The Parkway Classic is one of the first races I ever wrote about on this blog, (read about it here) actually it may have been my very first blog post. And yet again, I am running it and writing about it. It is just one of those races that I love to run, year after year.
Of course last year, I was pregnant with Zoe, so I didn’t have the chance to race. But this year, being 8 months postpartum I was ready to take on the course again.
Earlier this month, I ran the Cherry Blossom ten miler in 1:31. To prepare for that race, I had run a couple 8 milers as my longer runs, and then 3-5 milers during the week pushing Zoe in the Bob. I ran that race, without any mental strategies, because there were no goals I was trying to reach, instead I just wanted to run it to have fun, and test my fitness level.
To prepare for this race, I considered the Cherry Blossom ten miler as my long run, and used the next three weeks doing a combination of shorter runs 3-5 milers and late night weight lifting sessions in the gym.
When I was running with Zoe, I slowed down to engage my slow twitch muscles, and tried to stay in an aerobic heart rate zone. But when I was running solo, I worked on speed, and got those fast twitch muscles fired up. ¬†Every time I ran, I incorporated both some up hills and down hills. Unlike the Cherry Blossom ten miler (totally flat course), the Parkway Classic is a course made up of small rolling hills. Although, they are small, they are still rolling for about 8 miles.
After I put Zoe to bed for the night, I hit the gym. I never worked legs, because I didn’t want them heavy or overly tired – they needed to be ready for running. So I focussed mainly on, chest, back, and core.
THE NIGHT BEFORE THE RACE
Like always I did my night before a race ritual, prepared my race clothes and accessories.
This race is put on my Pacers, our local running shoe store. Because it is put on by runners, they know their stuff. Everything is simple, and well organized. There is no expo for this race, you just head to the Pacers store and pick up your bib.
On Friday, Zoe and I went on a short 5K run, and then headed to the store to pick up my bib. I was considering running with Zoe during the race. I had been training with her, so why not race with her. She loves our runs, so it would have been really fun to bring her. However, strollers weren’t allowed on the shuttle buses heading over to the race. And because the race is a point to point race instead of a loop, it was going to be really hard to get both of us down there and back. Plus, I had to head to the salon, to work a full day, right after the race. It would just be easier for me to run solo, so that is what I did. Now I’m on the hunt¬†to find a different race to do with Zoe.
The night before the race, I did my regular night before a race ritual. Chose my race outfit, laid it out, just making sure I have everything organized and ready to go.
Getting to and from this race was so easy. I parked my car at the pentagon parking lot, and walked across the street to the shuttle bus. The buses ran between 5:30 and 6:30 am. I got on the last bus leaving at around 6:30. The bus driver waited an additional 10 minutes for any stragglers. Two 5k ladies got on the bus. There was a little confusion when the bus driver dropped them off and then was unsure where to drop us off. All of us ten miler runners gave him directions. We eventually made it to the start- better late then never.
It was 7:30 when I arrived, the race start time was 8:00 am. ¬†I got off the bus, and went to check my bag. It was a crisp morning, so at first, I kept my long sleeve shirt on, but then turned around and decided to check it. I was very comfortable running the race in my usual running shorts and tank top. So thankful I checked my long sleeve shirt, never during the race did I feel hot or to cold.
At 7:50 I walked over to the start to line up. I stood right in front of the 9:00-959 pace sign. I had a good idea, that I could manage that pace, considering my last race I ran, thats what I did. Also¬†all of my shorter solo runs during training were right under a 9 min/mile.
At 8:05 I was running over the start line, pressing the start button on my garmin, and on my strava app. “Here we go!”
The course is by far one of my favorites. It is always beautiful, running under a canopy of trees, parallel to the Potomac river. The trees make everything green, and the sun hits the river making it sparkle. The parkway is also slightly rolling hills, which I actually prefer in a course rather than a flat one. My mental strategy was to consistently run under a 9 min/mile the whole course, running in the high 8s going up hill, running in the low 8s going down hill.
I stuck to my plan, and felt amazing the whole race. I walked through the water stations, eating some sports beans at mile 4, skipping the final 2 water stations. It felt so good running on the down hills – I actually felt like I was flying.
I ended up getting to the finish line in 1:28:49, faster than the race I ran earlier this month, and under a 1:30 which is always my goal for a 10 miler.
The Finish Line
It was a beautiful day and the finish line is right by the the water. I walked¬†around, but didn’t stay long because I had to head to work. But I got my medal, another piece of bling to add to my collection.
Next races coming up will all be in the fall. Training starts in July.
What races did you run this fall? What are you training for? How did your first postpartum races go?
I love connecting with people, especially other runners. Please connect with me on¬†INSTAGAM, @sweat1xdaily.
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