Scroll all the way down to the end of the post for the tl;dr version.
I ran the 2017 Eugene Marathon two weeks ago. This would be my first hard effort since then. After the race, I employed my “don’t run until you miss it” rule. I resorted to forcing myself out the door after 10 days when I didn’t miss it. By Saturday, my running legs came back and I ran 10 miles.
This would be my 6th running of the Capitol Hill Classic 10K. There are a lot of mid-May races in the area and this is one of my favorites since so few races go through this neighborhood.
- 10K PR: 42:41 (6:51 pace) at the 2012 Clarendon Day 10K.
- Course PR: 43:44 (7:01 pace) at the 2013 Capitol Hill Classic 10K.
- Most Recent 10K: 45:22 (7:17 pace) at the 2016 Lawyers Have Heart 10K.
Strategy: Show up and see what happens.
The course is an out-and-back in Capitol Hill. It starts at an elementary school, tours the neighborhood for a few blocks with view of the Capitol Building, Supreme Court, and the Library of Congress; and then heads out along East Capitol Street to RFK Stadium. There’s a small hill heading out of the parking lot heading back to the school, but otherwise, the terrain is flat.
There are water stops between miles 2 and 3 on the way out, mile 4 in the RFK parking lot, and miles 5 and 6 on the way back. There are small crowds along the route.
I woke up at around 5:30am but spent a lot of time lying in bed thinking about whether I really wanted to run this race or not. I checked the website and saw it didn’t start until 8:30am, so I had time to decide. I finally got out of bed at 7am. I still wasn’t committed but thought I would take one step at a time. After drinking some coffee, I decided, Why not? I geared up and was in the car by 7:45am. I was downtown about 15 minutes later. For parking, I knew the key was staying south of East Capitol Street so I wouldn’t get stuck in a road closure. I parked 4 or 5 blocks south of the school.
On site, I ran into the friend from my run club (even though neither of us is running with them very regularly anymore) standing in line for on-site registration. We caught up since we saw each other last at the 2017 Rock n Roll DC Half Marathon. Registration was quick. I didn’t grab my t-shirt at the time because I didn’t want to go back to my car. I was told I could pick it up after. I went to a set of port-a-potties with a short line and then did a very short warm-up. My legs actually felt good.
At the start line, I saw my friend again. He walked forward as the race began but I hung back. Just as I was putting in my headphones and getting ready to run, the female co-host from the Pace the Nation podcast popped up seemingly out of nowhere! She asked if she could tag along with me. I was a little worried about that since I hadn’t been running consistently and wasn’t sure how this race was going to go. She thought she was in sub-50 shape, which seemed fast to me. We chatted as the group slowly moved towards the start line and soon we were off!
The weather was almost perfect for the 8:30am race start – 59 degrees, low humidity, and calm winds.
First Half – Mile 0 to 3 (Capitol Hill, East Capitol Street, and RFK Stadium)
The course was a little crowded at the start but it wasn’t hard to navigate around runners. I warned my racing partner early on that I probably wouldn’t talk too much during the race. This was a 10K and, in my experience, they tend to hurt a little towards the end. She was fine with that but I actually talked quite a bit early on. The first mile marker was just after the course turned onto East Capitol Street. Just under 8:00 pace seemed good to me.
I knew we’d be on East Capitol Street for a while. After a mile and a half, we reached Lincoln Park, which is where a lot of people congregate to cheer. After rounding the park, we were back on East Capitol Street and heading toward the stadium. My friend hadn’t run the course before and I noted it was slightly downhill and would be uphill back. I thought that might be useful information in case we got separated. Heading into the parking lot at RFK, we saw the men’s leader. He was way out in front! We were on the trail that borders the parking lot at the mid-point.
Splits (by course): 7:56, 7:48, 7:48.
Middle Miles, Miles 3 to 6.24 (RFK Stadium, East Capitol Street, and Capitol Hill)
There weren’t any crowds in the parking lot, but Batala was there pounding out some good rhythms. I wasn’t familiar with this part of town and tried to figure out where we were. The only hill in the course came as we were leaving the parking lot. I focused on maintaining an even effort. I noticed my partner’s breathing was a little heavy. I thought maybe we should slow down, but then she would say something and I’d think, She’s fine. We continued along, mostly in silence. We were both feeling the effects of the hill. As we hit the mile 5 marker, the terrain leveled out, which was a relief.
We approached Lincoln Park again. There were even more people out and my friend waved to someone she knew. Back on East Capitol Street, I could tell we were running faster. The pace felt hard but something I thought we could maintain. In fact, I was enjoying myself so much that I allowed myself to low-five a little girl. I clicked off the lap at the 6 mile marker. I didn’t say the time out loud but told my buddy, “That’s a great split!” and smiled. I thought we were holding the same pace through the finish but we actually threw in a little bit of a kick!
Splits (by course): 7:46, 8:02, 7:35, 1:34 (6:29 pace).
My race partner and I went over to the park across from the school to get water. While there, we ran into two other runners I knew. I made introductions and we all chatted for a while. Suddenly, I realized I was really tired and left the group to head home. I realized I hadn’t eaten anything or taken any water during the race. Back home, I realized I forgot to pick up my shirt! And, since there wasn’t a medal for the adults, I don’t have any pictures for this race report.
My time was 48:25 (7:46 pace) [Log Details]. I was the 321th finisher (top 17%), 56th woman (top 6%), and 5th female master (top 3%).
On the elite side, the race was one by two locals – Paul Thistle (31:18) on the men’s side and Caitlyn Tateishi (37:18) for the women. A six-year-old set a 10K record!
I really enjoy this race. Even though I don’t live in the neighborhood, I feel good about supporting the school and getting the opportunity to run in Capitol Hill.
I was genuinely happy that I didn’t stay in bed and managed to run the entire 6.24 miles without stopping or fading. I took a lot of days off after the Eugene Marathon and this felt like a good foray back into running hard.
Next race: 2017 Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon on Saturday, May 27th. (My Complete Racing Schedule.) In hopes of getting my running groove back, I thought I would do a race a week until I start training for the New York City Marathon in July.
My time was 48:25 (7:46 pace). I almost pulled a “did not start” for the race since I hadn’t done a lot of running since the Eugene Marathon and the running I had done was pretty uninspired. But, I took one step at a time that morning and showed up for the race. Just before the start, I saw a friend who wanted company and we ran the race together. It’s been a long time since I ran with someone stride for stride! It was a lot of fun sharing the experience with someone else.