I wanted to use this post to share my race day with you. At the end of the post, I will include other links to other reviews of this same race!
MY First Race Review – GW Parkway Classic 10 Miler! (From a First Time 10 Mile Runner)
6:15 AM My sister-in-law and I boarded a bus near the Pentagon and we were off to our first 10 mile race. We ate our mini bagel, strawberries, and drank Green Mountain Blueberry Coffee on the bus ride to Mt. Vernon. It was raining when the bus dropped us at Mt. Vernon! They literally drop you off at the start and there is no way back except to walk or run the 10 miles to the finish. The Parkway is closed, so even if you wanted to hitch a ride you couldn’t. I think that was a good thing!
I had read lots of blogs on running (thanks!) and learned that I should pack garbage bags to use as ponchos you could toss. Thank goodness, there was no cover as we waited over an hour for the race to start. We put on the grabage bags and plugged our noses (note to self, next time bring non-scented garbage bags). There were what seemed liked millions of people waiting there. There was a sea of porta-potties at the start! I hate pota-potties, I have been know to pee behind one instead of in one. I sucked it up and went in. Hey no rain! I actually thought about sitting in there till the race started. Ugh! Back to stand under a tree and listen to my hysterical sister-in-law… She wasn’t half as excited as I was! As we stood under the trees she stated: “What the heck am I doing on my day off, standing under a tree with a garbage bag on waiting to run 10 miles!” She made the time go by quickly with her funny remarks.
So about 30 minutes before the start we decided to leave our tree and head to the bag drop off. They take your bags on a truck to the finish line. Since it was still raining I kept my $5.00 Walmart jacket on and packed up my other stuff in the bag. After bag drop off we stayed in the large field in front of Mt. Vernon (happened to be where my sister-in-law was married about four years ago!) Here I am ready to start:
About 20 minutes before the run, they had a boot camp type instructor (not nearly as good as mine) lead us in a warm-up type of activity. My sister-in-law was annoyed that I was into doing this… But I needed to take it all in. Her; “You are like one of those people that likes those ice breaker types of games, aren’t you?” YEP!
So jumping jacks, high knees, and some stretches were led by the boot camp type instructors…. I did most of it and decided I did not like his stretches and did my own.
After that we walked our way to the back of the pack – way, way, back behind about 6,000 or so people. At this time I had my first PowerBar Energy Gel and some of my electrolyte water to wash it down. I took my last few pictures. Stuffed my baby berry into my running water bottle never to see again till the finish. (Sorry no race pics. I was trying hard to make my time of getting this dine in 2 hours)
About the water bottle (that I love and really worked well): I was surprised… I didn’t see anyone else with one. Lots of people had on hydration packs. I thought a hydration pack was little too much for a 10 mile race – come on people, it’s not a marathon and the temps were low. Get a cool water bottle or just stop at the water stops. Hee-hee!!!
Here’s the pack ahead of me at the start.
I was a little bummed when I realized that by the time we would get to the start after the gun was shot it would be three-four minutes into the race. As I expressed my concern for not finishing in 2-hours, the lady next to me said that she thought the same thing, but your time didn’t actually start till you hit the start line. O-GOOD! We wore little race clips on our shoes that tracked our time.
By the time we hit the start line, the rain had stopped and never returned! Thanks God! I read on other blogs that the race starts with a down hill and many runners take that too fast and poop out at the bottom. I took it easy on the hill and saw many people start walking after the hill. My goal was no walking…
As I am running down the pretty large hill, I am thinking… wow, I have to go to the bathroom. I knew there would be one at 2.6, I will wait till then! Of course through out the race you see men running into the wood and peeing. They have it so easy. I started to get warm and tied my walmart jacket around my waist. I originally bought the jacket to toss on the course (like many people do – hopefully they collect all those cover-ups and give they to a shelter or something). I didn’t toss mine because I really like that $5.00 bright pink cover-up.
The first mile was super easy. People watching kept me interested. I noticed that I was keeping good pace with two girls running together. One had on one of those multi-color running skirts and her friend looked like a really good runner, running along side the skirt girl to keep her going. They would run and then walk. I spent the majority of the race running with them, passing them when they walked, and then they would catch up with me and start walking again… I just kept on running.
Around mile 2 I could see the potty’s ahead. Once I got up to the spot I noticed that there were only three potty’s and like 10 people (women) in line… Forget it, I will hold it. Plugging along and still feeling good, I cross the three mile line and I am ahead of where I wanted to be at this time.
The track itself is so far, great! Pretty flat with a few upgraded hills (which I am use to from our trail). It was a cloudy day, so the sights weren’t as pretty as I hoped. Still, on a nice day I bet it is so pretty for a run. Lots of scenic overlooks and very shaded.
Before I knew it, I was on mile five with a time of 57:06!
I was half-way there & three minutes better than I thought I would be at this point! No problem… still had to go to the bathroom! 🙁 But for some reason, not as much as before. One time I was trying to decide if I should just run into the trees and then I looked over into the woods and saw a naked behind. Ugh! I didn’t want anyone seeing my large behind…. plugging along.
Mile six and seven seem like a blur… I no longer had to go to the bathroom….. I remember my legs were bothering me and I wanted to walk; but I wouldn’t let myself because I was afraid if I stopped I may not start up running again. It is funny how you feel like cardio wise you could go on forever, but your legs just want to stop.
My time at 7 miles was 1:20:03. I was still with skirt girl and her friend. I remember hearing her complain to her friend and her friend said that they only had “2.6 miles to the finish, wasn’t that better than 10?” and the girl said, “No!” Hee-hee! I then decided I was done with having them pass me when they started running again… I told myself I needed to get farther ahead of them so they would not pass me for the rest of the race. That was accomplished.
Mile 8 starts to go into the town a bit. You start to see people cheering you on. One lady held a sign that said, “If your legs aren’t burning badly by this point then you aren’t working your ASS hard enough!” I had to laugh. I got a little teary eyed during mile 8 when I could see the mile nine marker and the crowd was banging cow bells. I had to stop thinking and crank up the music so I could focus on finishing strong emotionally. I had to take my focus off the cute crowd with the signs and the cheers of kids in the audience cheering on their mommies. That got me the most emotional. It really is something to see a little four year old yelling, go Mommy! Luckily, a killer hill cranked me out of an emotional state… I do hills pretty well (if you have seen my neighborhood hils – that may be the reason), passing up many people and staying strong! Turning a corner now and I can see the white finish line (which appears much closer than it really is)… I feel a little sick to my stomach at this point… I want to finsih with a sprint across. I know I have met my goal, wondering now how far under 2 hours I can get… About 30 seconds to the finsih line I hear my family cheering even with my music blasting. I also hear over the speaker the man say “anyone who can hear me, if you want to finish this in 2 hours you need to push-it!” Hands up, I am done and ugh… I feel sick…. walking for about 5 minutes to get out of the race and I see hubby, kids, and my parents. Yeah, done! Official time – 1:54:43 Waaaahhhhoooooo – under 2 hours! Much better than I thought I would do. I love this, what race is next?! I am hooked!