Yesterday I ran the George Washington Parkway Classic. It’s a 10-mile race, and the first time I have ever ran any other distance but a half marathon. I was looking forward to this race because of the shorter distance, and because it was the same route I’ve run like a million times. As I have mentioned before, my family used to live near the GW Parkway, so I am quite familiar with running the course.
Unfortunately, it is also a government ran street. With the government shutdown up in the air, it was hard for me to get mentally prepared for the race. If the government shutdown was to happen, the race would have been postponed. I went to bed Friday night not knowing if I was going to wake up and do a short run to loosen up for my race, or go to boot camp because my race was postponed.
On Saturday morning I was happy to see that my race was still on. I was ready for my race, but also didn’t hype it up too much. Because it was a shorter distance and familiar turf, I planned on treating it like a training run and just enjoying myself.
I woke up early Sunday morning and did my usual pre-race routine. Nerves started to settle in, even though I wanted to remain calm. Running does not come super easy to me. I really have to get my mind right in order to have a decent long run. So I wanted to get pumped, but stay cool.
Marcus dropped me off at Mount Vernon. As soon as he drove away butterflies invaded my stomach. For some reason, I still get ridic. nervous before every race. I am always scared something will happen to stop me from completing the race.
I stood in the porta-potty line twice which took up all of my time. I joined the crowd of runners around the circle in front of Mount Vernon. Before I knew it, it was time to run. One of the cool things about running in the circle is that you can see the runners ahead of you start the race. It is always impressive when the elite runners sprint ahead. They are so fast it’s unbelievable and so motivating. Everyone cheered as the race started and my adrenaline went crazy. Crossing the start line never fails to excite me.
The first mile was straight down hill which was a nice warm-up. I knew where all the mile markers were, so it was easy for me to pace myself and find a good tempo. I ran the Wilson Bridge Half Marathon last year and the two courses were exactly the same for the first 8 miles. So I knew what to expect.
What I was not prepared for was how fatigued my body felt so early on. Usually, I fly through the first few miles, high on adrenaline and happy to be running. This time, every step was painful. My legs felt as if they weighed 100 pounds each. I definitely felt as if I needed more fuel and more water.
Usually, I drink a small bottle of water, eat a banana and peanut butter, and a small amount of orange juice or Gatorade. Running really messes with my stomach and I have to pee all the time, so I keep my food and liquid intake really light before a race. Usually this works fine for me. But this time I really think I needed more in my body to keep me going.
The miles seemed to pass quickly although painfully. Everything hurt – my feet, hips, knees and ankles. I wanted to enjoy the race, but I was so ready for those 10 miles to be over. I remember passing the 7 mile marker and being so happy that I only had 3 miles to go as opposed to 6 miles.
I pushed through the final miles and tried to smile as people on the sidelines shouted encouragement. As I came upon the final stretch, I saw Marcus near the finish line. Seeing him gave me the push I needed to finish strong and hard. I always get a boost when I see his face and hear him cheering for me.
I was so relieved when I crossed the finish line. I couldn’t have been happier that the race was only 10 miles as opposed to 13.1.
After I was done running, I grabbed a Gatorade and chugged it quickly. I found Marcus and said, “I need food!” He told me when I was running it looked like I was in pain. I told him I was. It was seriously the most painful race I had, even though it was the shortest.
Although the race was tough, I still enjoyed it. Sometimes you don’t have good running days. Yesterday was not a good one for me. But I still finished at a decent time and was proud of myself for completing another race.
The race was very well organized. The volunteers were all so nice and encouraging. The scenery was great. I would definitely run this race again. And in the meantime, I am going to experiment with more food before longer runs and see how it affects my body. I know that I don’t get enough calories before a long run, and it showed yesterday.
Next up, Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon. It will be the one year anniversary of my running career. I am SO excited to run this race. I have four weeks to get my mind and body ready! 😀