I've been stationed at Ft. Bragg for the past 3 1/2 years and have never ran the Fort Bragg Army Birthday 10-miler. It's because I've either been deployed to OEF or TDY (temporary duty) for school during this time of the year. The Army Birthday 10-miler is the biggest running event on Bragg. The race determines Ft. Bragg's top runners, who will then get together to train as a team for the Army 10-Miler held at Washington DC in October.
The Army Birthday 10-miler will be my 2nd 10-mile race in 3 weeks. Two weeks ago, I ran the All-American Week 10-miler and won it in 57:34. It was a good race, but I was running all alone by mile 4.
It's 0545 (5:45am) and people start rolling in. I put on my mp3 player and go for a very easy 15-minute warmup. The last couple days my legs felt like crap, but this morning it feels light and fresh. 0605 - I begin stretching and think about my race plan. The race plan is to run smart, by effort, and negative splits. I want to win the race, but at the same time I don't want to throw out the race plan by going out too fast.
0630 - The cannon goes off and we are off and running. I run right beside my training partner Jaime. I met Jaime back in April at an 0n-post 10k race, when he came in 1st and I was 2nd. From that race, we got together and trained a few times. Back to the 10-miler race... The 1st mile is a little downhill so we expect it to be fast but not insanely fast. We hit Mile 1 in 5:32 and there are about 6 runners in the lead pack. The 2nd mile is uphill and I come across it in 5:52. Around mile 3, three runners (including Jaime) surge and open about a 10 meter lead. I had to make a decision whether I go with the lead pack or hold back. I decided not to go with them because it was still early in the race. The leaders really picked up the pace because i'm now about 20 meters back. I later learned that they dropped a 5:22 4th mile. From miles 3-5 I kept a steady pace at about 5:40. At mile 6 I decided that I'd better do something or else i'll end up in 4th place or worse. I then picked up the pace and caught one runner. I asked him if he wanted to work together to catch the next runner (Jaime), who had about 10 seconds on us, but he did not respond. I surged and he did not go with me. I hit mile 7 in 5:30 and caught Jaime. We ran together for about a 1/4 mile and then I put about a 5meter lead on Jaime. At this point, I was feeling really good so I kept on pushing the pace. There was still 1 runner in the lead, but he had about 200 meters on me. I knew it was almost impossible to catch him, but I thought he might slowly come back to me. My mile 9 split was 5:37. The last mile is slightly uphill before it enters into the stadium for the finish. Once I crested the hill I realize that I will not catch the leader. However, I still run hard to the finish. Despite the uphill, I run my last mile in 5:32. After the race, I ask myself what would have happened if I went with the lead pack at mile 4. Maybe I might have hung with the leader and battled it out till the end, or my legs might have been shot with that fast 4-mile split. I will never know.
I finish 2nd overall in 56:35, about 40 seconds behind the 1st place runner. I'm very satisfied with my performance, especially that I cut a full minute from the 10-miler only 2 weeks ago. My splits for the halves were 28:34 / 28:01. This is a very good sign of fitness because i've been mainly doing base mileage with a few fartlek and pace booster workouts.
Today's Run: ~1hr 33min. (Race, WU & CD)