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10K race report: an undeserved PR

an-underserved-PR-10kBack in October, I wrote all about how I was planning to train for a fast 10K race. My goal time, though I didn’t explicitly state it, was to cross the finish in around 46:30. My goal race was to be one in a local Freeze series that took place each weekend in January. Plans are my strength. Execution is my weakness. Let’s just say, I never totally delved into training as I had hoped.

Thanksgiving faded into Christmas and — again — into the new year. Several snowstorms and cold (frigid!) weather days with wind chills in the -30 range — along with quitting our gym membership to save money — and I’d say the last time I truly ran fast was back in August, when I PRed at the 5K in 22:18.

Throughout all of these events and excuses, though, I kept up with regular outdoor jogging. I ran 25-30 miles each week, I kept up a 10 mile run most weekends, and I didn’t avoid hills or other challenges. Since I am now taking part in a coaching program, I’ve been curious to see if my half marathon goal pace is really even achievable with my current racing level.

All I had to do was lace up to a start line.

The weather was in the 30s this past weekend, and due to a snow delay, one of the Freeze 10K races had been postponed to Saturday morning. My in-laws were up visiting, so I had no excuses for once. I begrudgingly put on my gear and tied my shoes. I popped in a toaster waffle and topped it with some peanut butter. A couple sips of water later, and we were out the door.

I won’t go play-by-play through the race. It was in a local park. Three boring loops, in fact, making it the most monotonous race ever. I felt almost like I had forgotten how to pin on a race number when they handed it to me, but before I knew it — I found myself behind some familiar faces as the race director yelled “GO!”

Immediately, I had decided I wanted, no, I NEEDED to race to figure my potential. My legs were strong, my breathing was steady, and I was definitely outside my comfort zone. The first lap breezed by, the second was definitely difficult mentally, and by the third, I was ready to be done. The last .2 miles is all uphill, a cruel feature of the course, but I sprinted and saw 47 flat across the clock.

“How could this be?” I thought, as I swiftly crossed over and 47:12 splashed across the screen. I calculated immediately that I had a 40 second PR to boast. I felt lucky, like I didn’t really deserve the praise my husband and friends were offering me. Mostly, I felt happy to be back racing again.

I suppose one of my friends put it best when he sensed my befuddlement:

“Much like a unicorn,” he said, “there is no such thing as an undeserved PR.”

Written by  Ashley Marcin.