Monday, March 23, 2009

Lessons Learned: My First 10K

Official Chip time: 59:38 (!!!!)

Woooooohoooooo! I'm in shock!

Here is a list of what I learned from my first 10K...

-> Start out faster <-
Wanting to finish "strong," I consciously kept my pace slow for the first three miles. I stepped up my pace at mile 3, and felt really good when I crossed the finish line.

But...I felt too good. I definitely had a lot "left in the tank." I think I could have had a faster time if I didn't hold back quite as much in those first 3 miles.

-> Stalk-a-Runner <-
At the 3 mile-marker I decided to zero-in on a fellow runner who was running at a faster pace and follow them for as long as I could keep up.

So I picked out his tall, lanky dude with bushy hair because he was clipping along and was easy to spot in the crowd. I tried to stay within 10-20 feet of the guy. This not only amused me endlessly but helped me run at a faster pace for the last half of the race!

So, thanks lanky-dude. Sorry I creeped on you for 2 1/2 miles.

-> Walkers are a different breed <-
Walkers will line-up wherever and however they want
, with little regard to runners. There were groups of walkers, 5 and 6 wide, lined up well ahead of me and thousands of other runners. Many were lined up directly behind the seeded runners who were at the very front.

It's fine in a race of's still rude, but whatever. But with 7,000 participants, walkers that close to the front make the first mile very tricky for the rest of us. Lots of bopping and weaving, and a couple bumps.

-> Hill work is clutch <-
Most of my long training runs are extremely hilly, and the payoff came during this race. There were 2 hills (one at mile 1 and the other around mile 3) that took me be suprise.

But, while other runners started to feel the pain and slow down, I found myself gaining ground. It was great! I actually started to pass people on the hills! And while we are on the subject...

-> I'm still slow, but passing people is a RUSH! <-
I wasn't too concerned about this during mile 0-3, but then I found great excitement in picking off runners one by one.

I didn't feel an urge to "beat" anybody-- I just felt like I was running strong and hitting a good rhythm.

So, that's what I learned from this race. I'm going to run another 10K on the 4th of July, and I will be sure to apply these lessons when I do it.

Now...where are my race photos?!

I am "patiently" waiting for them...



  1. CONGRATS! SO EXCITING! you did so so welllll :) i am so happy for you girl!

  2. Wonderful to read about your experience, thanks for all the tips. Your time is AWESOME and super inspiring. I need to do more hill training!
    WELL DONE! :)

  3. 1) It's so helpful to stalk other runners! In my last half, I found myself behind some guy a little bit faster than me and I vowed to keep up...I even kept myself occupied by trying to match his pace for a while. Totally helps!

    2) Passing people is such a rush, you're right! Last weekend on a training run, I passed two boys running, and I heard one say to the other, "Come on man, we just got passed by a GIRL!" I had to turn around and smile. What cracks me up is when I see someone speed by me, and then later on they are out of steam and I steadily run right past them... :)

    3) Hill work really does pay off! I hate hills but always try to power up them, and find that they are getting easier.

    Congrats on your time!! Reading this makes me excited for my next race.

  4. Congrats!!! That is really awesome, and you definitely learned a LOT! I can't wait to see how much you have improved in July.


    You guys are the best!!!

  6. Congrats on your race!!!! I think your time is great! I definitely use your tips and they help.

  7. starting out faster is usually the way to go for me as well- I tend to have an endless supply of adrenaline on race days but hills tend to take it away after several miles until at the end when I magically get it back.

    stalking runners is the best because your focus is keeping up with that person and your focus is not how tired you feel. i love bing a stalker

    walkers are miniature, disguised devils.

    i so agree with hill work- def. a must and def. helps!

    I love passing people too- you said it so well! its not about beating them but its such a rush when you pass them like you feel on top of the world for yourself!

    such an awesome post- CONGRATS on your race!

  8. Congrats on an awesome race. Sounds like you really had a lot of fun as well as a great race.