Saturday, October 17, 2015

Army Ten-Miler

The Army Ten-Miler was the second of three races (New Haven 20K, Army Ten-Miler, Philadelphia Rock'n'Roll Half-Marathon) in the lead up to my next marathon, California International Marathon in December.  

Before I go any further with my Army Ten-Miler race, I'll give a brief summary of my running since the Boston Marathon.  I basically took things pretty easy after Boston and did easy running during the month of May.  In early June, I had some issue with my left knee that forced me to take some days completely off from running.  I think the knee issue was a sign that my body needed time off to recover as I was going hard for about 10 consecutive months.  The only good thing about the injury was that it came at a good time.  In June, my family took vacation trips to Hawaii and my hometown in Guam.  It was the first time visiting family and friends back home since 2009.  The months of July and August were all about gaining back fitness with base mileage and some fartlek and moderate workouts. 

Vacation in Kona, Hawaii

Where America's Day Begins!

The New Haven 20K Road Race, which also hosted the USATF 20 km Championships, was my first race since the Boston Marathon in April.  The Labor Day race served as a good race-buster and fitness assessment as I began to ramp up training for the marathon.  I ran 1:10:15 (5:39 pace) for 47th Overall.  Going into the race, I thought I'd be able to average 5:35ish pace for the distance.  Unfortunately, a combination of the warm (70deg) and humid conditions and a side-stitch between miles 8-10 made for a tough day. 

New Haven 20K Road Race

Following the New Haven 20K, I had five solid weeks of training before I toed the Army Ten-Miler start line.  I put in weeks of 93, 101, 100, 93 and 77 miles (race-week) with 2-3 tough quality sessions per week.  My main goal(s) for the 10-miler was to: A) break 55 minutes; I'd be disappointed if I don't run a sub-55 because I know I'm in much better shape than a couple years ago when I ran 55:07; and B) run in the low to mid-54 minute range if I was having a great day.

My race plan was to go out at 5:30 pace or slightly under for the first half and then drop down to 5:20-5:25 pace for the last 5 miles.  I know 5:20-5:25 pace for the 2nd half was doable because a week prior I had done 4x2 miles starting at 11:00 and worked down to 10:40.  The 4x2 miles (10:56, 10:47, 10:43, 10:39) was a key workout and confidence builder heading into the ATM. 

The first mile felt pretty easy at 5:30 pace. For the next three miles, I settled into a good rhythm and crossed the 4-mile timing clock in 22:30. At this point, I was running my race as planned, but I knew I had to get moving if I wanted to run well under 55min. I then started picking up the pace and ran 5:26 for the 5th mile. During the 5th mile, I felt a side-stitch coming.  Fortunately, the stitch never evolved to a point where it would affect my race.

Memorial Hwy
The second half is where I started to roll. I clicked off mile splits between 5:20-5:25, even on Memorial Hwy, which to me was the toughest part of the course.  The mile stretch on Memorial Hwy seemed like a never ending gradual hill.  I remember running behind Oiselle Elite Kerri Gallagher on Memorial Hwy in 2013 and tried hard to keep up with her.  Unfortunately, I couldn't hang on with her and she slowly pulled away.  Kerri ended up running a Women's course record in 54:56 while I finished 11 seconds back.  This time I wasn't slowing down and I wasn't going to let the women's winner (Tina Muir - 55:20) finish ahead of me.  I ran a 5:23 and 5:24 split for miles 7 and 8, respectively.  

54:35, 49th Overall
The last couple miles was all about digging deep and finishing strong, which I did with a 5:21 and 5:23 split.  I crossed the finish line in 54:35, a new 10-mile PR and good for 49th Overall.  The nice thing is that I ran a 21-second negative split with the 1st half in 27:28 and the 2nd half in 27:07.  This big of a negative split tells me that I could have ran a little faster had I ran a couple seconds faster early in the race.  


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