Race Report – 2018 Clarendon Day Double (5K and 10K) – 5K PR!

5K

 

Finish time:  23:52 (PERSONAL RECORD)

Placing:  231 out of 1076

178 out of 529 (male)

80 out of 195 (male division)

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10K

 

Finish time:  54:26 

Placing:  274 out of 914

194 out of 439 (male)

88 out of 169 (male division)

 

63200

 

I feel good after this race.  It’s a fast course, so it’s a perfect opportunity to steal a PR on a 5K or 10K.  Coming into this race I have set a PR in 2018 for each of the following distances:  10K, 10 Miler and Half Marathon.  Today I added the 5K to that list, beating a time that I set back in 2006 when I was 23 years old (though in all fairness, I haven’t ran all that many 5Ks).  So, if I PR a marathon this year, 2018 will be a banner year–one where I set a personal best for every standard race distance.

 

PRE-RACE

 

I took my lesson from last year and decided that I would not drive to this race.  Last year I made the mistake of parking my car about a mile away from the start line.  The set up of this race is such that the finish line is about a mile and a half down hill from the start.  I didn’t want to walk too much, so just ubered there with plans to do the same back, but it turns out that Jess and Mini met me there (and drove) anyway.  I was hanging out with an old friend the night before but called it an early one to make sure to get home early and get to bed.  I got up at around 6:30am, called my uber at 6:50 and made it there with plenty of time to get my packet.

I had some time to kill before the start of the 5K, but I kind of just stood around and waited for it to start.  I downloaded this podcast called Dissect and started listening to Season 1, which “dissects” the themes and meanings in Kendrick Lamar’s album “To Pimp a Butterfly.”  It was really interesting, and I may have decided to listen to it for the duration of the runs, but I didn’t charge my headphones and they were bound to run out.

 

5K Race

 

8:03 min/mile; 7:29; 7:36; [0:43]

The race starts off fast, faster than you think.  I woke up with the plan to try and PR the 5K an to take it easy on the 10K.  But I was surprised with how fast the first miles went on this course, even though I ran it last year.  I guess that’s what happens when you descend about 300 feet over two miles.  The first mile was slower due to the crowded field, but once I got separation, I felt like I was flying the whole race.

 

When I crossed the finish, I actually considered not doing the 10K.  My stomach wasn’t feeling too great, but it wasn’t anything major, and I had a 10 mile run scheduled in my marathon training anyway, so I put that negative thought out of my mind and walked up the hill.

 

In between

 

Not much to say here except that it takes a long-ass time to get up the hill and back to the start.  I finished the 5K at a decent time and so I decided to walk back to the start for the 10K.  I thought I had plenty of time but I made it back with under 10 minutes to go.  I bet it’s stressful to try and get back if you run the 5K slower.

 

10K Race

 

The 10K started within minutes after me getting back.

 

Miles 1-3

9:12 min/mile; 9:25; 8:05

 

I started the race with the intent of taking it easy.  I didn’t have a particular pace in mind, but thought I’d run at a clip that didn’t feel too terrible.  I was deliberately holding back the first mile and saw that it was still in the low 9s.  Again, this isn’t a testament to my athletic skill, but rather an indication of how the downhill really helps you out.  I stopped for a bathroom break at mile 2, and then when I continued, I found that the 8ish pace was comfortable.

 

Miles 4-6

 

8:17; 8:41; 8:51

 

Miles 4 to 6 started to suck.  It was getting hotter and more humid and more sunny.  You’re running on the highway and there’s no real relief from it.  Once I got to mile 5, I told myself to slow down.  By the end of mile 5, I was really looking forward to the finish line.  I did plan better this time than last year.  I got some decent sleep the night before, I brought a hat, I brought some water, I ate some gummies in between the 5K and 10K.  So I didn’t feel dehydrated and exhausted like I did last year, so I was able to get through these miles without much trouble.

 

Miles 6-6.2

[2:06]

 

I was able to finish the race strong.  When I got to the finish line, I saw Jess and Mini who both so kindly came to support me.  Mini’s face was so precious.  Jess told her that I was coming, and when I approached them, I could see her scanning the crowd for me.  She spotted me right as I passed them, I gave them a quick wave, and then Mini cried a lot when I ran by because she thought I left her.  It’s the kind of “sad but sweet” memory that I’ll always remember.

 

 

POST-RACE

 

I finished, collected both my medals, and found Jess and Mini.  We snapped a few pictures and then headed out.  One the way home, we stopped at Sugar Shack to treat us to a donut, and then we got pupusas to take home for lunch.

 

Overall, a fantastic race.  Some obligatory photos:

 

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And look at the difference from last year to this year.

 

Last year:

 

 

This year:

 

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Race Report – 2018 George Washington Parkway Classic Ten Miler – 10 Miler PR!

Finish Time:  1:22:39 (PERSONAL RECORD)

Placing:  783 out of 4207

560 out of 1823 (male)

124 out of 325 (male division)

 

 

The PRs are getting crushed in 2018.  This is my fourth personal best of the year, my second one for the ten mile distance.  These runs are just feeling….good.  I feel like I’m coasting at the 8:30 paces, and feel like I’m pushing it but not too hard at the 7:45-7:50.  I’m not sure what’s causing the uptick in my run quality.  I think it’s partly due to strength training I’ve been doing over the week, and partly due to fact that I’m running less than my marathon training.

 

I really enjoy this race.  The course is fast, and beautiful, and the weather was perfect.  It’s not as crowded as the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler, but it does have a decent turn out, and it’s organized very well.  The logistics are a bit tough, and that’s the only downside.  But I’m glad I did it in ’18 and I’ll plan to do it years to come when I can.

 

PRE-RACE

 

Unlike the past two races I’ve run, I actually came up with a plan for this one.  I knew that I had to because of the point to point nature of the run.  Last year, I had the idea of parking my car at the finish line and taking the closest shuttle from there.  It was a great idea in theory, which means that everyone else was thinking the same thing.  I made the shuttle, but the lines were long and I was afraid I’d miss it.  This year, I told myself that I’d plan it out a little bit better.

 

The planning was a bit more complicated because Jess ran the 5k with Mini.  Thus, I couldn’t drive to Alexandria to catch a shuttle.  And also, since the shuttles did not allow for strollers, Jess would have to park at the 5K starting line.  The tricky part is that when you finish, there are no shuttles back to either the 10 mile start or the 5K start.  So basically, that meant that we would have to figure out a way to get back to the car after the race was over.  Running with a baby made the logistics tricky.

 

As for my plan, I decided that I’d take an early shuttle at a different pick up point from last year.  So I got up at 5:30 and Ubered to the Eisenhower shuttle stop at 6:20.  As I left my apartment, the weather looked great, and I knew we were in for a good morning:

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I was in Mt. Vernon by 7, and thus had to wait about an hour for the race to start.  It wasn’t so terrible.  It would be nice to run with a friend next time, though, just to have the company.

 

I had a bit of a panic when I realized that my bib had the coloring of a 5K bib instead of a ten miler.  I was the only one there with an orange bib.  My fear was that my 10 mile time wouldn’t count, but when I worked it out in my head, I realized that as long as they had my name in the system properly for the ten miler, then it’d be alright.

 

It was fairly cold in the morning, so I grabbed a thermal sheet and basically just sat and waited for the start.

 

 

Miles 1-4

 

8:15 min/mile; 8:03; 8:11; 8:15 (GPS watch times)

 

Subconsciously, before every race, I segment the distance into manageable chunks to get through the mental aspect.  As the gun went off and I started running, my mind decided that miles 6-8 would be the toughest miles of the race.  So I was telling myself:  “just get to mile 6, then you’re going to run two hard miles, and after that, it’s just two miles to the finish.”  That breakdown seemed to work well for me, it kept me zen for the first half of the race.

 

The first mile is mostly downhill.  Looking at the stats, it’s a 90 drop for the first 0.7 miles or so.  This can be a blessing and a curse.  A blessing because of obvious reasons of running down hill, but a curse if you have not trained properly to run down hill, because it can kill your quads.  Fortunately, I’ve been doing tons of hill repeats around Capitol Hill, so that second part wasn’t a problem.  When we hit mile marker 1, I was surprised with how fast it felt.   After that point, I decided to just try and keep it at around 8 and see how it went.

 

It stays pretty flat after that downhill until you come up on mile 4.  There’s a hill, but it’s not too crazy, going up about 100 feet in 0.3 miles before leveling off.  I believe that I stopped for water at around mile 3 or so.

 

Miles 5-8

8:22; 7:48; 8:01; 8:25

 

As I mentioned before, my goal was to get to mile 6 however felt comfortable, and then to mentally push through miles 7 and 8 before coasting to the end.  This plan worked out just fine.  After the uphill to get to mile 4, mile 5 was relatively flat.  I looked at my watch when I crossed the half way point.  My previous PR at this distance was ~1:28, so I wanted to see what my time would be after five miles.  I was going much faster than my PR pace, my watch said 42 minutes, so I knew I had a chance to really crush that record.

The sixth mile has a big downhill, dropping about 100 feet in 0.3 miles or so.  So the sixth mile for me was the fastest of the race.  I coasted on mile 7, but then started to get a little tired on the eight mile.

 

Miles 9-10

8:30; 8:22

 

These miles were a little tougher than I thought they would be.  The ninth mile is a really sunny part of the run, and I think that had a lot to do with it.  I was afraid of my pace dropping below 9:00, and I also had this fear that I’d burn out and not finish, so I decided to try and just stay at 8:30 to finish, and not experiment with any crazy sprints at the end.  The last mile starts with an uphill on Union Street by Waterfront Park, but it’s looks (and feels) steeper than it really is.  The mental aspect of seeing a hill at the end of your run is deflating, but it builds your toughness when you get through it.  After that hill, it’s a flat run to the end.

 

POST-RACE

 

I met up with Jess and Mini and some friends.  Jess and Mini did the 5K, and I am very proud of both of them for coming out and getting it done!  We hung out for a bit before I picked up an Uber to get the car.  Then the three of us headed to a brunch place in Del Ray, where I had a massive order of sausage and gravy to celebrate another PR!

 

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Race Report – 2018 Cherry Blossom Ten Miler – 10 Miler – PR!

Finish time:  1:28:03 (PERSONAL RECORD)

Placing:  4733 out of 16666

2919 out of 6793 (male)

666* out of 1360 (male division)

*yikes for that number

 

IMG-6814

 

This race continued my streak of PRs in 2018.  So far, I’ve recorded a personal best time for the 10k, half marathon and now the ten miler.  I’m going to see if I can PR all five this year, just two more left to go!

 

I almost didn’t run this race.  I was pretty sick during the week on Wednesday and Thursday.   Kind of out of no where, a really bad sinus flu.  So I didn’t run at all during the week, and almost blew off the race.  On Saturday, I was still unsure, but the journey to pick up my packet was unnecessarily difficult (and my own fault) and I had potentially put a friend out, so I figured the least that I could do would be to run it.

 

This race was absolutely gorgeous.  Race day lined up perfectly with peak bloom for the Cherry Blossoms, which is not a guarantee every year.  It was a beautiful morning too–sunny skies, not a cloud to be found.

 

PRE-RACE

 

The shennanigans started during the middle of the week, where I was knocked out of commission by a sinus flu.  I took the day off on Wednesday and slept the whole day, and also for a good part of the day on Thursday.  I figured I’d be in no shape to run 10 miles.  By Saturday, though, I was feeling better and thought I could do it.

 

The packet pick up should have been easy for me.  It was at the Building Museum, which is literally like two blocks from where I live.  I put it off on Friday, and then I figured I’d get it on Saturday afternoon.  But I didn’t plan properly.  We had family in town, so I was spending time with them in the morning/early afternoon, and then I went to a performance at the Kennedy Center starting at 2pm.  The packet pickup was ending at 4:45, which meant that after the performance ended, I had to ask a friend to race from Foggy Bottom to the Building Museum for me to register.  I made it, but traffic was terrible and I felt bad for the undue stress.  So, I figured, if I made a friend go through all this trouble, the least I could do is run.

 

The race for Sunday was a bit chilly.  Not bad for running, but a bit tricky to plan for the before/after portions.  Jess and family were thinking of meeting me down there afterwards, so I was thinking that I’d uber down and use the bag check to change clothes, but I decided that it’d just be easier for me to come back.  So I layered up and ran the 1.1 miles to the starting line.  It was a nice way to warm up.  I snapped a few pictures and got lined up.

 

IMG-6710

 

Miles 1-4

9:17 min/mile; 9:09; 8:46; 8:58 (GPS watch times)

 

This entire race is very familiar to me.  I run it all the time, so I felt like I was running in my back yard.  The first four miles go from the Washington Monument to Georgetown and back down through West Potomac Park.  The race is incredibly crowded.  Especially in the beginning, it’s hard to get in a rhythm.  I’ve learned to just enjoy that and not get all frustrated by it.  It’s part of the experience.  The first two miles went by a blur of bobbing and weaving.  I grabbed some water at a station at mile 3.  When I looked to see I had finished miles 3 and 4 in under 9 minutes, I told myself that I’d push for a sub-9 pace for the race, and thus should push for a PR.

 

When you get to West Potomac at around mile three, you get your first good glimpse of the beautiful blossoms.

 

IMG-6725

 

Miles 5-8

8:18; 8:27; 8:21; 8:20

 

This is the portion of the race where I decided to turn it up a bit and bank time for my PR.  This portion of the run starts with a turnaround in West Potomac Park and then a trip around the Tidal Basin before heading down through East Potomac Park to Haines Point.

 

Miles five and six felt fine.  I started feeling a little sick/dehydrated/tired at around mile 6.5.  Though the temperature was in the mid 30s, the sun was pretty strong, and I was sweating a lot.  I wore a few layers too, and I was starting to heat up.  I didn’t want to stop and take off my top layer because I didn’t want to toss it and didn’t want to bother tying it around my waste and running with it.  I figured that I’d just push to the finish.  I stopped for water and Gatorade, and that was a good decision because I felt like I needed it.  I was taking cold medicine all week, which is known for dehydrating you, and then I hadn’t run in several days.  So I didn’t want to push any of my luck out there.

 

Miles 9-10

8:56; 8:32

 

Miles 9 and 10 were the home stretch.  It’s a two mile run from Haines Point to the finish line at the Washington Monument.  This was my favorite part of the run because you’re literally running underneath so many of the blossoms.  Can’t ask for a more picturesque view than this.

 

IMG-6731

 

The race ends on a bit of an uphill, but it’s not terrible.  I checked my watch at mile 9 to make sure I’d break my PR, and when I was assured of that, I just coasted to the end.

 

POST-RACE

Crossed the finish and snapped some post race pictures:

 

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The only part I didn’t like about this race was the immediate finish line was lacking a bit in variety of food/drinks.  I got a bottle of water and then some pineapple cottage cheese.  To each their own, but having cottage cheese at the end of ten miles sounds like the worst idea in the world to me.  They had other snacks, bananas and granola bars, but you had to walk a bit of distance to the bag check area to get it.

 

I was deciding what to do, and thought that it might be a good idea to take off the sweaty base layer I had underneath.  I walked over to the bag check hoping that there would be a changing tent, but there wasn’t.  So then I decided to just sit down for a bit and enjoy the view of the mall.

 

When I was done resting, I thought about calling an Uber, and it wasn’t too bad, like 7 bucks to get home.  But I unwisely thought to walk a little away from the finish line with the hopes that it would take quicker to call an uber.  Big mistake because by the time I walked a few blocks away, the uber prices had surged to 20 bucks or so.  Since I was only a mile or so away, I decided to walk home.  It wasn’t a big deal, but it definitely felt colder walking than it did running.  And I was starving.  I stopped a bakery on the way home for an egg sandwich, and that bakery took like 25 minutes to make it.  So all in all, if I would have taken that uber initially (or better yet, if I didn’t make the decision to walk to the bag check area), I would’ve been home a good hour earlier.  No biggie, just a lesson for next year.

 

Beautiful day, great race, good day for another personal record!

 

 

 

Race Report – 2018 Rock n Roll DC Half Marathon – Half Marathon PR!

Finish time:  1:57:58 (PERSONAL RECORD)

Placing:  2849 out of 10372

1732 out of 4428 (male)

371 out of 793 (male division)

 

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This is my first half marathon of the year.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to run it or not.  My mom had a scan on Friday and I flew to Charleston for it.  I wanted to keep Saturday open depending on how that went.  Fortunately, by God’s grace, the scans continue to remain all clear.  So when I got back, I decided to register last minute (and pay the hefty last minute registration fee).

 

That night, I was kind of kicking myself for registering.  One, I thought I way overpaid for it–over $175 just to run it.  And I hadn’t really slept much the night before (about 3 hours of sleep), so I was just thinking that I should have skipped the race and not been so impulsive.

 

As always, I’m glad I ended up doing it.  After the first mile, the race just felt…fast.  I PRed it, and honestly felt like I had more left in the tank when I finished.  2018 has been off to a great start.  Someone did steal my water bottle (with my credit card in the side pocket), though, after I finished the race, which put a damper on an otherwise great morning.

 

PRE-RACE

 

I was super nonchalant about prepping for this one and getting to the start line.  The half and full both start at 8:30am, at 14th and Constitution, pretty much the same spot where the double I ran last week started.  I got up at around 6:45, hung out, played with Mini for a little while, and only started to get ready at around 7:30 or so.  The whole time, I was thinking that I shouldn’t have signed up, and if it wasn’t for the crazy high last minute registration cost, I might have skipped it.  But by about 7:50 or so, I grabbed an Uber and made it to the start at around 8:20.

 

It was a balmy 37 degrees, and unfortunately, I couldn’t find my running gloves, so I wore some random Under Armour football gloves I got from work one day.  Those didn’t really work well to keep my hands warm, but something was better than nothing.  I almost didn’t bring gloves with me, which would have been a total disaster.

 

Pre-start photo:

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Miles 1-4

9:58 min/mile; 9:22; 9:14; 8:39

 

The first mile was a little painful.  I wasn’t really warmed up and my legs felt clunky.  And those football gloves I was wearing were irritating the hell out of me.  I tried taking them off, and when I did, I spilled water inside my right glove, which made it super annoying when I put the gloves back on five minutes later because my hands were frozen.

 

At right around mile 2.5, I started feeling good though.  I sped up a bit at mile 3, and by mile 4, the sub-9 pace just felt easy.

 

Miles 5-8

9:02; 8:29; 9:37; 8:49

 

Based on the past two times I’ve done this run, I know that these four miles are the toughest ones, especially between mile 6 to 7.  There’s a hill climbing from Rock Creek Park up to Calvert street, about a 130 foot climb over half a mile.  I was prepared for it and knew it was coming, so it helped in comparison to years past.  Right before the hill, you pass a very somber area of the course, where the street is lined with pictures of soliders who were killed in action.  Seeing those pictures gets to me every time.  Seeing a picture of a kid, 20 years old, killed in action, it puts things in perspective.  It felt especially moving after having a child now.

 

I did run past a man who was running with two prosthetic legs.  Talk about inspiring.  And he was going at a decent pace too.

 

Miles 9-12

8:25; 8:30; 8:20; 8:24

 

These next four miles just felt great.  I almost couldn’t believe it.  It felt like I was on an easy run, and I kept looking at my watch and seeing a “8:25” pace.  I had decided at the half way point to look at my time and see if I could beat my PR (previously around 2 hours, 6 minutes).  It looked like I would easily be able to do that.  Then I looked to see if I could finish in under 2 hours, and with some painfully difficult math (impossible to do math while running), I realized that if I stayed under 9 minutes til mile 12, I’d be able to do it.

 

Miles 13 – end

8:24; 2:40

 

I finished strong to the finish line at RFK.  The only funny part was when I finished, I accidentally went down the marathon finisher’s chute versus the half marathon chute.  It wasn’t a big deal, but I almost left with a marathon finisher’s medal instead of a half, which would have been terrible.  I also was worried that my time wouldn’t officially register, and that my PR wouldn’t actually “count,” but that wasn’t an issue.

 

POST-RACE

I grabbed some chocolate milk, chips, and water and sat down on a grassy patch for a little bit.  I didn’t bring my beer ticket.  I’m not much of a beer drinker, and I wasn’t excited about drinking one after the race was over.

 

I decided to head back to the race course to cheer some people on.  I posted up at around mile 12.5 and cheered on the half and full finishers.  That’s always a good experience, you pick yourself up when you pick others up.  While I was clapping for the runners, though, I put my water bottle down near my feet.  I remember someone wandering nearby, and they must have taken my water bottle when I wasn’t looking.  Not sure why someone would do that.  Maybe they saw the pocket and thought there was money in there.  They weren’t half wrong, because I lost my credit card and my metro card.  I immediately canceled my card, which wasn’t a big deal, but then when I tried to uber home, I realized that my newly canceled card was linked to my uber account.  So I had to wait for Jess to text me a new card’s info, and then wait for the uber to come, which ended up costing a ton of money due to the surge.  This boring diatribe is intended to remind me of two things:  1.  Don’t take anything for granted, always keep an eye on your things; and 2.  Next year, have a better plan for leaving the race.

 

The post race problems aside, this was such a fantastic run!

 

Race Report – 2018 St. Pat’s Run Double (5K and 10K) – 10K PR!

5K

 

Finish time:  25:58

Placing:  271 out of 1255

193 out of 519 (male)

47 out of 93 (male division)

 

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10K

 

Finish time:  49:33 (PERSONAL RECORD)

Placing:  201 out of 1263

157 out of 563 (male)

42 out of 108 (male division)

 

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Double

Finish time:  1:15:31 

Placing:  96 out of 446

81 out of 224 (male)

23 out of 48 (male division)

 

This was a fun and funny race to run.  Originally, Jess and I both signed up for it, with the intention for us (and Mini) to do the 5K and then I’d complete the double afterwards.  But it was really cold in the morning, and Mini has just gotten better from her ear infections, so we didn’t want to put her through running in the 30ish degree weather.

 

It was a funny start to the race though.  Since Jess and Mini were not going, I decided that I’d just run to the start line, which was at 15th and Constitution.  I misjudged the distance, though, and I was late to the start of the 5K.  When I got to the start line, the 5K group already left, so I just continued running through the line up area and past the start.  So in essence, my 3.1 mile race turned into a 4.9 mile run.

 

But the cold weather made both of these runs fantastic.  Not so much fun to stand around in, but a lot of fun to run in.  I decided to push the pace a bit for the 5K and to try for a PR on the 10K, which I accomplished!

 

PRE-RACE

 

As mentioned above, I was late to the start line.  The old adage is true.  The start time for races come up on you faster than you think.  It was a cold morning, so I was layered up, and ran to 15th and Constitution.  I got to the start and just continued running since the 5K started.

 

5K Race

8:32 min/mile; 8:17; 7:59; [0:41]

 

The race starts right in front of the Washington Monument and the National Museum of African America History and Culture on 15th street.  It was a gorgeous morning.  Sunny and bright, and a bit windy coming off of the crazy wind storm we had in the region on Friday.

 

As mentioned, I ran about 2 miles from our condo to the start, so I was already warmed up.  Had I not warmed up, I probably would have kept to a 9ish min pace, but I was feeling good, and the cold weather and breeze were energizing me.  I kept a good pace the first mile and then decided to push the pace a bit.  Faster to get a decent time, but I wanted to keep some in the tank for the 10K.

 

I ran negative splits and finished with an 8:06 min/mile pace.

 

In between

 

The time in between races was actually pretty unmemorable.  I grabbed a bottle of water, texted Jess, and just waited again for the 10K to start.

 

 

10K Race

 

Miles 1-3

 

8:16 min/mile; 7:50; 7:39

 

I was feeling pretty good after the 5K, and decided that maybe I should push for a PR on the 10k.  My previous PR was 51:10 from the Lawyers Have Heart race last year.  I did some quick math in my head and realized that if I started at 8:30 and then kept an 8 minute pace, I’d break that record.  So that was the plan.

 

For the first mile though, I was feeling really good.  After a few minutes, I decided to push the pace to under 8:30 and see how it felt.  I was running strong, and wasn’t feeling winded at all.  So I decided to scrap my plan for simply beating 51:10, and instead go after a more elusive goal of a sub-50 run.  I told myself to run under 8 for the rest of the race.

 

So at mile two, I pushed the pace to 7:50.  It was right around this time when I passed a young woman in front of me, but then she sped up a bit and passed me right after.  I don’t think she was racing me, we just happened to trade places.  She was running at a good clip, around 7:30-7:45, so I decided to use her as a pacer for the rest of the run.  On mile three, my pace went up to 7:39.

 

Miles 4-6.2

7:41; 8:04; 7:43; [2:17]

 

The pacer plan was working well.  I felt good all the way until about mile 4.5ish.  Then, all of a sudden, I passed my pacer and thought “damnit, maybe I pushed it too hard.”  I continued onward, thinking I’m just going to keep it under 8, but for some reason it was harder to stay consistently there without staying step for step with someone else.  But by mile 5, she came roaring back, passed me in a blaze, and started pulling away.

 

Mile six started getting tough for me.  I was feeling nauseous, and was worried that I’d had to stop and walk before the finish, killing my chance for sub-50 when I was so close to it.  But I pushed through and figured, if I’m going to puke, I’ll just do it when I’m done.

 

The end of the run had a slight hill and then down to the finish.  I figured, I’ll just focus on getting up that hill, then check my watch and see where I’m at.  I got to the top of that hill at 49 minutes, and so I knew, unless I tripped and fell or something, I could ease off and get to the finish in sub-50.  A few people sprinted past me on that final stretch, but I was ok with it.  Just happy and proud to get a sub-50 PR on a day that I wasn’t planning on it!  I crossed the finish, and felt alright after drinking some water and eating a banana.

 

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POST-RACE

 

I hung out for a bit, and then Jess picked me up and we got bagels for breakfast.  The three of us were actually wearing matching green shirts.

 

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Later that evening, Michigan went on to win their second Big Ten Championship in men’s basketball, which was a great way to end that day!

 

 

 

 

Race Report – EOD Warrior Holiday Dash Half Marathon – PR!

Finish time:  2:06:29 (PERSONAL RECORD!)

Placing:  85 out of 162

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With the year is winding down, I was looking back at the races I did this year and I realized that since Mini was born I have run races at all the standard distances except for the half marathon.  And so I set out to do a half before the end of the year.  And then, just as I type this, I realize that I actually had run a half marathon about a month ago (the DC Half and Half, though not an official race), so maybe I never needed to run this.

But I’m glad that I did.  I’m always glad that I go out for a run.  It may feel painful to go through the process, just like it’s sometimes painful to go through the process of writing, but when I’m done, I’m glad I did it.  It was a cold morning, fresh off the first winter snow.  Even up until the race, as I sat in my car to keep warm, I thought about going back home.  But I didn’t listen to that devil on my shoulder, went out and ran, had a great conversation with a stranger, and set a personal record.

PRE-RACE

I saw this race and kept my eye on registering.  I was traveling to South Carolina on the Friday before for an appointment with my mom, and so I waited until Saturday to register in case something came up.  Thankfully, the appointment went very well, my mom is still cancer free (!) and so I went forward with registering.

I snowed briefly on Saturday, and since this race happens on a trail, I was a little concerned about the conditions.  That, and I haven’t really run very much at all recently.  Ironically, the last two longish runs I’ve done have both been in very cold weather (below freezing).

Anyway, the race started at 8:30 in Georgetown, and I headed down there by 7:30 to pick up my packet.  It was cold.  The thermometer on my car said 34 degrees, the windchill was 29.  I sat in my car and debated coming back home.  But then I figured that, at most, I’d be done in 2.5 hours, so why not just run the thing.  Kind of weird logic, I know.

I stepped outside and snapped some pictures, but even as I walked over to the start, I thought about turning around.  The mind is a powerful thing.

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My goal was to try and PR, but really to keep under at 10 min/mile pace.

Miles 1-4

10:02 min/mile; 9:31; 9:27; 9:18

The course is pretty straight forward.  It’s an out and back along Capital Crescent Trail which later turns into the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal Towpath.  The trail was a little slippery for the initial mile or two.  And it was pretty muddy.  But the scenery was beautiful.

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Miles 5-8

9:31; 9:32; 9:51; 9:32

Right around mile 5, I started chatting with a fellow runner.  And we ended up running the rest of the race together.  Experiences like this are exactly why I love running in races–I always seem walk away from every race with a positive experience and interaction.  She was running this race to complete 100 miles of race running this year.  Which then got me to thinking, how many miles in races did I run this year?

If I don’t count the DC Half and Half, the answer is 90.3 miles of racing.  If you do count the H&H, it comes to 100.3 (I ran only 10 miles of it).  So technically, I guess, I too was trying to pass 100 miles of race running this year too.

Miles 9-12

9:31; 9:32; 9:51; 9:51

As mentioned above, the race kind of went by quickly from here because I had a running partner to chat with.  When we got to the end of mile 12, I was actually kind of surprised that we were almost done with the race.

Miles 13-end

10:00; 1:01 

Once I recognized we were at the last mile, the race felt long again.  I guess I had spent the whole morning dreading the race, and then for most of it, I had unexpectedly forgot that I was really running.  And when the finish was coming up, my legs started to feel heavy again.  But from the glances down at my watch, I knew that I was going to PR, so I felt great.  PRing a half marathon in the snow, nothing like it!

Post-race

After sprinting to the finish, I collected my medal, which was a kind of cool bottle opener.  This was a pretty small event, so there wasn’t much of a formal finish, but it was still well done. I grabbed some of the snacks and water laid out, said goodbye to my race friend, and headed back to my car.

As I drove home, I started to think a lot about some of the perspectives I gained through the year, and how this race was a bit of a microcosm of that.  I decided to put my own negativity and nay-saying behind me and go for a run in the snow.  I reached a personal best, had an unexpectedly great experience, and had a nice conversation with a one-time stranger.  All in all, a pretty good run.

Race Report – Boo! Run For Life 10K

Finish time:  58:08

Placing:  135 out of 310

80 out of 127 (male)

21 out of 35 (male division 30-34)

 

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As soon as I found out about this race, I knew I was going to run it.  It is a 10K that raises money for the Dean R. On’Neill Renal Cell Cancer Research Fund.  My mom’s kidney cancer diagnosis wasn’t the origin of my running life, but it accelerated it, and so of course I was going to participate.  I ran it with Mini for an experience I will not forget, running with my daughter to honor my mom.  Though I have not been running very much lately, due to an eventful September, I did enjoy this run a lot.  It was a beautiful and crisp fall morning by the Potomac with Jess and Mini.

 

PRE-RACE

 

I’ve been pretty tired this week.  Lack of sleep.  Got rear ended on Thursday.  General life, work, etc.  Overall, nothing to complain about, but it’s been a tiring week for sure.  So, there wasn’t really any plan for this one except to run with Mini.  I was up late on Saturday watching the Clemson-Virginia Tech game

 

It was a fairly early start, 8am, but anyone with kids knows that leaving the house takes a lot longer than you’d think.  Since I was running with the stroller, that meant a 6am wake up with the plan to get there at around 7:20 to pick up my shirt.  The race was at West Potomac Park, and we got there right around 7:45 in time to get my bib and stretch out a little.  It wasn’t a terribly large crowd, but it was a decent turn out for a good cause.  Jess, Mini and I waited for the start.  I chatted briefly with a few people, one woman who had also just done the Clarendon Run and another person who came in from Rockville.

 

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Miles 1-3

 

10:14 min/mile; 9:20; 8:59

 

I decided to start off slowly.  In actuality, I have been feeling pretty out of running shape.  As mentioned, September was a low mileage month, and I had actually tried to run the day before this race at the same location, but I had to abandon the run because my legs weren’t working.  I think it is a combination of the all the events, the lack of sleep, the lack of running, and some worn out shoes.  So here, I decided to just take it easy.  Also, since I had the stroller, I wanted to start in the back and not try and weave through with it.

 

The course is basically an out and back, starting near the Lincoln and down to Hains Point and back.  It’s a beautiful run, and I do a portion of it a lot.  On a cool fall morning there’s not much better than running with the Potomac on one side and the monuments on the other.

 

Miles 4-6

8:50; 9:13; 9:20

For the next three miles, I thought I’d pick it up a bit.  As I hit the turn around, I ran by a few other people with strollers and we exchanged some looks of solidarity and words of encouragement.  At around mile 4.5 or so, I started chatting up a runner who also has a six month old at home.  I had to stop a few times because Mini’s blanket was starting to fall off.  Also, she was giving me that classic 4.5 mile look of “you better hurry up and finish the race, or there will be hell to pay.”

 

Miles 6-6.2

[2:16]

Jess was waiting for us at mile 6 and she ran the last bit with us before hopping out.  As I ran across, someone told me that I was the first stroller to finish.  Not sure if that was true or not, but I’ll assume that it was.

 

POST-RACE

 

Jess and I took some pictures with Mini at the finish line.  Then we dressed her up in this really cute octopus costume we bought for her.  I was initially thinking of running with her dressed in it, but that was going to be too cumbersome with the stroller.  So we changed her into it and took some pictures.

 

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Afterwards, Jess treated us to a nice brunch at this biscuit place called Mason and Dixie.  It was really good–the first “southern” biscuit and gravy + fried chicken place in DC that I’ve enjoyed.  Jess and I have this standing tradition to sometimes eat fried chicken and daal with Oberon beer while watching college football in the falls–we might have to get  the chicken from this place the next time we do.

 

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Mini with the thumbs up.