I decided a few weeks ago to do the Charlotte 10-miler as a good training race for my first “big” race of the season – Quintiles Wrightsville Beach 1/2 marathon in March. The race was put on by Start2Finish Charlotte Events and Charlotte Running Company and I love to support local businesses too. It was the first year of the event and I was excited for a new course that wound along McMullen Greenway…a great place to run and somewhere that I wish I made it to more often. I convinced my sister to do the race too as she’s prepping for the Corporate Cup in a few weeks.
Friday ended up being a very stressful day for a few reasons and I was exhausted by the end of the week. I was looking forward to a serious night of snoozing.
Seems my mind and my dogs had different plans for me. Sadly, I ended up waking up at midnight when my dog rustled and with so much on my mind, I wasn’t able to doze back to sleep until sometime after 4am…the last time I saw the clock. I debated skipping the race a handful of times while I was laying there tossing and turning but I decided to HTFU and do it on 4-5 hours of sleep.
It was a pretty chilly morning despite it having been in the 70’s the previous 2 days. We bundled up and got to the race site a little earlier than I normally would have for a running race but we warmed up in the car before heading out and getting our pre-race warmups done. I did ~2 miles with some strides and felt just “ok”. I can’t say I felt 100% but I jut tried to ignore it and focus on racing. I had my sister there and two clients, one running the 10-miler and one running the 4-miler so it was nice to be with them before we started the race.
When the “gun” went off, I was positioned about 3rd row back. As expected, a pack of people set out just a bit faster than me, and a pack of people were behind me. I feel like this is the story of my life at running races. I’m always in no-mans-land in the middle. Not the fastest, not the slowest. Mile 1 ticked off about 10 seconds below goal pace which I expected as most races set out a bit faster than I plan. Mile 2 did also. As we headed down the Greenway, the scenery was great, the terrain was 99% flat, but it was pretty lonely at times. Running at a low 7 min pace puts me in top of HR zone 3 / low HR zone 4…which is HARD! Maintaining over an hour that close to threshold is not comfortable, in any way, shape or form. Some days a few miles feels ok, but I rarely do long, consistent near-threshold efforts in my training, which is something I will plan to incorporate. About 3 miles in is when the discussions with myself starting happening. I tried to keep the discussions positive and tell that little daemon on my shoulder to STFU but it wasn’t easy. By mile 5 all I wanted to do was slow down. But I didn’t! “The Hill” at mile 8/9 was one of the steepest hills I’ve ever run up “at race pace” and man it hurt! Nonetheless, I pressed on. My last mile was the fastest of the day which was my goal – 6:56!!
Overall, I ran a 1:11:27 or a 7:08/mile pace. I use the McMillan Running Calculator a lot to determine my paces for track sets and tough interval workouts. Based on my 5k time from last weekend, my goal for a 10-miler was 1:11:39…so I finished just :12 seconds under my goal time….not too shabby! The McMillan Calculator NEVER ceases to amaze me, despite my many attempts to prove it wrong. 🙂
I took a 3rd place AG spot and 9th overall I think. There are some seriously strong runners here in Charlotte and I am constantly blown away at their speed. The winner of the race ran something like :57 and change….or like a 5:30/mile pace which is unfathomable to me. I am pretty sure I couldn’t run a 400 on the track at that pace, nonetheless, 10,11,12, 26.2 miles!?!?
Overall, I’m pleased with my run. I wish I had felt a little more peppy but given I thought I was getting sick, didn’t taper at all, and hardly slept the night before, I’ll take it! Congrats to Dawn, Nicole and Devon who also had great respective races! Girls make me so proud, I think it’s half the reason I wear sunglasses at the finish to hide my tears of joy 🙂 So inspiring!