Wait. Wrong chase.
This afternoon, I ran a 10K and not only did I PR the heck out of that shtuff but I set my first post-baby PR.
Booyah! Official finish time: 52:40.2. PR's aren't pretty but they sure are beautiful.
The JP Jones Just Plain 10K is the final points race for the Fort Wayne Track Club, and it lives up to its name as just a plain 10K. The course is (nearly) three loops of my neighborhood park, with a single, unadvertised aid station and no awards. And for a hefty entry fee of $3 for track club members, you got hot soup, homemade cookies and a honey bear.
Mark and I have been planning to run this race for sometime as a way to keep us motivated during the holidays and as the weather cooled. Mark had initially wanted to run the heck out of the race but had stubbed and badly bruised his fourth toe earlier in the week. He so chivalrously decided to pace me to a PR. Except I wasn't so sure I could PR. I had looked it up, and the last (and fastest) 10K I did was 53:06 (8:36 pace) on Thanksgiving 2010 when I was seven weeks pregnant. I feel like I don't have the base I used to and I'm not doing speedwork consistently so I hoped to finish in under 55.
As the course was three loops, my goal was to go out at a respectable pace and bring it in each loop so that I could finish strong and happy. Yeah. About that. Let's just say those first two miles were the fastest, and the fifth was more than 30 seconds slower.
Loop 1: We started out at a quick pace after cresting the hill and were moving along at what I thought was a comfortably hard tempo pace. The first mile flew by as we passed a number of people, including a spirited woman who wore jingle bells on her shoes. The second mile was even quicker but I knew that we/Mark/I was holding a pace that was no longer comfortably hard. It was just hard.
Loop 2: I knew this was going to be the hardest of the loops. The crowd had thinned out and though the sun was beginning to peak out, the wind was once again at our face. I heard footsteps behind us, and it turned out to be a fellow fitness instructor, who had also taught this morning. We chatted for a minute or so as she admitted to drafting off Mark, and she continued on strong. Once we turned toward the west side of the golf course and the sun shone in full glory, Mark and I both realized that we had dressed too warmly. In an impressive move, Mark managed to remove his middle layer (of 3) mid-stride.
Loop 3: Mark made a stop at the car, which was parked 10 or 20 feet from the course, to drop off his sweater and my phone. And then he decided to drop me. Not in a mean way, I promise. I had given him the option during the second loop to move on as my pace began to slow. The fifth mile, for which I was alone about 2/3, I decided to conserve and slow down. I wanted to be able to push at the end and not have my Subway lunch revisit me. It felt dreadful. Not just going slow but running. I was reaching the point that inevitably comes in any race or hard effort where you just want to say fig it and jog lightly when I was faced with a steep hill coming up from the river to the main trail. I powered up and, as I sighed with relief at the top, I heard someone behind me. I decided that it was time to push and hold off the guy for as long as I could. I checked my watch and with some poorly calculated math, I realized a PR was possible and it gave me even more energy to hold on.
My motivator eventually passed me in the last third of a mile, maybe, just as the finish line was in sight. I kept going and soon began to hear the chants of "Kim" from my gracious husband. The red, glaring numbers on the clock began with a 52. All I had to do was gun it and I would be a PR queen.
I nearly puked at the finish - goodness, I'm classy - and I had to walk a bit before I could think of water much less any of the delicious treats they had. And, yes, I had a cookie. Healthy Holiday Challenge be damned. I needed something and I couldn't stomach hot vegetable soup just yet.
By the way, my lovely husband finished with a 49-something - meaning he dropped a full minute per mile off his pace that last loop. And that's with running 3 miles a few times week. He's incredible. In the I want to kick you in the throat sort of way.
Because he placed eighth in his age group and I earned second. Boo-friggin-yah.