This will probably be a lot longer recap and post from me then you are used too. I don’t normally have a good amount to say about races but I am trying to get better about that. First, I was never set on running this race. The month of April I had been back and forth about running this race, I had a few other commitments that I was missing and it seemed like everything and anything was planned on tis same weekend. When I found out there was no real way to trade or sell off my bib and my dad was going to come watch…well I decided to suck it up to get out of my comfort zone and run the biggest race of my life.
I’m elated I did.
It’s not a secret that I really enjoy Nike products. They are by far my favorite brand and I have never denied that through swimming or running. The fact that they announced they were sponsoring a race 6 months ago in DC, I decided I just had to run. That was in November and for those who relatively new, I was just coming off a giant cyst in my foot…I needed something long term to look forward too and this seemed perfect. So I entered the race six months ago and put it in the back of mind.
Fast forward to driving down and being on the metro to get my race packet. I walked entirely too much and a lot more than I would have liked the day before a race. Between standing in line (for about an hour), walking to and from the metro station (2 miles roundtrip…not the .5 stated) and then just walking…I walked…a lot more then you should.
But before we get much into this recap to much, I had said multiple times I wanted to do well but I don’t feel fully recovered from last months 1:25 at Shamrock. For those who follow my training, it was obvious my running was okay not stellar. I was not expecting a PR here as well and I was fine with that. I was there to have fun (I’m always there to have fun).
After getting to the race in the morning around 6:00, I shot the breeze with my friend from the area and her husband (another reason I was really excited to be there). I didn’t warm up besides my jog with dad to the metro station. Jogging with a bag, I looked like a line backer…maybe a career in the football is my next bet.
After checking in my bag and delayering all the way (no throw away clothes for me actually), I went to my carol and it was just awe inspiring seeing all the runners and so intimidating. We had to wear wrist bands depending on your pace and looking down to see about 30 females with a sub 6 minute bracelet was scary.
Then we were off. Literally the race started at 7:00am and on time. Around the half mile point we went under a tunnel with bongo players. It was loud and reminded me a metronome. Although it was by far my favorite part, It also blocked my Nike watch and immediately I lost signal and from that point on I was sans GPS. Not sure if anyone else had this problem but I wasn’t just going to stop and say oh darn…watch doesn’t work…race is over.
I was able to chart these splits off their website though and not that it matters too much about splits considering my 5k’s are nearly the same. My watch acted as a natural stop watch so I had a good idea of what I was doing about my pace but not really. .
I’ll break it up into 4, 5ks.
The first 5k (20:39).
My first 5k will always be my slowest. Always. My legs were pretty tired and I didn’t know how it would play out. I somewhere between 40-50th place but continued to pass people. We went through the tunnel at the very beginning but I loved the bongo players. The crowd support was amazing. The first 5k went by pretty fast and there was only one real hill. I was really taking in the scenery and trying to find my groove here.
The second 5k (19:49)
This was a very crowd supported. As I felt myself getting into the groove of a very solid pace. I didn’t feel 100% optimal but I felt good. I found myself pretty alone from this point on. I began to become engrossed in my own thoughts. I stayed in the same position throughout the race besides a lone wolf dude who ran by me grunting nice running…
The third 5k (20:21)
Miles 6.5-9 were probably the hardest for me. I was literally all alone with no one around and going into a bit of wind. I look back at pictures of people running the same race as I am with literally hundreds of females around and I was all by myself. I saw someone about .1 in front of me and I knew someone was .1 behind…but no one else around. It was mentally challenging but gorgeous views and just focusing on finishing got me through. I didn’t have any problems and it honestly just felt like a mental barrier of miles that I needed to get through.
Also during this point some mistaken man ran onto course and he was immediately stopped. I chuckled and told him that he could finish the rest of the race for me. He said “you’re a heart breaker kid”…whatever that means.
The final 5k (19:56)
This 5k (if I have this court figured out right) was pretty similar to the first 5k, just retracing our steps. By this point I had dropped my hammer and had decided I was going to finish and finish strong. The final 5k for me is my personal favorite because I know it’s like the extra run I normally do once a week and I can power through it. We went through that tunnel again and proceeded to turn around the Washington Monument. The course widened up and the spectators were screaming. I was literally in tunnel vision to finish.
Bonus round 12.4-13.1.
I was just staring at the finish line because you were going towards it at a straight line and it’s big. I thought it might never come. I passed the fellow that passed me earlier in the race (and he said you go girl) and then I was gaining on someone in front of me who was being paced by a cyclist (but I never caught them).
But I finished in 1:24.53.
Post race I was shocked…Surprised…what the heck? Me just finishing in 9th? I went through all the post race joys of getting a necklace, getting my (cute) finisher tee and just hanging out. I meant to cool down but never got around to and never did a shakeout run later…
I was able to finally meet Mikey (who is point blank awesome).
I realized after looking in my bag, I had forgotten to run take my gel with 2X caffeine. Now that might not seem like a big deal to you, but I have never run a race (at all) without taking this gel 45 minutes before. Ever. I have nearly cried (well just panicked) at several races because I thought I didn’t have it. The only prerace tradition I have ever had is take that gel at 45 minutes…and I literally forgot. Could I have finished faster? Who knows, perhaps without any travel or walking around miles on miles but this was still a PR for me and a great race.
As dad said: This was my new favorite race course…sure you get to see all the beautiful monument and views but you also get to see all the political scandals (like Watergate!) .
And thus ends my longest blog post ever…ha ha.
Questions for you:
Do you drink or take any caffeine before races?
What is your favorite part of Washington DC?