decided to settle in at the 180 heart rate for the next mile and see how I did and see how hard it was. Last year I averaged 180, but I've averaged as high as 184 in a 10 miler. The big factor is how well rested I am. If I'm tired, my heart rate is lower for a given level of effort. The third mile was 6:47/180 avg. After that I just kind of settled in and ran. Sort of took a nap here I guess. 4th was 6:55/181. 5th was 6:57/183.

Before mile 6 I looked for Fenty at the short out and back (see map above) and didn't see him. Not good, but maybe I just missed him. 6th mile was 6:52/182. At the 10K mat I looked at my watch and I set a new 10K PR at 42:56 (for some reason I haven't run an actual 10K in over 2 years). Before mile 7 there's a longer out and back stretch and I make sure I found Fenty. Holy cow, is he that far ahead! I looked at my watch and timed how long until I got to the turnaround -- 1:20. He was ~2:40 ahead of me. No chance I'll catch him. 7th mile was 6:54/183. At the turnaround, I thought I'd try and pick it up some. 6:50/184 for the 8th. 6:51/182 9th.

The last mile was pretty tough. You go back up a hill you went down in the first half mile. I knew I was around 1:09 pace and couldn't make out the total time because the readout is obscured after you press the lap button. I though it was something like 1:02:10 which meant I would have to run under 6:50 to break 1:09. (It was actually 1:02:01.) I picked it up as best I could. I found if I thought "light and quick" I suddenly got out of grinding and made up some ground. One thing I should say is that this is a world class race. All the mile markers were perfect and they had something I very much appreciated at this point -- an "800 meters" sign. I glanced at my watch and knew I had something like 3:30 (> 7 min pace) for the last 800, but still this was uphill, so I had better hustle. At 400 meters, I had 1:54 left which is over 7:30 pace, so I knew I could make it. I ran it in pretty well and saw the clock. It just ticked over 1:09 and looked so far away. I'm still confused about this, but I remember seeing 0:23 when I crossed the start so I though I needed to get in under 1:09:23. I sprinted to get it at ~1:09:20. I wondered if I made it or not (somehow my gun is always a couple of seconds slower than what I see on the clock), but I looked at my watch and saw 1:08:49? Strange. My watch has always agreed with chip time within a few seconds, so hopefully that was the case today. [Results are up and my time was indeed 1:08:49 (6:53). 10k split was 42:55 (6:55). Fenty ran 1:05:32!]

Full splitsahol for Adam: 7:06/160, 6:44/178, 6:52/180, 6:55/181, 6:57/183, 6:52/182, 6:52/183, 6:50/184, 6:51/182, 6:48/184.

By the way, the above should give you an idea of my attitude during the race. I just killed myself to run 69:49 last year, but I guess I just didn't feel like it today. No doubt it was very hard the last mile, but I had that hurt that badly at about mile 8 or even earlier last year. I didn't really have a big milestone to break and Fenty was too far ahead, so I couldn't quite commit to the suffering necessary to run the few seconds per mile faster that I think I could have.

What does this mean for the marathon? Most of the calculators say I can do it, but I think I'm on the hairy edge of 3:15 and maybe on the wrong side after adjusting for the course. One thing that encourages me though is that I've run these times almost exclusively off base-type training. The only running I've done at tempo or harder so far is: today, last Thursday, hills on March 4th, and the 8k on March 9th. That's it. Last spring I was doing tempo intervals on Thursday and 5k-pace intervals on Tuesday for about four weeks before Cherry Blossom. I think I'm going to do something like that (maybe not that intense though) between now and the race to sharpen. What do you guys think about about sharpening? The other sharpening I need to do is losing a couple of pounds. I think I'm about two pound heavier than I was at last spring's race.

I'm also considering finding a certified, semi-flat 5k to try and break 20 minutes. The best I've found so far though is 11 days before the marathon (and it's not as flat as I'd like). Good idea or no?


Joseph P. Wood said...

In my opinion, 10 days for a 5k is too close...better to do the RW suggestion--take your 3-4 post marathon recovery then hop in a 5k. Odds are your speed won't be too sharp, but you'll still be pretty aerobically fit.

Mindi said...

Congrats! Boy I hate that boxed in feeling at races - glad you were able to work through it!

Very nice race - and thanks for sharing the HR data! You are making some great progress!