This was an interesting/fun race for me. I the process of training for the Grand Rapids Marathon, I wanted to do a 10k race as a sort of a training test. Well it was really a training test this weekend because my training plan called for a long run of 18 miles. My thought was that I would run 12 miles on Saturday then instead of resting on Sunday, race the 10k. As it turns out, I think that process worked very well.
The race started at 8 am on Huron St. in Ypsilanti. The road was pretty flat for the first mile then started to roll a bit. If you are not familiar with Southeast Michigan, Ypsilanti is where the flatness of Metro Detroit begins to shift and there are actually hills, small hills by anyone else’s standards, but hills none the less. I did the first mile in 8:43 which I was thinking was a little fast for being on tired legs and knowing there were serious hills coming in miles 2 and 3. We made the right turn on to Superior Road going downhill and across the Huron River. This gave us a good view of the next hill we would have to climb. This was about 100 feet over the course of the next mile. I focused on keeping my cadence steady and my effort at the same level. This slowed my pace down some, mile 2 was 9:07 and mile 3 was 9:27. After mile three, the course was generally a gradual downhill to the finish. I got the pace back to 8:54 for mile 4 and was starting to cut loose for the last 2.2 miles. I made the turn from Leforge to Clark road almost at mile 5 and could see the climb that started just before the 5 mile marker. It was a rise of about 60 feet in a quarter of a mile, but I could tell at this point it was going to hurt. Once I crested the final hill it was about 100 feet of decent over a mile to just about the finish. I did mile 5 in 8:40 and mile 6 which included THE HILL in 8:23. The last 2 tenths were a trick. The finish rose 13 feet in that last tenth of a mile and it felt almost as hard as THE HILL. I managed to continue running hard through the finish with a time of 54:58.
That was good enough for 12th in my age group and 92nd overall. It was a fun race and I was happy I was able to find the strength to negative split the race. I did have very little energy left for the rest of the day and was very thankful that I would be taking Monday as a rest day.
Today is the day I officially registered for the Grand Rapids Marathon. I have set my goal as 4:30 which will be an hour and 15 minute improvement over last year. I do feel like I am much better prepared as a runner this year. I will top 600 miles for the year this week, which is more miles than I ran all last year. Although my longest single runs are still on the short side, that will be remedied this month. I have a 20 miler on the schedule next weekend followed by 18, 18, and 20 before the taper starts. I will be using the Marathon Nation pacing guidance like I did for my earlier half marathon. Next step is to get a hotel room reserved.