Here’s the first of two very long overdue race recaps.

On May 27, I participated in the Elizabeth River Run 10k in Portsmouth, VA. The race was put on by the Tidewater Striders. This was a beautiful course through Portsmouth that would take us along the Elizabeth River and on a longer loop around the Veterans Hospital with a view of Norfolk across the river.

In my now two years of running, this was only my 3rd 10k.  I’ve discovered that I don’t really enjoy the 5k distance as they just hurt. Half marathons are still my favorite, but I do really enjoy the 10k distance as it seems to be that happy medium between my weekday 3-4 milers and my weekend long runs.

Last year on this weekend I ran the Chick-fil-a Run with the Cows in Newport News.  I had planned on running that one again, but at the last minute I decided to give this run a shot as it was a little bit cheaper and it was in an area that I hadn’t run before.

Packet pick up was the day before at one of the local running stores.  It was quick, efficient and I was in and out in all of 5 minutes.

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Race time was 8:15 so I was out the door at 6:15 and on my way.  I broke one of my normal pre-race routines and I stopped for a nice drink at Starbucks.  Normally, race mornings are just water and granola bars, but I was tired and needed the pick me up. I arrived in Portsmouth shortly after 7am, parked about 2 blocks from the start line and made my way over to the start line.

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This is the first race that I have run since beginning the Galloway Customized Training Plan heading towards the Richmond Marathon in November. While I am always competing against my own PRs I have made the decision that every run, even races, between now and November 11 are for the sole purpose of getting my body ready to run the full marathon.  I need to drop about 20-25 pounds and be mentally ready for what I am sure will be the toughest physical challenge of my life.

My Galloway coach, Chris Twiggs, gave me the details for a warm up before the race and for the first time in my running history, I actually did a proper warm up.  The program has me running intervals of 3:00 run, :30 walk for the 10k distance, so I followed the plan from start to finish.

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The course was essentially two loops. The first loop was just under 2 miles in length. The second loop started just like the first, but went beyond the first turn-off point and followed the river down to the military hospital. This was a great part of the run even if part of it was along some cobblestone.  Fortunately, the cobblestone was much more level than some other cobblestone streets that I have been on.

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It was a warmer morning, with temps in the low 80’s at start time.  I stuck to the plan as prescribed.  When I filled out my questionnaire for the training program, I listed my goal as sub-60 minutes for this race.  My 10k PR is 52 and change in a race setting and in the 49’s during training (both of those over a year and 20 pounds ago).  Despite the heat and a little bit of unexpected fatigue, I finished the race in 59:32, thus achieving my pre-determined goal time.  The post race goodies included bananas, water, muffins, pizza (couldn’t bring myself to eat pizza at 9 in the morning), and for those that wanted it, beer.  I grabbed a banana and a bottle of cold water and made my way to a shady spot on the sidewalk along the finishing stretch to cheer on the others from my running group that were still out there on the course.  I like being able to do this when time allows as I understand how much the crowd helps during that final push.

Here are a few of the photos from the race (I love free race photos)!

All in all, I really enjoyed the race.  It was a beautiful course. Most likely I will go back and forth between this race and the Chick-fil-a race each year just for a change of scenery.  The Chick-fil-a run is a bit more expensive, but you get a little bit more swag and a chicken sandwich at the end of the run.  The swag for the ERR 10k included a short sleeve tech shirt and a finisher’s medal as well as the free race photos.

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If you happen to find yourself in the Tidewater area on Memorial Day weekend, this is definitely a race worth checking out.

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