Monday, February 24, 2014

RRCA Ten Mile Club Challenge -- Take TWO! (Race Report)

I’m pretty sure the RRCA Club Challenge 10 Miler was the last straw in my overtraining last year… the straw that broke the camel’s back my pelvis.  Four days after that race, which I ran on untapered legs and finished up with not one but eight cool down miles for a total of 20, I began to limp.  All that marathon training went down the drain, as well as any hope of running for the next four and a half months.  A pubic rami stress fracture is not an injury I would wish upon anyone – but it healed, and that experience is far behind me.

So why did I sign up for this race again?  Because it’s a great training course for Boston full of challenging hills and a well-organized event with a super fast field consisting of the RRCA groups in MD and DC.  Oh, and it was on a Sunday (a must for races this season, since I coach on Saturdays) and, well, the entry was paid for by DC Road Runners.  I shuffled around my recovery weeks so that this time around I would not be hitting peak mileage the days preceding the event.  Course redemption here we come. 

Jamie fell on the ice about three weeks ago and cracked a rib, so his training hasn’t been stellar but he told me last week that he still wanted to do the race.  We had the babysitter coming overnight since we were leaving before 6am.  So Saturday night I say to Jamie “We need to set up the guest room since Hillary will be here at 8.”  Jamie says “For what?”  I say “For the race tomorrow?”  He says “WHAT RACE TOMORROW?  I thought that was next weekend!”   I say “Um, no, it’s tomorrow.  Did you run this morning?”  He says “Yes, and hard.”  Well, at least one of us looked at our training plan.  Hey, maybe I’d actually beat him in a race for the first time ever.

We got to the race and I was still unsure of what shirt to wear, long or short sleeved. We did our warm up mile in the long sleeves,  and then headed to the gymnasium until 10 minutes before the start.    It was 42 degrees … figured I’d ditch the long sleeves.   I threw it in the car and jogged to the start.

Jamie and I stood there chatting and then got in place for the race (he up a little closer to the timing mat.)  Wait… TIMING MAT!!!!  CRUD!!!!  My bib…. and my timing strip….  was still attached to my long sleeved shirt… IN THE CAR!  You have got to be kidding me.  No time to go back and get it.  I figured I would just time it for my own sake.  Oh, I was so mad at myself!

This race is all up or down.  There is no flat in Columbia, MD.  So I had no idea how to pace myself.  Last year I ran a 1:16 and this year I hoped to break 1:15.  My goal was to hit 7:20s, but the first mile had a lot of downhill and I felt like I was barely working when it clicked off at 6:58.  That scared me a little, but this course was impossible to keep an even pace.  My Garmin consistently read under 7 for the descents, and would click all the way up to 8 or even a bit higher for the climbs.  They were relentless.  Up, down, up, down, up, down.  I am not used to the terrain and could feel it in my calves (especially the right one) by the third mile.  By the 8th mile (which I think was my slowest mile at 7:40…  it was mostly up and I was ready to clobber whomever came up with this course) the right calf was really aching, and it hurt the rest of the race.  

My Garmin had been spot on with the mile markers and so exhausted as I was, knew after I hit 9 that I had just a few more minutes to go.  I concentrated hard to keep pace, and thought how nice it was that unlike a marathon, when you see the last mile marker, that really is it – one more mile.  No “point two” to mess with your head.  Except then my Garmin hit 10 and the finish line was still a good 100 yards away.  AURGH!  Darn you!  I did see the clock still was in the 1:14 realm so I sprinted hard.  Ended up with 10.08 by my Garmin, and 1:14:23.  The timing people were right there at the clock, so I immediately went up and asked them if they could record my time.  He said “Yeah, it’s okay, we had a guy come in a few minutes ago who also didn’t have his bib, but we saw when he crossed.  What’s your last name?”  I said “Lynch.”  He said “Interesting, so was that other guy’s.” 

Of course it was.  Of course my husband would be the only other person in the race to forget his bib. And of course, even with a broken rib, he still beat me.

It’s now  Monday, I tried to run 6 recovery miles at a snail’s pace, and I officially am sure I have a calf strain.  This race hates me.  Looks like I’ll be taking it easy for awhile…

TOTALLY Flattering Race Photography 

Jamie looks a little less pained.  And he's the one with the broken rib.

Finally smiling, because I don't have to think about that course until next February.


  1. Nice work out there! Great they recorded your time without the bib. Take it easy on the calf, a few days off and you'll be as good as new!

  2. I'm in awe of your pace. And seriously? He ran w/ a broken rib?? And you w/ a calf injury? Are you Lynches super-human??? ;-) Btw- I am totally planning on coming to cheer you on in Boston. Forgot it's a "normal" day for us (meaning school/work for everyone else in my family) since we're NH and that's not April vacation week for us like it is for MA, but I think I can work out the logistics. :-)