Since I didn't get to run the 10K I planned to on New Year's Day, I decided to run yesterday's DSE's 10K Race in Golden Gate Park instead. If you're not familiar with DSE, it's a local running club that holds races every weekend, mostly in the City and north Peninsula. The races are generally small, very well-organized and have a homely feel, kinda like, "where everybody knows your name." Except I didn't know anyone at this particular race...
The race started at 9 am but I had to get there early to register. I had tried to register online but the race fee was $3 and Active.com charged a $3.25 fee. (DSE members paid $3, non-members paid $5.)
I parked about two miles away and then walked/jogged to the Transverse and JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park where the race started.
There was a short line at registration and it took all of one minute to register. I was given a band that I wrote my name and contact info on, and then pinned to my shirt. No race number, no timing chip - that was my bib!
I puttered around for about 15-min until we were gathered together for some instruction, then it was time to run!
I've made a habit of running races without my Garmin, but I had a feeling the race wouldn't be chip timed (however it was gun timed) and I really wanted to see my splits so I wore mine. But I kept it set to distance only so I wouldn't see what my pace was - seeing it tends to mess with my head.
Being a small race, there was no waves or corrals. When the horn on the megaphone sounded, we all started running.
This was my fourth 10K and I still don't really know how to run them so I kept to a pace that felt challenging but not enough to kill me over.
It really felt like the entire races was downhill but in actuality there were some small hills in the beginning that I didn't even notice.
I must've walked about 15-20 seconds on each mile. I still get paranoid about past injuries so it's almost like a security blanket for me to take a walk break just to check in that everything still feels okay - which it did.
We ran behind the Conservatory of Flowers, back to JFK Drive, and then crossed over to the middle of the park (I don't know what the area is called but it's also where the Kaiser Half Marathon course runs). We eventually came back to JFK Drive and headed west, then crossed over to MLK Drive. Up until this point I was feeling pretty good.
When we turned on to MLK Drive we hit the hardest mile of the race - all uphill. My lungs felt fine but my legs were really tired. I cursed whoever decided to make the last mile uphill. I cursed myself for working out last Friday and running stairs instead of taking the prescribed Rest Day.
I walked. A LOT. See:
I took a peek at my Garmin and saw that I had about a quarter mile left and decided to just suck it up and push to the finish.
The gun read 1:00:22 when I crossed the line. My Garmin said 1:00:19.
It was a 2 min and 25 second PR but it could've easily been more. I cursed myself for not pushing harder on the last mile (and on the previous five as well). But only for a little bit because I was still happy to have a PR!