The Mercer Island race has turned into quite an event - I ran the 8k in 2006. Today's race was quite bigger and quite and very well run. Lots of volunteers. The anchor of the race is the half marathon but over the last four years they've added a 5k and 10k and removed the 8k. The race also starts at the community center at Luther Burbank Park v. downtown which is quite nice.
I decided to run the 10k to get my tempo training primed. I have wanted to run the half marathon for awhile but due to my toe injury in January I didn't have enough long runs in me for that.
Weather was perfect - low 50s and overcast. It started to rain just at the end of the race.
Given the popularity of the run parking was a challenge - I arrived at 7:20 and got one of the last spots in the nearly Park & Ride. Glad I showed up early.
The various races start at 30 min intervals for which I much give serious kudos to the race organizers. The race started right on time at 8:30.
I walked the first mile of the race yesterday during packet pickup. I was a little worried about a transition from parking lot to park trails so I started off a little fast just to make sure I was not caught up in this particular funnel. I hit the first mile at 7:25 or so after I had settled in on a pace and felt good.
This is easily the hilliest race I've run over such a short distance - about 420 feet of elevation over the 10k. At about 2 miles I had settled into the pack of runners I would share the rest of the race with. Each mile had a hill. A couple of the hills had good downhills that allowed me to pick up a lot of time.
The finish had a nice hill just before a flattish sprint to the finish.
My previous PR for 10k was 52:00.05. As you can imagine that .05 was a tough pill to swallow. I really wanted to run a sub 50.
I crossed the finish line at 49:08 watch time.
What did I learn today? I am really glad I scoped out the course yesterday. I am familiar with the route from my cycling and knew it would be hilly. I knew it would be very hilly. I visualized the first part of the race. I visualized holding form during the race. I ran the last hill of the race during warm up so knew I had to keep a little in reserve for the finish. I ran really strong Yasso 800s previously in the week so I knew I had the speed needed to hold my pace.
Today I learned that good training is great preparation. But flexing your mental muscle by trusting your training, visualizing your race, and focusing on executing is just as important.
Two notes. First, my official chip time was 49:06 so my PR is two seconds faster than anticipated.
Second, the results for the race took several hours to post - in the middle of the night is my guess as they were not up when I went to bed but were when I woke up early this AM. I am not sure why it takes so long to post results from a chip-timed event but I will be tracking this for other races in the future to see how this race compares.