RACE REPORTS 2009
I ran my first race of the year, the St. Patrick’s Day 8k. It was freezing waiting for the start, and the race route was actually fairly boring, going around DC, but with no sights to see. The worst part? Seeing the finish line, sprinting for it, only to be told to turn left down the block and run another quarter of a mile towards the finish. Everyone I spoke to did the exact same thing, assuming it was a straight line to the finish! None of us stuck around after the finish. Instead, we made our way out to Rosslyn and had a post race breakfast at Cosi.
Net Time: 57:48
Pace: 11:38 min/mile
Ran what was my longest distance yet at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler race. I had been looking forward to it, but was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to do it, but ran the whole thing with no issues, and my main goal of not being picked up by the bus, was luckily met. My next goal of finishing in less than 2 hours, also met. We didn’t hang out long at the post race party, Karl had already picked up a banana and a couple of muffins for me, and after we all hung out a bit with the group, we went our separate ways — we had woken up too early to be in the mood for hanging out.
Net Time: 1:57:28
Pace: 11:45 min/mile
Started the month with the Muddy Buddy race. Despite awful thunderstorms the day and night before, the race day was chilly, but not raining. It was my first (and only!) race that also involved a bike, and it was a blast. I definitely want to sign up for it again next year. The post-race party was a disappointment, as we were promised a “pizza party” but instead we got orange slices. The showers to clean ourselves up were just hoses with no adequate water pressure. But the event itself was fun!
Muddy Buddy had my age as 40 for some reason, and when I complained they updated the results by taking our names out of it (WTF?). Don’t remember how long it took us…
May was a busy month, so a couple of weeks later I ran the Riverfront Revolution 10k at the National Harbor. It was a horrible race, and I’ll definitely won’t be doing it again. First, the t-shirts didn’t even have the race name on it, it was the worst race t-shirts I’ve seen yet — it was a promo shirt with a big restaurant name in the back (no mention anywhere of it being for a race). Then the race was badly organized. It started 20 minutes late. They had us running down the “boardwalk” at the start, which was about 10 feet wide, and since it wasn’t a wave start, runners got stuck behind walkers, because there was just no room to move. After that, we got stuck in a muddy road with puddles, where you can see eventually will be a trail, but now it’s just an area for construction trucks, and it was even narrower than the boardwalk.
They had no control who was running the 5k, or who was running the 10k, so a lot of the 10k people turned around on the 5k turnaround point which registered them for a great time on the 10k. To make matters worse, they didn’t register my time. Actually, I was in a group of 7 people, all of us finishing at different times, and none of our times were registered. We also didn’t run through any of the streets in National Harbor itself, but instead went to a back road with no view, no buildings, no trees, and parts of it were undeveloped so we had to run through gravel (most people at that time chose to walk, since it wasn’t the safest place to run if you wanted to keep an un-sprained ankle).
Net Time/Pace: No time or pace posted
That same weekend, I had signed up for the Pacers Running Festival — there was a half marathon and a 5k, and I signed up for the 5k. I was tired from the day before, and this was one of the hottest days we had had so far, and I was still not acclimatized to the warmer weather. It was also the first race that Karl didn’t sign up for, but ran with me anyway. I finished with my best 5k time to that date, if only because the first half was downhill, so I was going much faster than usual.
Not much of a race party afterward, but it was fun watching the half-marathoners finishing it, and witnessing my first (and only) account of someone who shit themselves during the race. This woman wearing a bright orange running skirt had a brown stain on the back of her skirt, and liquid crap running down her legs. We had to look away not to hurl.
Net Time: 33:00
After so many races in May, I took it easy and only ran one race in June, the Run Amuck. This race was a blast! The obstacles were no wear near as fun as the one in the Muddy Buddy (no inflatable slides here), they were definitely challenging, you got muddy early, the hills were very steep. My friend needed to walk a bit, and as I wasn’t doing it for time, and would rather have the company, I walked with her when needed. The hills were very steep and muddy, I kept asking myself why do I do this, but as soon as it was over the first thing I said was “I’m doing it again next year!”
My time/pace was never recorded. All I know is that I finished in less than an hour, which ultimately, was my goal.
I ran for the second time, the Crystal City Twilighter 5k. The technical t-shirts were just as great as last year, but this year the weather didn’t cooperate. I had just ran 8 miles that morning, so I was a bit tired, but still had my best 5k run yet. The rain stopped a couple of minutes before the start, and the night was muggy, dark and wet. They changed the course from last year for the worse — we had to dodge walkers and much slower runners, on a narrow lane of a road — last year, the runners spread across at least 2 lanes at the start, making it much easier to pass people. This year, to pass them meant you had to go wrong way, and avoid messing up the course for those faster runners who were on their way back. While the race was catered by Noodles & Co. last year, no such luck this time. We couldn’t even enjoy our unlimited free beer, as the rain picked back up again shortly after the race.
Net Time: 32:05
Pace: 10:20 min/mile
My parents were in town, and three weeks after I got second degree burns on my leg, I ran the Run Stock 5k with them and Karl. A week after getting back to running, it was the first time I ran 3 miles straight since the burn, as before I had to take a break every one or two miles (amazing what a week and a half without being able to walk can set you back). I also had already walked/run 10 miles earlier that day. Sadly, I added about 5 minutes to my 5k time compared to my race in July. Said that, the race was fun, even if the tie-dye rainbow race t-shirt will never be worn in public. Ever.
Net Time: 36:24
Pace: 11:42 min/mile
Of course, September was the one I had been looking forward to all this time! The Virginia Beach Rock n Roll Half Marathon sounded like a great challenge days before my 30th birthday. There was setbacks, like the burn, but at the end, I was able to run the whole thing! My first goal was to finish running the whole thing, my second, to get 12 minute/mile pace or better — and luckily I finished it at exactly 12 min/mile.
The weekend was great, but the beach was overcrowded because of the holiday weekend and the race. The expo was fun, but the finish line was the best I’ve seen so far. We a medal, popsicles, cold wet towels at the end. Then there was more free food. And more free drinks. And more free stuff! All within seconds of crossing the finish line. We got another goody bag and our hands were full. And though the Black Crowes concert was a total disappointment (I only know two songs “Hard to Handle” being my favorite, they played neither of them and just “jammed” for most of the concert), the rest of the weekend was great, the race was very organized, and it was an overall great time, I highly recommend it! So much so, I already signed up for it next year…
Net Time: 2:37:14
Pace: 12:00 min/mile
My second race in September was the Clarendon Day Run 10k, which would replace my training run for that morning. I liked this race because it starts going downhill on Wilson Blvd, and the rest of the course is fairly flat. It does end on a slight uphill, but nothing too horrible. The day was a tad chilly, which was perfect for me. I don’t like running when it’s too hot, even though it’s inevitable. My goal was to get my best 10k pace yet, and I knew that the downhill course should definitely get me there.
The only problem with this race, was that it was fairly small, and most people signed up for the 5k, which means that at my slow speed, there were not that many people behind me after I crossed the finish line. It’s a bit frustrating knowing you’re one of the slowest people, even when you get a PR! I knew there were people there slower than me, but most of those usually sign up for the shortest distance. While there were only about 50 people finishing behind me on the 10k, there were over 100 with a slower pace than my 11:25 min/mile in the 5k. The Clarendon Day Run was my 10th race this year!
Net Time: 1:09:44
Pace: 11:15 min/mile
I promised myself that I was going to run my last two races in October. By now, I had run over 10 races, and figured it was enough. I can’t keep spending money on these races, even if I am getting a technical t-shirt for it! By now though, I had been suffering from Plantar Fasciitis for a few weeks, so my runs were painful. I took a bit of a break, and wasn’t taking my training seriously anymore since my heel would throb with every step. It was a constant pain a couple of weeks before the Half Marathon, but now the pain started to get worse, and a doctor’s visit was needed.
My one concern was running the Army Ten Miler. I didn’t know if the pain would be too unbearable, and I would be forced to walk. I had no goals in mind, except to finish it, but secretly I was hoping for a better time than the Cherry Blossom race I had done in April. Surprisingly, there was no pain after the first mile of the race, and I felt great throughout the whole thing. The course was great, mostly flat, though spending the last two miles running over the 14th Street Bridge was hellish. The race was surprisingly disorganized though. There were only two corrals, which meant that with 30,000, the course was crowded the entire time. We had to keep dodging people, not just because they were going slow in front of us, but because it was really that packed. I always sprint to the finish, and this time I could barely pick up my pace, since there were so many people blocking my way, it was hard to weave through. No one should still be weaving through crowds through the last 50 feet of the finish!
Except for my “sprint to the finish” I was pacing with my friend the whole time. She is not a new runner, but up until recently could only run with a walk/run pace, and this was her longest distance running non-stop.
Luckily, I was able to beat my time from the Cherry Blossom, with a new PR (ah, the joys of being a new long-distance runner…) At the end, I wasn’t the only one complaining about the crowded course, as many of my friends (including those who run at a pace of less than 8 minute/mile), complained that the racecourse was crowded for the whole 10 miles, and that their time would have been much better if they didn’t have to dodge people for that long.
Net Time: 1:54:34
Pace: 11:27 min/mile
My last race in 2010 was the Marine Corps 10k. I had run it last year, and it had been my longest distance yet — back then, I was untrained, and surprised myself by running the whole amount, even if slowly. This year, I knew I was going to do better, as I now had a Half Marathon and a couple of Ten Milers under my belt.
Three weeks before the race, I’m entering my building in a rush on a raining day, wearing heels. The slippery stone did not agree with me, and I sprained my ankle so badly, I was unable to walk for the rest of the weekend. I did the R.I.C.E. treatment as much as I could, with the only goal being that I was going to run my last race of the year.
After not running for over three weeks, and being in extreme rest (my ankle was still very swollen), I put the Active Ankle brace on, and off I went to the race. I had loved it when I ran in 2008, and was not expecting to be disappointed this year.
The organization for the 10k, however, was horrible. They had changed the start line from the Pentagon to DC, but then bag checks were not as smooth as the previous years, and there was not enough porta-potties for all of us. The start of the race was crowded, and right away we took the 14th Street Bridge — ask anyone who has run over that bridge on the Army Ten Miler or the Marine Corps Marathon, and they will all agree it is the worst part of the race. Now we had to run 2 miles on this for a 10k? Michelle kept me company the whole time, which made it easier!
I had a really hard time with it, not only was the route boring, and overcrowded, but I just wasn’t fit enough to run 6 miles after sitting on the couch with my foot elevated for so long. The medals at the end were still an awesome touch, but even the finish line was a disappointment compared to the previous year. The massage I’ve been looking forward to for so long lasted all of 2 minutes.
It was still great to be able to cheer for my friends at the finish line of the marathon!
Net Time: 1:15:29
Pace: 12:09 min/mile