I had just run a reasonably comfortable half-marathon, so I was excited to discover the SacTown 10 was being held just two weeks later. I figured it was a good chance to get in another long distance race while I was still in double-digit shape and the temperatures hadn’t reached scalding yet.
My half-marathon pace was 10:07, and last week I did 8.5 miles at a 9:52 pace, so my goal was to split the difference and come in under 10-minute miles. That was fortunate, because a few days before the race we received an e-mail saying that 10-mile runners would have to finish in 1:45 or less (10:30 pace) before the roads were reopened. The organizers recommended slower runners switch to the 5-mile race.
Mile 1 – 9:40
Mile 2 – 9:27
Mile 3 – 9:23
My plan was to run the first mile in about 10:15, so when I looked at my watch I thought I was in for a very long day. But instead of trying to correct, I used the opposite tactic of speeding up and holding on for dear life.
Mile 4 – 9:22
Mile 5 – 9:19
Mile 6 – 9:20
The route was a double-loop, and covered the most scenic areas of downtown Sacramento and West Sacramento (such as they are). We even ran past Raley Field and the Ziggurat, built by an ancient entity that has since mysteriously disappeared – The Money Store.
Mile 7 – 9:34
Mile 8 – 9:20
Mile 9 – 9:19
Not sure what happened on Mile 7, except the route wasn’t exactly as flat as the web site claimed.
Mile 10 – 8:58
The set-up for the finish was perfect. We crossed the Tower Bridge with about a half-mile to go, the Capitol was in front of us, and it was pure flat straightaway. I was thrilled to find I had some pop left in my stride and stretched it out, passing 10-12 runners in that last half-mile.
Ecstatic! That was my fastest double-digit run in more than 3 1/2 years. Unfortunately, it didn’t translate to results in the rankings. I ended up 472nd of 683 finishers and there was a strange anomaly in the AG runners. I finished 24th of 28 in the 55-59 age group (the winner ran it in one hour). That didn’t surprise me much because the slower runners had been nudged to the 5-mile race. But if I had run the 5-miler, I would have had a 2nd place AG finish without breaking a sweat. Just goes to show that AG awards are equal parts racing and choosing the right race.
Normally you build up mileage to race, but I’m having great success building down. The half-marathon two weeks ago, the 10-miler yesterday, and now I’ve learned that there is a 12k in two weeks. Couldn’t have worked out better.
Ran the inaugural SacTown 10-Miler this morning. It was in the mid-40s and windy at the start, which was unfortunate because despite calling us to line up at 8 a.m., the race didn’t begin until 8:25.
The start/finish line was directly in front of the Capitol, and the route was mostly an out-and-back through downtown Sacramento. Actually, it was two out-and-backs, since the route had us recrossing the starting line prior to mile 2.
Nonetheless, the course was flat and fast, the volunteers helpful, and the sparse crowd enthusiastic. There were 529 participants.
I had only one double-digit training run to prepare for this race (actually, my only double-digit run in 18 months) and covered the distance at a 10:16 pace. So my goal was to finish sub-100. The organizers had special T-shirts for anyone who finished sub-80 or better.
After covering the first mile in 10:03, I knew I would either have an easy time of the remaining 9 miles, or crash and burn for starting too fast. Fortunately, it was the former. I finished in 1:35:13, with a two-minute negative split and an 8:57 final mile. That was good enough for 301st of 529, and 23/30 in the 50-54 age group.
The finish line spread consisted of Oreos, bananas and Corn Thins, which, if you’ve never had them, are like rice cakes made of corn. I ate them anyway.
I’m extremely happy with my performance, but it also signals the end of my “BQ or Bust” blog category, which must be designated “bust.” I’m highly unlikely to return to my former speed, and the new qualifying times make it moot even if I do. My training exploits will now appear sporadically under the title “Junk Miles,” since I’ve determined that from now on all my miles are junk miles.
All in all, an encouraging day and since I met my time goal, I’ll increase my Sunday long run to 12 miles.