10K is my least favorite distance to run or race. I can't go all out sprint like a 5K and I can't set into a good pace, like I do for a 13.1
I know I needed to do this 10K for my training and also for my mental mojo.
The only option for a Vegas New Year's Eve race was the Resolution Run by Elemental Running. This was my first time running with this company. I had heard good things about the Race Directors, from other friends - so I decided to give it a try.
A week or so ago, a good friend, Alejandro Belamares offered to pace me on the 10K. He knew I was set on breaking my previous PR of 55:04, but also wanting to sub53 so I could qualify for the USATF All-American 10K Masters Team. I needed to run it in less than 53:53. That's quite a jump from 55:04, and I my body is still not 100%.
I admit was very nervous all day, leading up to the gun time of 4pm. I think it's going to take me awhile to get my 100% mental mojo back and kill the memories of RnRLV. But, I am willing to tackle it head on, with each and every race.
I arrived at Kellogg-Zaher park at 3pm. Beautiful sunny weather. Around 60 degrees. YAY! I was in short sleeved shirt (with a singlet) and arm sleeves. Perfect.
Still feeling the nerves - I text one of my wonderful prayer partners, Michelle to let her know how I was feeling. She promptly reminded me that it's a NEW DAY - let the past be past and have a great race. That was exactly what I needed to hear!I could feel her cheering me on all the way from her home in Tennessee!
I warmed up and soon, Alejandro arrived. We did a short warm up jog together. I had to keep reminding him that I am not as fast as him (hello! He runs a 1:18 Half and a 16:15 5k) LOL. He spoke to me about his strategy for running a 10K. Something I really need to learn. If I can master the 10K strategy, I can improve on my Half Marathon times.
Chatted a bit with another good friend, Jill W. (Blog: Jill Will Run)
Saw coaching clients, Gertrude and Jenn. They always bring a smile to my face.
Gun Time at 4pm. I had run this course (sorta) two times before. Mom's Rock and the 11-11-11. Each race course, is slightly different, but no matter how it is planned, there is a steep incline before the turn around. Here is the course map and elevation chart:
We set off at a sub8/min pace. I had a lot, I mean A LOT of difficulty in getting my breathing in the right mode. I had to drop it down a fast walk a few times to catch my breathe. All the while, Alejandro was keeping me motivated and watching my form, every step. My legs, back, etc all felt good - I could do the pace, no problem - but the breathing was not cooperating today. Yikes.
We keep a good pace of 7:50-8:15 going into the incline.
As we began the incline we dropped it down to 8:30ish. Still having troubles breathing and Alejandro could see it. He continually prompted me to relax, stand tall, easy arms and deep breaths. I have no doubt in my mind, his coaching was essential to me in this race. He knew I was nervous and he knew why.
With the lack of oxygen getting into my lungs, I was getting fatigued, but once we hit that incline - it all started to come together. We made it to the turn around and the form kicked in. I can still hear Alejandro saying to me, "think like a Gazelle, think like a Gazelle"
At this point, I knew I had pushed myself harder than I have ever done for this distance. No race of mine is every easy, but this was fierce.
We made it to the top of the decline (around Mile 5) and the rest was downhill. But, I had nothing left me in for a kick at the end. The end felt so far, but again - he kept an eye on my form, my breathing and watching my stride.
Turning the corner to the final stretch - I had no idea my time, there wasn't a finish clock, I had a feeling I was around the 53+ mark.
Crossed the finish line at 52:46. I had beat my projected time by 15 seconds and PR'd by almost 3 minutes - all the while, with a hurt back/neck and labored breathing. Geez.
I was exhausted. Flat out exhausted. But, it felt so good!
The finishers received a commemorative champagne glass. The RD asked the locals if we would be willing to give up our glass to give to the out-of-towner's - we would receive our glass soon. Many of us (including myself) did give up our glasses. We can wait.
I did grab a glass for the picture with me and Alejandro (proof of how hard he pushed me - look how red my face is!). You can't see the race logo on the glass. It's a nice souvenir, for sure.
|Me and Alejandro (The Beast Pacer)|
Awards were only given to the 1st place Overall - Male/Female of each race distance (10k/5k/1mile). I think I got 4th or 5th overall.
I am very, very happy with this race (despite having to walk). The last time I was paced, was during the Hoover Dam Half (and I PR'd) I think I see a pattern :)
Thank you, Alejandro for coming out and pacing & coaching me. You gave up part of your New Year's Eve to do this. I learned so much from you doing this race.
I like this race. I can see it catching on for next year, too. I plan to be there.
(c) C. Ragsdale 2011-12
Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
Running Coach, Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
~My Facebook Fan Page ~Follow Me on Twitter