Race Report: AEP Columbus 10K
Nothing to write home about but smart running and a step in the right direction at one of my favorite races on the calendar.
Airborne crossing the finish line
Race: AEP Columbus 10K
Date: June 5, 2022
Distance: 10K (ish)
Location: Columbus, OH
A: Run smart, run better than the DSACO 5K
Still working my way back up to respectable mileage and starting out some baby workouts. This was the end of my fifth week back running after my post-Boston training break. For those five weeks I averaged a little over six hours of running per week, so a ways off my normal 8-10. I run for time instead of mileage, but that works out to about 40 miles/week.
I run almost entirely by feel, and mostly I feel like jogging. I'm not like insanely fast, but I think most people are surprised by how slow I run most of my mileage compared to my race paces. I really believe the key to training effectively is balancing volume with recovering between actual workouts. You can't run solid volume AND race your easy runs AND put in actual effective workouts. Or at least I can't.
As for workouts, still easing back in. The week before the race I ran 5x8 minutes at...marathon effort? Something like that. That's not that hard and it was pretty fun, I like cruise intervals. Later that week I just did a quick thing on the track because I hadn't been on it since last fall: 4x800 + 4x200. Splits were all over the place but that's fine. Wednesday of race week I ran 8x400 and then did kind of a baby taper.
Good lookin group
The Columbus 10K is one of my favorite races, and I run it almost every year. It's the oldest race in Columbus, it pulls a great field, it's well run. Overall a great time, I can't recommend it enough. Marathons and halves are overrated, 5-15K is where it's at.
My partner Cahner picked up our race packets from Columbus Running Company earlier in the week, so that was one thing off my plate. The start/finish was at North Bank Park; I guess you'd call that the Arena District. Only about ten minutes from home and the entire course is routes that are covered by a LOT of local races, so I know pretty much every turn, hill, etc. The weather was looking about as good as it gets for a June race in Columbus: sunny, 62 degrees and 60% humidity. Definitely on the warm side but pleasant enough.
Had breakfast - granola cereal with oat milk and coffee, got all my kit on, and we drove down to the start. I have a little starting area routine I like: before I start warming up I always walk down, check out the starting area, scope the portajon situation, and just get the lay of the land. Once I was satisfied I started my warmup by jogging straight to the aforementioned portajons, then jogged over to take a pic with some other CERC members that were racing. Once again I didn't get in as long of a warmup as I'd like, but I stopped back at the car for a gel and got in some drills and a couple light strides. I headed to the line and worked my way up to where I like to start: with people who look like they'll run several minutes slower than me. Lots (lots) of people get out way too fast at these things and I just prevent myself from getting too het up by purposely boxing myself in at the start.
I honestly don't have much to report here, because it went pretty much according to plan. I was a little boxed in at the start (on purpose) but I'm good about not weaving around and putting in little bursts to get past people. The worst thing you can do at this point is expend a bunch of extra energy and add distance to your race. Running the shortest possible line is free money. All through the first half mile I just stayed smooth, nailed the tangents, and stayed calm working my way through the crowd.
Mile 2 was a straight shot south on High St. toward German Village. At this point I was chatting with people. The first two miles of a 10K really shouldn't be that bad, and I was running conservatively on top of that. I always feel bad when I hear people huffing and puffing at this point...you're about to have a bad time my friend. I didn't really pick up the pace miles 3 and 4, but I definitely had to start paying a little more attention. Getting harder and harder. It's always fun to run back north on High and have people you know who are still heading south cheering you on.
At the start of mile 5 I wouldn't say I was having a good time, but it was pretty clear it was time to pick up the pace. The course hilariously went all the way up and over the hill at Nationwide Blvd. at the end of mile 5, then immediately turned around and went right back up and over. I had checked the course map and knew it was coming, but I'm sure it was...fun...for anyone who didn't know it was coming. It's not a mountain, but running a hill then turning around and running it again at that point in a 10K is very funny to me.
What I also knew was that when you got over that hill the second time the next mile was a net downhill drag headed back toward the river. I had already picked it up heading north on High, but at that point I only had like 7 minutes of running left — time to pour it on. I was coming in hot with about half a mile to go when I saw the mile 6 marker...which was weird since my watch said 5.8 or so. Nothing to be done for it, I kicked up the last hill and crossed the line in 38:50*.
I'm barely in this picture because of how good I am at running the tangents
At first I thought that maybe my watch was off, but talking to others who ran made it pretty clear that the course was maybe a tenth short. GPS errors happen, but I trust myself to run the tangents perfectly and cover the minimum distance. On the full course I would have been in the mid-39s, which would also have been fine. I wasn't too worried about the time for this anyway, I just wanted to show progress.
I met up with some other people, including Megan, who made this race her big spring A goal and ran herself a chunky PB that would still have been chunky on the full course. Megan has been blasting some beefy track days and it's always nice to see it pay off. Cahner was just starting to rebuild after Cap City and still ran a solid PB — even though she kind of lightly blew up she battled through it and ran a neat time. Keep your eye on those two, big things coming this fall.
Ran from the finish line to Marshall's in Grandview as part of an extended cool down, had a pile of breakfast, a couple Coors Lights and a bloody and went home. Mission accomplished.
I also forgot to log my race time (until writing this up) with the Run Columbus Race Series — the deadline is two weeks after race day. It's a pretty neat new thing this year. I'm not sure if I'll be running any more of the races in 2022, but I'm considering organizing my entire 2023 around it.
One weird thing in this race: I was able to speed up and pick up the intensity in the last 2 miles, but I didn't feel like I was finding another gear. No pop, it just felt like I was dieseling to the line. That makes sense, since all year I've basically done huge tempo runs, run hills, and done strides. Plus I'm kind of a diesel anyway. Still, you want to be well rounded and luckily I'm running a couple 5Ks before my fall assault on my half PB, so I'll have an opportunity to get on the track and rectify that. Next up: the Hilltop USA 5K on July 2.