The metro was about five minutes late, so I was already looking at less than the 25 minutes I budgeted between arriving in Foggy Bottom and the race starting. I started my warmup/run to the start confident that everything would work out. I wasn't feeling fresh while running, but I was careful not to run too fast to get there. I did notice a breeze...
The route ended up being 2.5 miles, and I got there with two minutes to spare. I tore my trainers off and tied my flats as fast as I could, wiggled into my singlet and sprinted to the start. Murphy was waiting with my bib, thankfully already adorned with safety pins, and I threw it on, took a few high-knee steps and got back to the line just in time for the start.
Some dude bolted to the front and I tried to keep my cool, not wanting to turn my frantic surge for the starting line to become a reckless sub-five minute first mile. Given how my pace had only slowed slightly in the second miles of my recent exciting conclusion runs, my capacity for high-quality running in the latter staged of the race seemed to be boosted. I did feel like I was going pretty slowly, but that might have been the odd sense of relaxation I was feeling, despite my panic minutes before. I figured I was running around 5:20 pace, so I was shocked to come through in 5:07. Maybe I will run well after all! The guy ahead of me wasn't insurmountably far ahead.
Those thoughts lasted for about 20 seconds, until the wind from the west slammed into me, pushing me to the left. Whatever wind I felt running down Virginia Ave, it was nothing compared to this. Rounding Hains Point, I felt like I was running in a driving snow. The bare tree branches squirmed wildly, but the guy in front was not pulling away. The course was out and back, so there was physically no way for the windy portion to be more than .55 miles, but it broke the hell out of me. I hit the turnaround in 8:20- 3:13 after the mile- 5:50 pace. I hoped turning would help, but it did little. I was firmly ensconced in second place, and would try to salvage something from the race, but my drive was broken. I tried to pick it up, remembering how I could still hit my splits on the windy stretch of the track, but that was nothing like this... I just waited for it to be over...
I tried to run with Karl, Wiggy and Outlaw, but my legs were Jello(tm) and I dropped after 1:40. I ran to try to block the wind for Murphy, Hughes and Angry Kate, with varying degrees of success.
Afterward, I did a cooldown with the guys to visit the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, then had a delicious egg sandwich at the East Potomac Park Golf Course shack.
I did 3.5 miles in the afternoon to round out 80 miles for the week. I still have no idea what I can do for 5k right now, though. I am toying with a time trial Monday or Friday.