I Hate 10k Races

Pacific Palisades 10K

7/4/2011

1st Place Overall, 32:48

I feel as though I have used this title in the past, but let me reiterate, 10k races hurt.  There is not one second in a 10k that you can let off the gas.  I describe the Palisades 10k as Down, UP, Down, Up, Up, Up, Down, Up More, and Down a little.  I last ran this race in 2005 shortly after moving to California from Chicago.  All I remembered was the infamous switchbacks which lead to the top of Will Rodgers Park around mile 4.  I had forgotten the rest of the course.  From what I had been told, it was the toughest 10k in the Southern California region.

There was a solid field of runners present at the race.  The problem is, the 10k and the 5k start at the same time so I had no idea who I was racing against until almost the 2 mile mark of the race.  Cortney was not racing, but the two of us ran the first couple of miles together as a warm up before the race.  We noticed that the first mile was downhill.  I knew I was going to slow down on the switchbacks at mile 4 so I was going to have to try to make up for that loss of time in this first mile.

Sugar Ray Leonard shot of the starting gun and I was off.  There was a Corvette and two police motorcycles leading the way and I was off the front from the start.  I hit the gas the first mile and stayed true to my race strategy.   I went through mile 1 in around 4:45, then the road instantly shot up.  We climbed mile 2 to Sunset Blvd. turned right, went down a bit, then started a climb that seemed to last forever.  I didn’t let up. I drove my knees and made it hurt.  I was doing this race as a time trial to see where my speed was at.  I have been putting in a ton of mileage as of late and I wanted to make sure my speed was not suffering.  I came in this race fatigued off of a hard weekend of training.  Between Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I had run over 30 hard miles, swam 8500 yds., and rode 100 miles.  Now, at the beginning of this climb on Sunset I was feeling all of it.  I kept telling myself, “This is your job now Jim, you HAVE to do it.”  I kept driving and pushing the pace.  I didn’t look behind me once.  Even when I hit the switchbacks, I just put my head down and drove my knees up the hill.  If someone was going to catch me, they were going to have to work harder than I was.  I made it to the top of the switchbacks, pressed hard to the downhill and worked the short steep downhill as hard as I could.  I hit Sunset again and made a right to begin the last mile long climb.  As I was climbing, I was passing the field of runners going the other way.  Being a LA Tri Clubber and a locally grown Professional Triathlete I was getting words of encouragement from thousands as I passed. This was an awesome feeling.  I wanted to puke at this point, but these kind words kept me moving towards the finishline.  Once I hit mile 6, I heard a spectator say, “I can’t even see the 2nd place guy.”  I knew I had the victory, and I started to cruise to the finish.  I remember seeing Craig Alexander come in last week at Ironman Coeur d’Alene with the police escort and the hoopla and I was thinking, “Wow that’s pretty cool.”  This week it was me.  I was hammering down Sunset Boulevard through the Palisades on streets lined with cheering spectators, a police/Corvette escort, and I was tingling with excitement.  I didn’t let off the gas, I hit it hard to the finish, and crossed in a time of 32:48.

My run has really been coming together as of late.  I ran a 1:10 half marathon last month, I just ran this tough race in a fast time, and my weekly mileage is steadily increasing.  I have decided to put my focus on running for the next few months with hopes of qualifying for the Olympic Trials in January.  Easier said than done.  It will be a ton of work, but I think it’s worth a shot.  I will still be triathlon training, but it will be run focused.  I have been invited to go train with the Mammoth Track Club, so I will head up there and train with the best in the world in a few weeks.  That should be an experience.  My next race is Chicago Rock and Roll Half Marathon August 14th.  Like I told myself, this is my job now.  I am no longer working in corporate america.  I train, I race, and I coach.  This is my passion and I look forward to putting all I have into what I love.  It was great seeing everyone out there yesterday.   It is always inspirational to race with so many friends.  RACE HARD!

Mile Splits

1. 4:49/mi

2. 5:23/mi

3. 5:12/mi

4. 5:43/mi

5. 5:19/mi

6. 5:28/mi

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1 Comment

  1. Congrats! That is awesome that you are going for your dream. Good luck in the trials


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