The Capitol Hill Classic 10K one of my all-time favorite DC races. It usually occurs right around my birthday which makes it feel like a present and it has a great neighborhood feel.
This year I was hoping to PR, and I had a feeling that was definitely doable. My previous PR for the 10K was 8:12 per mile, set in December (and that included a VERY steep hill in the last mile that derailed my 7:55 per mile pace). And, I had just run a 10 miler faster. I didn’t get more specific than PRing for this race because I hadn’t completed a long run in a long time AND I’ve never really raced a 10K before.
The weather was perfect racing weather for me – low 50s (possibly even high 40s at the start). Josh and I picked up our packets the day of, which I have to say is way less stressful than I thought it would be. I’m going to have to take advantage of that service more often when its offered. It gave us time to get our bibs and then hit the port-o-potties before they got too crowded. We had a nice little jog back to the car to drop off our shirts, and to pop out of our sweatshirts. I took off after that for a quick little warm up. I did a mile nice and slow. For my last mile, I wanted to push the pace a bit with a few strides that slowly moved me towards half marathon pace. I definitely felt like I was in good shape.
At 8am we took our Oiselle Team picture. I was so happy to see so many familiar faces, and to get to meet some new (and new to me) ladies. After our experience at the Parkway Classic 10 Miler a couple of my buddies and I didn’t want to get stuck in the back of the pack, so we made our way towards the front of the start line. There are no corrals or seeding for this race, so you kind of have to catch as catch can near the start line.
The race started about 4 minutes past 8:30 and we were off!
As I said, I didn’t have much of a strategy for this 10K. I’m still feeling out my race strategy for 10Ks. I knew from running this race in the past that I had gone out too fast, which ended up hurting me around mile 4 & 5. There’s a bit of a hill at the start of mile 5 as you’re coming out of the parking lot of RFK Stadium and then a more gradual hill as you make your way up East Capitol Street. Knowing this, I decided within the first mile of the race that I would push miles 1 & 2, settle in for 3 & 4 so that I’d have some energy for the last 2 miles.
That strategy (though it was conservative) ended up working out pretty well for me. And I was okay with being conservative, because I really wanted to feel out the 10K more as a race. It felt much shorter than I had imagined it would feel. And, bonus, I did get a shiny new PR of 49:29. It’s my first under the 50:00 mark, and an average pace just under 8:00/mile.
Overall, I’m really happy with the results, and my progress. For the last year and a few months I’ve been working with Coach Mollie. She’s been a godsend. Not only has she helped navigate my crazy schedule (particularly my work travel schedule) but she’s been so encouraging about goal setting and workouts that really help motivate me. She’s currently got a waiting list, but I would jump on that waiting list in a heartbeat if you’re interested in a running coach. It’s been the change I made in my running that has had the biggest impact.
I’m going to be taking a break from training for anything specific. I’ve got some more work and personal travel coming up. I might run a 10K or 5K here and here. I hope to maintain my running fitness. In the fall I’m hoping to run a half or two, but I still haven’t settled on just what my fall racing season will look like. It’s a bit complicated when you’ve got a perfect storm of election year (for a journalist), fall racing, and a fall wedding. I just might have to go a little easy on myself.
This coming weekend I’ll be traveling to Blowing Rock, NC for the first session of Oiselle’s Southern Bird Camp. I went to the inaugural regional birdcamp last year and had a blast, although somehow never managed to blog about it. I hope to change that this year!