Scroll all the way down to the end of the post for the tl;dr version.
I had a mild case of post-marathon blues after the 2017 Eugene Marathon and thought racing more would help. In the past month, I’ve done the Capitol Hill Classic 10K, Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon, and Belmont Bay Belmont Stakes 5K. I can’t say it’s helped, though.
I had a pretty active week. I ran a 4 mile tempo run on Tuesday and a 12 miler on Wednesday. I took Thursday off, though, and ran easy the day before the race.
- 10K PR: 42:41 (6:51 pace) at the 2012 Clarendon Day 10K.
- Course PR: 43:07 (6:55 pace) at the 2014 Lawyers Have Heart 10K.
- Most Recent 10K: 48:25 (7:46 pace) at the 2017 Capitol Hill Classic 10K.
Achievable: Sub-48:30 (7:47 pace). I ran this pace a couple of weeks ago at the Capitol Hill Classic 10K and I should be able to repeat it even with the workouts I did this week.
Stretch: Sub-46:30 (7:28 pace). I ran 7:07 pace for 5K last weekend and I think 10K pace is roughly 20 seconds/mile slower. But, this course is tougher and the weather conditions are usually miserable.
Strategy: Buck the recent trend by starting slow and finishing fast.
The course is basically two 5K loops. It starts near the Georgetown Waterfront on K Street. It goes out Canal Road just before it starts the uphill climb near Georgetown University and then back towards downtown. It runs right onto the Potomac River Expressway southbound and then up north to E Street, NW. It goes a few blocks around the 17th St. area before heading up Virginia Avenue back to the Georgetown Waterfront.
There are water stops with sponges during both loops. But, there really isn’t any crowd support except heading into the finish on K Street.
I didn’t have time to make a playlist, so I used the one I created for the Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon.
Typically, the weather for this race is horrid but today it was downright pleasant!
Waking up at 4am, I thought I got up too early. But after thinking about it, realized it was about right for a 7am start. I drank some coffee, ate a breakfast bar, and left the house at 5:45am. I parked in Rosslyn, Virginia and planned a warm-up jog to the start in Georgetown. I pulled out my in-vehicle electronic parking meter to avoid getting a ticket and saw my balance was low. Parking restrictions would start at 8am and I wasn’t sure I had enough funds on the device.
I needed to register, so I stopped my cool-down in the area where race registration was last year. But, it had moved. I ran to where it had been the year before. Nope, not there either. I finally asked a volunteer and she directed me back to an area on Wisconsin Avenue that I’d already passed. Registration went very quick and I checked the bag check even though it was mostly a bag and coupons – I didn’t get a shirt.
With about 10 minutes to start time, I went to the starting area. I saw some of my faster friends. I talked with the a little bit but moved back to the end of the 7:00-7:59 pace area. I waited a few minutes and realized the race was going to be late. I thought, “This is not good for my parking situation.” After a few minutes, a woman sung the National Anthem. And, a few minutes after that, the race took off at 7:10am.
You can see me running by in the orange top at the end of the video.
Mile 0 to 3 (Georgetown Waterfront and Canal Road)
The course started with a gradual incline. After a quarter mile or so, the course took a hairpin turn onto the Whitehurst Freeway. I hit the first mile marker and was happy to see it wasn’t too fast. The pace felt so easy that I thought, “I should try running negative splits.”
I stayed on the left side of the road during the second mile so I could see the front runners. I saw the water stop ahead on the left, so I moved over since I didn’t want to drink. I cheered for a friend who was one of the lead women. Shortly after that, the course turned back towards the Whitehurst Freeway. Back on the open road, a guy cut me off and almost ran into me! I did a, Look-at-all-this-open-road arm gesture towards him and then shrugged it off. I hit my second split and thought, “That’s not good for negative splitting.” I kept calm, though, and tried to keep my effort the same rather than slowing down.
I saw a woman ahead with “Jen” on her shirt. It seemed familiar. Where had I seen her before? Suddenly, I remembered – she was the runner ahead of me at last year’s DCRRC National Capital 20 Miler! Soon after that, the 5K runners split off to the left. At the 3 miles split, I was just a tad faster than the mile before.
Splits: 7:41, 7:27, 7:22.
Miles 3 to 6.24 (Potomac River Expressway, Virginia Avenue, and the Georgetown Waterfront)
The course went downhill for a stretch. Normally, I would open up my stride a little but I didn’t this time. If I was going to negative split, I need to stay close to 7:20 pace for this mile.
The course went under an overpass and we passed a timing mat. A guy ahead of me asked the runners next to him a question and then stopped. I guessed he must have realized he hadn’t turned off at the 5K mark. I felt bad for him.
The second water stop was about 3.5 miles into the race. I ran through that one, was well. Then, the course turned north at the end of the Parkway and went onto E Street. I slowed down a little but then increased the pace again when the course flatted out. My Garmin said I was running 7:18 pace, so I was surprised when I saw that split was a “slow” 7:40. So much for negative splits!
The next mile started out flat and I surged a little. I felt my visor almost slipped off a few times over the next mile or so. After the turnaround on 17th Street, there were two more turns before the course went to the gradual uphill on Virginia Avenue. I slowed down significantly. At the next water stop, I threw my visor away. After the hill crested, I pushed the pace but there was another ramp to climb on the way back to K Street. Seeing the finish line, I sprinted as hard as I could. I was happily surprised I had that kind of speed so late in the race.
Splits: 7:41, 7:35, 7:35, 1:27.
I congratulated my friends, walked a few blocks, and then jogged to my car. The suspense was killing me… No ticket! In fact, the device said I had 13 minutes to spare.
My time was 46:43 (7:30 pace) [Log Details]. Currently, I’m listed as the winner for the Female 12-19 category. My written “45” must have looked like a “15”. But, I also circled the 40-49 age group. In any event, once it’s correct, I should be somewhere around the 248th finisher out of 1,694 (top 15%), 34th woman (top 5%), 5th female master, and 5th in my age group (top 7%).
The race felt smaller to me this year. I went through my log and end the end, I think it may have seemed that way because I ran the 10K. I recorded 3,528 finishers for the 10K during the 2009 race and 3,167 in 2010. There wasn’t a 5K option back then, though. There were 1,667 finishers for the 5K this year – almost as many as the 5K – which comes to 3,361 total finishers for both races.
This year’s race was one of the more enjoyable ones because it wasn’t oppressively hot. And, I raced well. I didn’t run negative splits, but they were pretty even.
For me, this race marks the end of the racing season until fall. It just gets too hot around the region to race anything longer than a 5K.
Looking ahead, I plan to spend the next two or three weeks building my mileage up and start training for the New York City Marathon on July 2nd!
Next race: Fletcher’s Cove Park Run on Saturday, June 17, 2017 (My Complete Racing Schedule.)
My time was 45:45 (7:30 pace). It was my fourth race in four weeks. It was the best weather for this race that I could remember – high 60s at the start. I parked in Arlington and fretted over getting a ticket. I felt pretty good during the race. I tried bucking the recent trend of going out too hard by running negative splits. I got off track in the middle miles but in the end, my splits were pretty even. I made it back to my car and didn’t have a ticket!