A week or two ago, I mentioned I signed up for the Crystal City 5K Friday Race Series.
Last night I ran the first race in the series. The course is my favorite type, very flat. I’m super familiar with it because it goes along my normal running routes .
Tiffany and I showed up early and picked up our stuff and waited for my BF to make it to the start (he was, of course, running late). The race started and he still wasn’t there so I told Tiffany to start without me since I knew BF would be there any second. About 2 minutes after the race started the guy running the start line wouldn’t let me wait anymore, even though the start line was supposed to be open for another 5 minutes. So I started the race all by myself, there wasn’t another runner in sight. Thank goodness I wasn’t taking this race too seriously because there was a quick turn after the start and I totally missed it! I had to stop and ask the spectators where the runners went and they pointed me in the right direction. It was really funny.
Once I was on the right path (I probably lost less than 25 seconds being lost) I started catching up with and passing the walkers and the women with the double strollers, who are in my opinion pretty epic – those strollers are HUGE! I kept thinking that if I ran fast enough maybe I’d be able to find Tiffany. I also thought if I ran that fast I’d probably burn out before I could find her. I just went as hard as I could for the first mile and figure it out after that. Mile 1 – 9:41 (!! That that was after running off the course!!)
I actually saw Tiffany around the mile one turn around but she was on the other side of the turn. I figured she was about a minute ahead of me. I kept going and told myself that if I got tired I could walk at around mile 1.5. But I got to 1.5 and still felt good and my pace seemed to be evening out to something that was a bit more level for me so I just kept going. I was actually in a pack of people right now, away from the walkers and big strollers and I even left the juggler in my dust (For those of you not from the DC area, there is this guy who runs a lot of local races while juggling. Last night, even though it was windy he had 4 balls going the whole race. It was crazy!) Mile 2 = 10:39
I caught a glimpse of the boyfriend between mile 2 and 3. He’s super fast, it’s a shame he ended up having to run the course untimed. I started getting tired but ended up seeing Tiffany not that far ahead of me and tried really hard to pick up the pace to finish near her. I didn’t quite make it there (probably because I was not running the shortest distances on the course – I was .11 off at mile 2 and .13 off at mile 2) but it was a great motivator during the race. Mile 3 – 10:12
I finished as fast as I could – though that sharp turn into parking lot right at the end was really awkward. Last .23 – 2:05 (9:15 pace). Final time – 32:36. Final distance 3.23 miles. Average Pace – 10:04/mile!!
This was so much better than I was expecting to do! I thought maybe I could PR by a few seconds but I never expected to knock 1:18 off my time. My time when I hit 3.1 miles was 31:29, I need to run this course smarter next time because I can easily knock another minute off my PR by not running so much extra distance. This was such a huge confidence booster the week before the GW 10 Miler. I’ve been so worried about being too unprepared for this race but now I’m much more hopeful that the race will go well for me.
These races are my favorite. While I don’t have them listed in my race history, I actually participated in two of these races last year. Since I had no idea what I was doing and ended up walking a lot of the time it wasn’t actually much like racing. But this is what inspired me to start doing Couch to 5K.
Good luck to everyone racing this weekend!