I Have No Idea How to Race a 10K

Last Saturday I ran the NYRR Oakley New York Mini 10K and learned a lot. I learned that I still have no idea how to race a 10K. I learned that I really like men. Or more specifically, in this case, I much prefer races that include men. I’m not anti-women or anything, but I definitely like races that include both men and women.

That's A LOT of women!

That’s A LOT of women! Thanks NYRR for the photo!

I had no expectations going into this race. Let’s be honest, up until race morning, I really had no desire to even run the race. Friday’s tropical storm did not make the weather for this race seem very promising. The weather reports said flooding though the afternoon. Who really wants to run a race in the pouring rain? I light drizzle maybe, but pouring rain and flooding, no thank you! To my surprise, I woke up on race morning and saw blue skies and said Let’s Do This!

I signed up for this race because it was going to be Abby’s first race back from injury (it was actually her second; she ran a 5K a few days before). I wanted to be there to celebrate with her and because so many of my favorite people were running. I thought it would be a fun race and day. I met up with Kim, Silvia and Allison at my apartment and we ran the mile and a quarter over to the race start with a plan to meet up with Nicole, Liz and Abby before settling into our corrals.

Some of my favorite girls!

Some of my favorite girls!

Just before leaving my apartment, and thanks to some wise words from Jocelyn of course, I decided to run Garmin-free again! I have officially run almost as many races without my Garmin (three) as I have with my Garmin (four) in 2013. Thank you to Jocelyn and Meggie for helping me to see the light. And for the record, I only asked Kim once what our average pace was at the mile 1 marker. Oh yeah, Kim and I decided to run the race together. I think this is my third race with friends and while I believe there are many races you need to run on your own, when you don’t care about the outcome, racing with friends is way more fun than on your own.

Thanks for the picture Jen and for cheering!

Thanks for the picture Jen and for cheering in your purple tutu!

But anyway, on to the good stuff….

Yeah, 10K’s=not fun. I almost puked at the finish line and did, in fact, dry heave. I suppose that means I did my best and left it all out there but I will never be okay with that feeling.

Half way through the race, Kim said, “you can totally do this,” with respect to my sort of unspoken and arbitrary goal of wanting to run a sub-60 minute 10K. Up until that moment, I really couldn’t care less. The minute she said those words, and told me we ran the first 5K in 30:52, IT.WAS.ON! I looked at her and said let’s negative split this race and do it. Sure, I was still feeling really good, why not? We had just come over the second climb of Harlem Hill and it hadn’t caught up to me yet. It sounded like a brilliant plan when it came out of my mouth, but somewhere around mile 4.5 to 5 I started feeling a little fuzzy? Woozy? I’m not sure how to describe the feeling exactly, but I know it didn’t feel good. Meggie and I were chatting all things 10K the night before the race and I thought she told me that around mile 4 is the point where I should be starting to push it and see how I feel (I realized when I came home she said more like mile 4.5 or 5, oops!). I was not feeling good, but this was more than just not feeling good. I kept pushing and breathing and trying to ignore the feeling of “hey, I might actually throw up.” I was so focused on not throwing up and getting myself across the finish line as quick as possible that I barely remember hearing or seeing Abby cheering me and Kim through the finish.

I was so excited to finish. Maybe the most happy I’ve ever been to see a finish line. Someone please teach me how to be “comfortable” when you feel like you’re going to throw up. For like a whole mile. Or two.

Post race smiles!

Post race smiles!

Official finish time: 1:00:30

In the end, I PR’d by 4 minutes and 19 seconds but I’m not going to lie and say I wasn’t super bummed about those 31 seconds. I know, I know, I shouldn’t be bummed about a 4 minute and 19 second PR and missing a goal I decided on mid-race, but I was (and you know you would be too). The good news is that I’m over it now. I’m sure the many celebratory post-race, happy early birthday Nicole, glasses of champagne were helpful.

Things I learned from the Oakley New York Mini 10K:

  1. I have NO IDEA how to race a 10K.
  2. I like men in races (well, and in general).
  3. I’m loving not wearing a watch.
  4. Now, more than ever, I AM DETERMINED to go sub-60!
  5. Racing with friends is sometimes way better than racing alone (Thanks Kim! You’re the best for running the whole race with me).
  6. I’m read to get back to speedwork and get even faster.
  7. I’m ready to get back to training. I’m ready to see what my body is capable of. I’m ready to see what I’m made of. I’M READY FOR MARATHON TRAINING! 

*I’m ready to find a flat, fast, fall 10K. All suggestions are welcome.

Tell Me.

Do you prefer women-only races or racing with men and women?

Did you ever decide on a goal mid-race?

Do you love or hate the 10K? Any 10K racing secrets are welcome.



9 thoughts on “I Have No Idea How to Race a 10K

  1. So proud of you!! Congrats on the huge PR, even if it wasn’t as big as you had hoped! I KNOW you’ve got sub-60 in you….we’ll make it happen soon! 🙂 Thanks for running my comeback (part 2!) race!! Was so good to have you there!

  2. Awesome job, Beth! Congratulations on that huge PR, you’ll get sub 60 next time 🙂

    And ugh, I hate 10ks too and cannot race them for the life of me! See you tonight!

  3. No 10k secrets, but my 10k PR is currently 1:04:xx and I definitely want sub 60 next time. But I agree, it’s tough because it’s not quite a sprint but not quite a jog. Congrats on the huge PR!

  4. When you say you’re running watch-free, it seems like you still know your pace/time from other people’s watches so does it really count? Have you ever ran a race without knowing your time at ANY point throughout the entire race? Curious about what that feels like.

    • I only knew our pace after the first mile and at the half way point. Other than that I had no idea what pace we were running. I ran the Brooklyn Half Marathon last month completely watch free. My friend told me how long we had been running at mile 11 and that was the only time I knew along the entire course. I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run 100% watch free, alone, and it was the most freeing feeling. It feels amazing running without a watch! I recommend it. I’m not sure if I could go through with it for a big goal race, but I have run 4 races without it since December and I’m getting more comfortable with running by feel. Try it, you might like it!

  5. Aww shucks just 30 seconds off from a sub one hour! But a stellar PR is even better!! Loved reading this. It will happen and at this rate, it will happen soon. I was just telling someone the other day how tricky it is to do a 10k as far as race strategy goes. Oh and I’m glad you had some men in shorts to look at during your run 🙂

  6. Pingback: A Great Start to a New Year: Joe Kleinerman 10K Race Recap | Once in a Mile

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