A New PR and Lessons Learned from the GW Parkway Classic 10-Miler

After last weekend’s less than stellar Cherry Blossom 10-miler, I didn’t have particularly high hopes going into the GW Parkway Classic 10-miler yesterday.  Especially given the fact that I’d only actually bought a race bib Saturday morning, and I’d done so after taking a vigorous spin class and on the way to a day of visiting wineries (two things I usually wouldn’t do the day before a long run).  But it was a beautiful day and I was just excited that I was actually getting to run the race!

By the time I got to the start line, I was full of energy and raring to go.  I was excited about the perfect day it was turning out to be, the new playlist I’d made the night before and running a course I’d never run before.  When I crossed mile one in just over seven minutes, I must admit thinking to myself “hmm, this could go well…” before handing things over to my voice of reason, which promptly told me “that was down hill.  Chill out, Johanna, or you’re not even going to finish.”  So I pushed the thought from my head and continued to run at a comfortable pace.

But as I crossed each additional mile marker, seeing each time that I’d held steady at somewhere between a 7:30 and 8:00 pace, my goal began to shift from beating last week’s time to beating my previous 10-mile PR.  I cruised past the halfway point in under 40 minutes, and continued to maintain a strong pace through mile six and seven.  By the time I got to mile eight, I was getting greedy.  I knew I’d have to hit a serious wall not to PR.  Suddenly I had a new goal: to finish in under 1:20, which would mean a sub-8:00 min pace, something I’ve never done before in a race of any length.  So I threw caution to the wind and went for it, pushing myself to keep a strong and steady pace for the final two miles.  Even so, I was shocked to see 1:18:25 when I crossed the finish line!  (And apparently so was Courtney, who made it to the finish line to find that I’d just passed!)

1511023_10100567783908317_5977471046034332235_nOfficial Results:

  • 1:18:05 (39:10/38:56 split) net time
  • 7:49 pace
  • 95th female (out of 2,963)
  • 499th overall (out of 5,162)

This was far better than I expected to do.  Here are my lessons learned:

Wine tasting the day before is an excellent way to prep for a race.

Translation: chill out and don’t think too much into it.

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Pre-race carb loading, in the traditional sense, is a bunch of BUNK.

Pasta and pizza and bread, OH MY!  When we think carb loading, we think big pasta dinners are the way to go.  But this is a myth.  It could even be counterproductive, especially if you aren’t used to eating this way.  It should be common sense that you don’t want to eat something your body isn’t used to the night before asking it to perform.  Yet it’s still easy to get wrapped up in the “must have pasta” mentality.  After last weeks’ not so great race post-pizza feast, I decided to stick to what my body is used to: salmon, asparagus and sweet potato with almond butter.  Don’t get me wrong, you still need your carbs, I’m just just saying eat the carbs your body is used to (i.e. insist that your husband give you the larger sweet potato).

You’re going to have good and bad days as a runner.  

This is my biggest take away.  Even if you do everything right, things can go wrong, and if you do things that are maybe less than ideal, you just might end up feeling strong and having a great day regardless.  I ran the same distance just one week a part, yet my times for the two races were over eight minutes different.  That is an extreme split, and really what it comes down to is the fact that as runners, we’re going to have really good days and we’re going to have really bad days.  So enjoy the good days and take the bad ones in stride.  You’ll have another good run, I promise!

Ran into a pal in the beer garden!

Ran into a pal in the beer garden!

This was a beautiful, fun course, with a finish line complete with awesome beers from Port City Brewery.   Courtney and I plan to do it again next year, maybe under my own name this time!


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One Comment

  1. YES!!!! Such good news, great tips, and a great post! And it is so true…you will just have good and bad days and unless you do something totally catastrophic the day before, whether you have wine with dinner or not will probably not affect how your race goes!

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