Today I ran a 10k race in our town. The race is held in the evening, starts at 6:30 pm, it's a really nice event organised by a running club. I don't really know how many runners that took part. My guess is around 100. The race goes for two laps on parkways and roads in town. It's well organised with many people that helps around the track with stopping traffic when the track crosses roads and also people who directs you into the right path when there sometimes are many options. Many runners, including myself, use this race as a dress rehearsal for the Gothenburg half marathon.
I ran this race last year in 1:02:18 and my plan this year was to go faster than that. My 10k PR was 57:57, and I was aiming for 55 minutes this evening. I had thought a lot about a plan or strategy for this race. I think I do much better if I have a plan to follow. So my plan was to run the first 5 kms at a little under 6 minutes each km and then have strength left to speed up a bit for the second half.
This is what happened:
Just before the start I met an old friend and we chatted a little about everything and nothing, and suddenly I heard "GO" and we took off. I started my stoppwatch (I thought). I was running with my new watch because it has a memory for laptimes and I thought that if I push the lap time button every km I don't have to do so much calculation in my head. Later in a race I find that to be difficult, probably due to lack of oxygen in my brain. After about half a minute I looked at my watch and it hadn't started. I must have pushed the wrong button. OK I estimated that we were about 30 sec in the race so I pushed the right button and thought that I'll just add 30 sec to my total time and the first km lap. the other laptimes each km should be ok. No big deal.
As always, I got carried away and started out too fast.
1 km - 4:29 and add 30 sec thats 5 minutes. Still enough oxygen to figure that out. Way too fast. Have to slow down.
2 km - 5:30 Still a bit faster than I had planned. Slow down a bit.
3 km - 5:36 Better but could slow down just a little bit more to be strong enough at the end.
4 km - 5:30 Faster? but I'm slowing down, am I not? At this point I gave up my plan and formed a new one: I'm feeling great, why not go on and try to hit the 5:30 for a couple of kms more, and we'll see what I can do at the end.
5 km - 5:32 Perfect! according to my new plan. My wife and daughter applauded and cheered me on at the halfway point. That is always a source of energy. Now I really started to enjoy the evening. The weather was nice, around 15C (60 F) and the sun was shining. The wind was a bit cold but it wasn't too bad. Many parts of the track were quite nice. Soft walkingpaths - that I like.
6 km - 5:44 I walked for a little bit at the waterstop. Maybe I walked for 15 sec. Perfect again! Really enjoying this race now. Feeling strong. I think that only one runner passed me for the last couple of kms.
7 km - 5:32 I am really good at this! I even overtook a few runners at this point. I am great! I can do anything!
8 km - 5:38 not too bad. Only two kms to go, lets see if I can speed up a little.
9 km - 5:13 yes! I could go faster! ok this is it, only 1 km to go, give everything you have now Krister. I wonder if I can overtake the guy dressed in black and white a little bit ahead of me. Yes I can! go go go.
A few hundred metres before the finnish line I passed him and I felt great. My wife and daughter cheered and I finnished the race in 54:04 a new PR. I ran the last km in 4:54.
I was really tired but happy with myself and what I had accomplished.
I had a great race even if I was a bit angry with myself for not starting my watch at the right point. My watch showed 53:40at the finnish, 24 seconds off from the official time so my mistake at the beginning wasn't really a problem. I was also a bit confused when my first plan didn't work. My second plan was better. Maybe I don't have experience enough to form a race plan. This was my fourth race, so far. But there will be more. Racing is a lot of fun.