Race Recap: Parkway Classic 10 Miler – my second Postpartum race

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.

THE TRAINING

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.

parkway classic outfit

THE RACE

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.

Parkway Classic

Parkway

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.Parkway Classic finish

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.

© 2016 sweat1xdaily

 

 

 

Meeting Meb Keflezighi and Running my first Postpartum race.

Last Sunday (April 3, 2016) on one of the record breaking windy weather days, I ran my first race postpartum – the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.

In 2008, the Cherry Blossom 10 miler was my first race I ever ran. I have run this race every year since, except last year when I was five months pregnant with Zoe.

I love this race because for me, it symbolizes spring, the end of the cold winter, and the start of my training/race season.

TRAINING

Most of my runs have been shorter runs during the week. I normally run 3-5 miles with Zoe. Pushing the stroller really has made me faster and stronger. I am just beyond thankful that both my baby and I enjoy runs together. It makes it so much easier for me to fit my runs in. I usually wake up early with her and we head out for a run. Running is now part of our morning routine.

  
On the weekends, I would get out there and run a little further. I personally define a long run as any distance 10 miles and further. But when training for this 10 miler I didn’t feel the need to go further than 8 miles. So I did a couple 8 milers at a pretty decent pace.

Lina met me for an 8 miler on Easter morning and we ran to the cherry blossoms and back.

EXPO

As always, I headed to the expo to pick up my bib. The expo for this race is always held at the National Building Museum. I browsed the expo to see if there were any good sales or new vendors. ¬†It was at the Cherry Blossom 10 miler a couple years ago that I discovered Newton running shoes. So you really don’t know what you’ll find that might be a major game changer for your running. So enjoy the expo and explore a little.

¬†One new brand that I did find at this expo was Mana Threads. It is a fitness clothing brand owned by two Brazilian sisters. I bought a sports bra and tank top from them. The brand isn’t necessarily for runners. But the colors were amazing and fabric soft. I’m getting really bored of lululemon and just want to have some fitness/running clothes that are NOT lulu.

MEETING MEB KEFLEZIGHI

However, the absolute most exciting thing about the expo was meeting Meb Keflezighi. I was definitely star struck.

For those who don’t know… Meb Keflezighi is a famous marathoner. He won the Boston marathon in 2014. He also is heading to Brazil to run in the Olympics. Anyway, it was pretty exciting to see him and hear what he had to say.

He talked about his first marathon ever, and how he was a couple seconds shy of making the olympics. Although, he is really fast, his story was one any runner could relate to. My favorite part was when her said… the marathon was so painful he made a vow to himself that he would never run another marathon. That sounds pretty familiar, so many of us have said the same words.


He also ran the Cherry Blossom 10 miler race. He told everyone he would be running a 6 minute pace. And although, there is no way I would be running that fast, I did look for him on the course. It is just amazing to have run a race that he also was running in.

NIGHT BEFORE RACE RITUAL

As always I laid out my race outfit, so I would be ready early in the morning. The sports bra and tank are by Mana Threads – the new ones I purchased at the expo.

 

Turns out the night before the race became super windy. And I ended up wearing a long sleeve top. Just to put it in perspective how cold it was, there has only been two other races, that I have run in long sleeves. It is very rare for me to race in something other than shorts and a tank top.

THE RACE

Lina met me at my house and we drove over to the metro together. By 6:30 we were off the metro and heading toward the bag check. We waited around the start freezing our butts off.  It was cold and the wind made it painful.

 The race starts and finishes at the Washington Monument.


Look at those American flags blowing aggressively in the wind.

Finally we headed to our corral.


And off we went.

Because of the wind, the course had NO mile markers. The only other race that I ran with no mile marker was the North Face Endurance Challenge half marathon, and that race was a trail run.

Anyway, because there were no mile markers, I decided to just enjoy the race, and run based on how I felt. So I didn’t look at my watch, not even once.¬†

This was my first race postpartum so I wasn’t working for a new PR, instead I was just seeing how I would do. I was mainly using this race as one to help me measure my fitness level.

I recorded the race on my Garmin 620. This was my first time racing with this watch and it was awesome. The watch vibrates at every mile, so although there were no mile markers, I still knew where I was at.

Just for fun, I also recorded my race on Strava. ¬†I’ve been using this app as a back up record for my runs. It is also really awesome because it allows me to connect with other runners. I am actually following Kara Goucher. Because she is an elite runner seeing her runs gives me inspiration.

RACE STATS (using Strava)


My official time was for this race (Cherry Blossom 10 Miler) 1:31:12.

Honestly, I felt really good running this race. My form and stride felt effortless. I just kept going. The wind was crazy though. Sometimes we were running right into it, other times it felt like it was coming from all directions.

The last two miles we were running right into the wind. Because of the wind I felt like I was slowing down, but after I crossed the finish line I felt like I could have kept going. Sometimes in running, you find that really comfortable pace that you just settle in – I found that pace during this race and it felt like I could run forever.

Because I felt so good, I actually didn’t eat any of my sports beans. I normally always take them every 6 miles, but because I didn’t train using them, I decided not to use them.

FUTURE GOALS

Over all I am really happy about my first race back postpartum! I am feeling more and more like the athlete I was before pregnancy. I am very pumped to keep pushing during my runs and to become even more consistent with my lifting.

My future fitness goals-

I need to find a way to stay even more  consistent. Consistency is key when seeing results.

1) Keep pushing hard with my runs. Working on distance and speed.

2) Continue lifting consistently. I am currently on the livefit trainer week 5. Can’t wait to see more results by getting stronger and building more muscle.

© 2016 sweat1xdaily