It’s not often that we travel for races; it’s interesting to step out of the norm and be the “tourists” that have no idea how to get there, when and where to arrive, and how the heck to navigate around the 30,000+ other runners all in the same place. I’ll have quite a bit more sympathy for the out-of-towners when I ride the metro to MCM in the October. These things can be complicated.
The plus side: Kate & Epod are both from the area, so we had homes to stay in!
Obviously we got ourselves to the Starting line, but it took much more planning than usual. Heads up for anyone thinking about this race: arrive early. We had about 75 minutes to kill once we got there, but that proved to be a smart decision. Minimal traffic, no issues getting on the Septa, 30 minute train ride, and minimal bathroom lines = massive race arrival success!
Kate & I warmed up by running laps around a school, partially in the grass, for about 10 minutes. Kinks out and muscles lightly stretched, we made our way to the Purple corral (speedy-K was in Red, but she hung back one wave, with me). The countdown was on; the race began right on time – kudos! Things are off to a good start…
Running straight down one road for 10 miles is about as exciting as it sounds. The key here to is embrace and enjoy the simplicity of the course; net downhill, great spectators and absolutely nothing to think about! Just keep moving forward, don’t make a single turn, and use all of the above to your advantage.
I had no doubt this would be my 10-mile PR for the season. I was trained well, rested and ready to race; I had taken it easy during Cherry Blossom to save the effort for this, and noting the course details, all odds are in the runner’s favor!
The virtual running-buddy (VRB; Garmin lingo) was set at 7:30, and all I looked at was how far ahead of her I could get. The mile markers throughout the race were spot on with my splits (go, G!) and there was no need to look at time. As I gained seconds and tenths of miles on the VRB, I had all the knowledge I needed.
The legs gave me a positive balance by the end of mile 1 (meaning we’re ahead of that VRB already), and things looked good from there!
Along the course you pass spirited spectators, church singers on their front steps (gorgeous sounds), bands (pump-you-up sounds!), Temple students, radio station tents, and frequent water stations. The road is wide enough that you can forget you’re surrounded by enough runners to fill a small city, but at the same time you’re never alone. The road just keeps going, and the view ahead is a sea of runners, stoplights & miles to go.
7:28 – 7:21 – 7:23 – 7:21 – 7:13 – 7:02 – 7:15
At mile 7 I was bored enough that I needed to do math and/or sing in my head; I took to counting down each stoplight/block (10,9,8,7….) after each mile marker. By the time I got to 1, it was time for a new mile (thank you for consistency, grid systems!). By the time it was a new mile, we had one less to run!
I was almost two minutes ahead of schedule, feelin’ just fine.
Entering the Navy Yard means you have 0.25 miles to go; I had my eye on a handful of gals the whole time, I had passed all but one, and the motivation to get ahead of her sped me through those last 400 yards…
7:14 – 7:13 – 7:02 – cross that Finish Line!
There’s nothing quite like that PR-high – 5 minutes knocked off my personal best, and there was still some juice in these legs. There may be new expectations for MCM in my head, but that’s another mind-game for another day.
Official Results – 1:12:52, avg. pace 7:17
Overall: 1942 / 33891
Gender: 361 /18988
Division: 125 / 5081
Who else tested a physical limit this weekend? Link it up, let’s hear it!