Stanford Invite 10,000M Race Recap

This week's stats:

  • 41 Miles
  • 2 days off
  • 10.7M with 3 x (1000m, 300m jog, 400m, 300m jog), 2 x 200m with splits of  314, 1:44, 74.5, 1:48 | 316, 1:54, 73.6, 1:56 | 3:15, 1:51. 72.8, 3:09 | 35.0, 34.3
  • 10KM Race for Lifetime PR:  34:18 for 14th place in Section 2 

It is never too late to run faster than you did when you were in college at the ripe, young age of 22.  Exactly 10 years after my last 10,000m race on the track - which, by the way, was an absolutely craptastic run in 36:18, the slowest of my college career - I ran a PR.  To make things even more mindblowing, I ran this PR on the SAME track that I had last raced on - at Stanford!  

 Photo courtesy Tom Tayeri

Photo courtesy Tom Tayeri

Needless to say, it was a pretty special night out there to run on what I now consider my home track.  While I did have lots of fun, it's not safe to say that the race itself wasn't ridiculously hard - it was VERY, VERY difficult.  In many ways, I would equate running a track 10K after a 10-year hiatus to be the mental equivalent of running a marathon.  With a lap count of 25, it's just 1 marker shy of a marathon marker.  It's easy to fall asleep when there are 8 to go.  It doesn't matter that it's a lap to go instead of a mile to go.  The monotony of the landscape also played a huge role; in a marathon, at least I have the advantage of surveying unique views the entire time.   

So, what exactly happened? 

 Check out my gash!

Check out my gash!

First, I got spiked 10 minutes before the race.  Not exactly what I would have preferred to have happen right before my first 10KM in a bazillion years.  In the waiting area, I started walking forward just as another competitor did a leg swing backwards.  Her spike sliced open a gash on my upper right thigh.  I jetted off to go pee, and as I pulled up my pants, blood streaked my entire quad.  I headed to the trainer to get wrapped up to stop the bleeding.

By the time we were allowed on the track for strides, I knew immediately I would not be able to keep the gauze on my leg.  It would cause way too much discomfort and likely a very bad case of chafing.  So, I ripped off the gauze and adhesive and strode over to the start line, just as the girl who spiked me, came up and apologized.  She was a sweetheart and I assured her I was fine.

As for the actual race, I went out PERFECTLY through 1 mile.  I was settled in right behind Amy.  We could do this together.  I was in it to stay with her.  We were right on pace to go sub 33:45, hitting 79-81 through 10 laps. 

At some point, I got dropped by the lead pack.  Then I got dropped by the chase pack. 

And then I almost dropped out. 

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Not kidding, before I had gotten through the 2 mile mark, I was debating if I should head off the track.  I had a huge mental lapse in the middle of the race.  Even though I came through 5K right under 17:00, which meant I still had a realistic shot of breaking 34:00, I wasn't able to stay mentally IN it.  I didn't want to hurt and I didn't want to use my mind to convince myself otherwise.  Not surprisingly, the wheels soon came off and I ran at least 6 laps at 84 or 85s.   However, with about 8 laps to go, a woman passed me and I decided that I owed it to everyone else here watching me to try a little bit harder.   I did not want to disappoint all my friends who were there to cheer me on, and I didn't want to misrepresent the Strava Track Club, who owed Stanford a huge THANK YOU for allowing us to compete in their meet. So, I latched on to the girl and she pulled me through to the finish line. 

Even though it wasn't necessarily the prettiest of races, a PR is a PR.  Next spring, I'd love to just do the same workouts as all the other Strava Track Club girls and let Dena figure out my track schedule and give it one more shot at racing hard on the track. It could be fun to take down more of collegiate track PRs before I hang up my track spikes for good.

Ultimately, I owe a huge thank you to Dena Evans for advocating for me and other athletes to earn an entry to the Stanford Invite. I'm grateful to my huge cheering crew that knew when to yell my splits and when not to.  And I'm grateful to Tom for taking some awesome photos of my first track meet in forever!