For my seventh timed event in the past six weeks (the sixth being the South MoPac TT Tuesday night, where I had my best time yet, 19:17, 25.1 mph average), this morning I raced in the IBM Uptown Classic 10K. Unlike last week, I managed to stick to my game plan (and my legs weren't wasted from the day before), and finished in 49:27, a time I'm quite pleased with, and resets my 10K PR from the previous 50:55 set at Cap 10K in March. This race was also the first stage of the Austin Distance Challenge, a series of five races culminating in the Austin Marathon in February.
After bothering me off and on for weeks, my knee has been feeling fine since Si Labs, so I started back to midweek runs. Nothing crazy, a tempo run on Wednesday, and some speed intervals on Friday, about a half hour each.
The time trial was on Tuesday. Turnout was light, due at least partially to a thunderstorm moving into the area. I think the storm actually helped me, with favorable winds, and pushed me to finish before it started raining (sadly we only got drops, not enough to even make a dent in the severe drought). My time was fourth of the eight who did it, and incredibly the top five times were within 35 seconds of each other.
Saturday I only did a "short" 36-mile ride with the group from my gym, followed by a 2-mile run at a moderate pace. I probably did a lot more sprinting than I should have on the ride in order to keep my legs fresh for the run today. It's not that the group was so fast (they were no slowpokes), I just felt like going off the front. At one point, they even egged me on as I flew from the back past everyone.
My rough plan for the race today was to run progressively, starting at an 8:30 mile pace, and taking 10 seconds off every mile. I didn't do the math that exactly, apparently, and it was a good thing I went quicker than that to meet my overall goal of breaking 50 minutes. Unlike last week, the people around me at the start (maybe 300 people behind the front runners) did not start out particularly fast. While this was good at keeping me from blowing up by starting too fast, it made for a lot of traffic to get through to even meet my moderate goal for the first mile. I ran faster toward the end of the first mile to make up for the slow start, and ended it with 8:18. I continued to be a bit faster than target for the flat second mile, for a time of 8:08. The third mile had a water stop, where I got a sip or two, and slowed me down slightly for a time of 8:14. I was still 20 seconds ahead of my target. Mile four was net downhill, and I let gravity help me out for a time of 7:37. Despite earning back all of that elevation and another sip of water, the momentum carried me to a 7:47 for mile five. I started my kick to the end a little early- I had been on a roughly 7:20 pace for the first half of mile six, and finished with a time of 7:26 (surprisingly quicker than any of the 1-mile intervals on Friday, though that was on crushed granite). I still had some gas left in the tank, though. Once I rounded the last turn, I sprinted for all I was worth in the last stretch. I was neck and neck with this one guy for the last 1/3 to 1/2 mile of the race. I wasn't really trying to beat him, at that point I was just trying to keep pace with him. It actually helped push me when I felt like I was spent and had to slow down. He crossed the line maybe a foot and a half ahead of me. Just across the line, we both went to shake each other's hand, in a nice show of sportsmanship. Immediately afterward, I stuffed my face with every cookie, banana, sports drink, tea, etc. I could get my hands on, before making my way home.