It’s been a rough month. After finally getting my BQ in January, a couple weeks after that I was in bed for days with a confirmed case of flu. That was followed up with bronchitis. Needless to say my running took a major hit. Almost 4 weeks after and my HR and pace were still super high. I say all that to say I had zero expectation for a good result at the Charlotte 10-miler on Saturday. The only thing I knew going in was that the course is awesome, mile 9 hurts like hell, mile 10 is super fast and the weather was perfect.
I ran this race in 2013 and absolutely loved the course and the distance. That year I ran a 1:10:23 as part of a 20m training run. It’s very unique for sure. Not as lung busting as a 5k but not as aerobic as a marathon. On my way down I wondered if 700 pace was a reasonable goal. I honestly had no idea. My legs were good because they’ve done practically nothing meaningful in almost a month. I just didn’t know if my lungs would be up for it. I decided to go out with 700 pace in mind, see how my body responded and go from there.
The gun sounds and although I’d tucked back a few rows from the front with Derek and Barrie I found myself running a bit too quick for comfort. Coming through about a half mile the hill helped me dial my 630 pace back to 700. As I assessed the situation at mile 1 (706) I was pleased. Mile 2 was right on track at 700 exactly. Mile 3 back on the Greenway was hard packed surface and in good shape. Came up on a group strung out across the Greenway when I found myself off the left shoulder of Théoden. As we rounded a corner, he glanced back and said, “Sorry” as he thought he had cut me off, but he really hadn’t. I said, “No problem, I’m just running like there is a bassett hound biscuit at the finish line.” He smirked, but I couldn’t tell if he was able to sense the sarcasm or just thought I was being an $#%hole. If you have no idea why I made the comment I made, see his article.
After hitting (655, 656, 659) I came through halfway at 34:31 and I was feeling quite good. I decided to push a little more the second half. I knew 9 was coming but wanted to focus on 6, 7, 8 and 10. I continued to push (644, 648, 648) heading into mile 9. It’s a good thing it had been a few years since I ran this race because I forgot just how bad it was. I did recall it wasn’t the whole mile that sucked just about the last half. So, I am feeling good but bracing myself as I see the beginning of the hill. I think, stay loose, keep your butt under you and keep your cadence high but don’t try to push too hard here. I was doing well and felt like I was almost done with Elm Ln as we made the final turn. WHAT?! There’s more and it’s WAY steeper than what I just finished running. Yeah, I forgot about that part. Legs were definitely burning but I was able to salvage a 708 pace for the mile.
Finally back on to FLAT Endhaven Ln. The best news is that there were two guys possibly in my age group within distance. What would I do? Would I let them go or try to dig deep and pick them off one at a time? It was time for some ‘Sustain the Pain’ Reckless Running on the streets of Charlotte. I set my sites on victim #1 and picked him off fairly easily running just about a 600 pace. The next guy was going to be more work. I was reeling him in but wasn’t sure if there was enough road left. I dug deep and went under the 600 mark for a bit and got victim #2 with about .25 to go. I could improve position no more but I felt great with a 613 last mile. As far as I’m concerned this race was a great success with 2+ minute PR for the distance at 1:07:57 and a good negative split. It gave me confidence I might still have a chance next month to try to improve my BQ time. Great race that I’ll definitely run again.