As if I didn’t already feel at “home” in DC, we added a race to this trip because it was more than appropriate. Here, I learned what running meant to me. I met my running buddies, and best friends.
I haven’t raced since a little 5K in November; I had not put any time goals on this particular event; I wanted to run, enjoy and soak it in.
We woke up early to some cold morning temps, and spent an hour staying warm in the Armory with thousands of other runners. We had no nerves or anxiety – “only”13.1 for Ivan, Epod & I this time! – just some sleepy eyes that were mesmerized by Kate’s attire:
Finally filling in the corrals around 6:50 a.m., the sun was waking up and we were getting ready to press “start” on the watches! Corral 3 crossed around 2 minutes after the clock; time to run!
Miles 1-3 8:39, 8:12, 7:51
Start conservative, you can always go faster at the end.
I felt nothing outside of the norm, I was surprised by the quick drop to sub-8s, but it was partially downhill and we were running along the mall – adrenaline and landscape in my favor! Go with it.
Miles 4-7 7:40, 7:57, 7:44, 8:05
I saw Anne!! It’s hard to miss the blonde hair and red Camelbak, I was so excited to say hi and enjoy a few strides with a familiar face.
We moved up; from Constitution Ave the course tackles 18th street North to Dupont Circle, and it’s a slight climb. We head under the circle and then up Connecticut Avenue. Those splits don’t hide where the hills were, but I felt amazing nonetheless. These were my old early-morning stomping grounds with Kate, these were the streets I missed.
Miles 8-12 7;41, 7:30, 7:16, 7:09, 7:22
Passing through Howard University was the next best supported area – DJs blasting some hip-hop, students dancing to cheer on the runners, and a few downhill stretches (finally). I kept seeing my splits and wondering how much faster I could get – I stopped caring if I might eventually get too tired, because what if I didn’t?
I saw Kate & Sam (her training/racing buddy) up ahead and sped up to catch them and let her know “you look awesome!” and “keep going strong!”; I saw the “1:45” pace group and then said “Sorry to jet, but I’ve gotta pass these guys…see you at the Finish!”
The song I had been waiting for couldn’t have had better timing – Run this Town finally filled my ears and provoked the speed boost. There isn’t a town I love running any more than this one! With the Capitol building back in view, I knew the end was close and I knew my PR (1:43:19) was done.
Time to replace it!
I had gas in the tank and a grin from ear to ear – I had no idea my legs were up for this kind of race, and I kept expecting to crash. It never happened, and the last kick came too easily. I stopped the Garmin right after crossing, and immediately let that PR-High take over.
Garmin Results: 13.21 , 1:41:35, 7:40 avg
Preliminary Race Results*: 1:42:02
Gender: 247 / 5231
Age Div.: 50 / 766
Overall: 1076 / 9250
*I stopped and started G right at the start/finish line, so I’m not sure where those extra 30 seconds come in? Either way, it’s a personal best by over a minute, so I’ll take it.
Lessons always learned: trust your training, let the adrenaline of being in one of your favorite cities carry you, and run with friends! Also, a glass of wine the night before won’t hurt you, as long as you counter it with water!
HUGE Congrats to Ivan & Epod for having an awesome race, too (and a PR)!
An even bigger Congrats to Kate, for blowing our minds with a 3:27 Marathon Finish (her first 26.2)!!! Just, amazing.
Don’t be afraid to push the barriers; you’ve only set them up yourself, and you can take them down. Run strong, and see what happens.
Some above photos are courtesy of the Runographer - thanks, friend!