Because the race has a caveman theme, I ran the 10K with my club yesterday, that is, with the 10K Group (TKG) Training Program my club puts on. It was the twelfth and last session before the target race, the Capitol Hill Classic 10K next Sunday. A group of 31 well intentioned souls had winnowed down to about eight runners who were apportioned out among up to five coaches each week. Since it was raining yesterday, the coach/runner ratio was an exceptionally high 1/1. Not even the promotion of handing out program t-shirts could induce a greater turnout in the drizzle (much less my promised Pre-Race Strategy lecture, which in the wet circumstances consisted of the exhortation to stay hydrated, remember your chip and be on time). (Left: I tested out the Program shirt last week at the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati. It worked fine, and even drew comments from three passing runners over the saying on the back, Get Used to the View.)
We ran the race 10K course, having met in Stanton Park in the District, its starting and ending point. The course is basically a rectangle, 3 miles long and a quarter mile wide. Its purpose is to tire you out for five miles and then run you up the third of a mile long Capitol Hill in the sixth mile as your rite of racing passage.
I ran the race last year and although I knew the hill was coming and I had run it often in training, I floundered on it and felt like I was swimming uphill for three minutes. It was awful. (Right: The 10K course.)
I set out yesterday with MA and we ran east past Lincoln Park to RFK. We eschewed running around the back side of RFK like the race does because there are no sidewalks or shoulders back there but we made up the distance later. Heading west, we returned to Lincoln Park on East Capitol Street and then ran south to Pennsylvania to run by Eastern Market. Running north to regain E. Capitol Street (where, despite 18 years spent in DC, I got lost momentarily and we ran astray for a few blocks), we turned west again and ran behind the Capitol. After a short jog over to Independence, we ran down the race's signature hill. Running a few extra blocks at this point to make up the distance we skipped at RFK, we then ran in front of the Capitol and hit the final mile at the base of the hill. We went up it smoothly but I still arrived at the top gasping, totally out of breath.
In my fog of fatigue, I got to thinking about the pint of blood I donated the prior Monday at the airport in Cincinnati. I have a theory that blood donations knock the stuffings out of your endurance capabilities for a couple of weeks and I had purposefully waited til after my marathon last Sunday to donate. Here was another brick in the wall of my theory, however.
Top of the hill attained, we ran it in the last half mile to the park for a 55:04 10K training run. A nice tune-up for the actual race. I think MA is going to be my star pupil.