Haachtse Stratenloop (Haacht Street Run) 10 Mile: 54:28
At some point I had to run a tune-up race as I normally do leading up to the marathon. On Friday, after looking at the calendar and knowing that I'm only five weeks away from Berlin, I went online to do some race event searching. There were only a few races listed for the weekend in Holland, mostly 5Ks and 10Ks, so I expanded my search to the nearby cities in Belgium. I found the Haachtse Stratenloop 10M (Haacht Street Run) in the Belgian city of Haacht, 1-hour away, to be a perfect fit.
The race course consisted of 4 x 4K loops around the city center. The start was in front of the city church and we made a small U onto the loop course, which I assume was about .095 meters to make it 10 miles. In the 1st loop I ran beside one local runner with another runner drafting off of me. We came through the 2K mark in 6:38 (5:20 pace and a bit too fast). I didn't take down my splits, but I do remember some split times for a few markers (2K, 8k, 10k, 12k) when I did look at my watch or the race clock at the finish. As we started the 2nd loop, the runner who was drafting off of me backed off leaving it to Chris and I to battle for the win. It was obvious his name was Chris because practically all the spectators and some runners we lapped were cheering for him. We completed the 2nd loop (~27:05) still running side by side.
On the 3rd loop at the 10k mark, which we came across in 34:01, I decided to push the pace. I managed to put about a 10 meter gap over the next kilometer. After completing the 3rd loop (12k in ~40:50), I looked back a couple of times hoping to see my lead increase. To my surprise he was actually closing in, and I knew it was just a matter of time till he catches me. This broke me mentally. I then made the decision to let him catch up to me so that we could possibly work together in the last loop. Chris and I were once again running side by side. About midway through the last loop, I started believing that the race was mine to win, because Chris was working and breathing harder than I was to stay with the pace. At about 1k from the finish, I decided to let go of the leash and push hard to the finish. I ended up taking the win by 10 seconds in 54:28, a new personal best by almost a minute.
I am extremely happy with my race today for many reasons.
1) Of course, a new 10M PR. Who won't be happy with a new PR?
2) Overall performance and execution (mentally & physically). I managed to regroup and think positive after being caught to take the WIN.
3) Overall fitness. I ran this race without tapering (does 65 miles on 5 days and one day off consititute as a taper?) and averaging 91 miles for the last 5 weeks.