Caffeine, Adrenaline, Negative Split | Mistakes at the Phoenix 10k

I ran the Phoenix 10k this morning. It was gorgeous out and I was revving to go. It’s a flat fast course in downtown Phoenix with some elite runners taking part. There was a 5k (started at 8AM), a 10k (started at 9AM) and a half marathon (started at 7AM). A bunch of people did the double (5k and 10k), but I opted to do just the 10k.

I got there around 8:10AM just after the 5k started. Since there was a Starbucks right there at the start, I decided to get a Tall Chai thinking the caffeine would help me kick it up a notch. Mistake!

Richard Carmona (ex Surgeon General and US Senate Candidate) was there at the race start. I hope he wins the Senate seat over Jeff Flake (aka snowflake). At the start of the race, I ran into Caty, Josh, Caty’s sister Jamie and her boyfriend (whose name escapes me). Caty and Jamie are on my Ragnar team (coming up in February, 2013). That’s me and Caty in the picture.

I felt good at the start of my 10k. There was a bit of weaving through traffic, but nothing significant. My coach (Bill Wilson of Camelback Coaching) had instructed me to go out at a smooth pace (level 3), and then kick it up after mile 1. With the race atmosphere, a bit of caffeine in me and my adrenaline pumping, I went out too fast. Mistake!

I settled into a decent rhythm for the first 3 miles. I was feeling slightly hot at the half-way point, but I was on pace to PR quite easily. All I had to do was finish at a 7-minute mile pace and I would PR by at least 45 seconds. Perfect; I had gone out too fast and didn’t have any chance of a negative split, but I was still on pace to PR.

At mile 4, I was still doing a good pace, but my bladder started to feel it. I had to pee. I thought about the chapter in Chrissie Wellington’s book about how triathletes routinely pee in their tri-shorts. Could I do that? Er….no. I am not an elite athlete and this was not an “A” race for me. I found a potty at the 4-and-an-half mile point. Unfortunately, there was already someone in it and she took forever to get out! I wasted a good 2 minutes waiting and going potty! Yes, I am quite annoyed about it.

The rest of the race was unmotivating. I simply cruised to the finish line without any acceleration. I had also run out of steam (both mentally and physically). I finished with a disappointing 44:17 (official time of 44:07; 9th out of 107 in my age group), almost a minute outside my 10k PR. My friend Will Rossiter put it best, “You didn’t PR, but you had a Pee-R.”

Lessons learned:

  1. Don’t drink Chai or Coffee just before the race
  2. Pace yourself for a negative split
  3. Listen to Bill – he knows a thing or three about racing!
I went for Yoga at Lifetime Fitness in the evening; haven’t been there in almost a month. My legs needed the stretching after the hard run this morning. It was a hard class (Vinyasa 2 with Gwen), but necessary.

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