This year will be my first year running the Peachtree Road Race. Naturally, I wanted to start in style. That means that I don’t want to start in the back with the non-runners. I’m a runner now after all, right? To get in Time Group 1A you need to finish in less than 50 minutes. To get into Time Group 1B you need to finish in less than 55 minutes. My best 10K at this point was about 56:07 so the B group was my best shot.
Enter the trusty FIRST group and their training plans that led me to success with my first half-marathon. I modified the FIRST 10K training plan to work for my shortened time frame. So I spent about 8 weeks in December and January training for a January 19th 10K with the Atlanta Track Club. Let me tell you, that plan kicked my butt. I have never done so much internal whining in my life (Why do I have to run a 10-mile tempo run for a 6.2 mile race again?).
In any case, I finished the plan and come race day…I chickened out. There was supposed to be an ice storm…the race was all the way in Peachtree City (1:30 away from my home)…it was cold outside…you name the excuse I made it. All that training for naught, huh? My second chance came in the form of the Silver Comet 10K. Now this was a plan. I love running out at Silver Comet – it is a nice flat trail and there are so many points of interest. The miles fly by for me out there.
The weather report calls for cold weather and snow flurries on Saturday but that won’t happen, right? I mean it was 70 degrees outside on Thursday. I was so wrong! Saturday dawns ridiculously cold. I forgot my hat in my rush to leave the house and as I arrive in Mableton for the race it starts to snow. As I get into line to get my number, I could hardly anything with the wind and snow.
Despite the weather, the runners are in good spirits and we hit the starting line. I cue up my Nano and start the race. This time around I have a real strategy. My goal time is 54:00 so I used an online calculator to print out the mile split times and my goal pace (8:41 min/mile). I vow that no matter how tempted I am I will not go more than 15 seconds faster than my pace. I tend to peel out and go hard and then totally run out of gas in Mile 4 or 5 – not today.
I kept a close eye on my Polar every few minutes and fell into a comfortable pace at 8:30 min/mile. I am feeling really good about the race and know that I will reach my goal. The cold starts to become less of an issue as I get into the miles. In fact, I have to peel off my gloves and unzip my jacket a bit. My technical t-shirt, fleece and windblocking jacket seem like way too much clothing.
When the volunteers call out the splits at Miles 2 and 4, I am happy to find that each time I am about a minute or so ahead of my overall goal. This is fine because I am still sticking to my 8:30 min/mile pace goal and I don’t feel tired at all. I’m running the Silver Comet path that I have run so many times before and I just feel comfortable. At Mile 6, I’m still exceeding my target and I still feel great. For the first time I have not walked one bit during a race. I dig in and push a bit harder since this is the last mile. Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” kicks in just in time with .2 miles to go – that is my favorite running motivation song!
I cross the finish line at 51:09 and I am sooo thrilled! My last 10K (run while sick as a dog) was 56:09. I beat that time by 5 whole minutes. Maybe there is something to those FIRST plans after all!