Saturday, September 17, 2011

Run! Geek! Run! 8K Race Round-Up

As marathon training goes, there is a cadre of coaches that recommends running shorter distance races as part of your training .  The idea is that running a race forces you to run at your peak and is a quick way to test fitness.  Stef suggested that we try running a race as part of our weekly long run -- sandwiching the race between easy runs before and after.  This morning, we hit up the Run! Geek! Run! 8K.  (Stef pointed out that this was an appropriate race for the two of us to run.  #runnerds)

Before the race, we had a very solid 4-mile warm-up.  Both of us envisioned running somewhere around 10- to 11-minute miles before the race, but we ran much faster than planned.  (My Garmin was off, but it only took us about 35 minutes to get to the start. Awesome!)

The race was a there-and-back loop along Potomac Park to Hains Point.  I've run the route twice for other races -- once for the Jingle All the Way 10K and once as part of the Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run.  It's a beautiful  area, but it can be a little boring at times.  (One of the cool things, though, is that you can watch planes take off and land at National.)  When the race started, I focused on finding good space to run and settling into a pace that was both fast and comfortable.

In the end, I ended up surprising myself.  My first mile clocked in at 8:11, but I was able to maintain a sub-9:00 pace for the entire race.  I've had a couple of shorter runs during which I've been able to do this, but it felt fantastic to run this quickly an 8K.

Here's the breakdown --

Previous Record: 45:51, St. Patrick's Day 8K
Gun Time: 43:36
Net Time: 43:18 (New Personal Record)
Average Pace: 8:43
Division (Women 20-29): 32/121

After the race, we had an easy run back toward the metro, totaling 11 miles for the day.

I'm very proud of my splits during this race.  A few days ago, I read a post on Runner's Kitchen that, in my mind, sums up why I enjoy doing this:

"To consider that you are better today than you were yesterday or a year ago, and that you will be better still tomorrow or next week…That if you’re doing it right you are an organism constantly evolving toward some agreed-upon approximation of excellence. Wouldn’t that be at least one definition of a spiritual state?” -- quoting John L. Parker's Again to Carthage.

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