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  • Writer's pictureJessica Jones

Best 10K Ever.

Updated: Apr 8, 2018

I mean, really. An race that I love. The Azalea Trail Run (ATR). Held every year near the end of March in Mobile, Alabama. A sign of spring. Perfect timing for a final really hard run before Boston. It’s a big deal. Rich in history and tradition. Boston Billy (Bill Rogers) was here last year. He won the race its first year. And three other times. I got a signed copy of his book. Joan Benoit still holds the 3rd fastest time for a woman at the event. Elites, sub-elites, and the rest of us. All running through beautiful, historic downtown Mobile for 6.2 miles. Or 3.1, if that’s your thing. It is well organized. There is a great expo. And a great after party. Food, beer, ice cream, live music. This year it was slightly sub-par, with what seemed to be a really low turnout. There was some confusion about the awards. But I still love this event. I seriously recommend this race. Check it out:

I was originally planning to talk about nutrition this week. I talked a bit about running and general fitness the past two weeks. Nutrition is the third prong of my training. It makes sense to talk about it next. But, I forgot that I’d be running the ATR this weekend. So, the nutrition discussion can wait.

I went into Azalea this year with an A goal of a PR (currently 40:43). B goal of 41:08 (the goal 10K pace I’ve been using in training). Race start at 8:00 am on Saturday. About 7, we start walking over to the start area. The weather was near perfect (for me). Barely above 60°F, but a little windy. And humid. Welcome to the south. Did a short warm-up. Lined up at the start between the 6-min and 7-min miles signs. It seemed oddly vacant. The elites came out and lined up, about a dozen or so Kenyans. The race started with the shot of a cannon. A legit cannon. I told you this thing has some history. To PR, I needed 6:33 miles. 6:38 for my B goal. I started out keeping a local speedster in my sights. Came through the first mile at 6:31. A little fast, but felt good. Second mile, 6:30. Staying steady. Third mile, 6:33. Okay, this is starting to feel like work. Hard work. I went to my mantra. Running a PR shouldn’t feel easy. If I wanted to be it, I needed to live it. Now was the time. Fourth mile, 6:38. Slipping a little, but if I could hang on to that time and save something for the end, I still had a chance. Fifth mile, 6:40. Time to dig. A hard last mile and I could make it. Sixth mile, 6:20! Felt strong. Tired. Exhausted. But strong. Pushed for that last 0.2. Crossed the line in 40:29! PR by 14 seconds!

I wanted to throw up once I crossed that line, but I did it. A 10K PR. Without targeted training. Without taper. In the middle of some hard training for Boston. I was happy! Very happy! Short, easy cool-down with a friend. The, headed to the post-race party. Grabbed some cheese grits. So yummy. Checked the results. I was 36th out of a field of nearly 1400. 4th non-elite female. 3rd local female (lives in the county or neighboring county). 2nd in my age group! A couple of friends also set PRs. Overall, a great day at the 2018 ATR!

How was the rest of the week?

Training Log March 19-25, 2018: Planned, 84 miles. 57.3 miles for the week.

Paces: R (recovery) = 9:09 or slower; E (easy) = 8:08-8:36; M (marathon pace) = 7:15; T (threshold) = 6:58; WU/CD (warm up/cool down) = easy by feel

Monday – planned: 8-10R

9.8mi @ 9:27. Not bad. A little stiff and sore from the high mileage weekend just finished, but loosened up nicely.

Tuesday – planned: 5E,6M in AM/3E,25min T in PM and stability session

Nothing. Nada. Zilch. I had to leave the house early to drop one of the pups off for surgery (she’s recovering well). Then work. Then still sore. Then no motivation. Talked myself into skipping this day as the only speed work for the week (other than Saturday’s race) and focus on easy and recovery miles after the hard weekend.

Wednesday – planned: 5E in AM/3E in PM and upper/core strength

10.1mi @ 8:49 in AM. Felt pretty good. The day off Tuesday did wonders for the legs. Very little residual soreness.

3.1mi @ 8:56 in PM. A little nagging left in the legs, but an easy run with Marlin (pup to the right).

Upper/core strength: 12 alternating lunge curls, 12 squat shoulder press, 30 sec side plank (each side), 10 push-ups, 10 triceps push-ups (on knees), 30 side bends, 20 bridge lifts.

Stability (make up from Tue): 2 sets of: 10 leg swings (front and side, each leg), 10 clock lunges (front, side, back, each leg), 6 pistol squats, 20 mountain climbers, 2x20sec superman.

Thursday – planned: 6E in AM/3E in PM

6.2mi @ 8:50 in AM. Felt okay. Still fatigued. Heavy legs.

5.1mi @ 9:18 in PM on the treadmill. A little soreness in glutes from Wednesday evening’s fitness activities.

Friday – planned: 4-5E

4.5mi @ 8:33. Comfortable, still a little glute soreness.

Saturday – planned: Azalea Trail Run 10K (WU, CD)

1.1mi @ 9:33, 6.2mi @ 6:31, 1.5mi @ 10:34. After the cool down, I felt a little twinge in my hamstring. Stretched. Rolled. It stuck with me all day.

Sunday – planned: 30E

9.6mi @ 9:27. Beautiful day, but I was tired. I needed to get out and push through. Last real long run before Boston. That hamstring from yesterday was still there. I figured I’d take it easy and it’d be okay. After I warmed up (2-3mi) the hamstring feeling went away. Alright. Good to go. Enjoy a long, slow run. Then it came back. I spent miles 5-7 deciding what to do. I figured it’s not worth the risk. I have great mileage and training behind me. Turned around and called it a day. Been debating going back out since then, but the twinge is still there. If it’s better tomorrow, I may go for that last “long run” before Hopkinton!

Until next week.

Own it, live it, be it.

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