Forest City Road Races 10k, 2012

If you're my facebook friend, you probably saw yesterday that the Forest City Road Race 10K did not go as I planned - as in, I did not get a new 10K PR, I did not go below 60 minutes.

This is the third time I've run the FCRR, my second time running the 10K. It's also the 4th time I've run a 10K, and I planned my training so that going sub-60 would be a reasonable goal. A big increase in weekly mileage and longer long runs made running a fast 6 miles a lot easier, and I did two tempo runs of 6 miles in 58:48 and 59:10 respectively. In addition to the good training cycle, I got my allergies under control earlier than usual this year, and the weather was not the 40-degrees-and-raining ice bath that it was last year.

Then, on Friday night, I came down with a cold, the kind where you get the chills and a lot of congestion. All day Saturday I rested, watching season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (omg, this season...what a downer), drinking a lot of fluids, and trying to think positively. But Saturday night, I had trouble falling asleep and basically tossed and turned without getting much rest. The cold and the lack of sleep together worked pretty hard against me.

Optimistically, I wrote out a list of time goals for each KM, since they post signs by KM here instead of by miles. I kept it in my pocket during the race, and looked at it for the first half, when I was still on target to arrive around 59:30. I think that time goal was completely reasonable, had it not been for the cold.
By the 7K mark, things had started to fall apart. I walked for 4 minutes (!!!) and tried to tell myself that there wasn't much left, I could run 2 miles easily and still finish strong, even as the sub-60 goal drifted away. No dice. I would run for a few more minutes until my lungs and my legs both told me to stop. I just didn't have the energy. At this point, I'm glad I finished at all.

 As we were leaving the park, the 1K fun run was just wrapping up, and an 8 year old boy in a wheel chair was heading toward the finish line, with Ronald McDonald and Tony the Tiger running alongside him, cheering him on. At that point I decided to shut my whiny mouth.

My overwhelming feeling is that, for one reason or another, I don't think I've run a 10K up to my potential, or up to the level that I've trained for. So that's my new goal. I don't want to run the next one in 59:xx. I want it to be more like 56 or 57. That's a bigger drop, but I think I psych myself out and my caution keeps me from really running as fast as I'm able.
The other thing I keep thinking is that racing always involves risk, and that's what makes it exciting when I do PR. If everything about it went the way I planned all the time, racing would be pretty boring.

Having said all that, I'm not sure if I'll do this race again. For one reason or another, it's hard for me to feel like I've run it well, every time I've run it. The last 1.5 miles of the 10K are pretty hilly, not to mention the fact that races in Canada tend to be at least twice as expensive as races in the U.S. I guess I have almost a year to decide.
One great thing about finishing when I did was that Djillian caught up with me, so I got to see her finish. She's great at getting the crowd to cheer for her, and seeing her made me laugh just as the race was ending. Djillian kept saying that she would finish around 1:15:xx, but she was a solid 9 minutes faster than that. It was great to see her finish so strong.

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