This morning, I ran the DC Running Club‘s “My First 5k/10k.” Okay, so technically, it wasn’t my first 10k (but actually only my second), but I wanted to run it as a part of my training for my DC Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon which is now only a month away.

The race was on the C&O Canal Towpath in Georgetown with an out & back course and everyone starting at the same time. After having mostly run larger races, it was refreshing to do a community race without frills. No chip-timing, no water stations, no sponsor stations. They had a bunch of adorable children, though, as the race was free for all children 16 and under. The youngest one was not even 2 years old!

In my years of running (which btw have been spread by 2-3 year stretches of not running), this is the first year that I’m focusing on speed or any running goals besides just to get to the finish line. Like I outlined in my 13-week Running Goal post, I actually want to train this year. I’m happy to report that I’m still on track with my mini-goals in my plan, and reached a milestone by getting a sub-1-hour time on my 10k! In fact, I ran a 54:40.951, beating my first 10k time by a little over 10 minutes.

And I placed first among females and eighth overall! My bib number was lucky, I guess.

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So how did I do it? I kept in mind everything I’ve learned from training so far.

1. Efficient running form

I spent most of the race singing Rhianna’s “Umbrella” to myself, because I know it’s about 175 beats/minute from my Spotify running list. I wanted to keep my stride-length in check, and that rate seems to jive with my body well.

2. Running mindfully

I focused on the sensations that were going through my body as I ran, but tried to keep from judging or labeling the feelings too much. Focusing on the breath when you’re panting away might seem crazy, but it helped me to feel the rhythm of my run.

3. Aim for negative splits

I was a little worried about this one at first, because I started the race at the very front. (It was really a small race, like I told you). There were two women who were ahead of me the first half of the race, and I got the feeling that I could pass them, but I made myself wait until mile 4 and 5 and ended up with a time ~30 seconds faster at the finish.

4. Smile

At 2 miles left to go, I must have lost my mind a little. I came up with a silly phrase, “the 2 mile smile,” and forced myself to smile until the kick.

5. Kick it

Every race I do, I absolutely have to put in the kick at the end. I saw a man running in front of me at a steady pace and decided that I definitely needed to beat him. So I did. 🙂

So these were the victories from today’s race. On the other hand, the aftermath is something I’ll have to write about in another post, because there’s plenty of room for improvement on the recovery side.

 

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