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My Last 10K Race

I learned a lot from the marathon I ran in 2017, most important of which was the timing of these races.

Marathons the size of Miami’s (or New York’s or Chicago’s) don’t let tens of thousands of people all just start at the same time; you start with your assigned group. In that Miami Marathon, I was in group “I,” which was after A, B, C… etc, and started 90 minutes after the posted Marathon “start time” of 6 AM. My timing was all off, my primed-to-run-at-6-AM body had tightened up, I needed to go to the bathroom. And, it was very cold (and raining) that day. I’ll bring all that activity knowledge to the 2019 event.

Until then, though, I’ve gotten into some shorter races, just to get the experience of doing them (along with the idea that I can “place” Top-3 amongst my age group in these things; Top-3 in each group get additional awards from the finisher’s medals).

First up was the Burger King Beach Run 5K/10K (I did the 10K) in South Beach.

I got to the race venue of 11th street & Ocean Drive just in time, a few minutes before the starting cannon went off. I was still safety-pinning my runner bib to my shorts when the mass of participants left the starting gates.

(How these things work: There’s an electronic sensor attached to each runner’s bib that tracks your times; your time begins when you cross the starting line — thus, you needn’t start at the same time as the starting gun. Most ambitious runners do start with the gun, though, working their way to the front of the line before the cannon goes off, to save themselves from having to weave through the mass of “regular” runners and weekend warriors. I would have done the same had I arrived a bit sooner).

I had looked up the times of 2017 BK 10K finishers in my 35-39 age group: An official time of 48:00 minutes would’ve put me solidly in 3rd place in 2017’s race, a pace of roughly 7:45/mile. While I could use that time as a general benchmark, there was no guarantee that there wouldn’t be other, faster runners in my age group this year. This, combined with the fact that you don’t know when anyone started running or what age group they’re in, is why running isn’t really about beating the next guy/girl, but about beating yourself.

So I had a rough idea of the needed time.

I knew I could beat the 48 minutes / 7:45 pace for a few reasons.

Running with other runners always leads to me running faster — I like passing people, and I don’t get passed from behind.
I’m training for a 26.2 mile race (that’s Marathon distance). 6.21 miles (the distance of a 10K) is a relatively easy distance. I can maintain the 7:45/mile pace (or close) when running ten miles; for 6.21 miles, I could run faster and harder than usual.
The adrenaline of the moment would shave at least 10 seconds off of that per-mile pace easily.

It was a humid and Miami-like 80 degrees on this Saturday morning. Perfect.

Well, the race happened. If you follow me on Instagram, you know how it worked out. Here’s the simple rundown:

I finished in 44:10, a 7:10/mile pace, getting faster each mile.
I finished Top-3 (3rd to be exact) in my age group, which netted me that second medal.
Nobody passed me from behind.

I’m done running 10Ks (let’s say, “for now”).

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