I signed up to do the Capitol 10k a few weeks ago. It’s a fun local race and there are so few 10k’s in town, I wanted the opportunity to see how I could do at a 10k.
On Saturday I took part in the Spokes and Spurs 60 mile bike ride, which was tough with a strong headwind and significant climbing on the tail end, then ran a 5k brick (bike to run) workout. I ran home and took a shower, then went to visit a relative in the hospital. We didn’t leave the hospital until 7:30ish, then headed over to a Mexican place for dinner . . . on a Saturday night. We weren’t seated until after 8:00 and by that time I was starving, dehydrated and exhausted. After dinner, I went home and directly to bed.
Sunday morning came early. I was exhausted and sore, but dragged my weary butt out of bed to get in a few miles before the Capital 10k downtown.
I parked by Zack Scott theater, then ran the long way around the lake for 3.5 miles to the 10k race start. The warm-up run didn’t feel bad and I just imagined like I was still at the Texas Independence Relays – exhausted, sore, using port-o-potty’s and having to still run again.
I got to the race start with about 30 minutes to spare and ran into Elle and Joanne. We meandered over to the bedlam that is called the race start corral.
Let’s take a minute for some stats- There were 15046 timed runners, but not everyone pays the extra $5 for a timing chip, so they were estimating some 20,000 people (of the 15046 timed, 6859 were men and 8187 were women- WooHoo Girl Power!).
All of these folks are supposed to get lined up according to the pace they think they will be running.
Elle and Joanne headed to their respective pace groups and I wandered around looking for mine. In years past, they have had the pace groups set by bib color and volunteers prevented folks in slower pace groups from lining up in front of faster pace groups, but not so this year. In fact, although there were different bib colors, I could not figure out if there was any rhyme or reason to the different colors.
I headed over to the 8:00 minute mile/49:43 minute finish. My original plan was to run 8’s when I signed up, but after yesterday, I was hoping to run about 8:10-15’s. We’ll see. Clustered under the sign proclaiming 8:00 minute miles was a group of overweight middle aged fanny-pack wearing folks who didn’t look like they were planning on running 8’s. Really folks? I moved up in front of them. The more I looked around, the more I noticed the folks seemed particularly, um, optimistic (shall we say) about their finishing times. So I kept getting in front of folks who clearly did not look like 8 minute milers until I was practically under the 7 minute mile/43:30 minute finish sign. Ok, I don’t want to be “that guy” because I knew I was not running 7’s but I really didn’t know how to seed myself. I was kinda pissed, and even started commenting not-really-under-my-breath “Really, 8 minutes miles? You think?” at people.*
*PSA: The reason it IS important that you line up with your pace is because, just like one or two cars can cause a hellacious traffic jam on the road, people walking in front of folks who are running much faster also cause a dangerous traffic jam (you can get bumped into, hit, or even trip a runner trying to get around you). Also, I understand that walkers don’t want to wait 15-20 minutes before they cross the start line (yes, it can take that long to get 20,000 people across the Congress Ave bridge to the start line), and although the folks who are lined up in the faster paces may not be in contention to win the race, many of them have personal goals for the race. A walker slowing everyone down is also messing with the goals of someone who properly corralled themselves. So seriously folks, try to seed yourself correctly at these races. Thank you.
I then determined that there is no way I should be getting this mad about the inability of people to seed themselves at the Cap 10k. It’s the biggest race in town and there is always going to be a lot of clueless newbies, recreational runners who don’t know why anyone would want to be in that kind of pain for 6+ miles, and a bottle neck during the first mile. I was just a little tired and a little grumpy. So I tried some calming self-talk. So out loud I said “Just relax the first mile.” “Take it easy, then negative split.” “Just relax.” “Just take your time getting around all of these idiots who can’t do math” (Oops, that wasn’t particularly calming) “Ok, just relax” “Relax the first mile.”
I ate my Gu gel (without water – Ack!) and waited for the gun. Pop! And we were off!
Ha-ha! Not really, we all did that bobbing shuffle towards the start line.
Finally we were off and I had to use more of my calming self-talk as I passed walkers who must have been lined up with the Kenyans and Cross Country teenagers. It must have worked as I did not body check anyone, though I was tempted.
I ran the first mile at an 8:30 average. This is a very crowded uphill run on Congress to the Capitol although the grade isn’t too bad. The crowds actually work to make you take it a bit easy the first mile which can be a good thing.
I picked it up by about 20 seconds on the second mile which had some good downhills and some not too bad up-hill grades.
Then the third mile – Ahh, mile three. Mile three is from the killer up-hill on Enfield Rd westward to West Ave. to the steep quad and toenail pounding down-hill on the other side, then the long up-hill run to West Lynn before you finally get to run down to the Mo-Pac frontage Road (AKA Winstead). It’s a pretty brutal mile. Those of you familiar with Austin know what I am talking about. I ended up running next to a fella who commented that they should put in an escalator. When I finally crested the first hill, I noticed that my left sneaker felt loose. Dang! Untied shoelace!
I pointed to the grass off the road to let the gazillion other runners behind me know my intentions, zipped over and jumped off the course to quickly tie my shoelace. Lemme tell ya, after the huge hill, I did not need to immediately stand inverted with all the blood rushing to my head.
Although I would love to bitch about how much precious time I lost tying my shoe, in reality it probably took all of ten seconds from jumping off the course to jumping back on. In fact, the dip in the graph on my Garmin indicates right about 10 seconds (well, of course I looked for it). So my third mile was an 8:36. Meh, not bad.
Mile 4 was an inexplicable 8:04, I think there was more down-hill than up on that one but I also had a killer tune come on my iPod!
Miles 5 and 6 were about an 8:15. And of course I hauled ass the last .2 miles (which ended up being .3 miles, but I’ll get to that in a minute). The pace for that last bit after mile 6 was a 7:11 min/mile – WooHoo!
Ok, so the more likely reason my race was a 6.3 is due to all the freaking people. You want to run in a straight line because that is the shortest distance, but you can’t run through people (apparently that is frowned upon). So you do zig-zag a bit which adds distance, and the same thing happens at the corners, EVERBODY wants to run a tight corner, but holy-log jam! Sometimes, it behooves you to take it a bit wide.
So my official race time was a 52.02 at a 8:23 min/mile pace. I did slightly negative split, running the first 5k in 26:09 and the second 5k in 25:52.
Not as fast as I had hoped, but considering the challenging course and how tired I was from the bike/run the day before, I’m ok with this.
Of the 15046 total time runners (M&W), I was 1576th.
Of the 8187 timed women, I was 283rd.
Of the 967 gals in my age group, I was 39th.
So overall not too shabby.
The guy who won ran the 6.2 miles in 29:51 at an average 4:48 min/mile.
The first gal finished in 35:02 at an average 5:38 min/mile.
The oldest runner was an 87 year old man (finished in 1:22:44 at a 13:19 min/mile pace).
A 25 year old man suffered a heart attack at mile 5.5 and when they shocked his heart back to beating he asked to finish the race (they told him “no”).