I love feedback. Leave a comment below!

Lawyers Have Heart 10K

Summer In The City Ah, Georgetown on a warm summer morning! Alright, technically it was a muggy spring morning. There's still nothing like waking up and running out your door to take in the sights and sounds of the city on a Saturday morning. Seeing those souls who are out and about on bicycles or walking their dog or baby or both, gathering at the Farmer's Market on Wisconsin Avenue or strolling to the nearest Starbucks, for me it's a tiny reconnection with humanity.

After our 25-minute warm-up run to the waterfront, we wriggled our way through the crowd. The Lawyers Have A Heart 10k used a wave start. Bright orange construction netting stretched between wooden poles clutched by antsy pace group leaders kept entrants from surging ahead. Brilliant! We sort of started in between Wave 1 (8:00 minute mile pace and under) and Wave 2 (runners expecting to finish in 50 minutes or more). Based on our respective finishes, that was probably about right.

The Course It was a very fast course, an out and back that ended in a long downhill. No chance of getting lost and no trail markings, but not once did I fail to muse "how about that" at the sight of a big number on a sandwich board every mile!

Race Strategy - The Good: I've been doing more speedwork this year, and lots of core and hip work that has made me feel stronger and has noticeably improved my running form. I
wasn't sure how fast I could run, but I was optimistic. I'd had a strong and smart race at the Lehigh Valley Half Marathon, and felt I could have started my finishing kick earlier as I passed so many people and still had a long sprint in me as I rounded the track.

The Bad: I had gone to bed late all week leading up to the race. According to new research, simply
getting more sleep can improve athletic performance.

The Ugly: The night before I indulged in wine and cheese and brownies and a beer and dancing at the Gipsy Kings concert and didn’t get to bed until after midnight. I hadn't followed a 10K-specific um, any training plan.

Last-Minute Race Strategy I decided I'd give the race my best effort and consider
it good speed training.

The Race After about a half-mile into the race I felt like I could run a pretty good race. A 10K pace should be tough but sustainable -- I know it when I feel it -- "moderate discomfort." I tend to run too conservatively, so I tried to stay at that cardiovascular threshold while paying attention to how much energy my legs had in them. There is always the danger of not respecting the distance when you are used to running ultras. Six miles can be a long way! I’d just read another great article about Jeff Galloway's
run-walk method, which I’d used to complete my first marathon. I decided I'd put that into play. I walked briskly for 30 seconds every mile, which was about every 8:30. My legs enjoyed the rest and really felt rejuvenated when I resumed my running pace.

I spied my husband Tom running toward me on his way back from the turnaround, cruising at a brisk but controlled pace. He looked great! I'd just been sucking down the single GU stashed in my pink Gym Girl running skirt pocket, and was glad he hadn't seen me walking.

Delusions of Grandeur A few minutes later I reached the turnaround and then the 5k mark at 26:56 on my watch. The wheels started to turn. Did I have a shot at a Personal Record? What was my old 10K PR? 53:something. I think. Could I run even splits, or faster? My legs still felt strong, but I was running near the limits of my ability and wasn’t sure If I would be able to maintain that pace for another 3.1 miles.

The Wheels Came Off It didn’t last long. A debilitating side stitch derailed my progress just after mile 4. I can't remember the last time I had a side stitch. Ultra marathon running is a totally different sport from road racing. I simply don't run hard for any length of time except during my mile repeats, and then I get to recover every m
ile. I tried running with my arm above my head and sucking in my abdomen (I still remember a few of those road running tricks!) but I was forced to slow to a walk, gasping and ow!-ing for a good two minutes before I could resume. After that I couldn’t bear the thought of walking any longer so I started running, and it slowly dissipated. I was disappointed at the time I had lost, but reasoned with myself that I could not expect a flawless race today. I had not focused on it enough to expect to earn a PR. I decided I would run my best from this point on to the finish, and cheerfully. And truthfully, I was glad to be out there, testing my mettle. And not getting rained on.

The Finish My official time was 53:41. I managed to run the last mile and a half at what
seemed like a respectable pace, but it was hard to tell. My legs were all but done. I pushed it hard but not as hard as I could; the sensation of nausea was beginning to simmer and I wasn't willing to give this race a lung-searing, eye-bulging, cookie-tossing, all-out effort. I didn’t have much of a kick at the end despite the aid of the downhill ramp leading to the finish line. Maybe that meant I had found the right pace for the bulk of my race. Maybe it meant wine should have been consumed less freely.

Tom finished in 49:12 which was good for fourth place on my law firm's team. I'm pretty sure he really earned second place based on race photos, but that's another story!

It had been so long since my last 10k I wasn't sure if I had notched a PR. After I rifled through my dusty ‘Running’ folder for old race numbers and Googled my name for finish times, I foun
d the answer: My 10K PR was set in (zoiks!) 2003 at the St. Patrick's Day 10K. I was 21 seconds faster. Looks like I now have a new goal!

After the
Highlands Sky 40 Miler this weekend, that is.

Next blog topic: Can one train for
The Ring and a 10K PR concurrently?


  1. I had a hard time getting over the "my husband seriously didn't sign us up for this" feeling in my gut but I loved the post. I love that race. I started running it when it was so much smaller. The last time I did it, it was so full I actually missed the start while waiting in line at the port a potties. I love your reaction to seeing your hubby. Mine caught me at a stop the other day in my long run as I was trying to change my music. I wanted to spit, I hate him to see me walking or stopped. Can't wait to read about the Ring.

  2. Kiri - Thanks again for being a wonderful pace-setter at Highland Sky. It was a huge help getting through those last 10 miles. Despite my prior statements against running anything further, I'm hooked. Any chance you and VHTRC are running the Washington DC North Face Challenge (50 miles) September 19th?

    - Dave S.

  3. Ha! Just found your blog. I love downhill, and I LOVE sushi. Got some reading to catch up on now. ;)

  4. Dave, I was SOOO impressed with you at Highlands Sky. What a great attitude and toughness you had! What an epic ultra to have as your first experience! Not too many VHTRC'ers run the North Face race, but we hope to see you again! Check the VHTRC website calendar for tons of (less expensive) ultras.

  5. I loved this.. great read and made me smile!


I love feedback. Leave a comment!

Follow by Email