The Run After the Women 5k
I went to this DC Road Runners-sponsored evening race to try and drum up more support for the GRC Father's Day 8k. It was in Bluemont Park, a nice plot along the W&OD and Four Mile Run Trails. It's usually the point in my long runs where I am really tired of running and want to stop, so it was nice to be less exhausted. The weather was also generously dry and cooler, probably high 70s and a setting sun. It was really pretty.
The races were set up like a high school cross country meet- a women's race first- The Women's Distance Festival, followed by a men's race.
I did a 5k+ warmup before and during the women's race. It was an easy out-and-back course, starting in Bluemont Park and heading west on the W&OD Trail almost to Falls Church Park. It was a little bit uphill on the way out and downhill on the way back.
We had to share the trail with walkers, joggers and bikers. One such jogger jumped in front of the pack as we were about to start the second 5k.
The gun went off and I was back in a race. I started swiftly and this teenager was sticking with me. I kept pretty strong form going over the first quarter mile. I wondered how long it would take to shake this kid. Was he serious? I was hurting already. This running fast business is for the birds. This wasn't easy, I was pushing. I thought there was supposed to be a period of numbness at the beginning of a race...
I edged ahead of him when we passed the jogger and started pushing. Also we went under Wilson Boulevard and I could hear his footsteps echo in the tunnel. It wasn't too far, so I was sure anyone could hang for a few minutes. I still heard him behind me as we crossed a wooden bridge, but less threateningly. I focused on maintaining my pace and that's exactly what I did. 5:11....8:04 at the turnaround. A family on bikes stalled on the narrow bridge that the W&OD used. I yelled a few times to get them out of the way. I ended up dodging them and continuing on my way. Two miles in 10:22. Still 5:11 pace.
From the turnaround, I could see the kid and some long haired dude, behind me, but not a danger unless I slowed down. So, I didn't slow down. I kept cranking down the slight hill, hoping to negative split myself under 16:00.
The pretty tree-line field and accompanying path seemed a lot longer on the way back than on the way out. I saw I was unlikely to break 16, but I kept pushing nonetheless, and broke the metaphorical tape at 16:08. Completely even splits.
The boy and long-haired dude followed 20 or so seconds later.
Though I was initially disappointed to not have broken 16, it was my fastest 5k of the season (out of three). I ran completely even splits, which speaks to the strength I have built up and the lack of speed I have worked on. I was happy with it, especially considering how rough I felt at the beginning.
I had a pleasant 3+ mile cooldown after talking to some potential Fathers' Day runners.
1 day ago