Racing, or Fun?
I decided to double this weekend. My flow of thought went something like this. "I have no goal races this year. I'm running the 25K easy with friends. Jamie and Ryan and Scott jumped into the 10K. I want to race them. Jumping in the 10K can't keep me from racing any goal race since I don't have one. ergo - I'm going to jump into the 10K too." So my goal was to race the 10K and hope that I didn't aggravate my achilles enough to not run the 25K. I thought this would be about a 25% chance of making it to the 25K.
At the start of the 10K I decided that I was going to go for it. My only clues to my fitness level were that I couldn't keep a 25K race pace for more than about 2 miles 4 weeks ago and I couldn't keep a 5K track pace for more than about 1200 meters 2 weeks ago. Those are pretty big red flags, but I ignored them. Instead I went out at the pace that I should have gone out...last year. Jamie and Scott kept up, indeed for much of the first 1-2 miles we leap frogged each other. I think Ryan fell back pretty early. About the 2 mile mark, with more net downhill to go, I started feeling like the pace wasn't really sustainable but still felt surprisingly fit. By 3 miles I was toast and just like toast, nothing could untoast me. Not drinking at the aid stations, which I did. Not walking, which I did. Scott was long gone and had a good race on a hot day. Jamie and I continued to leap frog each other or it was more like reverse leap frog because Jamie was bogging down due to the heat. Somewhere around mile 4, I slowed enough that Jamie passed me for good and I had zero will to get dragged. I nearly DNFed at every trail junction that led to a shorter path to the finish but I kept hearing Ian's voice of rebuke in my head. So I kept running at a pace that was only slightly less than extremely painful and over a minute per mile slower than the same sections of my race last year, in which I was doing the 25K! Here are the splits for 5 of the common miles of both races (the first two are downhill while the last 2 are uphill):
2012 10K 2011 25K
My foot felt little worse for the wear Sunday morning and I registered for the 25K. I did zero warm-up, as I wasn't racing, but this meant that I hadn't a clue how my foot would feel until I started running. I had decided about a week ago to run this at a 9 min pace with Mike Pratico and Paul Green. We were joined by Sam Kane, who skied for James and I on the FHS nordic team, and Pat Connolly, who is the dad of another skier on the team (Mike and I are also, of course, dads of FHS skiers). I was the pacer. The 9 minute pace proved too hard, especially on the downhill sections. We maintained a pace around 8:45 throughout, something closer to 830s on the downhill miles and 9s on the uphill miles. Our official pace was 8:48 but I kept my watch going while I ran around the Yurt aid station 3.5X while Paul was taking a bio-break. We lost Sam and Pat about 1/2way but they didn't finish too far behind us. We picked up a couple of extras in Oak Hill and paced them in. My foot felt mostly great the whole way - only slights twinges here and there. Weird. Almost makes me want to train for something.