Monday, September 12, 2011

Arlington 9/11 Memorial 5k - Beautiful Race

Saturday night was my first race of the season (as Sarah was calling it, my rust buster): the Arlington 9/11 Memorial 5k around the Pentagon.  I have only done one other night race - it is a weird feeling!  As nice as it was to sleep in, I felt like I was waiting all day to start!  While there was a holdup on the metro (which didn't really help with my nerves), I got to the race in plenty of time.  I had enough time to do a 20 minute warm-up, which loosed me up.  I was nervous because (well, I could come up with a bunch of reasons) it was so hot (80), and I am not a good heat runner.  But, I saw on my warmup that there would be a spot of shade, so I could hold onto that thought.
We got corralled in, and they actually had markers to have people stand to separate everyone according to pace (6:00-6:59, 7:00-7:59, etc).  I thought this was great - I had never seen that for a 5k, but since there were so many people, it was totally worth it.  I was a bit nervous, because even though I stood in my appropriate spot (6:00-6:59), there were only 2 other women around.  I had looked around online, and I didn't think I was going to place quite that high.
The gun went off, and off we went.  There was the general swirling around me, but I settled quickly into a pace.  We hit the first mile around 6:40, and I was a bit doubtful of how fast I was going to run - I was already hot.  Felt very grateful when we hit the water stop around 1.5 miles in - dumped 2 cups on my head.  I was wearing very bright clothes, and I knew I was up near the front of the female pack, because I got a lot of "go girl" comments, and then someone even yelled "5th woman."  Wow - in a DC race?  Hit 2 miles around 13:25.  A girl ran alongside and said, "I'm going to try to stick with you."  I grunted a "thanks" but not too long after, she passed me.  It was just hot, and the goal was to just hang on at that point.
We approached the Pentagon, which had the sun streaming on it - very beautiful and moving.  Just felt so blessed - I was able to run - I was able to run in a place that receives threats and there is currently high security at.  I was able to run because I am blessed with that ability and because there were others out there looking to protect us.  How could you not be grateful and moved during this race?
I used all of my energy to just keep going, and the finish line finally came into sight, what a relief.
21:02 (6:47 pace)
6th woman (out of 2244)
90th person (out of 4217)

Wow.  Not a PR, was off by 18 seconds, but given that it was 80 degrees, I will take it.  I was really pleased with my performance.  I ran fairly even splits, and placed high in a DC race.  It was a good performance, and Sarah says a good start to the season.  Next race: Clarendon Day 5k on 9/24.
This was a very moving race.  I was very happy to be a part of it.
On Sunday, I had a 13 mile run, which I felt so sore during all of it.  It is remarkable how much running 3.1 can tire you out for 13.  But, I kept going, because I felt like I was running with a lot of inspiration on 9/11.  I am a very different person than I was 10 years ago.  I was living in my hometown, now I am in DC.  I was a high school kid who now is running in a different world.  Freedom is only free because others work to protect the rest of us, so for that I say, thank you.

No comments:

Post a Comment