Okay, so the race course is touted as flat and fast which is very true, but it is also a bit dull on the senses. You run a 6.2 mile course laid out over the airfield so there isn't much to look at except concrete and grass. If you've ever been out on a military airfield you'll know what I'm talking about. Looong runways and some lawn. BTW, I don't know what most people think about when they're running, but there was so much grass to look at I couldn't help but think about how to make my lawn at home look better. Seriously.
I've run this distance before, but never for a race so this was really an exercise in pacing. My biggest fear (like many people I assume) is to push too hard in the beginning and have no gas left in the tank at the end. So after my first mile I settled into a pace that wasn't comfortable, but it wasn't hard either. Eventually the pack thinned as it does and I picked a guy in front of me as my rabbit. He was very consistent so I stayed on his tail the entire race and just experimented with my own style and technique. I would open up my stride if I felt like I was being too choppy. I would lean my torso forward slightly and look 20 or 30 yards ahead and notice my speed quicken without much change in my overall output. I'd raise my knees a little higher to take some of the sharp, blunt strikes off that spot just below the knee. It was educational and fun, but the finish line was approaching and I had to get ready.
My technique is to get to the 6 mile marker and then drop the hammer for the remaining .2. It was great! I blew past people that I had been trailing for most of the race and posted the time I was aiming for. I know 55 minutes for a 10k seems like a slow time to shoot for, but the last time I ran 6 miles off the treadmill I did it in 61 minutes so I figured my training would bring me in under that by about 5 minutes. Here are my splits:
Mile 1: 8:24
Mile 2: 9:04
Mile 3: 9:11
Mile 4: 9:06
Mile 5: 8:52
Mile 6: 8:55
So while I was excited about my run, it was a bummer to learn that Kristen injured her foot and will be out for awhile. Kinda takes the fun out of the race. But she's tough and I know she'll come back stronger than ever...like Seabiscuit.