Just one week after PRing at the Dulles Day 10k on the Runway, and another seven days after dealing with being sick, I headed to the start line of the Clarendon Day 10k. I only ran once in the week leading up to the race, and had no intention of running a fast race or attempting to PR again.
But somehow I did. Somehow I knocked another two minutes off of my fastest 10k finish time. How did that happen?
In order to ease race morning stress, I headed into Clarendon after work on Friday to pick up our bibs and race shirts. Saturday morning, we planned to leave our house early in order to leave enough time to make the 25 minute drive into Clarendon, as well as to find parking. Since the 5k started at 8:00 a.m., I wanted to ensure that we didn’t have to stress about maneuvering around closed streets or searching for parking. We easily found parking in a garage about two blocks from the start line right around 8:00, and leisurely made our way towards the start line.
At 9:00 a.m., the 10k started. The course had us running east through Clarendon towards Rosslyn. The first two miles were almost entirely downhill, and when I realized that I had run the first mile in less than ten minutes (9:33 to be exact), I knew I faced an uphill battle in order to finish strongly. By the time I made it out onto Route 110 headed towards the Pentagon, my pace gradually decreased and the race became a mental battle for me.
In addition to still overcoming being sick, and only having run for 25 minutes in the week leading up to the race, the other battle I faced was the blazing sun. The temperature heated up much faster than I had expected it to, and most of the course lacked shade from the sun. This race was one of the most mentally challenging races that I have run.
Part of how I was able to PR was due to Preston’s encouragement to try and limit my walk intervals to only 45 seconds. While you’re never supposed to try anything new on race day, I broke that rule, and it was for the better since I’m not sure I would have been able to cut two minutes off of my previous PR without having done so.
After I passed the mile five marker, I knew that PRing was quite possible, despite the mental and physical obstacles that I was facing. During the last mile I increased my run-walk intervals from 3:15 min run/0:45 walk to 4:15 run/0:45 walk. The closer that I got to the finish line, the more confident that I felt about being able to PR again. Preston was standing just in front of the finish line (he finished about ten minutes ahead of me), and cheered me on to the finish line. And at 1:06:02 I crossed the finish line of my sixth 10k, and met my A goal.
Immediately after crossing the finish line I spotted several DC area bloggers. Nothing like celebrating a PR with a group of fabulous women!
Despite how physically and mentally challenging this race was, I definitely want to run it again. I’m not one to shy away from challenges, and I’d love to see what I’m able to do on this course in another year!
QOTD: What is the most mentally and/or physically challenging race that you’ve run? Would you like to run that race again?