May 25, 2013

Cascades 10K Firechase

Today was the Cascades 10K Firechase in Sterling, VA. This race was again my furthest distance run to date. I originally signed up for the race after talking with Derek via email about training. That meant this time I wasn't running alone. I wasn't sure how it would go. Talking is good distraction, but I didn't know how well I would be able to talk, given being out of breath. In addition, I always feel that my music helps me run, so I didn't know how I would do without it. Derek asked me my goal, but I didn't have much in mind. I mainly wanted to finish (not that I thought I was in danger that) and come in sub 14 minute pace.

Would I finish? Would my ankle hold up? Would Derek get shot with nerf guns? Read on...

The Race

Pre-race ready.
Pre-race ready.
The race was another 8 am start. Derek picked up my bib, since the store was near his house, which saved me that hassel in the morning. I had to drive about 25 minutes to get to the race site, which was not as easy as walking around the corner. The page for the race felt less organized than the Rockstar 8K. There was less information; the map was a little unclear (it did a weird loop partially around on itself, but not quite) and parking was split among several areas for availability but without a map or addresses to show the various locations. In the end, I parked in a neighborhood street nearby, as many did, so it wasn't a large problem.

The weather was crisp and cool. I was wearing long sleeve Under Armor and shorts, figuring once I got moving, I would be plenty warm, but it was definitely cool enough to warrant the sleeves, even using the "10 degree warmer" rule for running dress. Even though it was cool, it was bright and sunny, which made for a nice run. It had been raining in the past days, so I'm glad it cleared up.

Start and finish line.
Start and finish. We did consider
jumping into the trees and waiting.
Having someone to run with and chat with was different. All my runs had been solo, so I have my music playing, headphones in and try to just run and tune other things out. Running with someone else I wondered some different things. Would our paces match up? I run my 30 and 30s, but I didn't know if Derek would want to do that or if he would try and just run it all. If we did the 30/30 together, would I even be able to chat or would I be too short of breath to be effective. I've done better with running, but frankly, I'm not in that good of shape. Haha. Would the lack of music effect me? I still needed to have one head phone in, because I need the interval timer, and I like to have the splits every mile. In the end, Derek decided to try the run walks, because he hadn't exactly prepped for the race. In fact, he may have said that without me there, he probably would have said the hell with it, getting up that early in the morning. I was glad that he was there to make me run, and I there to make him run.

We did the intervals together. We also, at Derek's suggestion, would occasionally pick a point to run through, such as a corner, a sign or the mile marker. They usually took us beyond our 30 second mark, but never more than an extra 30, at which point we would give an extra walk to even it out. At many moments, when one of us would suggest to run to something, or just that it was time to run again, we would reply "Ok. And I hate you." The reply would usually be "I hate me too." Then, there was the time at a water break Derek decided to peg the poor guy picking up the water cups in the head. The temperature of the water was apparently 2 degrees too warm for Derek's liking. As we kept running, we left the poor man laying on the ground, head in hands and the sound of tears. The tears fueled Derek's running though. (Some of this account may have artistic liberty to what exactly happened, but it is at least fairly close to accurate).

We kept quite a good pace while running. When I say a good pace, I mean a great pace for me. Two of the miles were sub 13 minutes per mile. Three of the miles were fastest than my single best split, with a fourth only 7 seconds more. I could hardly believe the pace we were taking and keeping up. The first mile split cam in at 12:20! I didn't think I heard right at first. Even our slowest, the last came in at 14:13, and that was largely due to the largest hill of the race. I'll take that.
Official time: 1 hour 24 min and 41 seconds. 
Success! Now. There is one thing with the official results I am not completely happy with. And that is Derek's name written directly above mine. At the very end, right at the line, Derek did the little arm out in front of me to secure the victory. Time wise, it put us even, but it gave him the placement. I'm proud of the move, and would expect nothing less. Just disappointed I didn't think of it first.

According the official results, I averaged a 13:40 min / mile. I'm so happy with that. Kept the sub-14 with the extra distance. So happy. And with my phone, it gave me a 13:13 pace, getting me sub-13:30, which I am ecstatic with. It's great to see my improvement. I enjoy the races. Even if it's the distance I'm supposed to do the day anyway, it gives a good sense of accomplishment. Every time I increase my distance, it feels good though too.
Official Results. Damn Derek.

How's the Body?

I felt good upon finishing the race. After the drive home of having been in the car for 20-30 minutes, my knees were a little stiff getting out of the car. All in all, nothing felt too sore muscle wise. The ankle was fine. If anything was sore, I'd have to say my knees, but they were more just stiff after sitting for too long. I'll call that a victory.


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