I have a bone to pick with the NCAA. Scheduling the University of Kentucky to play the late game the night before a 10-mile race doesn’t really work for me. Let’s shoot for an earlier time next year.
After a close(r than it should have been) win in a game that didn’t end until after midnight, I was still so keyed up I couldn’t fall asleep right away. I think I drifted off to sleep somewhere around 1 am. And when my alarm went off in the dark at 6:15, I did not want to haul myself out of bed and get ready for this race.
So I didn’t.
I finally stopped pressing the snooze button on my phone until 6:55. Then I slogged around putting on race clothing and getting ready for about 10 minutes when I walked out the door.
In an ongoing mission to repeat my spring race schedule of 2012, I had just one race left in the Louisville Triple Crown of Running – the Papa John’s 10 Miler. After a decent finish in the Anthem 5k and a PR in the Rodes City Run, I gave myself the goal of running this race in under 9:00 miles.
I’d misjudged how long it would take me to get to the race. After getting stuck by the world’s slowest-moving train and waiting in some ridiculous traffic, I finally found a place to park. I had planned to run this race with my friend and coworker, Becky, because we’ve been training at about the same pace. I met her and her sister-in-law, Julia, and we walked briskly to the start line on a long-awaited gorgeous morning. We tried to make our way toward the front, but it was too crowded. So we stood around for just a few minutes before the race began.
Even though Becky and I had discussed running together, within 20 yards of crossing the start line, I’d lost her. For the first several miles, I bobbed and weaved my way down the wide boulevard that runs through the southern neighborhoods of the city. I passed my friend, Shannon, and shortly thereafter, my friend, Eileen.
I was holding steady at around an 8:50 pace when Iroquois Park and its leg-killing hills rose up ahead of me. I recalled the first time I ran this race and I remembered how it felt like running up and down mountains. This time, though, it didn’t seem so bad. Part of my racing strategy lately has been to give myself premeditated 20-second walks. There’s something about this plan that works for me, both physically and mentally. For this race, I’d planned on walk breaks at 4 and 8. When mile 4 ended up at the top of a hill, I decided to keep going because I didn’t want to waste the downhill.
After my quick break, I took back to the hills, feeling surprisingly strong as I climbed the inclines and bombed the downhills as fast as I could. When I crested the final hill, I let it go on the backside and I was clocking in the 7s for about half a mile. That’s really fast for me.
The return part of the out-and-back was on the same wide boulevard that took runners into the park, and in this direction, there was a headwind that wouldn’t go away. I was still feeling good when I got to mile 8, but as luck would have it, this was also a decline. I ran a little past it and took my walk break. By now, my legs had started to get a little tired, but I was maintaining sub-9:00 miles. I knew there would be one hill left ahead. Well, not a hill but the Central Street Bridge at mile 9. And did it ever suck. I climbed about 2/3 of the way before I decided to take another walk break. I was wearing out and a quick rest wouldn’t hurt, right?
I bounded down the other side of the bridge and made my way toward Papa John’s Stadium, where the race ended on the 50-yard line. My friend, Scott, captured the video below of me finishing.
It felt like I was running way faster than it appears in the video.
Official time: 1:29:04
I did it! I hit my goal and I set a 10-minute PR in this distance! I’m pretty happy with that.
So that concludes the Triple Crown. The only race left on my spring schedule is the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon in three weeks, where I hope to hit another PR.
Until then, keep running, friends.