Two long races in a row takes a lot out of a gal, but it does feel great to know that I ran consistently both weekends. Plus, I get to rest and reward myself with things like red velvet brownies, which I'm baking as I type this post, new running shoes, and a much needed massage.
Saturday's packet pick-up was certainly one of the most time consuming that I've experienced, and I was shocked to see a line that wrapped around the National Building Museum when I hopped of the metro at Judiciary Square. It wasn't a huge deal, though. As it turns out, waiting in line was the perfect time to catch up on my reading and take photos -- until the rain, hail, and wind arrived.
The line continued into the museum and up the stairs to the room where bibs were held. Luckily, I'm easily distracted by gorgeous architecture.
Once I had my bib and t-shirt, I walked around the Fitness Expo for a bit and picked up a few new pieces for my spring/summer running wardrobe.
On race day, I was out of bed at 6 AM for stretching and my usual fuel routine: bagel with peanut butter, green tea, and Jelly Belly Sport Beans. Unlike last weekend's epic transportation FAIL, getting to this race was not a problem. In fact, I had plenty of time to jog to the start from Metro Center, stretch, and crawl through a fence to enter my starting corral. Maybe even too much time...
I was assigned to the Green Corral, which was the second-to-last group to start the race. (I really need to pay more attention to the times that I submit/estimate when I run corralled races.) I tried to place myself as close to the front of the wave as possible so that I would have no trouble getting enough running room. It seemed to work, and I started out strong and caught up to runners in two of the corrals ahead of my wave.
Once I caught up to the faster pace groups, though, finding enough room was a little bit of a challenge. (I took a look at my splits from my Garmin when I got home and could see exactly where I decided that pushing to a 6:00 pace was the only way to get around the throng of runners. Not the brightest idea in terms of keeping a steady pace, but whatever -- sprinting is a lot of fun!) By the second half of the race, especially around East Potomac Park, finding space wasn't a problem and I cruised along: checking out the blossoms and thinking about the picturesque scenery.
Around the ninth mile mark, an older man cheered "Happiness is running." And, at that point in the race, I had to agree.
Here's the breakdown --
Gun Time: 1:48:24
Net Time: 1:36:39 (about two minutes faster than last weekend's 10-mile time)
Average Pace: 9:39
Best Mile: 8:49 (Mile 10)
I'm giving myself a few days to rest before I hit the pavement again. I have a few special goals for April, May, and June while I figure out my fall race schedule and training plan.
By the way: in the event that the New York City Marathon organizers tell me I'm not cool enough to run this year, I am seriously considering running the 2011 Malibu Marathon. MALIBU! The course runs along the Pacific Coast Highway! Anyone want to join?
Stay tuned for details!