Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ashland 10K Railroad Run

The YMCA 10K training group suggested that participants run the Ashland 10K Railroad Run today as a training run for the Richmond 10K in 3 weeks. Sounded good, so I signed up.

I must have signed up early because I had bib #12. I decided to treat this run as a tempo run. My tempo run was originally scheduled for this past Wednesday but jet lag from the South Africa trip has really hit me this time. The plan this week called for a 7 miler: 1 mile warm-up, 5 miles X 7:40, and 1 mile cool down. So, I figured I'd aim for about 8:15 for the first mile, then do the last 5.2 miles at roughly 7:40. That would be just over 48:00 for the 10K -- a really good warm-up.

Ashland is a smallish town north of Richmond. Around here, they have a reputation for running good races. This was no exception. There were about 338 participants in the 10K. The weather was perfect -- a cool 48-50° at the start. Cool enough to be chilly in a short-sleeved running shirt waiting for the race to begin but great once we started. The course was pretty flat (my plot is off -- I missed both the start and finish spots) -- I don't think the variation was more than about 20'.

We got off at 9AM and I held back to an easy pace. It's hard to get passed by so many folks. I didn't see the 1 mile marker but at about 8:20, picked up the pace. It felt really good, almost too good. I hit the 2 mile mark at 14:55. Mile 3 passed at 22:something; Mile 4 at 29:something. At mile 4, we were on a downhill and I knew we were going to have to come back up that hill. Still felt really good. The turn-around point came at the top of a hill. I hit mile 5 going uphill at 36:37 and was beginning to feel tired. Just before mile 6, one of the course officials said there was only 1/4 mile remaining (OK, I can hold this pace that long). Mile 6 passed at 44:00 and I realized I was not only going to beat my 48:00 target but I was going to beat my 47:00 goal time for the Richmond 10K and, unless I passed out, was going to actually break 46:00. There was one person in front of me that I had a chance of passing by the finish so I picked it up a bit -- might as well leave it all on the road (in the end, I thought I was going to leave it all in the bushes). I crossed the finish at 45:29 -- 45th out of 338 and 4th in my age group (50-54). I'm still in shock.

Someone asked me if this was a PR. Yeah -- it's actually my first 10k race. Three weeks until the Richmond 10K.

Run well, y'all,
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