Monday, September 26, 2011

Capping Week #12: Sunday 10K tune up race

I woke up at 4:50 a.m. only to hit the snooze button three times. Finally I dragged myself out of bed to get ready for this much awaited 10K. Using The results today, I will be able to gauge my progress with my marathon training using Hal Higdon's plan. I know it's not specific enough for a 10k training, but I should see some improvement. A PR would be very sweet, but any kind of improvement would prove the program has done wonders for my training already.

I was reading the night before on some blog, that for a 10k there was really no need to eat too much beforehand. My routine has always been, coffee, banana, oatmeal, a toast with peanut butter. I chose to have only coffee and oatmeal today. Bad decision. I ate at 5:30 a.m. while the race was not until 8am. By the time I warmed up, I felt hungry! Aaaargh! I learned my lesson. Can you see where this is going?

The weather was a cool 55 degrees with cloud cover the whole time. The RD blew the air horn at 8:02 and we were off! I consciously paid attention to my pace. In the first mile I planned to go about 8:10-8:15 pace. I placed myself at the back of the pack to get the fast people away from me and also so that I wouldn't be tempted to run fast. This was good. When looked at my Garmin, my pace still showed 8:03. Somehow it didn't feel like I was going fast however. So I slowed it down. The pace felt good. I was relaxed and not huffing and puffing by the first 1/2 mile, right around the first and only hill, compared to all other times that I've raced this course. I was happy and proud of myself for sticking to the plan this first mile, the second, and then the third mile. Increasingly, the pace felt harder to maintain when I got past the halfway mark. Then out of nowhere, an incredible side stitch popped up. It was hard to breathe with each landing of my foot. I knew I was in big trouble. The only way I could tolerate the pain in my diaphragm was to slow down to a 9:00 minute crawl! I was mad. There was nothing I could do. I wished I could blame it on the weather, or the course. But it was all me. I wasted so much time and felt helpless as people I passed earlier were now hunting me down. It became a matter of surviving the run and just finishing. At one point, I even thought of walking over to the side and quitting. I had a good pace and now it was gone. After a while, I managed to just keep it together one step at a time. There will be another day where I can redeem myself. With 1/2 mile to go, I dusted myself up and focused on chasing down the final gal in pigtails who passed me last as I struggled through my side stitch. With two blocks I overtook her and made the final turn to the finish. The clock read 52:23. I missed my goal by 24 seconds! I was disappointed that I never once checked my watch to see how close I was.

This was not a PR, but a course record for me. This is my second best time for a 10K, having shaved a full minute from my old best time from the same course in 2005. From the most recent time I ran this course in 2009, I chopped of a minute and twenty seconds. So I guess I should be happy about those facts. But it stings knowing I let it slipped away and only 24 seconds shy of 51:00. Back to the drawing board. I don't know what I did different to get that side stitch. I've had it in training run, but never in a race. I sure would like to know how to prevent it from happening again. Hopefully it won't happen in NY!

Well, that is it for this week with just under 29 miles for the week #13 It was a pull back week so the mileage dropped a bit, about 50%. I needed more rest so I dropped 10 miles to recover. I am sure Hal Higdon is fine with that. Next week, I go back up to the 55 mile zone.
I feel like I've gathered more strength to face Week #14.

Wed-7 x hills

Happy Running!


  1. That's still a pretty good effort, Aileen. Generally side stitches come from improper breathing but the kicker is that it's almost impossible to figure out exactly when you were breathing improperly. 24 seconds is only 4 seconds per mile (I know what you're thinking, "here he goes trying to make me feel better again"). That's not too bad and it gives you extra feedback about where you are in your training and race preparation.

    Have a great training week and keep your eye on the NYC on Nov 6 (which also happens to be my birthday)!

  2. Hi Rich! I think I needed to hear that. I'm over it now, and am looking forward to my A race come Nov 6th! You are right, it was only 4 secs a mile. I have to practice belly breathing, maybe that will help. Thanks for making me feel better!