Under 70

We all know them. They are the numbers that haunt us, the ones playing inside our heads for all the hours a week while we train. They are written on our bathroom mirrors, in our training logs. They auto-fill into the pace calculator online because you’ve checked – and double checked – so many times exactly what you’d need to run to break that barrier.

For me, two of the bigger time barriers I had looming in the back of my mind at the start of the year was 20 minutes for the 5K (checked off last month!) and 70 minutes for the 10-mile. While I had intended to go for the sub 70-minute mark back in October at the Army 10 mile, that day didn’t go quite as planned. So I found myself this past weekend looking to go for that on a much more challenging course that follows the rolling hills of Columbia, MD. I have talked about our team’s training for this race and while I knew the course very well, it is certainly not a PR course. Knowing that, plus my less than stellar week in terms of being healthy, in addition to having come off a massive swim block….I really had no clue what this day would give me. I did feel that it was within my reach if I ran *smart* though. This is something I did not do at Club Challenge last year (positive split the second half of the race by over 4 minutes…ouch).

Race morning was clear and calm, the Global Winding from Saturday seemed to have mostly died down. A crisp 36 degrees at the start made it perfect singlet and shorts weather for me. (Actually, I would have liked to wear arm warmers, but my swimming arms are currently too big for them to be comfortable. Woe is me.) A new addition to my racing attire this day was a Garmin 110 – I finally caved and bought one in hopes of helping me figure this whole “pacing” thing out. I had a couple other Falls Road ladies who were looking to run about the same time…unfortunately, we all had different ideas of how to execute that, so by the first mile I found myself settling into a pace (somewhat) alone. But this was okay; I felt in control and was completely prepared for the course ahead of me.

My Garmin data can be found here. You’ll have to excuse the random splits I apparently took during the race – still figuring this thing out. Overall though, my pacing was fairly consistent. You can see from the elevation profile that this is far from a flat course. I came through the half in 34:12 – right where I wanted to be. At this point it was just a matter of keeping my head and focusing on the pace. As I hit mile 9 I knew I had a cushion and could do it….I crossed the line in 1:09:19 – a 2:54 PR! This was good enough for 20th female of the day – interestingly, last year I was slower but placed 19th. Evidently some people are doing work out there…..

More than anything else, it felt good to execute a race smartly. I am prone to the “going out too fast” syndrome and I am trying my best to turn that around, so this was a good sign. AND the post race snacks were Famous Amos and fruit snacks – two of my faves!

I would be remiss not to mention the domination of the Falls Road squad as a whole at this race – we swept the Co-ed, Male, and Female team competitions, and took 1st and 2nd Male, and top 3 Females. I have no doubt that training with this fast bunch was a big help for my PR!

Team Hardware

Published by Alyssa Godesky

Alyssa is a professional triathlete who has logged over 8,000 miles in competition of swimming, biking and running across five continents. She came to triathlon from an ultrarunning background and over the last few years has found success back on the trails: in 2018 she set the female supported Fastest Known Time (FKT) on Vermont's 273 mile Long Trail in 5 days, 2 hours and 37 minutes. In 2020 she set the women's supported FKT for climbing the 46 High Peaks in the Adirondacks in 3 days, 16 hours and 16 minutes. She is a triathlon and running coach, and also enjoys spending time guiding hikers out on the trails. Alyssa is based in Charlottesville, VA with her dog Ramona.

0 comments on “Under 70”

  1. A huge congrats on breaking your 70-minute barrier. Sweet race. I had a similar number for a full year as I tried to break the 4-hour mark in a marathon. “Four hours” was never far from my thoughts… Finally nailed it on my second attempt.

  2. Congrats on breaking 70…If you don’t already know, a good way to pace with a Garmin is to turn OFF the auto lap and hit the lap button at every mile marker…if there are markers at every mile. Although, I don’t think you can do much better than .02 off so maybe you’re excellent at running the tangents and it won’t matter.

    1. Oh snap! I didn’t realize it was a setting that was taking my splits, and that I can turn it off and only take my own splits. I thought they all just did that or something. Thank you for the tip!

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