If you remember the beginning of this year, I set myself two goals for 2015. The first was to go below 1:50 in a half-marathon (and I got 1:45.00 in the Malaga Half Marathon) The second one was going to mean a bigger effort for me: going down 45 minutes in a 10 km race.
I haven't had much specific time to prepare, but after finishing the half marathon I've been training focused on gaining the speed I was missing by series, intervals and shorter but intense training. I've done some long runs on the weekend, but most of the training has been focused on speed.
This Saturday was held the I Spring Race of Marbella. A 10 km race that ran entirely in my usual places of training, leaving Puerto Banus to get to San Pedro Alcantara and back the same way. I was running at home. So even though there was a lot of 2015 ahead, it seemed to me the perfect opportunity to assault the 45 minutes, I had to take advantage of the "home field factor".
Seen now from a distance, I don't know if that factor is positive or negative, because the points where I usually puncture in training by small and short slopes (really short slopes, but of those that undermine psychologically), were going to be present.
The profile was quite flat, except for the above-mentioned small slopes and the most painful point: a one-kilometre climb from the beach to the centre of San Pedro Alcántara. This climb starts with a slight slope of about 700 metres in length. When you are already quite tired trying to keep up a similar rhythm to the one you were carrying, the last 300 metres are steep, making the climb a real leg-breaker (and rhythm-breaker).
The race started at 20:35, with the sun still above the horizon. In spite of being the first edition, the registration was not bad at all, with about 650 participants according to the organization. Several athletic clubs were taking over the first lines, so the race was going to have a good level. I placed myself in the sixth line, which turned out to be quite in line with my objective pace. I had hardly any problems overtaking a few runners who were slower than me and only two or three of the fastest ones started from behind. I was able to run at my own pace from the beginning.
The race plan I had drawn up was to get some mattress before the mid-race hill, to try to get out of it within the target pace. And so I was able to do it during the first kilometers, marking 4:21, 4:25 and 4:25. But in the fourth kilometer we reached the San Pedro promenade, finding ourselves a little bit of headwind. And logically, I was no longer at 100% of strength, so I planted myself in 4:34. What worried me most was that I had lost some freshness and I was noticing it in my cadence. I thought about tightening up a little bit to compensate and maintain the mattress, but I was already getting to the climb and I didn't want to start burning energy.
I completed the climb reaching about 175 beats per minute, better than expected, and doing that kilometer five in 4:46 approximately. But of course, these are rhythms given by the Garmin Vivoactive that I had on my wrist, according to which I was going at a pace, but the one I was waiting for was the Garmin Fenix 3 where I was carrying the Virtual Partner that marked 23 seconds of delay at the end of the climb.
For the descent I had two options: push to make up for lost time or save energy for the last kilometers. I opted for a bit of both; increase the pace but "no frills". I managed to do that downhill kilometer at 4:22, and reached the promenade again with 18 seconds of delay according to the Fenix 3.
I had to grit my teeth, there were 4 kilometres left and I had to cut those extra seconds. At that point in the race my hope was to go in line with the target pace so I could manage what was left comfortably. But I didn't want to grit my teeth too much either, because those remaining 4 kilometres could be made very long.
One kilometer later I decided to stop controlling so much and start the attack, I was afraid that when I wanted to do it it would be too late, so the next kilometers were in 4:23 and 4:25.
The night had fallen on Puerto Banús, only one kilometre separated me from the finish line and the Virtual Partner told me that I was 11 seconds below my target pace. That was the last time I was going to look at the Fenix 3, because I only had to push as hard as I could to try a final sprint on the climb to the finish line and keeping track of my delay was not going to help. But before reaching the climb, the Vivoactive marked kilometre 10, at a pace of 4:24. I was already clear that, despite having gone below 4:30, it would not be enough to eat up the 11 seconds of delay I had accumulated. I turned towards the finish line and began the final sprint, cheered on by the crowd that had gathered there, at an average heartbeat of 185 on that stretch. I could already see the finish line, but people were blocking the time clock, so I still did not know what my final time would be.
After flying the last meters at 2:46 min/km, I crossed the finish line when the clock read 45:10, stopping my stopwatch at 45:04. I was 5 seconds away from going below 45, the goal I had set for this race. I leave you the activity in Stravaso you can gossip.
I won't say that I'm disappointed with the final result because 5 seconds up or down in my level is absurd, I'm not trying to break any records, but I do have that little thorn in my side from having touched the mark that I had set and I can't stop thinking that if at some point in the race I had done something different, I would have made it. To push a little more on the descent, to have pushed when the wind was against me or to have started the sprint a little earlier. But if you allow me I'll give the goal as achieved, because also by GPS data I did 10.15 km at an average pace of 4:26 min/km, but for me what counts is the final race time.
What surprised me most was the final position. 93rd out of 650 participants, finishing 26th in my category. Considering where I was a little over 7 months agoI can be more than satisfied with the final result. Another goal accomplished, another notch in the butt.
And what do I have ahead of me for 2015? The most important goal, Valencia Marathon 2015. And it starts today, training with that goal in mind.