The end of spring always makes me a little sad because it’s the end of racing season. I love racing. I love racing more than I love running in fact… so I race a lot. I thought Broad Street would be my last race this Spring but, oh what the hell, let’s do two more. I’m keeping them simple and short… it’s the theme of the Spring!
I will be running the North Face Endurance Challenge 10K Trail Race in Sterling, VA on June 2nd
Aannnddd the Lawyers Have Heart 10K in Washington, DC on June 9th (I am not a lawyer, but I too have a heart)
I talked Mike into the trail race but I doubt he will get on board with Lawyers have Heart. He doesn’t like summer racing because he’s basically a human popsicle (he melts in the sun).
Questions for you guys:
- What’s left on the your spring racing calendar?
- Thoughts on summer races?
- Sun lover or sun hater?
I had this post scheduled for yesterday but elected to cancel it in light of the tragic events that occurred in Boston. I am a person first, runner second and I am, as we all are, heart broken over these events. Julie at PB Fingers wrote a post this morning about ways to help for those who are interested. Amid the confusion and sadness yesterday, I was so relieved to hear my friends at Lavender Parking and South Harlem Runner were uninjured (though certainly frightened and upset). My support and love are with the people of Boston, runners, spectators, first responders, and volunteers. The strength and resiliency of the human spirit never ceases to amaze me, and I have already seen some truly amazing examples in the wake of this senseless tragedy. That is where I find solace today.
I declared this spring was… THE SPRING OF SPEED! I set a goal to get a new PR in the 5K and 10K distances and after this weekend… I’ve done it! I set my new 5K pr in Crystal City and now my new 10K Pr of 55:00 belongs to the Monument Avenue 10K in Richmond. I would link you to my official results but sadly I did not get chipped in at the starting line so my race time is 14-15 minutes off. I’m working with racing officials to get this corrected.
Friday afternoon, Mike and I took off for Richmond. Under normal circumstances, it should take 2 hours tops. But this is DC and the traffic is like the worst in the country so we sat in this for hours and it took us like 4 hours to get there.
After finally arriving and picking up our packets, we headed to Carytown where were staying (courtesy of AirBnB… if you haven’t tried it but consider yourself a more “adventurous traveler” I’d seriously recommend it. Especially for runners traveling to major races. A hotel would’ve EASILY cost us $200 and be miles from the start line. This was $50 for a night and we were less than two miles from the start). And it came with some quality time spent with the family dog… Squeaker!
The remainder of the evening consisted of pizza at Mary Angela’s, frozen yogurt from Sweet Frog, and being asleep by 11:15.
Since the race didn’t start until 8:30 it made for a rather leisurely race morning. We left the house at 7 am and leisurely walked down to the start line. We arrived around 7:40, checked our bag, used the bathroom, posed for a quick pic by the fountain, and made our way to the corrals.
Confession time… I snuck into a different corral than the one I was assigned! They were like actually checking too so this was more difficult than I was expecting. I do not advocate changing corrals BUT I was going for a PR and I knew I could hold the pace, so I jumped in a couple corrals ahead of my own. And before I knew it… we were off! Mike ran with me again and we were aiming for 8:45 – 8:50 min / mile.
It was challenging but I held the pace. My legs felt kind of heavy at the beginning of the race but thankfully they loosened up after a couple of miles. The course was awesome… a straight out and back on Monument Avenue complete with beautiful houses, basically pancake flat road, tons of crowd support, and live music EVERY block. Right at mile 6, I realized that I might be able to break 55 minutes if I really hauled it in to the finish line. I managed a really decent kick (in fact, my pace for that .2 miles was 7:40 min/miles) but ended up finishing at exactly 55 minutes. KIND OF wish I had gotten 54:59 instead but that’s ok. I’m taking this 4 minutes PR and cherishing it!
Mike is, as always, the best racing buddy. I’m really not looking forward to him recovering from this injury… who is going to pace me in for new PRs now???
The post race festivities were really great! Very family friendly for my racing buddies with kiddos. There were inflatables and characters roaming around!
We went picked up our bags and let me just say… this is by far the best bag check solution I’ve EVER seen. It was so quick and easy for pick up and drop off. You dropped off in one big group, then the bags were placed around the perimeter of a large fenced area. You just went to the fence that corresponded with your number. No lines AT ALL.
Quick race review – for such a HUGE race, this was so amazingly well organized it’s ridiculous. The corrals were excellent, the course didn’t feel THAT crowded, aid stations were perfectly stocked, and it was AWESOME. I would HIGHLY recommend this race. It is very first-timer and walker friendly as well. You won’t feel alone no matter where you are in the race.
Questions for you guys:
- Did you race this weekend? Where?
- What is your favorite race you’ve ever run?
So this past weekend I closed out the spring 2012 racing season with the Cascades 10K Firechase in Sterling, VA. This was really different than pretty much every race I have done so far this season and it was SO fun. I can’t recommend enough trying out a small community race, especially if it’s in your community! They have a totally different feeling. They’re GREAT for first-time racers (very low pressure). They are also budget-friendly (I registered really early and it ended up costing me $20). Smaller community races typically allow jogging strollers and sometimes even pets… so grab your kids and your animals and head to the race course!!
Traditionally my race reviews (some past reviews can be found here) include a pros and cons list, but small community organized races get more grace from me. These are hard events to put on and, while I think large racing companies can benefit from some constructive feedback, I’m just going to say… you guys rocked!
The course was basically two loops around a neighborhood, which was also a bit different. It was relatively easy with just a couple hills to add a little challenge. They had local boy scout packs (are boy scouts called packs? I know girl scouts are troops… whatever, I digress) manning the water stations, which was precious. People who lived in the neighborhood were also setting up independent water stations, which was helpful because IT WAS HOT. The race began at 8 am and even then I was drenched in sweat in minutes. I actually got slightly dizzy just before mile marker 5 but thankfully it passed. The race benefited the local fire department so there were plenty of police officers, firefighters, and EMTs out on the course rooting everyone on. The finish line was probably my favorite part because it was just a GIGANTIC American flag hung between the ladders of two firetrucks. Perfectly themed for a Memorial Day Weekend race.
Ever since the marathon, my races haven’t been my best. I think my body is trying to tell me to slow down a little bit. But even with not feeling 100%, I achieved a PR of 58:58 (Prior to this I had never run a sub 1 hour 10K)! I felt like before the marathon, I could’ve run much faster so I’m currently looking for a fall 10K to try out this theory 🙂 The real winner though was Mike because he actually, literally was a winner! He won second place in his age division with a PR of 41:14! I told you he was fast!!
I haven’t actually done a ton of 10Ks (and I’ve done even less 5Ks). I have really been more of a distance lover, because speed isn’t really my thing. However, I really enjoyed the challenge in this race. Over drinks later that night, Mike and I got into a pretty in depth conversation about the different race distances (it’s a good thing we date each other because we are basically unfit to date in the general population). We talked about how 5K are classic VO2 Max races, whereas 10 milers – half marathons are classic lactic threshold races. 10Ks fall right in the middle, so they are a really unique challenge.
So that’s it, boys and girls, spring 2012 racing season is O-V-E-R. Mike and I counted and we both ran 10 races this spring. We agree that may have been too many! We just got really excited for the season and overcommitted. I am looking forward to a summer of working on speed, running just for pleasure, and sleeping in a little on weekends 🙂