Sunday, June 14, 2020

Weekly Sweats: Another Virtual 10k and Another PR

This weeks adventures: 20.5 miles of running, I got all of my weight workouts in, and NBD but I got myself a sweet little PR.

I'm linking up with the Weekly Run Down, please head over to Kim and Deborah to check it out.

Monday: weights and then an easy 4.25 miles. 

Tuesday: mile repeat day!  1.25 miles warmup, then 2 x 1 mile & 400 recover, 1.25 miles cooldown for a total of 5 miles.  The miles ended up being fast, my goal is 10:30 and I hit 10:20 & 10:06 but hey it happens.  Based on this and my 10k results this weekend, I am definitely going to increase the distance to 1.25 miles next week rather than try to add another rep.

Wednesday: a long overdue rest day.  I skipped my usual rest day on Sunday last week and while running 6 days in a row didn't kill me, I was most definitely feeling it.

Thursday: more speed.  1.5 miles warmup, 4 x 400 & 400 recover, 1.5 miles cooldown for a total of 5 miles.

Friday: weights and no running to rest up for race day.

Saturday: race day!  By my count it's my 9th 10k.  Let's take a detour and review my history with this distance:

May 2012: my first 10k was my first race.  At the time 6 miles was a very comfortable distance, so much so that all of my runs were 6 miles long.  I was excited to see what this racing thing was all about, I'd heard that once you got on a race course that adrenaline would take over so I was expecting to be magically crazy fast.  Uh not so much, I ran at exactly the same pace as my everyday running and my finish time of 75 minutes and change put me at 2nd to last.  Overall I felt that the whole experience was a colossal waste of $40. In hindsight it was a very difficult course but still....

June 2017: 10k #2.  By the time I got to the start line, I'd had several good 5ks and many other distances in the 4-6.5 mile range.  The race wasn't bad, it was just that my finish time was 75 minutes and change netted me a 3rd to last place finish...I mean after five years ya kinda expect a better result.  Or at least a different one.

June 2018: the same race one year later...finish time 68 minutes and change!  A solid middle of the pack result.  Ok, the 10k might just be my race after all, and I knew that it was totally reasonable to expect a 7 minute time improvement with each subsequent race.

October 2018: 10k #4, finish time 68 minutes and change.

April 2019: 10k #5, finish time 68 minutes and change...seems like there's a pattern here.

June 2019:  3rd time running the same race...finish time 74 minutes.  Whoa, this was not the direction the story was supposed to go.  2019 was all about learning that bad races happen and this was one of many lessons.

December 2019: Recovering my race equilibrium with a finish of 70 minutes and change.

April 2020: first virtual 10k. My goal was a 10:30 pace which I was on track for the first half and not so much for the 2nd half.  I mean, racing isn't supposed to be comfortable, and the 2nd half of this race definitely wasn't;-)  I never said what my time was for this race because I named the race and wasn't sure how public the results would be, but it was a PR.  Not a huge PR but a PR none the less.

Ok, whew, that gets us caught up to present day.  As far as I'm concerned, the only requirement for a virtual race is to say that it's a virtual race, but there was a "real" race behind the effort and there will be a real race t-shirt when packets get mailed out.  My company sponsors a 5k/10k every year in June and the race went virtual this year.  It's my 4th time running, the entry is free thanks to my company's sponsorship but I also donate to the cause.

Specific goals for this race:
  • Do not die in 2nd half of race like last time
  • But yes, push it and see how close I can get to 10:30 pace
  • Also, be OK with it if it isn't a PR.  I really haven't done any race specific training in the two months since my last 10k.
Race conditions: a park with a flat walking trail and yes I cherry picked a day with good weather.  I used the same workout to pace myself as the previous race.  I set my distance at 6.25 since race courses are often a bit long and as a safeguard because sometimes the various running apps that I use drop off the last few data points.  I moseyed on up to my Official Virtual Race Starting Line, which is a park bench, and pressed the start button on my Garmin.

Once the race kicked off, my mantra for the first three miles was "don't go fast...don't go fast" AND it worked.  I didn't die after 3 miles like I did in the previous race...I died at 5.7 miles in;-)  I kept the gas on through the end of mile 6 and after that I was done and just put one foot in front of the other.  In a real race there is a finish line and in a virtual race there is that sweet beep-beep from the Garmin to tell you that the race is done.

I am as pleased a punch with this race.  I felt totally in control from the start to 5.7 miles, which is a long time to feel in control for an amateur runner.  After so long of being stagnant in the 10k, it's very gratifying to have scored two PR's this year.  Just...everything is good, you know?  For the next race my goal will be to work on getting more of a negative split and a faster finish but really there is nothing that I would have done differently this time.

What's Next
Business as usual, and I'm keeping an eye out for another good weather day to get a virtual 5k in for June.


  1. Congrats on that PR!!!! As we have discussed, these virtuals are often times more difficult than an actual race course. Without the camaraderie of fellow runners, I often feel a bit too much "on my own" and it's easy to not give 110% because I have nothing (or no one) to compare it to at that moment in time. And, for me at least, I don't care as much about my finish time so I know (subconsciously) I'm not executing my best effort...but I have learned some great lessons these past (almost) 12 weeks. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Keep on with your hard're inspiring so many of us!

  2. Another great week for you! Nice job on your 10K your hard work is paying off

  3. Awesome week and great job on your 10K! You've done an amazing job of hitting PRs during this time of quarantine. All of your hard work and speed work is paying off :)

  4. CONGRATULATIONS!!! Birchie, that is so cool! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻😊😊😊
    I love how you approached this 10k and how you executed it. As Kim says above, virtual races are very tricky. Missing crowds, missing competition. But you did so well!
    I can see a sub-60 minute on the horizon....

  5. Ho hum - another 10k, another PR! Congrats!!! Way to go. I had a similar experience when I first started running, only with 5Ks. I thought I would get better with every race. That didn't happen. I did eventually get faster but it took years. Your running is going really well!

  6. Amazing job! I love how you split up the race and it really seemed to work for pacing! Congratulations on the PR :)

  7. Great job!!! That speedwork is paying off! Your recap of your first 10K is funny - sounds like my first race. Mine was a 5K and I thought, no big deal, I'm just going for a run. And then once it started I felt like, "oh no, I need to get my butt moving!! I'm racing!!". I remember sprinting with an older guy to the finish line. If memory serves, I beat him :) I did congratulate him.

  8. Congratulations! I loved your 10K history too. I must say, to be nearly last with 75 min in a 10K sounds like a very competitive race. 75 min seems “middle of the pack” to me.

  9. Congrats on your PR! It has to feel so rewarding. You've been steadily improving and it's been fun to watch!

  10. Persistence pays off, congrats on your PR!

  11. Nicely done. Great game plan and you executed well!

  12. Congrats on your PR! It sounds like you have been working really hard and learning about how to improve your times. I can't wait to see what you do when real races start up again!

  13. Congratulations! I love reading how well you are doing on your training and how much you have improved. This is going to pay off a lot when the real races start happening again.

  14. Way to go! Congratulations on your PR! I really think to achieve a PR running a virtual is hard without that race atmosphere to help push you. Well done!

  15. Way to go on the PR! Especially since you'd already tired out your body with two speed workouts earlier in the week. I'd be interested to see what you can do with a little taper time.

  16. Congrats on the PR and great job getting your planned weight workouts in this week! I think achieving a virtual PR is hard (at least for me, I rely on the race atmo to help me out there) so it's doubly impressive!

  17. whooo hooo! Training is really going well for you! well done on that PR and getting your strength training in as well!

  18. Hooray! I think you are seeing these PRs and these gains because you describe your training as being really consistent. You have been doing the work and now you are seeing the results.

  19. Congrats, your hard work and commitment is paying off!