Published April 28th, 2008
Why would anyone want to drive almost 60 miles just to run a 10K race? Well, if you’re Ms. Follows-the-Rulester like I am, then you wouldn’t be asking that question.
As I’ve been yammering about for the past 12 weeks, I’ve been following the Pfitzinger “Advanced Marathoning” 18/55 training plan with hopes for a 4-hour BQ in June. As part of the program, Pete Pfitzinger (or “Pfitz” as I like to call him, us being pals and all) recommends running three “tune-up” races of 8-15K to monitor your marathon fitness level and prepare you mentally for racing.
That’s all well and good, but what Pfitzie (another pet name I have for him) is forgetting is that, unlike him — Mr. Kiwi — I live in AMERICA, so our races are in MILES. We have our 13.1-mile half marathons and our 3.1-mile 5Ks. Sure, I’ve heard about a handful of 6.2-mile races, and a couple of 4.96-mile ones, but 8-15K races? Please. Go back to where you came from, pal.
He calls for these races to be run on Saturdays, the day before your long run. Not only have I tweaked the schedule so my long runs fall on Saturdays (which would mean I’d have to run my tune-up races on Fridays), even if I DID follow the schedule to a T most races are held on Sundays. Doing my long runs on Monday ain’t an option.
But just when I resigned myself to running time trials instead of racing I saw on the NW Runner calendar that the Arlington “Walk and Roll” 10K had been rescheduled due to snow. The new date? Saturday, April 26. Huzzah! And since the race didn’t start until 11 a.m., I wouldn’t even have to drag my sorry butt out of bed at some ungodly hour.
Although I can’t recall ever visiting Arlington, I knew it was a small farm town an hour north of Seattle. I figured it wouldn’t be a big race — just a couple of local yokels with a stopwatch at the end. But hey — a race is a race!
To get an idea of what to expect I looked at the results from 2007. A whopping 35 people entered the 10K that year; the top woman in my age group finished in a little over 56 minutes. “I can beat that!” I exclaimed to no one in particular (although I did startle my kitty out of her slumber). When I plugged a 4-hour marathon into the McMillan Running Calculator, it said I should be running a 10K in a little over 51 minutes. It’d be a stretch, but that’s what I was shooting for.
I started having second thoughts about the race during my runs on the two days prior. My right calf was really tight, despite doing lots of stretching, and I couldn’t muster any more speed than just under 10-minute miles. But I figured I could always make the call on race day.
I awoke to an absolutely gorgeous morning — on the cool side, but not a cloud in the sky. As I ate my bowl of whole-grain cereal I entered the address for Haller Park (the race start) into Google Maps. Hmmm… it appears it’s in the middle of an industrial area. Could this possibly be a diabolical plot by the Arlington Runners Club to keep the ringer from Seattle from entering? I then Googled Haller Park and found a slightly different address for it on the web site for the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. When I entered that address into Google Maps nothing came up. Perhaps those Arlingtonites don’t want us city slickers coming to muck up their town.
I finally found some reliable directions on the Seattle Bike Tours web site (what the Arlington locals refer to as “Haller Park,” Google Maps and Mapquest call it “Arlington Park”). Crisis averted, I loaded my gear and 1-liter bottle of water into the car and took off, leaving my darling snoozing away in bed (he thought about joining me for the race but was up late shooting photos and getting hit on my drunken Seattle University alumnae since he conveniently “lost” his wedding ring. Bastard).
Where was I?