Note: All in-race photography was generously provided by Mile90 Photography. Check'em out!
I came off the Hospital Hill 10k quite disappointed. For 2013, I posted five straight PR's on 10k races (including Hospital Hill). My first 10k race of 2014 I narrowly missed a PR. Despite half-marathon training and intervals training since, this year's Hospital Hill was far behind my hoped- and expected-upon pace. That said, Hospital Hill is no easy feat. And with this year's weather conditions, I wanted to give myself a "tester race" to see if I truly am working backwards (which would likely require a solid off-period from running). As a supporter of Village Shalom in Overland Park anyways, their annual father's day run was offering a 10k. I figured it the perfect opportunity and signed up two days after HH.
The Father's Day 10k is a double-loop of the 5k route option. I've done several 5k's in the immediate area, so was going in to this one familiar with the profile. There are a surprising number of steep climbs around there.
Seems like this week's 10k would be the perfect follow-up to Hospital Hill. Approaching race day, we had a nearly 70% chance of thundershowers. I woke up at 4am of race day to loud thunder and crazy winds. I decided to bring along a kitchen tall trash bag with holes cut for my arms and head. I would no doubt have to stand in the rain, and I'd rather get soaked only while running instead of shivering at the start line. It rained the entire way to the event site. And windy, too.
However, almost on cue, the moment the start horn was blown, the winds slowed and the rained stopped. Looks like puddles would be the only threat on the day.
I had a great place off the start line, holding a solid 4th place position, through mile 3. Then I started to feel it: every mile that I'd seared in to my quads the day before at the Kansas Time Trial Championships. Mile 4 I fell apart, posting an 8:00+ minute mile. The hills that pocked the course, along with their descents, were shredding my legs. Just beyond the 4-mile marker, I lost one place in to fifth. I checked out my watch, and realized I was holding just off PR pace. I tried to push it over the last 2km.
Though I was able to knock off another 1 second from my average pace, my legs were just too cashed -- I had zero energy left in them after yesterday. I finished at 46:23, a 7:26/mi pace, mere seconds (3 on the mile, to be exact) away from a PR. I still grabbed YR, technically, and had a great run after last week's Hospital Hill. I ended up taking first in-category, and holding fifth overall. Despite missing PR, I'd found a 10k rhythm. I was happy. My whole purpose for registering was accomplished.
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