Friday, November 23, 2012

United Run For the Hungry 10K Race Recap

Official results: 39:24 (6:20 average pace), 4th of 103 in F30-34, and 11th female. 46th overall.

This was my second time running downtown San Diego’s 10K Turkey Trot. The 2011 race was my second race ever, and I finished in 45:25 (7:19 average pace). This year, I beat my 2011 time by 6 minutes because I trained like a MOFO in 2012!

My strategy going into the race was to run it as a tempo run at 6:50, and I was convinced that I wouldn’t be able to do it. My legs were extremely tender. Not just sore/stiff. But aching and angry from last week’s 38 miles and this week’s leg workout and speed session. I didn’t sleep well Wednesday night because I kept waking myself up by flexing my leg muscles as hard as I could. It wasn’t quite a cramp because once I was awake, I could stop contracting the muscles. (And now it’s continued for a second night in a row. It’s official, the legs have revolted.)

The pre-race logistics were a breeze. Races downtown are easy because there is plenty of parking and no traffic bottlenecks. The race’s start was at scenic Horton Plaza. It was a little bit cramped picking up the bib, shirt, and race packet. But this is barely worth mentioning. Importantly, there were plenty of porta-potties and no lines. Weather was nice. The sun was only out for the last few minutes of my race, and the temperature was about 60-65. I raced in tights and a long sleeve shirt because, despite my Norwegian ancestry, I am a complete wuss when it comes to cold. (And heat for that matter. I’ve “gone native” living in San Diego for 6 years and am only comfortable when the temperature is 70-73.) But most of the gals were in shorts and tanks.

I “decided” not to use my Garmin for this race when the watch had not acquired satellites by the countdown to the start (after searching for over 10 minutes). I was also not able to start my RunKeeper app in time because there was only a 10 second warning that we were going to start! (Yes, I use a GPS watch and a running app on my phone. In fact, I own two GPS watches if you must know.)

So I timed my race the old fashioned way, using the stop watch feature of the Garmin. I’ve never done it this way before. But the race had markers at each mile interval, which in my experience is pretty rare for a 10K/5K race. It wouldn't have mattered if those markers were not there because I always knew where the miles were based on the familiar Garmin mile beeps of the runners who somehow were able to pick up a signal.

In a third technology fail of the day, my chip did not work. The timing guys said they had to look for "backup data" to get my time.

My mile splits that I can remember looked something like this:

1.0 – 6:08

     Holy crapoly, this is going to cost me. 

2.0 – 12:30

     When is the other shoe going to drop?

3.0 – 19:11

     Ahead of anticipated pace by 100 seconds. 

4.0 – 25:40

     When am I going to experience that tough race moment where I have to choose whether to push on or pull back? (I never did.)

And I crossed the finish line at 39:24 (6:20 average pace).

     Ummm, how was this possible? 

Answer 1: The course was short. By about 0.2, according the GPS watch-wearing runners I polled. This is a pretty big fail for a race director in my book. So let’s call it a 6 miler, which makes my average pace more accurately 6:33. Still a massive PR over my next best 10K average pace (7:06).

Answer 2: Without GPS, I could not check in on my pace, which I normally do (i) every time I pass another runner, (ii) every time I get passed, (iii) every mile, (iv) every time my effort feels hard, and (v) every time my effort feels easy. So I was not making judgments about how I felt at particular pace moments in the race. I was running by feel because I could only calculate split times a few times during the entire race. I ended up surprising myself with my pace. Not sure I would have run this fast had I been able to use my watch. But I am not giving up GPS technology just yet. I’ve learned from this race to keep an open mind about how easy a fast pace might feel.

two little runners (Kristen)


  1. Great race! You have given me a lot of confidence!! Even at a 6:30 pace, that is incredible, given your 5K times. Also... I wanna run this flat short course for my next 10K ;)

  2. Hello,

    Penny's Melbourne running friend here (one of them anyway).

    Firstly what a great race, to go sub 40:00 is massive and to drop 6 minutes in 12 months even more so!

    I noted your comments about Garmin with interest. I'm a slave to my Garmin, if it don't start neither do I. Well, not quite, but I find my satellites about 30 minutes before the race so I don't have to test that theory too much...

    I used to get frustrated at the time it took to find satellites until I got a suggestion from a running friend to take it off and put it somewhere (completely stationary). Since then I find the satellites come up much more quickly.

    The running guy I get a lot of advice from is very old school, and while he has and uses a Garmin, it's largely decorative for races and he constantly nudges me to become less dependent on mine too. He pointed out it only gives you bad news. Either it tells you you're running too quickly and encourages you to back off when you're having a blinder, or it shows you're running too slow and encourages you to speed up when you're having a shocker.

    Anyway congrats again on a great result - I think you're running the same race as LR1 in a few weeks and you both sound like you're in great nick going into it!


    1. Thanks for your advice over the last few months, which I have received via Penny! I am glad I ran this race without the Garmin actually. It taught me to be less dependent. And I don't think I would have learned that lesson without this little mishap. Like all running lessons, it must be learned the hard way . . . right?! So I recommend that you try without racing without it on your next low stakes race - maybe a tuneup for your next goal race! Kristen

  3. Holy shazam. Can't wait to see how your sub 1:30 half attempt goes--with this kind of 10k I think you will finish with time to spare!