Saturday, February 19, 2011

GW Birthday Classic

Today was a tough day for a run.  There are high wind gusts averaging around 30-35 mph.  I got the the race an hour early because I was concerned about dealing with traffic/parking.  As I was sitting in my car, each time the wind would gust it would rock me around a bit.  I watched as people struggled to walk towards the race start and seriously doubted having any fun while trying to run.   I haven't been running much lately and I could think of 15 legitmate reasons why I shouldn't participate in the race today.  But, the thought of paying 50 bucks to for the technical shirt that was given with no race glory is what eventually got me out of the car and to the start line.  There were 589 of us crazies that decided to run despite the severe wind.  

I think the severe wind is what actually helped me pace myself better which led to a new 10k PR.  I started out the first mile slow and hit the first marker at around an 11:30ish pace.  I kept the same pace for the second mile hitting the marker at 23 minutes.  Mile 3 was brutal, the wind picked up and there was a long slow gradual incline which slowed me down to about 12 minutes - hitting the marker at 35.  Fortunately for all runners today, the run back was much easier as the wind was on our backs.  I was able to pick up some speed hitting mile 4 after a 10 minute pace around 45 and keeping that pace for mile 5 for 55 minutes. Between mile 4 and 5 a woman had marked me as her target and kept running past me, only to wear her self out and slow down.  While I am known for marking people, this was getting annoying after the first 6 times.  So, at the last mile I played my favorite game of trying to knock people off, I was able to pass 15 people and successfully lose the woman that had marked me to finish at the race at 66:23.  

Now my race time is certainly nothing to brag about, but it is a PR by 4:14.  Considering the circumstances, I am very pleased.  My goal with this race (as previously blogged) was to run, have fun, and get motivated to start training more seriously and without a doubt I succeeded.  I am excited to train, and I see that there is still a huge potential for me to improve.

I am running the parkway classic in April, but this was my first pacers event. 
 Like all races there are some pros/cons.
Con
1. The race was advertised as scenic and flat.  While it was most certainly flat, it was along the river but too far away to actually see it and it's a small river. So scenic it was not, and it actually is along one of my running routes as is, so it was not very exciting.
2. Due to the weather, cups and jugs were ALL over the place.   I was disappointed with runners that couldn't take a few seconds to actually throw away their cups with such high winds.  Unfortunately at one point the trash can even blew over sending LOTs of cups into the street, the brush and ultimately the river.

Pros
1. Small race only 589 participants, it was nice to not be in a massive heard the entire race
2. Excellent post race buffet of coconut water, muscle milk, banana's, chewy's, and peanut butter and crackers
3. Easy parking I was directly across the street and it took me 1 minute to leave.

Overall I am pleased with the organization of the race despite the challenges with the weather and I am looking forward to running the SunTrust National Half Marathon next month.

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