Originally, I hadn’t planned to run the St. Augustine 10K. I wanted to – I had run it two years prior and really enjoyed it – but I forgot to register and it fell by the wayside.
However, I reached a point where I bailed on a long run, had to make it up, and couldn’t wrap my head around 11 miles all by myself. The logical thing to do was run five on my own, then join the race for the final six-point-two. While I don’t love breaking up my long runs, it seemed like it would make the most sense and help me get past the mental hurdle I was facing.
The biggest challenge I faced was logistics, due to the early start time. I thought about parking in the public garage at 4:30, and then running my five, giving me enough time to change shirts, hit the restrooms and start over, but even though it’s not exactly UNsafe to run downtown alone that early in the morning, it’s not the brightest idea, either. I also thought about two and a half miles before the race, and another two and a half miles after (parking at Vilano Bridge to give myself the distance), but then I would have to run with my bib and medal and that didn’t seem awesome either.
In the end, I just woke up super early, ran five at my house and then met up with my friends to drive to the race together.
Not ideal, but the miles were getting done, and that was what mattered.
For the first half of the race, I felt good. Maybe even great. I had started with my hands and feet close to numb from the cold temperatures, but I quickly warmed up and fell into my stride. I was running with S and D, but I found myself lost in my own head while I tried to focus on the run. The course was a little different from the last time I had run it, and once we hit the turnaround at the halfway point, I lagged a little behind them. The early morning was catching up to me, and I was familiar enough with the route to zone out: pretty much an out-and-back from Francis Field, over the Bridge of Lions, down to Anastasia State Park, and back again.
I kept plugging along, though, and managed to stick to my intervals, without taking extra walk breaks. I know my pace suffered a little, but I was able to hang on to it and managed to keep the second three miles consistent in regards to each other: a small victory.
My final time was sort of a PR. It’s complicated. My 10K PR was a little more than 1:04 at the same race two years prior. I have a hard time claiming it, however, because according to my Garmin, the course was just over a quarter mile short. I keep pushing to hit the same time in an actual 6.2 mile distance, but I’m not there yet. This 1:08 and change was my second fastest time, though, and that’s a pretty good feeling.
The after party was hosted by the local favorite Columbia Restaurant, and I was happy to load up on Cuban bread, rice and their special 1904 Salad, prepared on site.
Runners also got complimentary beer, which was especially delicious after all that hard work.
Chipping away at my final times has been a productive challenge. There is a definite boost of confidence that comes with hitting PRs and pace goals, and getting to practice in race scenarios is a great way to test oneself for the future.
Do you ever incorporate a race into a training run?
What’s your favorite post-race meal?