Saturday, November 12, 2011

Team Nashville 10 Miler

On this weekend last year, I ran the Nashville Half-Marathon. However, the Team Nashville 10 miler took place practically on my home turf and I've always heard great things about it. What made me decide on this over the Nashville Half-Marathon was that it was 1/3 of the cost and you get a hoody, as well as pizza. And not some crappy chain pizza but Painturo's pizza, which is pretty stinkin' good.

I changed my mind back and forth between how I wanted to run. Inititally, I wanted to run this at 5:10-5:15 pace and use this as a harder workout. That way, I could get in a good, long session, and not beat up my legs very much so I could train really hard the next week. The other side of me wanted to use this as a near race effort to see if I could get under 51:00. My next hard workout wasn't scheduled until the next Wednesday, so I would have time to recover. While half-marathons trash my legs for several days, I figured a 10 mile race would be a quicker recovery. However, Wednesday's workout put a beating on my legs, so I decided to go with the more controlled effort.

Looking at the forecast the night before, I anticipated a pretty good temperature, with some steady wind. However, the weather was under 40 degrees and luckily, there wasn't much wind. I wanted to get in about 15 miles for the morning, so I ran just under a three mile warm-up with my token strides and drills. I got to the line just in time and saw a lot of Hendersonville Running Club members, as well as Scott Fanning, who's a really tough Master's runner in the area.

When the gun went off, I got out pretty slowly. I always hate starting off fast and looking like an idiot. After running for the pack for a hundred meters or so, I slowly left them. We ran in the park for a mile, which took me 5:15. That was slower than I wanted and I knew the next mile was pretty rolling, so I picked it up some. I also knew a lot of windy roads were coming up, so I practiced running the tangents, to get a mental feel for it so it's fresh on my mind for Rocket City.

My second mile was a 5:03 but it felt relaxed. I realized nearly everyone feels relaxed two miles into a ten mile race, so I tried to make sure I kept it comfortable but my body was locking into the rhythm and I split 5:04 the next mile. In this mile, we were about to start the four mile Madison Creek Loop. The first part contains a couple very gradual inclines that you really don't notice until you start running fast on them. The first half of the loop climaxes with a short but steep climb before giving you an instant downhill with some additional very gradual declines.

Because I knew the first half of the loop was going to be a little more difficult, I tried to stay focused and not get lazy on the hills and split 5:08 for the fourth mile. I was still running faster than I initially planned but the pace felt so relaxed and even felt easier than a tempo run. The next mile went by in 5:11 and then shortly after, it was time to climb the hill.

At first glance, the hill doesn't really look that tough. As I mentioned earlier, it's a pretty short climb but what makes it bad is all of that slow, gradual climbing you did before that. By the time you start the hill, you realize you're already tired, so it's a struggle to make it to the top. Similar to being stuffed by a plate of spaghetti at Demos' because of all the bread I ate beforehand, I struggled up the hill due to the pre-hill "appetizers."

After getting to the top, I knew it was going to be smooth sailing for a while. I took advantage of the downhill and went through the sixth mile in 5:09. At this point, I wasn't really paying attention to how fast I was running, I was just going by effort. And becasue my watch display only showed the current time of the mile I was running on, I wasn't sure of my overall time. However, I knew I was definitely sub 52:00 pace and still felt really good. I then decided to go for around 51:30.

The new goal most have motivated me because somehow I dropped a 4:52 the next mile. I have a hard time running a 4:52 mile in a 5k, so I was definitely pleased with how relaxed this felt. I also continued to get more greedy because I then decided to shoot for 51:00. It was over a minute faster than my original goal but I wasn't running any harder than what I thought a 52:00 would feel like, so I decided to go for it.

After doing some rough math, I figured I'd need to run in the low 5:00s to break 51. I tried to focus on the next mile and lock into 5:00 pace but again, I got overly excited and ran a 4:42 mile, which was insanely fast. For a brief moment, I debated trying to keep up the fast pace and break 50:00, but I didn't want a few days of dead legs, so I made myself relax and went through the ninth mile in 4:57.

The last mile contains a somewhat tough hill. Even on easy runs, I struggle up it a little bit, so because I knew I'd lose several seconds on it, I turned up the pace a notch. I was surprised with how strong I felt running up the hill and I enjoyed the downhill after it before entering the park for the last minute or so of running.

Coming into the final straightaway, I expected to see around 50:30 or so on the clock, so I was really amazed when I saw it was right near 50:00. I relaxed a little bit and ended up running 50:09, with a 4:48 last mile. A few minutes later, I was told it was a new state record by over a minute, which surprised me because I honestly could have run a minute faster if I would have run harder, not to mention, this was the 7th day of a 121 mile week.

About the only bad thing about the day is that I almost potentially got beat up by some fat guy. I was waiting for one of my high school runners to finish up and some guy in a car laid on the horn at some runner who ran in front of him. When the car drove by me, I shrugged my shoulders and gave him a "what's your problem" look. Immediately the driver slammed on his brakes and came out of the car towards me. He was a really big dude but I couldn't tell if he was just fat-fat or grizzly bear fat. He asked me what my problem was and I told him to relax because the guy was just running a race. We debated back and forth for a bit and then he mentioned something about breaking my legs so I wouldn't be able to run. I then let him know there was a bunch of cops just around the turn and threatening someone is a crime. After the situation, I realized that I should have told him that even with broken legs, at least I would still be able to wipe my own butt but the best comebacks are usually thought of after the situation. He then walked back to his car and I may or may not have yelled something about Krispy-Kreme donuts.

If it theoretically did come down to a scrap, hopefully my time getting beaten up and choked on a near daily basis at Westside MMA would come in handy. With a fat guy like that, I guess I would just keep my distance and leg kick him until he fell down or had a heart attack. Who knows. Well, four more weeks to go and things are looking good. I feel like I'm in 2:19 shape now and still have some fitness to gain. I guess I just have to avoid the sicknesses and not get beat up by random fat guys.

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