Running: Monument Ave. 10k

As long as you don’t mind five inches of freshly fallen pollen, now is a great time to live in Richmond. 

We’re having the kind of weather I’d order off a menu: warm, breezy, and sunny with no bugs and no humidity. 

The flowers are blooming, the grass is green and everyone is running.

The sidewalks are full of people training, and if you’ve read the April edition of Runners’ World cover to cover like I have, you’ve read page 109 so you know that it’s almost time for the Monument Ave. 10k. 

Since I moved to Richmond I’ve thought the 10k was an amazing race. This will be my seventh year running the race, and it’s great because it’s beautiful, flat and there are people cheering every inch of the way; but it’s always amazed me because it truly gets the entire city running.

This year the race is open to 42,500 entries. A quick check with the Census Bureau confirms that every single person in Richmond runs this race. David even ran it last year. More on that later.

The Krieger family is in the midst of preparations. Tom has been doing speed work and tempo runs. Last year his time was 39:50. This year, I’m predicting he’s going to blow that time out of the water.

For me, I’m somewhere between running for fun and running to see how fit I am. 

The 10k has been a weird race for me. I usually host a carb-loading party, which usually means I’m busy making spaghetti all day and then I’m up past midnight hanging out with out of town friends. 

No running guide includes “make 15 pounds of spaghetti and go to bed at 2am” as good race preparation. 

Running is about community more than race times for me, so getting friends together to before Richmond’s premier race has been a no-brainer. But my race times have suffered. My 10k PR is 52:13, but in the past few years it’s crept closer to the 1-hour mark after a hamstring injury, sickness, and then pregnancy. Last year I was 21 weeks pregnant, and ran a pregnancy PR of 1:00.55.

This is a very pixelated photo (don’t worry photos yanked off the Brightroom website are usually very pixelated) of me and Jorie last year. VCU was in the Final Four. Richmond was abuzz. We were all winners (until VCU lost to Butler that night). 

This year there is no pasta party, but now I have a baby (which, depending on your sauce recipe, is more exhausting than a pasta party). My training has been hit and miss, but I’m ready to run 6.2 miles. Am I ready to race 6.2 miles? Probably not. 

I would love to run 9-minute miles (a 55:55 10k), but this weekend I ran a 58-minute 10k (9:20-minute miles) and it was…hard. 

Since pregnancy, I’ve given myself a lot of grace when it comes to running, so I’ll continue that for this race. I always tell people that my goal is to have fun and enjoy myself. So yes, that is my goal. But I’ll be honest: I’ll be disappointed if I run over 60 minutes. If race day turns out to be a bad day, or I happen to be up a lot the night before, I’ll switch back to the first goal and try to be happy.

I can’t wait to cheer for Tom. We live close to the course, and the race is so big that I can cheer him on, then ride my bike to the start when it’s time for my wave to go. 

Tom and I are preparing all week by doing things like going to bed a little early, staying hydrated and cutting back on the chocolate-covered potato chips. Oh, and I’ll be cleaning our bathroom, too. Because my parents are coming to visit and if we clean the day before they arrive then they have no choice but to believe my house is always this clean.

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3 Comments

  1. Grammy March 27, 2012

    Can’t wait to visit. I’m in for a happy time!

    Reply
  2. Peifer March 28, 2012

    Best wishes on the 10k! I’m always amazed that paces come a little easier in the race setting with all the adrenaline and energy… hope you find that to be true this weekend!

    Reply
  3. Andrew Hall March 30, 2012

    Have fun running the 10k! I’ve officially quit trying to run the 10k since, being a native Michigander, the pollen swells up my sinuses and bronchii so that whenever I run I feel like I have a pillow over my face. After a few years of horribly sub-par times and feeling like a wheezing bag of garbage, Monument Ave is not for me. So I guess I’ll never become a real Richmonder. (Sigh)

    Reply

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