TC 10 Mile! I don’t even know where to start! It had an amazing race last Sunday!
I feel like I had been training all summer for this race. I guess you could say I had been since I went straight from triathlon training to focusing on the TC 10 Mile. I believe I mentioned it before but I hired a new coach, Beth, this year. When I hired Beth it was for the triathlon coaching but then we rolled into TC 10 training.
We had to cut my training back a little due to the Posterior Tibial Tendonitis I have been dealing with since June. Due to that, Beth decided to have me follow a 10K training plan to keep the mileage down. I fully trusted her, but I would be lying it I said I was concerned I wouldn’t have the endurance for the full 10 miles. Then add the fact that she figured out my heart rate was running to high when I ran and we implemented heart rate training, I wasn’t at all confident TC 10 was going to be my best race.
However, as the race got closer and closer just seemed like everything was clicking! I was feeling great, my runs were going well, and I just had a confidence I couldn’t explain. I had never gone into a race feeling as prepared or ready as I did going into the TC 1o Mile!
I often have a conversation with myself the night before the race to set goals and expectations. More so, so I can keep my expectations in check! I like to push myself and sometimes I can take it a little too far. So I made the decision based on my training and race plan that I would be extremely happy with a 2:07 finish time.
Race morning was an early morning, the alarm went off at 4:30 am. That is the earliest I have had to get up for a race within the Twin Cities metro area. Anyway, TC 10 is a point to point race, starting in Downtown Minneapolis and ending at the state capital in St. Paul. I parked in Minneapolis since runners could ride the lightrail for free, I would just ride the lightrail from the capital to where I parked.
I made my way to the start area, and let me mention it is a huge area! There are four corrals that all start on different streets so I need to find where my corral was. After finding that, I found the port-a-potties and waited in line. Now let me say, that I didn’t wait long because Twin Cities in Motion did an amazing job of anticipating the runners needs! When I got out, it was close to start time, I made my way to my corral. I was in corral four, which is the slower runners and the runners who neglected to include a time in their registration. Beth wanted me lined up in the front third of the corral, since I was running by myself. She felt like if I was a little slower than the other it was fine since I was only one person to get around.
The official start time was 7 am but I my corral take off until 7:20 am. It was cool that morning so the first mile was tougher than normal since I was colder than normal due to the standing around waiting for the start. When I saw the time for my first mile (12:09) I had to reconsider my approach. I was supposed to be start the first few miles at a 13:00-13:30 pace, but I figured that I would get out of the crowd and then pull back to get into my pace window.
Well mile two (12:29) and mile three (12:24) were over before I realized it. I started to get a little worried at that point, I felt like I was probably pushing it a little too soon. At that point, I made myself pull back, or so I thought. Mile four time flashed on my watch, 12:43, a little better. Now, we were getting into the really pretty part of the course and there was getting to be more and more spectators. At mile five (12:41) and a half I realized that I hadn’t fueled. I took in some of my jelly bean in order to stay ahead of a crash.
Prior to the race the plan was to make the judgement call at mile 6 (12:42) on if I was going to speed up. Since I had been faster than planned the whole race I decided to keep the pace at where I had been and make the call at mile 8. Mid-way through mile 6 I ran into a friend I had made through Facebook for the first time, yes we had never met in person. So we ran together for a way then I decided to keep going when she started walking. I don’t remember much about mile 7 (12:23) because I was having an internal fight with myself about how I was going to run the last few miles.
Finally, mile 8 (11:46) and I decided I was going to let my body make the call. I had put the training in and felt like I knew when I was comfortably uncomfortable and when I was just plain uncomfortable. Seeing 11:46, concerned me because that was 45 seconds faster than we ever planned on my going but I wasn’t going over think it I was just going to run.
And that is exactly what I did for the last two plus miles. I far exceeded any expectations I had for myself. Mile 9 flashed on my watch, 11:27, okay well that mile felt good, keep going is what I thought. As always, when mile 10 came up on my watch I still had a little bit of the race to go but not much. But I had to do a double take when I saw the time, 10:53! All I could think was there is no way that was accurate. I don’t run full miles at 10:53 especially not the LAST mile of a race. Then I was at the finish line and my watch said 2:02:21. A full five minutes faster than I had planned!
The thing that amazed me more than anything was that I felt amazing after the race. I didn’t feel like I had killed myself, like every other longer race I had run. I had about every emotion in the book as I made my way to get my medals and finisher shirt. I had decided after running Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon that I was done with distance running after the TC 10 Mile because I wasn’t getting faster and wasn’t enjoying distance running. But due to Beth’s coaching and my following her training I have a completely different outlook on distance running! I can’t wait for my next long distance race (two weeks when I do the 10 mile at the Monster Dash)!
Between the well planned and supported race/course, the beautiful course, and me being prepared for the race, TC 10 Mile will stand as one of my favorite races. In fact, I will just say it, it is by far my favorite race I have ever run!