Mental game: race recap & good friends

I almost didn’t PB. My target was to go under 50 min (my last 10km was in 2016 at 50 min 8 secs) but realized that I might barely finish because I was sleep deprived due to jet lag, overall tiredness, my lingering hip soreness. So, the mental game for this race was The game.

The day started as good as it could possibly be. I slept relatively well with 2 hrs awake at 2am but felt rested, for the first time since I arrived last Wednesday.

I had enough time in the morning to do my morning business and ate 2 rice cakes with almond butter 15 min before I left the hotel to jog to the starting line. While I was jogging, my heart rate was unusually high (readiness showing -4), probably because I was nervous of what’s to come.

I arrived 40 minutes before the start and the vibe was great! Although it’s a small local race, it’s a classic and over 2500 people signed up. They are serious runners, some from track teams. I was really happy to be there, reminding me why I paid 55 USD to run when I could just run by myself.

8:35am race started. My coach told me to start with 8 min/mile for 1-3 miles, and then as fast as I can. The initial adrenaline put me at 7:30 min/mile so I slowed a bit. For 2 miles I was holding back my energy, averaging 7:45 min/mile and feeling very strong. For mile 3, I speeded up slightly still feeling good. By the end of mile 4, I could feel my sore left hip, the sun that was hitting my face started to bother me, and my shoelace got loose. I finished mile 4 at 7:52. Then it was a big hill and I slowed down a lot, up to 9 min/mile. I felt I didn’t have much left in the tank, at the same time doing mental math whether I can still aim for under 50 min. I stopped for few secs to re-tie my shoelaces, hoping the nagging feeling would go back. I finished mile 5 with 8:29 min/mile, not good but not disastrous. I had a decision to make, either abandon the goal, or give it try and ignore the pain. Obviously, I went with the latter, and managed to accelerate slightly despite feeling my legs were gone and breathing was hard and loud. I clocked 8:08 min/mile for mile 6. Then the final stretch, I tried to speed up to have a strong finish, all I could give was 7:59 min/mile pace for quarter mile.

I finished 49 min 44 secs. I know I could have done better without the jeg lag and hip soreness that impaired my confidence. But overall, I am very happy to get a PB under these conditions.

These two girls were a big source of inspiration. They passed me at mile 1 and I was so impressed of their steady pace. I passed them at mile 3, but then they finished just behind me, truly amazing, only 11 years old. I asked to take a pic with them to send to Sofia.

The food section was amazing, the orange the size of my head!!!

and the sweetest bagel I’ve ever had, although it was supposed to be plain.

I walked to the metro station smiling, savoring my accomplishment. I am especially proud to improve my speed, something that I used to hate doing, 7 years later. This gives me confidence about tackling my big goal of BQing one day. This is what I love about running, put in the effort and reward is almost guaranteed.

After shower at the hotel, I went to see my first friend in the US. He’s from Argentina, my best friend from graduate school. That was a hard period of our lives, and we were part of each other’s support team. That type of friendship really endures. It was amazing to see him as dad of two, with a beautiful and kind girl that I met when he met her. It feels like a life has passed and we became suddenly adult. Yet, he’s still the same person that I met 17 years ago, and our friendship remains strong despite not seeing each other much. The last time I saw him was probably 5 years ago. 🙂

He took me to their weekend club for lunch, love the view.

I got back to hotel 3:30pm and spent few hours with my manila folks, who became like family friends.

It was really a fantastic day, running and spending time with good friends. Can’t be better than that, right?

5 thoughts on “Mental game: race recap & good friends

  1. Nice work! Those girls are so inspiring too; I often get passed by the UC Berkeley guys when I am running in the park near my house; they are all skinny and fast and young, but I don’t mind! They make me pick up my pace a little bit as they all fly by me as if I were standing still.


  2. Congrats, nice job! So cute about those girls. I’ve never run a 10k race!! That distance always seems like it would not be fun to me, haha. Short enough that you have to go pretty hard, but long enough that it’s not short, either! Seems like it would be the most challenging distance for me, I think.


  3. Congrats on running a sub-50min 10k! That is amazing! I think my PR in the 10k is probably 52 minutes? But that feels like a lifetime ago. I was happy to run a sub-hour 10k last fall. I think my time was around 58 minutes which is fast for me at this stage of life when I’m not really focused on running/speed. 10k is my sweet spot right now because it’s a decent distant but it is easier to train for/doesn’t require long runs. I’d like to get back to 10mi and 1/2 marathon in a few years when my kids are in an easier stage of life!

    I love friendships that can stand the test of time/distance like that!


  4. Dang, you’re fast. A 10k in <50m is amazing. Huge congrats. And so nice you got to meet up with an old friend. What an all-around special day!


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