When I signed up for the 100% Irish for a Day 10 Mile back in the middle of February, I had just got back from New Orleans and it was 50 degrees out. At the time, I was pretty excited for a fun spring race and to take a crack at a good time in my first 10 mile. Turns out I was definitely fooled about the "spring" part, which sort of did a number on the "good time" part. I must have forgotten this is Minnesota.
As it turned out on race day, it was about 20 degrees with around 30 mile hour winds, and just enough snow and ice to make the footing pretty miserable. Not going to lie, I was less than excited about this one (even my skier friends are saying its been a long winter). But then again its a race and everyone's running in the same conditions...and the positive thing I've learned about racing in bad weather is the worse the weather is, the more memorable the race is.
Matt Trok and I met up to run for an hour or so before the race, and got some extra miles in while scouting out a good chunk of the course. It really didn't seem so bad as we trotted along slowly, but it was pretty clear there would be sections into the wind that would be pretty ridiculous in the race.
I was a bit surprised at the pace at the start of the race when there were probably 8 or 9 guys that ran about a 5:35 first mile...seemed pretty fast on a tough day. The group started spreading out quite a bit by mile 2-3 as we came north up the east side of Lake Harriet, running on snow into the northwest wind coming across the lake. There were two fast guys up front that I sort of gave up hope on by mile 3 or so, and a third who was steadily pulling away. This is where the shorter distance is so different than a marathon or ultra...in a 10 mile or less you probably won't ever catch guys that you lose sight of, where in a longer race there's a decent chance you might see them again.
By mile 4 or 5, I was feeling pretty terrible around the windy side of Lake Calhoun, and had slipped back to 6th place and running about 6:00 pace. Thankfully, right around mile 5 is where the course turned south, the footing was much better, and the wind was mostly at the back for the next 3-4 miles. I had a Gu and eased my way back into a rhythm a bit around here and started feeling pretty good. There were quite a number of 5K runners who made the last few miles around Lake Harriet a bit of an obstacle course, and the last mile or two was pretty brutal back on snow and into the wind, but all things considered it felt like a pretty steady second half. The official results put me in third place, but it was really fourth since one of the guys far in front of me apparently took a wrong turn right before the finish. My time was 58:45.
My 10 mile PR is now almost 2 minutes slower than my first and second 10 miles of the marathon four weeks ago, but that probably sounds about right with the combination of tough winter conditions and non-tapered legs. All in all it made for a great workout in the middle of a 22 mile training run.
Next race is the MDRA 7 Mile in two weeks (hoping for a fun spring run...but planning for snow and ice). Then on to the trails!