As I mentioned, I am running the Capitol 10,000 on Sunday. This is an extremely large 10k - roughly 22,000 people. Due to the size of the event, runners are placed into color coded corrals based on predicted finishing line - with the exception of the "elite" corral who are seeded with yellow bibs based on qualifying times.
From the Cap 10K web site:
Elite AthletesRunners expecting to be seeded in the fastest group are required to provide official written verification that they have completed a certified distance with a time that meets the minimum time requirements. Minimum 10K time requirement for males is 38:00 minutes or less and for females 41:00 minutes or less. Please attach a copy of the official race results (name, race, date, distance and time) along with your registration form. The qualifying time must occur after January 2010. If no official verification is attached, you will be placed in the non-elite starting wave.
In the past, I've always been assigned a purple bib, which puts me in the corral directly behind the seeded elites. Last year at this race, however, I ran a 40:52, which qualified me (barely) for an elite seed and coveted yellow bib this year. Admittedly I was pretty stoked. I've only run in an elite corral once before at the Disney Half Marathon, and I am still not certain that wasn't a mistake. So, I was really excited last year about the opportunity to race the 2012 Cap 10k with a yellow bib and had hoped to best my time from last year, proving I deserved to be there. Fast forward a year, and I am coming back from an injury with no chance in hell of breaking 41 min again. I'll run low 42 minutes if I'm lucky.
So, here's my dilemma: I'll be given a yellow bib and can start in the elite corral if I want too. They start the same time as everyone else, you just have the luxury of having less people to dodge once the gun goes off (and I believe you can go in and out of the corral to warm-up). Also, the purple corral is very crowded. You are fighting for elbow room, and once you're in the corral, you're in the corral. No headed out for a last minute warm-up. That being said, even if I was in shape to run a sub 41 min 10k again, I would still be one of the slowest (if not the slowest) women in the elite corral. The elite women who run this race are FAST - most will run between 35-38 minutes. So to say I am out of my league with the leg speed I'm working with right now is an understatement. Do I go ahead and line up with the elite (yellow) corral or I do self seed myself back to the purple (second) corral?
Here's the thing: part of me thinks I earned my yellow bib, and who knows if I'll ever get the opportunity to line up upfront again? I'm tempted to line up to the back of the elite corral and say F it to everyone who gives me the side eye like I don't belong there or who angrily shoves me out of the way as they haul ass past me when the gun blows.
BUT, admittedly one of my MAJOR pet peeves is people who mis-seed themselves at races. You know those who predict their finishing times to be way faster than they are capable of to get a spot closer to the front. I detest those people. They get in the way and cause major congestion at races. So, am I a hypocrite if I line up with the yellow bibs when I am not capable to running an elite time? Maybe. Maybe I am better off just lining up with the purple bibs where I belong. And, if I do line up with the yellow group will that put too much pressure on myself to start out way too fast?
Maybe I am over thinking all of this. Dan told me to just line up at the back of the elite group. That no one will care. And, probably not. I guess I'm just having a complex that people will look at me thinking 'what the hell is she doing up there' and then confirm their suspicions as they zoom right by me (I can't say I didn't have the same thoughts last year as I passed some women in yellow bibs - just sayin').
I need your honest advice. Give it to me straight. What would you do in this situation? You can tell me to take my butt back to the purple group. It won't hurt my feelings.