Get a Handle on Pints to Pasta: Tips from Three-Time Champ Greg Mitchell
When the horn goes off at the start of the Northwest's favorite 10K next month, you've got an immediate choice to make. Do you fly down that steep downhill mile to Widmer Bros. and hope your legs don't disintegrate late in the race? Or do you hold back a little, preserving your strength for the long push to the finish?
"I was super fit that year, and was actually shooting for sub-30 but fell a bit short," he says.
Mitchell advises runners in Pints to be fairly conservative as they drop down Greeley Avenue from the start in north Portland.
"Be smart the first mile," he says. "The rest of the course is pretty flat and it has potential to be a PR course, so don't destroy your chances before you even get to the Widmer Brothers Brewery."
"I have run Pints to Pasta five times and have never been in the lead at mile 1. I try to work myself into the lead or near the lead by mile 3 and then press when we hit mile 4 or 5," says Mitchell. "The last mile feels really long and a lot of guys tend to fade mentally there. Being familiar with the course makes that section easier to deal with."
If you want to run well at Pints to Pasta, it doesn't hurt to train for it. Though he doesn't train specifically for the fast downhill mile at the start of Pints, Mitchell incorporates a lot of hills into his regular training.
"Race day isn't the first time I've gone hard downhill," he says.
Just returned from a race in the Rockies, you can bet Mitchell will be ready to race on Sept. 9.
"Pints is my favorite local race. Paula (Harkin) does a bang-up job with it. The course is great, the weather is usually ideal, the competition is pretty good, and the post-race atmosphere is tough to beat."
Mitchell notes that the after-race meal in the beer garden outside the Old Spaghetti Factory is the only time each year that he eats pasta before 10 a.m. Dave Harkin, co-owner of Portland Running Company and emcee extraordinaire at Paula's races, has been known to spice-up the meal with a few airborne giveaways.
"If you aren't careful, you might end up with a pair of socks in your marinara, thanks to Dave."
If you haven't secured your spot in this year's Pints to Pasta 10K, visit www.runwithpaula.com today to sign up. Registration is also available in-store at Portland Running Company.