Distance Series 10 Miler (1:10.07)
The Distance Series is one of my favorite local races in Virginia. Since I grew up in Hampton Roads, I always have both family and friends racing. The Distance Series has three races from January to late March to get ready for the Shamrock Half Marathon. There are 10/15/20 milers in the series or the shorter series 6/10/12.
The last Distance Series race I ran was in 2018, the 15 Miler. It was one of my best races in 2018. Usually, January is dreary and I like to take a short trip out of New Jersey. This winter has been mild, and in fact, the Distance Series was hot. I haven’t run a January race that was 65-70 degrees and humid in a long time (maybe ever). It felt like I was running a late May race! Anyway, I still had an enjoyable time and even with the humidity barely missed my “A” goal of under 1:10.
Dad and I arrived around 8 am picked up our packets and talked to a few friends. I saw good friend Mollie and we decided to warm up together. It was hot and to be honest; my body didn’t feel great. We jogged about 2 miles and then headed to the start.
The Distance Series 10 Miler went off promptly at 9 am. It runs on the Dismal Swamp Trail, which is a boring, flat, trail next to the Dismal Swamp. In the summer, it’s insanely buggy. The last time I ran there was the day before my wedding in 2015, my how time flies.
My A goal was to run a 1:10. Based on my 10k, my VDot indicates I’m in between 1:09-1:10 shape right now. I knew the weather was not ideal, so it was a stretch to run 1:09. I hit the first mile in 7:01. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed, but I evaluated how I was feeling and knew I needed to run conservatively, otherwise it would be a death march to the finish.
I ran the next mile of the Distance Series 10 Miler in 6:57. I felt better about it. For the most part, I was running alone and just lost in my own thoughts. The 6 miler and 10 miler were together until mile 3, so it was tough to know who was running what. I wasn’t running for a place but more to see what kind of fitness I was in.
I crossed the third mile of the Distance Series 10 Miler in 6:57. I felt decent, but my legs were still stiff. I noticed we had a headwind, so I thought, wouldn’t it be nice if the last 5 miles were tailwind…then I realized, did I really want tailwind with how hot it already was?
The next two miles of the Distance Series 10 Miler went by without much note. I was just plugging along. Around mile 4.5, I saw the leaders heading back. I couldn’t tell if it was a tailwind. All I wanted to do was get to mile 5 to find out if it was a tailwind. I crossed mile 5 in 35:10.
As we headed back, I realized it was no wind. The air was a standstill and the humidity was high. I felt like I roasted the last 5 miles of the Distance Series 10 Miler. I just plugged along. Running in the Dismal Swamp can be mentally challenging because there are mile markers by the .25, so you literally count down. It felt like it was dragging.
As I was heading back, I grabbed Gatorade at the two remaining stops. I ran mile 5 in 7:01, followed by 6 in 6:57. The miles felt like they were taking forever; I just wanted to be done. Something happened that I’ve never had happen before and that my leg started to spaz out a little bit. I think I was cramping due to the heat. Once I grabbed Gatorade around mile 7.5-8, it felt better.
The next few miles of the Distance Series 10 Miler were uneventful and I ran a 6:59, 6:58, 6:59. I wanted so badly to be under 1:10, but I realized due to not running in a perfect line and adding almost a 10th of a mile, I wouldn’t be there. I crossed mile 9 at 1:03.15, and I knew I would need to haul butt to be under 1:10.
I felt like I was powering during the last mile of the Distance Series 10 Miler. I passed a few of the six miler races, but I had tunnel vision to the end. I saw the clock ticking 1:09.45 and I knew I was just a little bit off. I didn’t let that dampen my spirits and I still powered to the end. My last 30 seconds was about 6:12 pace. I crossed in 1:10.07.
Distance Series 10 Miler Thoughts:
I’m happy with my effort at the Distance Series 10 Miler. If it was better weather, I would have run under 1:10 but can’t change the weather. My effort was there and I was much more consistent. I didn’t “fly and die,” so I was happy with that. Plus, the last time I ran a 10 miler in October, I ran a 1:15.
I’m looking forward to my next race in a few weeks (a 5k).
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Questions for you:
How was the weather near you last weekend?
What is your favorite distance to race?