Saturday, February 16, 2013

Race Report: Blacksburg Classic 10 Mile

I've been looking forward to this race, the Blacksburg Classic, ever since we moved back to Blacksburg last September. It is probably the largest local running event held each year, with this year's turnout being close to 400 runners (both 5k and 10 mile). This year was particularly nice because it served as a great reunion with some running friends we haven't seen in a while. Case and point:

Pre-race with Edie, who's one heck of a triathlete and runner!!
Having come fresh off a 50k, I knew to keep my expectations low. That being said, I knew I also run at my best with the pressure off and taking this past week very easy would certainly help. I decided to go out in a conservative effort and just take each mile as they come. 

The start is a little stressful (at least for me) because the 10 mile and 5k runners start and run the first 3 miles together. It's hard to know who's in what race and I knew it would be very easy to get swept up in a too fast pace early on. Learning from last week, I kept close eye on my Garmin in the first 3 miles, ignored the movement of runners around me and made sure I was breathing relatively easy. 10 miles is still a long ways and I didn't need to be going out at 5k effort.

2.5 miles into the race
Picture courtesy of Aaron Bradner
Finish of the first "loop" 
About 2 miles in I strategically took a gel, knowing I could use the extra surge of energy later in the race. It definitely helped too. After about 4 miles, I began to let my legs go the pace they wanted to and immediately dropped into the upper 6's. I was surprised... many of my more recent 5k's have been around 6:50 pace, yet today at that pace I felt strong. The middle miles were my strongest: 33:58 for 5 miles! After the 5 mile mark, I slowly began to pick off other racers and counting down the miles to go. Around mile 7 we reached a turnaround point and began working our way back to the finish. Though I had run very strong up until that point, I knew the hardest part was to come. Miles 8-9 were rolling hills and honestly, felt more uphill than anything else! We were also facing a headwind for about a mile and it felt much colder. 

Pictured here at the top of the hardest hill, about 1 mile left to go!
Picture courtesy of Wyatt L.
After making it up what I considered to be the "final" hill, I turned up the pace in hopes of a strong finish. I knew I still had energy left in the bank and definitely wasn't falling apart (unlike the previous week, ha!) I turned a corner and my husband was standing there waiting for me and cheering loudly. No matter how tired he is at the end of a race he always runs back and cheers for me, which is pretty awesome! The last half mile had an uphill stretch and I was really starting to struggle, but having him there really gave me the boost I needed! I knew I had a good time in the bag and wanted to back off, but I didn't and pushed forward. I ended up finishing in 1:10:35... a new 10 mile PR by about 20 seconds!

Finishing up
Here's what my Garmin had to say:

Funny how the computer uploaded data shown above varies from the watch display data (10.14 miles in 1:10:35), which also varies from mapmyrun (10.25 miles), which of course varies from the advertised distance of 10 miles. This is my first road race wearing the Garmin so I really don't know how to handle it... definitely information overload!

My "ultimate" goal going into this race was to potentially break 70 minutes for the 10 mile. I knew it was possible given some of my recent workouts if I had a good day and was feeling rested enough. Though I fell short of that, I am extremely happy with this race! Except for two slower miles (7:18, 7:14), 8 miles were below 7 minute pace and at my typical 5k pace. It's good to know that my training is paying off!!

Anyways, the hubby also ran stellar as usual. He crushed the 2nd half of the course to finish 2nd male overall with a new (sub-60) 10 mile PR as well! 

Post race was fun catching up with a lot of locals. Well, it was tough at first because my fingers were in agony and burning from the cold. I spent a good 15 minutes trying to get them to warm up. We ate some food, went for a short cool-down and then relaxed. 

Hanging out post-race with some of the fastest ladies I know.
I'm happy this race went well for both the hubby and I. We joke about it being our "homecoming" celebration as it's really been the largest gathering of locals we've seen since we first moved back. While I am still in recovery mode from my 50k, I am eagerly looking forward to resuming my full training here soon!!

Race gear :)


  1. You are just getting faster and faster!! That was an awesome race, especially so close on the heels of Holiday Lake, from which you are probably not fully recovered.

  2. Thanks Cortney!... I agree about the not being recovered part. Funny how that works though b/c my last 10 mile PR was two weeks post-marathon.

  3. You must be doing some hard training to turn your 5K pace into your 10 mile pace! Great job on your PR. I dream of running as fast as you do!

  4. Thanks Meagan! Work hard and you will keep improving! Maybe it's a sign that perhaps I need to run a faster 5k?? haha. My 5k PR has stood for almost 10 yrs now...


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