I haven't written a race report in ages but I figure an all-time fastest ever 10 mile running race deserves at the age of 40 and almost 11 months. I signed up for the Baltimore 10 miler with goal of going sub 60 after the Boston debacle. It had two things going for it, heat and the day before Father's day. The planned course wasn't exactly PR friendly for most runners due to the first 4 miles being downhill and the last 4 miles being those exact miles in reverse. The perfect go out white hot and burn out on the way home.
Leading up to the race my legs felt like spaghetti. They were just blah during the taper. I just kept up hope they would feel good race morning. The race started at 7:30AM so that's a 4:30AM nutrition start for me. I've finally have a full proof race morning nutrition plan after numerous butterfly tummies. I just get nervous so I've gone to a pure liquid nutrition drink 3 hours before with no fiber just basically sugar and electrolytes. Since I was getting up so early, I started the 50 minute drive from the house to Baltimore. I almost took the airport exit since I'm so used to the super early weekend drive to fly to Oregon.
I got to the race site and had a plenty of super choice parking spots to choose from and luckily I arrived early because parking was such a big madhouse that the race actually got delayed 10 minutes. The wait was uneventful as I just relaxed in the car. It was slightly cool but no wind at all. I made my numerous nervous Honey Bucket stops and then with 45 minutes to go started my warmup routine. I've been going even longer on my warmups lately and I think it's helped. I ran almost 20 minutes at a super easy pace and stretched. I drank my Infinit Napalm gel flask.
I decided to go with the new KSwiss K-Ruuz racing flat but this time with a thin dual layer sock. I still got a massive blister on my left foot. I just think my foot needs more upper structure as my foot is sliding around a bit.
I got to the start area about 10 minutes prior to 7:30 and started to do a few strides when they announced the 10 minute delay. I went over my race plan in my head a few more times as I passed the time. Basically the plan was to go out at a nice 5:45-5:50ish pace or easy and then really push the hills on the way back.
I always look like the biggest dork at the start line as I'm wearing my hat backwards and have a fuel belt. I was taking a gel flask of 100 calories and 75mg of caffeine with me so I could get a nice pick me up at mile 5. I just do better if I have the nutrition with me and I can just blow through water stops without worry but it's high on dork factor.
Finally we were set to go. I positioned myself in the 2nd row as based on last year's times and my goal I figured to be top 20. It was the perfect position as a bunch of folks just flew out of the gates. I just kept relaxed but man that first mile felt like forever. The really cool thing about this course was the openness. We were all able to cut all the tangents and therefore my Garmin mile splits were almost dead on the course mile splits. Overall I got 10.05 for the course. I hit the mile in 5:45..okay not bad mile 2 came a bit quicker and it read 11:30. A 30 second cushion…sweet and I didn't feel dreadful.
The course would go down and I'd lose ground to those around me but when it leveled off I'd gain ground. Stupid old man hamstring problems. I have changed my race stride to high knee lift and less shuffle/overstriding to help them. So far so good. The downhill is basically over by the time you get to mile 4. I still had my nice cushion but man mile 5 felt like a beast. It just seemed to never come but as soon as you pass the mile 5 marker the uphill starts in earnest.
I immediately started closing on people as the road tilted up. Mile 6 and some of mile 7 has a gradual uphill. Nothing major by any means. I just kept on the gas. I really was focused here to really keep my pace high knowing that just after 7 we'd get a flat section before the beast hills in the last 2 miles. You hit one just as you're approaching the 8 mile mark. I really tried to stay strong but man that was tough. I got to mile 8 and said to myself only 12 more minutes of pain. No problem.
I had passed most of the folks that were really close but I was slowly gaining on one last guy. If I got him cool but really I was focused on that clock and sub 60. The last killer hill is a good steep one just before the 9 mile mark and it just SUCKED. This is where those 30 seconds I had in the bank were being held up and robbed at gunpoint by the course.
I just kept telling myself that I had less than 10 minutes of torture and to push or fail yet again for like the 4th or 5th straight race going back to last year. I hit mile 9 at 53:13 where you can see the finish but half to tack on this loop with some more up. This is where my blister was starting to scream at me for not using enough Body Glide on my feet earlier that morning. This loop is where the guy in front of me laid on the gas and left me in the dust. I had probably close to about 50 meters but I didn't' even see him finish.
I got back to end of the loop as I rounded corner with the finish just off in the distance and looked at my watch. It read 58:38…OH CRAP!! I hope my hamstring is gonna hold up because I'm going in to full sprint mode now. No way I'm missing that sub 60. NO WAY!! Again I'm sure at this moment the dork factor went up to 11 because there was no one around me at all but here I am in full sprint.
I hit the line as the clock was reading 59:something so sweet. My official time was 59:18. 29:30 for the first 5 and 29:48 for the last 5. Pretty even split which is a shocker for me. I haven't PR with an even split ever in my entire running career. I guess we get smarter as we get older. I suspect it's I'm too old and slow to go out like a white hot bullet in those first 4 miles. I was 3rd overall OLD guy or anyone over 40 and 13th overall with the youngsters included. Not bad considering there were over 4500 male finishers so a decent sized race.
The legs feel alright not destroyed but my stomach still hurts after 12 hours as I write this. Even with my nutrition I still have just an upset stomach after a hard run. Now onto a bike taper this week in preparation for a 125 mile ride with over 16K feet of climbing next Saturday.