At the beginning of the year, I usually look at races that I may be interested in for the year and put them in my running spreadsheet. Sometimes I register early and other times I just keep an eye on them and decide at the last minute to race them. That’s what happened this weekend. I had noted that Pacers Racing had a race in Arlington that offered a 5k, a 10k, and the option to run both since they are scheduled an hour apart. I had been considering signing up for the double for a while, but I hadn’t committed. I knew I needed a long run this weekend and I was getting bored with solo long runs near my house. Even if I had to wake up early and drive to Arlington by myself, I figured it would be much more exciting than running one of my local routes (plus, I’d get another medal or 2 for my collection). I also liked that the race was on Saturday morning and I knew I could knock out the long run early in the weekend. So, on Friday evening, I went ahead and signed up for the race. Even though I was okay with running it by myself, Steven and Gabby decided to join me in running the 5k so I went ahead and signed them up. Makayla had a birthday party to attend so she didn’t join us (plus, she doesn’t really enjoy running so there’s that).
We got up at 5:15 and after each of us questioned our sanity for a few minutes, we got ourselves together and were on the road by 5:45. The 5k was starting at 8:00 and we still needed to pick up our bibs. We arrived a little after 7 and were able to easily find some street parking. We headed out to find the start of the race to pick up our bibs, find the port-a-potties, and check our bags. Everything ran very smoothly. This is a small race, which I tend to enjoy more than the over-crowded races with long lines everywhere you turn. We were ready to race by 7:45 and just hung out at the start. I decided that I would run with Gabby, while Steven ran his own race. He is much faster than us so he found a spot closer to the front. He had forgotten his earbuds so I let him use mine since I wouldn’t be using them in the first race with Gabby.
At 8:00, we were off! The first mile and a half were all basically downhill! Nice! Gabby is a generally a talker, but she doesn’t talk much while she is running (smart girl). I try to talk to her to keep her distracted and I point out things and ask her how she is feeling every now and then, but I don’t get much back from her. She seemed to be feeling pretty good. After running the downhill (through Rosslyn, I believe), we were headed out to the highway, which isn’t quite as scenic and has a few small hills. When we reached the 2 mile marker, Gabby asked if we could walk a minute. Of course! So we walked for about a tenth of a mile and then picked it back up. The last quarter of a mile before the final turn is uphill, which I didn’t find too difficult during the 5k, but would come back to haunt me during the 10k. We finished together and spotted Steven just beyond the finish line!
Gabby and I had an official time of 30:09 (9:43 pace) and Steven finished in 23:59 (7:44 average pace). Gabby actually came in 4th place in her division (Female 11-14 years old)! Here are our splits according to my Garmin:
Mile 1 – 9:25
Mile 2 – 9:15
Mile 3 – 10:08
Mile .14 – 9:35
We collected our medals and some water and took a couple of pictures. I knew I had to get back to the start by 9:00 for the 10k so we all started heading back up the hill. I wondered how far away it was and when I put the info into my GPS, I realized I was about 1.25 miles away and it predicted an arrival time of 9:08!! 8 minutes past the start! Yikes. I knew it was time to pick up my walk pace so I said goodbye to Steven and Gabby (they headed back to the finish) and took off to the start. It was a brutal walk/jog back up to the start. In the past, they gave runners who participated in the double a paper metro ticket so they could jump on the metro and head back up, but now since metro doesn’t do paper tickets, they don’t do it anymore. If I would have realized how tough that trek would be, I would have just bought a metro ticket myself. Lesson learned! I decided to eat one of the GU’s I had packed at this point. I have been having trouble eating them lately, but I was able to finish most of it this time. When I was about 5 minutes away from the start, I realized that I had forgotten to get my earbuds back from Steven! Bummer! So I texted him and asked him to meet me on the course near the finish (where they were hanging out) so that I could get them from them when I passed around 1.25 miles into the race. I finally could see the start line and could hear the announcer saying “2 minutes until the start” and I continued rushing up the hill. I literally made it into the line about 20 seconds before it started (thank goodness I am a fast walker!). I was pretty drained at this point, but was glad to know the first mile and a half would be downhill. Time to go!!
I started down the same hill that I had just run down an hour ago. I think I seeded myself a little too far back in the pack as I was going a little slower than I would have liked. I started looking for Steven and Gabby when I got close to the finish area and found them on the sidewalk. I grabbed my earbuds from Steven and handed Gabby my sunglasses (sun was not out, thank goodness). I loved seeing them on the course! Only 5 miles to go. I decided that I didn’t need music at that point and that it would probably just slow me down. I ran out to the highway again, only this time I had to continue much further to the turn around point, which was just before mile 4 and was an uphill, which I found to be particularly tough. I pushed myself to continue to mile marker 4 and then took a walk break. It was during this walk break that I finally turned on my music. The remainder of the run was pretty tough for me. I ran again until mile 5, took a break and then ran again until mile 6 and took another walk break. I only had .2 miles to go, but it was uphill and I was really struggling. I took one final walk break and then talked myself into picking it up for the final turn that led to the finish line. I never saw Steven and Gabby but they were just beyond the finish line and quickly joined me and handed me some water.
My official time for the 10k was 1:02:52 (10:07 pace). Here are my splits according to my Garmin:
Mile 1 – 9:59
Mile 2 – 9:23
Mile 3 – 9:35
Mile 4 – 9:43
Mile 5 – 10:26
Mile 6 – 10:25
Mile .29 – 11:24
I collected my medal and some snacks and we once again had to head back to the race start to collect the bags we had checked and to find our bag! Such a tough walk! We finally made it back to the start area! They had given us tickets for 3 free beers at local establishments, but we were ready to get home. We made our way back to the van and were home by 2:00.
I really enjoyed the race. The only downside has been that my toes/toenails are extremely sore (worse than usual). I think it could be from the downhill running. I’m actually a little nervous to lace up again! I’m going to give myself an “extra” day off and shoot for a run on Tuesday. I think I would definitely run this race again, but I would get the metro ride back to the start!