This Saturday I ran the Fort Bliss 10 Miler in the Heat!
I loved this race when I ran it last year, and I had high hopes again for this year. I like the 10 mile distance, I like running on post (because it’s oh-so-flat), and I knew that lots of my running buddies from Wear Blue: Run to Remember would be there. On this particular day my training plan called for 16 miles. How was I to fit in 6 extra miles and run the race? Simple: I woke up at 4 am and ran for an hour before the race. I don’t exactly have a reputation for being an early riser. This training cycle has completely changed that. While I don’t wake up at 4 am every day, it feels like no big deal when I do. 5:30 am wake-ups now feels downright luxurious.
When that 4 am alarm went off, I stumbled out of bed. Toast was eaten, body glide was liberally applied, and I made my way to Fort Bliss for my six pre-race miles. I’ve grown to love these quiet early morning runs. I spent a lot of time wondering if every car I saw contained someone whose Friday hadn’t ended yet. I kept my pace as close to 10:30 as I could per my plan. I was amped up about the race, so it was hard to keep myself slow. My attention to my pace was obsessive, but six miles later, I was back at my car and feeling pretty good.
Splits: 10:23 —> 10:30 —> 10:30 —> 10:20 —> 10:27 —> 10:27
I spent the next hour prepping for the race. I hit the restrooms, got my packet, put my timer on my shoe, and mingled with the WB crowd. Shortly before go-time, I started to feel hungry. I had been snacking on gu chomps, but I think my body would have appreciated real food, even just a little. I don’t normally pause for an hour in the middle of a long run; you live, you learn.
Finally, the gun rang out and the race was on!
It was really, really hard to not run any faster than 10:30. I didn’t like people passing me. (My ego!) Plus, I had been waiting around for an hour and felt antsy. Still, I knew the smart thing was to take it easy and aim to be on pace. (“I can’t be something I ain’t: smart.” A little Newsies quote that sums up how I feel when it comes to running!) I tried to remind myself that it was going to be a long 10 miles, and the race wasn’t a sprint. I even tried to convince myself that I’d do the passing at the end. (Pay attention, kiddies; that’s foreshadowing!)
- Mile 1: 10:30
- Mile 2: 10:26
- Mile 3: 10:28
Three miles in, I realized that the course had been changed from last year. No biggie, but it involved going up and over the dreaded bridge. Oh, the bridge. We have a complicated relationship. I know hills are good for me but that doesn’t mean I like them. And I ran that damn bridge twice during my early morning 6 miles. There was no way to go but up and over, so up and over I went! I actually felt really confident and ran that part kind of fast. Whoopsie. And in what felt like no time at all, I was already halfway done with the race.
- Mile 4: 10:23
- Mile 5: 10:11
I still wanted to pick up the pace, but the deal I made with myself was to wait until the last three miles. The sun had been hiding behind the clouds up until this point. Now its heat was bearing down on me. There was no shade. There was no escape. Just hot hot hot heat heat heat. It was about the time the heat was getting to me when I saw a fellow Wear Blue friend heading back in the other direction. She shouted to me, “Amy, you are at mile 12 for the day! You are awesome!” Thank you! That was so what I needed to hear at that moment. I took my time through the next water stop, tossed water down my neck, and went back to pounding the pavement full throttle.
- Mile 6: 10:28
- Mile 7: 10:16
Back up and over the bridge for the fourth time for the day. During these final miles I felt the competition between my will to go fast and my body’s desire for rest. I didn’t feel weak or like I had overdone it. I wasn’t tired exactly. I think it was just the fatigue of a long run and a day that started at 4 am. Nothing that I couldn’t handle! I aimed to progressively speed up. I pushed it, and my body cooperated. For the most part. With only 1.5 miles to go, I felt a weird side stitch. I never get side cramps like that! It felt not good. I briefly walked. It didn’t go away. I figured if I couldn’t make it go away and I the race still had more than a mile left in it, the best thing to do was run my ass off. So I did.
- Mile 8: 10:09
- Mile 9: 9:57
- Mile 10: 8:55
I passed 8 people in that final mile. Yeehaaw! That slow and steady approach paid off! Stephen met me at the finish. (He timed his arrival at the gym for his workout with my finish.) It was awesome to have him cheer me in. I saw afterwards that he sent me encouraging texts during my final stretch. I’m choosing to believe that the good vibes were absorbed into my body a la osmosis even though I didn’t read the messages until afterwards. I took my time calming down after the final sprint. I felt noticeably better than the previous week when I was low on salt. *Knock on wood* it seems like things are going my way!
My race stats:
- 10 mile finish time: 1:41:53
- Average pace: 10:11 per mile
With that, I’ve got a brand new PR and less than 50 days until the Twin Cities Marathon! I only have two really long runs left (18 miler and 20 miler) and a handful of shorter long runs. I feel like training is wooshing by at hyper speed. This is really happening. (<– is that the lamest sentence of this entire post? Quite possibly.) Yeah, it has taken me months to realize that I’m marathon training. Now if I can just keep it together a little bit longer.