After my PR at the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, I set my sights on another course PR at the GW Parkway Classic. I don’t usually set a specific pace goal so far in advance, but after running a 7:52 pace at Cherry Blossom, I thought I could run an 8:ish pace on the GW Parkway course. It wasn’t easy, but PR’s never are!
To tell the full story of my GW Parkway Classic race recap, I have start with the week before. I followed my plan for running back-to-back races, and took it easy the week after Cherry Blossom. During my long run last Saturday, I felt a fire in my left shin that I’d never felt before. (I’ve had various running injuries, but not shin splints.) Since the point of pain is rarely the source of the problem, I used my foam roller and found a knot in my calf that was the likely culprit. The pain was bad, but most of the tears were emotional, as I feared that I would not be able to run the rolling hills of the GW Parkway classic.
I like how they worked the Pacers logo into the t-shirt design.
I turned to my Moms Run This Town group for advice, and spent the day icing my shins and foam rolling my calves. I was able to book a massage for Sunday, and my massage therapist spent 90 minutes focusing on my legs. When I picked up my race packet at Pacers, I asked if they had an instant fix for shin splints, and was shown some exercises to do with a fitness band–now that’s great customer service!
My legs did fine during an easy run on Tuesday, spinning class on Wednesday, and a pre-race track workout on Thursday (16 X 100M sprints), so I was cautiously optimistic again. Still, I decided that a lurking injury was a good reason to break the “nothing new on race day” rule and bought my first rolls of KT Tape(<<Amazon Affiliate Link).
Friday and Saturday I taped for plantar fasciaitis (an injury I am all to familiar with!) and on race day I taped for shin splints too. Who knows if it made a difference, but my feet and my shins were fine!
The day before the race I stalked the weather forecast. It starting off showing a 70% chance of rain, but was down to nearly 0% by the time I went to bed. I was expecting it to be overcast, but was greeted by blue skies at the start!
This race is still small enough for runners to line themselves up by pace.
I was surprised at how little “jockeying to be first” I saw.
Looks like I wore the same shirt two years ago …
My husband dropped me off at 7:30, I jumped into the Moms Run This Town group photo at 7:40, got my traditional photo at the Mt. Vernon entrance, and slid into the corrals at 7:45. The announcer was enthusiastic as usual, telling us that it was “A great day to be running down the parkway!” He also said more than once that “We will get 10 miles out of you today!” I took that as a reference to short course at the Cherry Blossom and laughed. After a lovely rendition of the National Anthem we were off at 8:00 sharp.
Saturday night I had re-read my recap from last year, decided to aim to beat my 8:15 pace, and vowed to do better with overall my pacing. I set 8:00-8:10 as my general goal pace, knowing the first mile would be faster, but hoping I could hold it through the rolling hills of the next four miles, pick up my pace during miles 6-7, and push through miles 8-10. I followed that plan pretty well:
7:47; 7:58; 8:01; 8:01; 8:12; 7:52; 8:05; 8:10; 8:25; 8:07
I could tell that my pacing was much better than last year. I felt much stronger through mile 8. My calves started acting up during mile 9, but whenever I felt a ripple through my muscles I took a deep breath and told them to relax. I made it up the last hill at mile marker 9, and held a steady pace to the end.
My Milestone Pod (<<Amazon Affiliate Link) says I ran with a 100% heel strike
and this photo backs that up!
I got my medal and post-race snacks, and met my husband at the Port City Beer Garden. Between the gorgeous weather, yummy beer, and endorphins from my PR, I was nearly giddy!
Here are my official results:
I’m pretty proud of that relatively even course split and shocked at my division placement! I’m also glad to have 6 weeks off before my next race–the Lawyers Have Heart 10K.
Does your weather forecast change by the hour?