In my opinion, this is (was) the perfect race day: sunshine, no humidity, 65-70* and a course that starts on the National Mall (biased, my favorite city). What makes it better? Taking a bike from door to start-line, seeing the sun rise over buildings and quiet streets, with D along for the ride.
Seriously. The clouds were cotton-candy blue and purple; we cruised down on our two wheels in cool morning air, a race + brunch with friends on the agenda. This life is good.
The only factor that didn’t follow suit? Choosing a bowl of vegetable chili + fries for dinner the night before (where was my race-day-prep brain? Not a clue!) and a slightly unsettling race-day morning stomach (see: dinner decision…oof).
Ah well. We’ve got some miles to tackle…
The fuel: banana + peanut-butter breakfast (+ H20, of course); water at mile 9 (thanks to D on the bike!).
The test: run a PR without the handy-dandy Garmin keeping me on track; use old-fashioned addition & subtraction along with a stop-watch. Remind myself what it feels like to race; find that dig-deep pace and stick with it.
I started out running by feel and trying to keep things in check – don’t burn too much too fast, don’t get too far behind. The first visible mile marker was for the 5-miler – not that we knew this, being the first thing we saw either way. My instinct said there was no way any of us were running an 11 min/mile pace, ergo these flags are way off… or the Nike watch has gone rogue (please no!).
We finally saw the first red marker (i.e. for the 1/2-m), “3”, and the 23:30 that my screen read was a huge relief. Good to go…
From there it was a do-math + zone-out game. D & Ivan zipped around on their bikes to see us gals a few times and snap some photos. I kept adding “7:30” to 1-13 to make sure I wasn’t doing anything crazy, too-comfy or slow. At mile marker 6, the clock read “45:00”.
Another 45 minutes = 12 miles + 1.1 mile @ 7:30-ish = 1:38-ish? Whoop! Keep it goin’…
By the turn-around point on Rock Creek Parkway I was in that mid/late-race low where the pace is catching up to me and the “4 miles to go” doesn’t work any mental countdown magic.
By the time we hit the “10” flag, my math & watch were in sync and there was no letting anything slip from here on out! 3.1 miles…
By the time we hit “12” I was so pumped to be exactly on schedule (1:30), but so ready to be done that I started counting light poles & white stripes on the road. Must. Distract. Self!
By the time we hit the corner with less than 0.25 miles to go everyone was yelling “It’s downhill after this!” and we were all responding with perked ears, legs & feet. THANK YOU, course planners! Genius.
Whoa, that was tough…
I hit my goal, PR’d by ~30 seconds, and was too surprised that there were no major issues to really let any of that sink in. Sweet relief. It was done, my speed was tested and I got a hint of what’s to come in the next 6 weeks before MCM.
Fellow racer + PR’r, favorite race-supporter!
It’s no Garmin shot, but it works. Lap functions have yet to be figured out here.
1:38:24 , 7:31 min/mile avg.
AG (F 25-29): 8/231
Overall: 177 / 1732