I've heard a lot about the Market Square Day 10k and it finally landed on my run schedule this year. The 10k distance holds a special place in my heart as it was the first race I did back in '09 when I got absolutely smashed in the Saunders 10k. I wore a cotton t-shirt with basketball mesh shorts and ran with an iPhone. Yup, I've come a long way since then. I'll be brief with this race report and highlight some of the changes in my approach to road running since my 42:55 performance.
I took a nice and easy 2 mile warm up with Double J around the opening and finishing miles of the course. I could tell that this 'flat' course was actually going to have some rolls in it which greatly affects pacing. Sure, there wasn't anything significant but it was a sneaky rolling course. Everything was in order leading into the start. I had a good breakfast, warm-up, and I was relaxed and feeling confident. I know where I'm at fitness-wise at the moment and that's somewhere in the 5:3X pace. I saw both Erica Jesseman and Ryan Kelly at the start - both would be running around my goal pace. They both took out the first mile faster than I wanted and I kept them in my sight with Erica putting a healthy gap on Ryan and I. As we turned our first corner I was behind a group of eight runners and to avoid being blocked up the hill leading to the second turn, I took the outside corner and passed the group. From there I saw Ryan and just focused on settling into my race pace. At the first mile I had 5:32. It was right where I wanted to be and started working on mile 2. Erica at that point had built and maintained her gap but I was getting closer to Ryan, just a few seconds behind. As we left town I was now in a pack of three runners and started to get worried as my pace slowed into the 5:40's. We approached a downhill just before mile 3 and I passed Ryan and focused on the 3 mile split. I came through at 16:45 which was fine and I wasn't concerned. I passed another runner (Matt Daly) just after the halfway point and now I was working to close the gap on Erica. I continued to work hard but my pace kept slipping back. Erica's gap was getting smaller though, she had 15 seconds on me around the 4th mile and I matched her pace for the next mile. At mile 5 I was hurting and at that point the race placing had basically cemented so it was difficult to throw in a strong kick. The last mile I tried to ramp things up and was able to push my pace back to 5:30'ish for the last 0.6 miles of the race. I was gaining on Erica at that point and had no idea how close Matt was but once I saw that I wasn't going to convincingly pass Erica I slowed my roll. I didn't want to be that guy trying to blast by the first female breaking tape at the finish - Not a good look!
I crossed in 35:24 and was happy with the race. I never expected to take my running to the fringe of "elite" given that I'm into so many other sports so it's very satisfying to keep dropping the PRs. I know my potential is much faster than today and I'll get there with patience. Depending on my health I may have another shot this fall but right now I'm going to focus on longer distances and be content with limited road racing.
I tried to be disciplined and pace accordingly. Don't go out too fast. Simple as that. You really have to be disciplined to hold back and not get sucked into a pace that's going to blow you up later in the race. My goal for this race was somewhere in the 5:3X pace which is what I've been training for. I kept an eye on my watch and after the first mile I was right on target. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to maintain my first mile pace - partly due to the rolling nature of the course but everyone else was also falling off pace too. If I had another 10k coming up I'd probably add a few seconds to my opening mile to work on more even splits.