Friday, July 04, 2008

My First 10K Run

July 4th Music City 5k/10k, Nashville, Tennessee

I arrived early, around 7:20 AM and found a parking spot not too far away from the Country Music Hall of Fame. Free parallel parking. Not too bad. I made my way to the check-in to pick up my number, t-shirt and bag of promotional materials. I went back to the truck and swapped the bag for my mp3 player and HRM, then made my way back to the activity. While stretching and generally keeping my muscles ready for action, I listened to the announcements and 5 minutes before 8, we were pointed at the starting line. As I walked with my fellow competitors to the start line, I noticed many of them had timing chips. Hmmm. I did not have one. I returned to the check-in where they pointed me to the race chip tent. They found mine quickly and I made it back to the start line in time to do some more warm-up moves and start my mp3 player to randomize my music, my Cardio Coach mp3s and some Bible chapters.

My HR was ludicrous. The adrenaline was keeping my HR high (around 130) even though we hadn't started yet. I'll have to figure out how Tanna can keep his close to resting even before the start! (Tanna's HR does spike when the race begins, however!)

I walked with the crowd under the banner and over the mats that would read our timing chips to mark our start times. When we were past that, I broke into a slow jog, a pace I would not exceed (often) for the next 6+ miles.

It was thrilling to be in the race. All the 10k and 5k runners started together. The 10k would simply do the 5k lap again. It was awesome to watch the line of runners snaking their way through the streets of Nashville.

I had my Garmin Forerunner 405 and my Garmin Forerunner 305 with me. The former was my main unit and I had that on my left wrist. The 305 was along for the ride as a back-up data collector on my right wrist. (I didn't want to risk missing any data from my first 10k!).

At first I tried using the Auto Scroll on the 405 to shift between screens, but that wasn't working so well, even though that is my preferred set-up when riding my horses and sometimes in my own running training. I settled the 405 on one screen that showed me current speed (based on data from my foot pod on my left shoe), average speed (based on time out and distance traveled according to the GPS) and the all-important heart rate. I did not want to know how far I had gone or how long I'd been out. I didn't want to dwell on that. Again, different from the set-up I have for the horses.

I had a few simple goals for this 10k. The first was just FINISH! Before this competition, the longest I'd been jogging (walking when needed) for a single activity was 5.4 miles. My second goal was to finish in under 90 minutes. Slow, yes, but speed was not a goal here, other than just to get done in 90 minutes. My 3rd goal was to keep my HR over my aerobic base (152), but under my anaerobic threshold (169).

A little ways after crossing a bridge was the first water stop. I took a small cup of water, drank it slowly while walking and then tossed it in a trash can and picked up my jog again. At every intersection, there was a cop stopping traffic and everywhere we were supposed to turn, there was a smiling volunteer with an orange flag pointing the way.

At the second water booth, there was no trash can convenient a little ways up from the booth for me to ditch my paper cup. So I crushed it in my hand and held it while I jogged. Surprisingly, I liked having the cup to worry in my hand. I switched hands periodically and it kept my hands and arms loose and the blood flowing nicely.

While I power-walked up a hill, a cop car came slowly driving up beside me and passed me. Through his speaker he announced "10k runner on your right, 10k on your right." Startled I thought I had done the course wrong. At this point a runner came racing past me, passing me like I was standing still. I was being lapped by the front-runners! Ah, ok. I settled back into my jog at the top of the hill and headed down the other side. Another front-runner came zooming past with an encouraging word for those he passed.

A few more of the 10k runners lapped me as I approached the start/finish line. A girl with a megaphone was directing traffic. 5k finish to the far left. 10k finish in the middle and 10k continue on to the far right. I stayed to the right, happy to see other runners doing the same.

As I came even with the finish line, a helpful onlooker stepped almost in my path and said, no, you should be over there, pointing to the 5k finish lane. I smiled and said thank you, but I have another lap to do.

I took a cup of water from the volunteers on my right and continued on to do the course again. I kept that cup to worry in my hands and kept one through the rest of the run, changing out which cup I had when I got water.

While going through the finish line, I did manage to get a look at the official time. The clock read 39 minutes. Since I started near the back, it took me a couple minutes before my chip time started. So I was at 37 minutes and change for the first half. I beat my last (and first) 5k time by 5 minutes!

I was doing great and needed to just keep on steady. Everything felt great. Nothing was hurting or rubbing and my HR was stabilized right around my anaerobic threshold. My breathing was controlled and I felt perfectly fine to keep going. Stopping never entered my head.

This time there were far fewer runners than the last time I'd seen this part of the course! I was happy to see other runners though. When I'm back of the pack at an endurance ride, it's not unusual to do loops without seeing another competitor until getting back to base camp or the vet check.

The loop went by without much incident. With about 1.5 miles to go, I caught my shoulders starting to droop a bit. I shook my arms out and regained my form. I took stock of my body. HR was good, breathing was good, legs felt great. My feet hurt a very small bit through the ball of my foot. But not too bad and nothing to get excited over.

As I neared the finish, I managed to pass a couple of runners. Big deal when I'm so far back in the pack, but it's a nice ego boost. ;-) I ditched my last worry cup and prepared for the finish.

I did this at my 5k and I do this on almost every endurance ride. At the end of race, the speed picks up and it's time to find out what's left in the tank.

As I rounded the last corner and the finish line came in sight again, I picked up my speed as the handful of people at the finish began to cheer me on (as they did for all the back of the pack runners). The megaphone girl said something about finishing strong. I ran even harder and crossed the finish line in an all-out sprint. My Forerunner says it was 14.5 mph at the end there. Hehe. What a rush!

I stuck around for awhile, stretching, walking around, letting my HR drop. I found an apple and munched on it while waiting for the awards. I was curious about the front runners that had lapped me. :) Sure enough, the first guy that had lapped me was second place. I don't remember ever seeing the first place guy. First play guy did the 10k in 24 minutes and change. The first place woman did the 10k in 39 minutes and change. At least she didn't lap me! ;-)

I did enjoy myself and was able to complete (goal 1!) in 1:17 minutes (goal 2!). My HR goal might need a little work. I spent a total of 28 minutes above my anaerobic threshold. Not all at once, but probably more than I would have liked to see.

I am looking forward to doing another 10k in about 8 weeks over Labor Day weekend.

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