I realized in all my recent overdue race recaps in my return to the blogging world that I left out one of the most unique races I did this fall. On October 5, I took part in the 10th Annual Team River Runner DC Biathlon. This did not involve skiing and shooting as I first thought when a friend sent me an email inviting me to join a few of her friends in the race. Instead it involved a 1-mile kayak or stand-up paddle board trip along the Potomac followed by a 3-mile run.
I cannot tell you the last time I went kayaking. It has been years and I can probably count the number of times I have kayaked in my life on one hand. Still, this sounded like fun, so I figured why the heck not and signed myself up. Team River Runner also has a pretty cool mission: provide healthy paddling adventures for healing severely wounded active duty service personnel and veterans.
Ian was out of town with the car for the weekend so I attempted to take a bus trip from the Pike into Georgetown to the race start under the Key Bridge. I was supposed to switch buses around Clarendon, but of course my next bus never came so I ended up just walking to the race. It was a bit brisk, but otherwise a beautiful sunny morning, so I couldn’t really complain.
The race was split into several heats, so some competitors were already underway when I arrived. It was a great low key setup. I easily checked in and got my race chip before meeting up with others.The volunteers were exceptional and they had a great set up of snacks, coffee and food from the grill. It was really impressive for a smaller race.
Soon it was time for my heat to start so I grabbed a life vest, had to have a volunteer help me because I apparently didn’t fasten it correctly and headed down to the kayaks. We hopped in kayaks on the dock and waited for a volunteer to push us off into the water. I had a minor moment of “why am I doing this I have no idea how to kayak!” panic set in, but before I knew it I was in the water and there was no turning back!
Not surprisingly I quickly fell to the back of the pack as the race began, but eventually I did get into a steady rhythm. We were going into the wind on the way out, so I thought things would be easier once I reached the turn-around buoy. I was not factoring in how helpful having the current push me along was however making the half mile back seem much more difficult. I finally made it though and happily accepted a hand pulling me up to the dock.
I handed off my life vest to a volunteer and grabbed a cup of water from another as I headed toward the run course. It was an out and back along the Capital Crescent Trail, which is one of my favorite DC spots to run. It’s paved and nicely shaded as it runs parallel to the C&O Canal Trail.
I felt pretty good on my run and was not too far off my pace from the week before at the Clarendon Day 5k, which was mostly downhill, so I’ll take it! I averaged about an 8-minute pace with my last mile being my fastest.
I came in 45th place out of 89 in my division finishing in 45:48 – not bad for my first kayak race! Not surprisingly I came in 83rd on the kayak portion finishing in 21:17 before a 32-second transition. I made up a lot of ground on the run finishing 17th in 24:10.
All in all it was a very cool experience. I cannot believe I had not heard about this race before this year and highly recommend it. It was so well organized, stocked with great food and an overall great time.
Tell me about any unique races you have run!