|Rank||90 of 1079 (Top 8%)|
This race wasn’t on my schedule, but it was on my radar. Usually, on Labor Day, Natalee is out visiting and we are peak bagging. However, this year, with the birth of Kayla, we did that in July and I took August off from racing. This was a great move since it allowed me to spend more time at home — and focus my training for bigger miles. The problem had been that I felt like I could run my slow pace for days but what did my faster paces look like. They surely have improved but by how much? What pace should I shoot for at Denver? At Boulder? Oh, man. The stress.
Enter my neighbor, John, who tells me about the Park to Park 10 Miler on Labor Day. A 10 mile race you say? What the hell good is that? More than a 10k. Not quite a half. What’s the point? Well, it dawned on me that it was a perfect test and tune-up for my upcoming half, just as I use that half for the full marathon the following month. Sign up up!
Enter Simon of RunColo.com, your source for Colorado running information, who was able to secure me a complimentary entry to the race. Score. $60+ value.
Tapered down my week by 30 miles so I would have fresh legs. Planned to go minimal. Anton-style. Hoped I wouldn’t distract all the ladies. And no iPod. OMG. Can he do it? I wanted to be tuned into the race and my watch. No distractions necessary.
I got up at 5 AM and ate absolutely nothing. New race day plan. Drank a bit of water on the way down. Quick packet pick-up. Nice Brooks technical shirt! Simon’s rant from last year worked! Popped a GU 15 minutes before race time. Did a 1 mile warm-up and showed up at the starting line ready to go. What’s that rumble? I scrambled to the port-o-pot line and jumped in. Emergency cleansing. Ok, that’s fine.
Race started on time and we proceed along 23rd by the zoo. Turned into City Park and proceeded to burn off about 2.5 of the 10 miles in there. Lots of movement in the pack with me falling back in the first 2 miles. People were breathing way to hard and I was just coasting. They are going to drop shortly. And as we exited City Park, the carnage began. People 1×1 started falling back. But I held speed and pushed on. I was planning to hold 7 flat the whole time but was consistently 7:0X. That was OK. I will take that. Might pull it in towards the end.
Seemed to be a relatively flat course but a few ups and downs and that is where I continued to gain ground. I would pass entire packs of folks on the uphill and get even more on the downhill. About the only thing I felt flat on was the flats. Not my favorite terrain. As we entered Cheeseman Park, I felt the remainder of my pre-race business cramping me up. No big deal on a training run. Just pull over. But I didn’t want to lose time. Luckily, there was a single unoccupied port right at the mile 5 aid station. I ran in and ran out. 15-20 seconds maybe. I marked the person that I was behind just before and caught them again way before we exited the park. I knew that blew my chances of breaking 70 minutes on the course but today wasn’t about some BQ time. However, I think it was a net zero operation because I was faster and more comfortable. I was constantly seeing 6:XX on my watch as we headed toward Wash Park. It was a great run between those 2 parks. Lots of narrower tight roads like on Downing.
I had planned to fire all guns when we hit Wash Park but didn’t have it in me. I was happy rolling in the 6s and didn’t want to blow up. So I held pace until the last 1/4 mile. Some guy on the side of the road cheered me on and then I heard him say “Go get that guy!” to the dude behind me. That triggered that guy to give it a shot. No way. I just kept running faster and faster to keep him off my tail. My Garmin showed at 5:10 pace as max speed on mile 10. Take that.
Crossed the line and didn’t feel that bad. Nice job. 71 minutes and change. Would have loved to have been 69:59 but next time. 1st place finisher from Longmont. Take that!
So 10 miles — comparing against my spring 10k time, I was 2 seconds faster on pace! So for 60% more distance I basically held the pace. That seems huge. Plus, with a better taper, I am sure I could have held that pace for 3 more miles to finish in this range for a half. So now I have a great idea of how Boulder could pan out. 20-30 seconds per mile over last year.
Post-race they have a shuttle that you can pay $8 to ride back to the start. The start isn’t 10 miles from the finish however. So I grabbed some grub, laced back up, and set out on a slow walk/jog back to City Park. It turned out to be 5 miles given the path I took so I got 16 (1 w/u) on the whole day.
It felt really great to be out there today. Testing what I have for the fall races so there are no surprises. More work to do. Thanks to John for suggesting I give this one a shot!