So, I didn't run the 20k all in one chunk, but it sort of feels like it. I ran the XTERRA 10k in Bend last weekend and the Oktoberfest 10k in Mt. Angel today.
The XTERRA 10k was by far my hardest run to date. I have maintained my running since my half marathon, but I haven't been as strict about the amount of times I run per week. I definitely felt the difference in this race. When I did my half marathon in Sunriver, the elevation was not an issue AT ALL for me. But I was struggling a fair bit in my 10k. On top of dealing with trying to catch my breath, there was dust and hills....and big, dusty hills :). Normally my goal is to jog the whole race, but with the hills it was impossible for me. I didn't have to walk too many of the hills, but I did walk some. For this race, I'd had another goal as well: don't run for time, but relax a bit and enjoy the run. Well the first part of the race was the worst. The first two miles were really hard, so I found it impossible to not try and pick up the pace just so I could get it over with. I ended up finishing in my goal time range (56-58 mins), which really surprised me, considering how I felt the whole time. I'm glad I did it, since I normally avoid any runs that are titled "trail runs", but it was my biggest challenge so far.
Final time: 56:56
Rank in age group: 4/7
Rank overall (male & female): 32/70
Today, at the Oktoberfest 10k, the race started off wet. Thankfully, it wasn't coming down too hard (it was more of a mist) and it stopped when I reached the 2 mile marker. After my challenge of the hills last week, I was more determined to do well on them today. There was a fair amount of rolling hills on this course and I was able to make up ground on those hills. It must've been the misty weather, because normally they would've slowed me down. Today I was in the mood to tackle the hills. This was the first race that I have come in ahead of all of my target people (the people I pick racing ahead of me that I try to set my pace by). It's always fun to run a race and feel strong when you're doing it.
Final time: 54:22.1
Rank in women: 30/122
Rank in my age group: 3rd (yeah!)