it’s all relative

The second 10k of the 2011 running season for me was today. This was also the second 10k in a matter of 7 days as well. The Capitol City Classic was an interesting route, fun, nice but a couple of challenges to it. As I was running the race, I started to think to myself I should have looked at the map and did a little homework before hitting the course. In the end I still had a good time on the route, and had fun meeting some new runners. 
I threw on my Chips racing top, bib number 1458 was pinned securely onto the shirt, and the Garmin was ready to time. The starting point was located at the Crocker Park in downtown Sacramento. With other runners lined up it was another race, a time to push and see what today had to bring for me. The horn blew and we were off onto another 6.2 miles…. well some of us were out for a 6.2 mile race, while others were also lined up for a 3.1 mile race. Perhaps one of the down sides to the first annual Capitol City Classic is that the start was both groups (5k & 10k) all at once. This made for a congested start and an even messy finish. The split between the 5k and 10k groups did not switch off until about 2.5 miles into the race, this caused for a little bit of traffic. However, for me I was just trying to stay with the lead group which I was able to do, this allowed me to not have so many other runners in the way. 
After the split around the Old Sacramento area, some of the front runners were off with a steady lead on me, and a couple of other runners were just passing me or around me at that point. I was at a good time at the 3 mile marker as I was just under 20 minutes, this is the pace I told myself I wanted to hit the 3 mile marker at. The down side to that is that I ran too fast for the first mile. I clocked a 6:08 first mile. This was faster than I ran my first mile last week. I need to do a better job pacing the first mile because that typically is what is holding my times back. Around mile 4 is where I started to struggle again, this is for 2 reasons, the first because of the hard first mile I hit, and then the second reason was when I approached the I Street bridge which has a decent little climb to it as we started to loop back around to head back to the Crocker Park area through Old Sacramento.
As I turned the final turn, the 10k runners came back together with the 5k walkers and joggers at this this point. Unfortunately, there was a little dodging and jumping while trying to get around the 5k groups that were also trying to get to the finish line. I wish they just had to different finish lanes for the 5 and 10k runners. I crossed the finish line at 43:16:55 an average pace of 6:59 per mile. Now I was slower this weekend than last weekend, but I felt like I ran a smarter race this weekend. I had hopes of running faster this weekend than at the Zoo Zoom, one of the things I did not take into account for is there were more climbs this weekend, considering there was NO climbs last weekend.
Even with the faster time last weekend at the Zoo Zoom 10k, I was able to finish (place wise) better this weekend. So in the end running races is all relative to the field. With the 43:16:55 time this weekend, I finished 17th overall and 3rd in the men’s 30-34 age division. This finish was good enough to walk away from Crocker Park with a dog tag “age group” medal, and a “Nor Cal Tour De Fit” T-Shirt. Overall a good race, though I wish I had a little faster time. 
15 weeks from today is the SF Marathon. It is time to take it up a notch, starting tomorrow cardio cross training, strength work, pool work, and of course running will be taken to another level.

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