Sunday, January 11, 2015

Jug Bay 10k - November 2014

Jug Bay 10k - Upper Marlboro, MD - November 2014
This was my 3rd consecutive year running the Jug Bay 10k.  It was only two weeks until my marathon, and my training plan called for an 8k-10k tuneup race this weekend.  Jug Bay is a little bit far from where I live, but 10ks can be hard to find sometimes. Plus I like the race, so it's worth it. 

Picture perfect day!
Patuxent River Park is the scenic setting for the race each year. The course runs along the banks of the Patuxent River and through a wildlife nature preserve. About 4 miles of the 10k is on paved roads, with the remaining section on a dirt road.  It is mostly flat, but does have a couple of tough hills, which you end up running twice because it is an out-and-back course.  You also run over a 1,000 foot long elevated wood bridge over the Mattaponi Creek. It is generally a pretty fair course.  Whatever time you can run on this course is usually an accurate measure of what your true 10k time is.

There is both a 5k and a 10k to choose from, and my wife came along to run the 5k.  She was actually the defending champion of the 5k, having finished 1st overall female in the 5k back in 2013.  The only problem was that she had just run the Marine Corps Marathon only 6 days earlier. (In a smoking fast time of 3:50!)  But even though she wasn't recovered yet, she really wanted to defend her championship.
The 5k and 10k start at the same time, but have diifferent start lines and run different courses.  The two course routes actually collide with eachother, so at some point after the 1 mile mark, I usually start to see 5k runners running towards me and back to the finish line. 
Unfortunately, it was cold and rainy for this year's race after having had perfect weather the past two years.  The park is usually really beautiful at this time of year.  I decided to wear shorts and short sleeves, even though I was a little cold at the start. 
The starting gun went off, and the races began!  I had run in the 38:30s the past two years (and won my age group both years), so was looking to do about the same this year, although the weather would present a challenge.  I ran a good, but slightly-too-fast, first mile in 5:54.  One runner was way out in front, and another runner was not too far ahead, but by this point, I had a pretty firm hold on 3rd place.  I was hoping to average about a 6:10 pace for the race, so I tried to reign it in on the 2nd mile, and slowed down to a 6:15.
The 3rd mile is tough because you cross the wooden bridge, ascend a hill, and are running on dirt trail, so I slowed down even more to a 6:20.  I just wasn't feeling it today in the cold rain.  I really started to unravel on the 4th mile, and slowed all the way down to a 6:36...definitely no course PR in the cards for me today.  The 6:36 woke me up though, and I tried to really push it on the 5th mile, but could still only manage a 6:24.  My heart rate wasn't too high either.  It was kind of weird, like I just couldn't convince myself to run hard today.  I was going to finish 3rd place no matter what at this point, so I just held my slightly slower than usual pace and ran the final mile in 6:26.  I did have a strong finish at least, with a 5:30 pace for the final 0.2.  I think I did a good job running the tangents on this course.  There are some windy roads, and by following the shortest tangents, I managed to run only 6.19 miles.  The past couple years, I had been slightly over 6.2, which is what 10k should be.  I finished 1st place in my age group and 3rd place overall out of 133 runners. (Jug Bay 10k, 2014 Race Results) 
I was happy to win my age group for the 3rd consecutive year, and to finish in the top 3 overall for the first time.  But I still just felt flat overall, and like I just couldn't generate much speed in the cold rain.  My time was about 25 seconds slower than the last couple years.  With the marathon only two weeks away, I was a little worried, but figured that with some rest (and better weather), my leg springiness would return.  Here were my mile splits from the race:
1- 5:54 (149 average heart rate)
2- 6:15 (169)
3- 6:20 (175)
4- 6:36 (177)
5- 6:24 (178)
6- 6:26 (181)
final 0.19 5:30 pace (184)
TOTAL: 6.19 miles, 39:01, 6:19/mile pace
So, my 3rd Jug Bay 10k was in the books.  I passed my wife while I was racing, and saw that she was leading the female race.  Once I finished, I caught up with her and confirmed that she did indeed hold on and finish 1st overall female in the Jug Bay 5k for the 2nd year in a row! And this was just 6 days after setting a marathon PR! What a rock star!
Another reason I like this race is that they have cool awards for fast people.  My wife and I both won framed pictures of Patuxent River Park.  We also won complimentary canoe/kayak rentals, which we can use when weather gets a little warmer this spring.  Last year, I also won a gift card to Ed's Plant World, which I hadn't used yet.  So, after getting some Starbucks to warm up, we decided to head over there and finally use it.  I ended up getting the awesome evergreen tree pictured below!

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