Sunday, February 12, 2012

Love the Run You're With 5k - Rust buster 2012

Like the fall, I am having a spring racing season with a bunch of shorter races - no marathon - all about getting fast.  I have been training regularly since the beginning of January, and wanted to test my fitness so far.  So, this morning, I ran the Love the Run You're with 5k by Pacers on Pentagon Row.  I volunteered at this race in 2010, but had never done it.  Sarah set this race up in my schedule as a "rust buster:" a race to just get out there and hammer it out as best as I can.  My training has been pretty consistent, but again, have only been following a formal schedule for 5 weeks.  Last fall, my rust buster came after 10 weeks.  But I was trying to remind myself that I've gained good fitness and have been consistent with training.  I was not planning on running a PR (20:23), but was hoping to just stay sub 21 minutes.  
It's funny, when Sarah scheduled this race, she said, "Maybe you'll have a 60 degree day, or have to deal with the pain of the a 5K and 20 degree weather :)"" 
Well, she hit the nail on the head with the latter.  This morning, it was 25 with 22mph winds! This made the windchill about 15.   This was a lot colder than we've had in DC, and a heck of a lot windier!  I had on 2 shirts, tights, and gloves, plus a jacket and another pair of pants that I was going to wear for my warm-up and then strip down.  So, I trotted it out in my 2.5 mile warm up, and found it pretty hard to move!  The wind was insane, and I'm not exactly big enough to push back with the wind.  I was hoping that in the race, I could tuck behind someone and have them block me a bit.
I found a buddy of mine before the race and we chatted, shivering away, anxious for the gun to start.  He said that he was hoping to run under 21 as well.  And then we were off - thank goodness!  The first half mile had such a steep climb - it definitely took a lot of work to get up that hill!  I got through the first mile in 6:38, which felt really fast.  I had looked around earlier and recognized some of the elite runners, who were way ahead of me, but I knew I had to be in the top 10 women.  There was a turnaround at the halfway point, and as awkward as it is to fly (or in my case, awkwardly stumble) around a cone in a 180 degree turn, the turnaround meant I could count the number of women in front of me.  I figured that I was in 7th or 8th.  I passed a couple of women at mile 2, and had slowed to 6:50 for the second mile.  I figured that that was the hardest one, and that I probably still had a little gas left.  And I worked really hard to pass some men and women and moved up to fourth place.  Wow!  I even caught up with my friend, Caldwell, who ran sub 20 last fall, and passed him.  Finally, the downhill was waiting, and I tried to just fly down, but some girl buzzed by and I could not go any faster.  But, I was still really excited as I crossed the finish line: face frozen but still a big smile.
20:41 (6:40 pace)
5th woman (out of 961)
33rd person overall (out of 1454)
This was great!  That was the highest place I've ever finished at a DC race.  I didn't catch my split at mile 3, but it must've been around 6:35 pace, so I was really motoring toward the end.  When I did my rust buster in the fall, it was 80 degrees, and I finished in 21:02.  This time, it was 60 degrees colder and I showed great improvement!  And while it wasn't a PR, when I texted Sarah to let her know how I did, she said that she was pleased, and that the effort was close to my PR time.  And she said "Good things are in store for some better weather racing!"  
I also came in 2nd in my age group (actually, 5th, technically, because the top 3 open winners were also 19-29), which meant at $15 gift certificate to Pacers.  And because it was a Valentine's Day themed race, they had different bibs for those who were single/in a relationship.  I was the fastest single lady!  I feel like that's a nice little title - something to impress the fellas, right?  And they gave me a little hand towel for that.  The giveaway was a blanket (a nice change from shirts) - so now I have a fleece blanket with the race theme (see above) on it.  Definitely nice to have something toasty to wrap about today.
They had a nice after party too, so I even had a mimosa!  Lots of celebrating to do!  They even had karaoke after, and I sang "You can't hurry love" - that was a first.  
So, the 2012 spring racing season is on and off to a good note.  Can't wait for more races in the spring!

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