It’s taken me a few days to write a recap for the Mt. SAC Relays 10k. Actually it’s hard to believe that the race was already three days ago. The race was Thursday, laaaate Thursday. So late that we didn’t leave the hotel and head to the track until 8:00pm, and we didn’t toe the start line until nearly 10:30pm. A time when I’m usually winding down, I was instead summoning all my energy to run the fastest 6.25 miles of my life.
Mt. SAC (San Antonio College) is an iconic host of high school, collegiate and elite running events. A sign with a flame stands at the entrance to the stadium: Where the World’s Best Athletes Compete. Among some of this weekend’s competitors included Olympians Morgan Uceny, Carmelita Jeter and Ashton Eaten, plus elite athletes from all over the world. Just being accepted into the meet was an honor and I felt very lucky to be there!
I’ve competed at Mt. SAC a total of 12 times since 9th grade, including 9 cross countries races and 3 track meets.
The 10k is tricky because it’s about pacing. Of course the first couple of miles are going to feel conservative, in order to have enough energy to power through over half an hour of racing. My previous best (okay, my only 10k time) is an altitude-adjusted 38:48. Going into Thursday night’s race, I had my sights set on 37:30 which would be six-minute-mile pace. 90 seconds per lap, for 25 laps.
The 33 girls in the heat formed a pretty solid clump, and our first lap was a few seconds slower than goal pace. There were definitely some elbows flying until we began to spread out.
The hardest part about racing 10,000 meters is being mentally tough. My legs are a lot stronger than my mind, and 25 laps is an awful lot. I have to keep myself positive for 37 minutes, because once the moment of doubt or fatigue comes in, you will struggle.
Staying on pace for the entirety of the race, I finished in 37:17, approximately 5:57.9 mile pace. I was beyond thrilled, but mostly just exhausted. My calves are still sore from wearing new spikes for such a long time, but I’m more confident about my next 10k and my abilities to run consistently.
As content as I was with my own race, I am humbled by the fact that many of my competitors were able to complete the same distance in 34 and 35 minutes.
With the first 10k of the season under my belt, it’s back to the grind to keep working hard until the conference championships!