The day finally arrived. Yesterday, I woke up to a drizzly DC morning to head to Alexandria, Virginia for the GW Parkway Classic 10 Miler.
The day before (Saturday) was a beautiful day, with rain starting in the early evening. However, the rain slowly stopped, and my hopes for a dry race started to increase. I had known for days that it was supposed to rain on the morning of the race, but I still had to keep my fingers crossed for the better.
Kevin and I stopped at Vapiano’s to pick up some pre-race dinner. So, in addition to no more rain, I had a yummy pasta dinner. I was starting to feel excited for the race!
I stuffed my face while watching Happy Endings online. I was full and happy, and ready for bed! Fingers (and toes) crossed for good weather!
I woke up bright and early, and immediately checked the weather. I was super excited to see that it was only 20% chance of showers at the start! Yay! So I quickly got dressed and Kevin and I headed out.
Well, it had just started sprinkling when we walked out of my apt. But that’s okay, it wasn’t raining hard, and it was about 51 degrees, so it wasn’t terribly cold.
Kevin drove me to Alexandria, where I boarded the runner-bus to Mount Vernon. For the entire bus ride, I just tried to stay relaxed, and excited for the race. I had done it last year, so I more-or-less knew what to expect. The problem was, I haven’t been able to accurately asses my fitness level as compared to last year. But nonetheless, I was ready. I hopped of the bus, visited the port-o-potties, checked my bag, and then hopped in the corrals. Within 10 minutes, we were off! I was ready to have a great race and make it to the finish line!
OMG it was so hard. I felt like I was working so hard, but in reality, I think it was just me warming up. I was literally waiting for each mile to pass. I think these were also the hilliest miles, so that didn’t help. Not having fun yet. And it was still sprinkling. Not too much rain, but enough to let you know that it was there.
Started falling into a rhythm and feeling good. At this point, I thought to myself, “don’t get too comfy! This is a race!” Still sprinkling though. Which, at this point, actually felt nice because I was starting to get warm. I had a tank top on underneath my long sleeve, and I debated taking the tank top off. Decided not to, because I thought it would be too much work. Also, I didn’t want to have to fiddle with moving my bib.
The rain started to fall a little bit heavier, and the wind picked up at times, but it was okay because the course sort of flattened out a bit. I decided to push the pace on these miles, because I figured, why not! Plus, somehow, I convinced myself that I can run a challenging pace for 4 miles, no problem. Haha, riiiight. To prevent myself from falling off, I latched on to a girl that I had seen around me a few times during the race. It looked like she was picking up her pace a bit, so I thought it would be perfect. And since I didn’t have a watch, it was super helpful to have something to keep me moving forward. So a HUGE thank you to this fellow runner! I really would not have been able to finish as strong without it! (I was also strongly motivated by brunch!)
Last mile! I really upped the pace, and forced myself to keep it to the end. We made the final turn, and I opened my stride because I thought we must be close. I was wrong. I def started on my last gear too early, and it hurt to keep it going. But I did it and finished! So glad to cross the finish line!
Finish time: 1:28:50. Average pace of 8:53. I’m okay with it, but certainly not happy. For one, did not earn a new watch :(. I needed to go under 1:27 to do that. And second, for how I felt, I would have thought I was going faster. There are a million excuses (weather, hills, illness, no watch, etc) I can make, but I think the only one that matters is that I didn’t train as hard as I could have and SHOULD have. I really failed myself on that front, and hopefully I will be able to learn from it. I think I need to re-evaluate my training schedule and see what may not be working.
After I crossed the line, I grabbed some gatorade and high-tailed it to the bag check. It was still rainy and 50 degrees out, so I knew that pretty soon I was going to get VERY cold. I quickly found Kevin (thanks race photographer!) and also found Rachelle while waiting in line. After I grabbed my stuff, we headed for cover so we could stretch it out, and quickly recap our races.
After a quick stretching session, we headed to meet some others for brunch. Brunch is easily the best part of racing!
All in all, it was a good race. It was well-organized, not over crowded and the scenery is really awesome. I’m so glad I got out and ran. It was a great experience, and it’s always nice to get out and race to see where your fitness really is. Thanks to Pacers for putting on yet another great race! I’m sure I’ll be back next year (and much faster!)
How was your weekend? Did you have good weather? Or were you stuck with rain clouds like DC was?