Here is my first race recap, about my first 10K. This morning, I ran the George Washington Birthday Classic 10K just down the road from my apartment in Alexandria. This was partially why I chose the race- can’t beat the location for me.
I had initially signed up for the race thinking it would be part of a step down week. Now it’s the end of a two-week running reduction after my left knee started acting up a few days after my last long run and after a fast 5 miler. I was considering skipping the race to do a long run after taking last weekend off, but my husband convinced me to do it. And I’m glad I did- and not just because I got a pretty nice long-sleeved for a relatively cheap race!
When I got up to take the dogs out this morning, it was pretty cold but I could tell it would warm up quickly. So, here’s the ensemble I settled on pre-race:
To illustrate how close it was for me, I left my apartment at 7:45 for an 8:00 am start, and still had a couple minutes to warm up a bit, although I probably could have used a little more. The race was put on by Pacers, my running store (and sometimes addiction) that puts on many races in our area. They do know what they’re doing, it was really well organized.
The race started behind the U.S Patent Office in the Carlyle are of Alexandria, adjacent to Old Town. It was just a straight route down Eisenhower Avenue and back. Pretty flat too, aside from a small incline at the beginning and end of the run for the ramp. It wasn’t the most scenic route- I-495 flanked us on one side, and the Metro and other industrial type buildings on the other- but I actually enjoyed running through an area I’ve drive down many times and noticing things I miss in the car.
Overall, I really enjoyed myself! Not only was it well organized, but it wasn’t as crowded as other races I’ve done, so I felt like there was plenty of room for me to move. It was a beautiful morning and in the ’40’s- ideal running weather for this girl. It also just felt great participating- I think I needed this as a little jolt for my running routine, where I generally run by myself. And I got to try Muscle Milk at the end, which was tasty.
This was the first race I ran completely sans headphones. Didn’t even bother to bring the iPod. In previous races, I always had it as a safety net, but realized that I never actually listened to it much during the race since you need to be paying attention to your surroundings. Plus you just get so focused on the race itself, I just haven’t needed music. Since my daily running is now generally iPod-less, I also wanted to try in a race. And this will be the way to go for now on- I just prefer it. I felt like I experienced the race more. But I don’t hold it against the runners who have their iPod’s. If you need music, by all means use it. One downfall I noticed- hearing other people breathe really heavily. I don’t know why but it would freak me out and convince me to run slower, even if I wasn’t panting particularly hard. Also, there was someone who kept coughing after the water station on mile 2/4. That was a little annoying.
My finish was a little disappointing 1:00:00-ish, which translated to a 9:47 pace. This means I beat my lesser goal of under 10:00 miles, but I had been secretly hoping to get down around a 9:30 pace. But I need to keep this in perspective. It was my first 10K, and it felt really good to run. My legs were a little tight through out, so that may have been an issue.
But even if not- I didn’t really start running again until the end of last September. I had never been a fast runner, fast doesn’t come naturally to me. And as my husband pointed out, I have short legs that work against speed- my fast is really slow for leggy people. Given that, starting off racing in this range is a decent starting place. Plus, at this point in my racing career (meaning early), I just need to aim for finishing.
And even with this less than stellar finish, I can feel my body is stronger than it was this fall. I first noticed after spinning this past Tuesday morning, my first class since October. My legs were tired, but they didn’t feel like they wanted to fall off as with my initial classes this fall.
After today’s race, once I stretched stretching and foam rolled, I felt really good. This is an improvement over the 5K, Turkey Trot 5 miler and the Hot Chocolate races from the fall, and after my of my long runs for the Hot Chocolate race. I would feel really drained and just lay around for most of the afternoon after these. Not to mention I’d feel sore. Today I was able to run a bunch of errands and take the boys to the dog park, no problem. So that means my body is improving, and running is becoming easier.
Sometimes it’s important not to focus on pace or mileage, but instead on the strength, stamina and overall improved well-being to our health.
Have a great long weekend, everyone.