Race Recap: Clarendon Day 5k

Time for another overdue race recap! In September I ran the Clarendon Day 5k. You may remember last year I did the double at this race running both the 5k and the ensuing 10k. I have to say, I was pretty relieved this year when I was walking back up the hill after the 5k that I only had to cheer on the 10k runners and not join them this time!


I love this course right in the middle of my old neighborhood. I’ve spent many early mornings running up the Wilson Boulevard hill, so I was really looking forward to getting to run down it for this race.

There were a lot of other Oiselle runners coming out for the race and for brunch after so it was great to see that crew as well and meet some of the newer flock members! I ran into a few before the race started and then hopped into the starting area.


(I stole this photo from Courtney – check out her blog at eatprayrundc.com!)

The first mile is fast and all downhill from Clarendon to Rosslyn. The second mile continues the downhill out onto route 110 straightaway towards the Pentagon before reaching the turnaround point. The final mile goes from flat to a slight uphill to the finish. After barreling downhill for the first two miles this hill seems way tougher than it should be!

I crossed the line in 24:08 for a 7:46 pace. A bit slower than last year, but a bit faster than my run at the Dulles Day 5k the week before!

I met up with some of my Oiselle teammates after the race as we walked back up the hill to cheer those doing both on at the start of the 10k. I changed out of my sweaty clothes and enjoyed a hot chocolate before we headed to brunch at Lyon Hall. Such a fun morning!


A Double Dip: Clarendon Day Race Recap

On Saturday, I ran the Pacers Clarendon Day 5k and 10k. I was one of 240 crazy runners who took on the Double challenge and ran both races. Two races back-to-back – a racing first for me – and it was a blast!

I was coming off a tough week of training, but was feeling good after a rest day on Friday and knowing that the majority of the courses would be down the Wilson Blvd. hill I’ve run up so many times at the end of training runs to get home. Each race started in Clarendon by Whitlows and finished by the Rosslyn metro with an out and back out on 110 to Memorial Bridge for the 5k and near the Pentagon for the 10k. The challenge comes in having to hike back up the hill in between races to make it in time for the second race.

The start line was only a 15-minute walk from my place, so I didn’t have to get up quite as early as usual on race day – always a good thing! I made Ian start his photographer duties early since I was really excited to be sporting my Oiselle singlet for the first time.


After walking to the start I went through my dynamic warm-up and made my way to the starting line. I met fellow Oiselle teammate Courtney near the start and it was awesome seeing her along the course and cheering each other on. The weather was perfect – sunny and 50s at the start.

I had it in my mind that I could definitely PR and maybe go sub-21 with the downhill start. Things started off well. I new the first mile would be fast heading down that hill, but I kept it controlled and ran it in 6:30. I hit my goal pace of 6:46 during the second mile and was feeling like I really had a shot at sub-21. The flatter final mile and slightly uphill .1 to the finish got the best of me though, making for a much slower third mile. I crossed the line in 21:59 though making it my first sub-22 5k in a year and a half.


Right about this point I was starting to regret signing up for the double as I began my trek back up the hill to the start on dead legs. Ian and I had missed each other along the course, but I found him on my way back up brightening my mood. I had about 10 minutes to spare once I reached the top of the hill so I tried to stay in the sun and keep warm now that I was sweaty and chilled. I probably should have ditched the arm warmers before the 10k, but they were keeping me warm while I waited and while I got warm during the second race, I didn’t feel like I was overheating.

Before I knew it, the second race was underway. My plan was to just run the 10k after racing the 5k, but to keep my PR of 48:40 in the back of my mind – meaning maintaining roughly a 7:50 pace. I knew I would have to hold back in the first mile and not get caught up in the excitement of the start, especially after just going out at 5k pace an hour earlier.  I hit mile one right on track at 7:51 and continued down the hill. I passed the finish line street to my left and headed towards the out and back on 110 and the mile 2 marker as the road started to flatten out. I hit mile 2 quicker than expected in 7:27.

I started to think I could steal a PR on the 10k, but still slowed myself down a little to avoid burning out early. Mile three was right on pace again at 7:52. I was feeling really good on mile four and passing a lot of people. I kept hoping the turn-around would be soon though and wishing I’d run the longer race first. Logistically I know that would be a nightmare, but it would’ve been easier on my mind for sure. Still mile four came in right where I wanted at 7:53.

Mile five was a bit tougher and I could feel my legs begging for a break. I wasn’t passing people anymore and I hit the mile marker in 7:59. Thanks to the quick second mile though, I still thought I had a chance at that PR. I picked it up for the final mile and smiled as I ran past the finish area for the Marine Corps Marathon knowing the next time I’ll be running there I’ll be just a short burst from the finish! I started passing people again and hit mile six in 7:52.


Ian spotted me along the final .2 uphill to the finish this time and got a bunch of great shots. I heard him cheer for me and made my final burst to the finish. I actually hadn’t looked at the watch at mile six so I was just hoping I could eek out a PR. I didn’t quite make it finishing in 49 flat, but I’ll take it considering I was only 20 seconds off and the last one didn’t come right after a 5k!

My combined time for the two races was 1:10:59 – good for 62nd overall and 4th in my age group!


I enjoyed a post-race meet up with Courtney and another Oiselle Volee teammate, Stephanie, who volunteered at the finish line Saturday before crushing it in her 20-mile race on Sunday!


Photo courtesy of Stephanie!

All in all it was another great Pacers race!

The only negative that I feel I have to mention I didn’t find out about until after the race. Ian saw someone drop two backpacks on the ground a block from the finish line and walk away. He tried to alert security, but everyone just seemed to blow it off and no one looked into it. Maybe everyone involved with the race including security knew what it was or who left them, but it would have been nice if they explained that to him. Obviously nothing happened and all was good, so it wasn’t an issue, but it seems like there could have been a better response.

Notice backpacks to the right

Notice backpacks to the right – they didn’t belong to the man with the stroller. The guy who dropped them picked them up about 20 minutes later.



FitDC Launch Preview

A new fitness company called FitDC is coming to D.C. and I’m excited to be a part of it. A fellow Pacers Ambassador, C.J. Cross, told me about this new company that he was starting at a packet pick up we both volunteered at a few months back. My first reaction was, wow, how does this not exist already? My second reaction was, “I want in!” Thanks to a full time job, personal training, my own race training, maintaining my blog and all of life’s other commitments I can’t give nearly as much time as I’d like, but am excited to play any role I can in helping out because I truly believe this is a great idea and just what the active D.C. fitness community needs.

So, what is FitDC?
FitDC is a health and wellness promotion company working to connect fitness seekers with fitness professionals. Our mission is to make the path to fitness more accessible by simplifying the start-up process. By using FitDC’s FitBase (our searchable online database) and working with our team of experienced fitness professionals, community members will be able to easily locate the local facilities and services that meet their fitness needs.

The FitDC Team:

Owly Images

C.J. is extremely passionate about his new company that he is the founder and CEO of, so I wanted to give him a chance to tell you in his own words what this company is all about.

Q. What made you decide to start FitDC?

“Well, after years of working in the fitness industry, I kept coming upon the same questions. Usually it was someone who was up to the task of improving their health and fitness, they just didn’t know where to start. As you probably know, not every workout is meant for every person, but I knew that there was at least one workout for each person. I started FitDC because I wanted to be able to help people find the workouts that they would enjoy doing and that would help them. I guess you can say I’ve always been a person to go to for advice, now I’m creating a business around that.”

Q. How do you see FitDC changing the fitness scene in this community?

“The goal of FitDC is to reduce the gap between wanting and doing. Right now too many people fall through the cracks and never follow through with their desires. If we can do that effectively, everyone wins. I also see FitDC fostering a more connected and friendly community. We’re going to hold social gatherings that will bring fitness professionals and enthusiasts together, so that they can share their experiences, their knowledge, and their friendships.”

Does this sound like something that you’d be interested in? Than come on out to our Launch Party this Saturday. The Launch Party is a two-part event filled with fitness and fun. We’re kicking things off with free fitness classes, donated by gyms throughout the Rosslyn to Ballston corridor including:

After getting your sweat on, join us at 4 p.m. at Velocity 5 – soon to be Arlington Social Haus – for a meet and greet with our leadership team. There will be a brief presentation about FitDC, followed by an afternoon of mingling with other fitness minded folk. Velocity 5 will also be sharing samples of their upcoming Social Haus menu, featuring gluten free, paleo and vegetarian options as well as other healthy treats. You’ll learn about how you can benefit from our services, both as a fitness consumer or provider. You’ll get the chance to be an early adopter of Fit DC’s FitBase, a web database of gyms and fitness providers, fitness social media offerings, and possibly get another free workout with one of our listed fitness professionals.

Hope you can make it for the launch! RSVP and get tickets here: http://fitdclaunch.splashthat.com/ Classes are selling out fast, so don’t miss out!

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay in the loop. Let me know in the comments if you’ll be at the party and what class you’re going to! If you have any questions, hit me up at colleenATfitdc.co and I’ll do my best to help you out or can connect you with C.J.

Also, check back for an update next week on how it went and how I did with my first yoga class in a year!! Must do more yoga!

Run-Centric Weekend

For anyone who knows me, it comes as no surprise that I spend a lot of my time running, talking about running or doing other running-related activities, but this weekend was a particularly run-centric weekend.

Friday night I headed out of work for week 2 of Pacer’s Crystal City 5k Friday series. I got there early to help out with packet pick-up before the race. My first stop was the shoe lab, however. After having a lot of success last week with a pair of racing flats from Newton, I planned to try out their Gravity performance trainer this week. As soon as  I laced them up I could tell these shoes felt great. They were super light, gripped my foot, but roomy around my toes, and had some great bounce to them.

The race actually started a few minutes late to accommodate the huge turn out of runners on a really beautiful Friday night. My pace was all over the map last week so I wanted to really focus on running a consistent pace and did a great job of it. I hit mile 1 in 6:54, crossed mile 2 at 13:53 and mile 3 at 20:47. My finish time of 21:29 took another 11 seconds off my PR! I finished 133 out of 1,426 overall, 23 out of 773 females and 16 out of 344 in my age group. I also walked away with my own pair of Newton Gravity’s thanks to a 10 percent onsite discount! (It doesn’t take much to talk me into buying new running gear.) I’m really excited to start logging some more miles in them.

Saturday morning I linked up with the DC Road Runners club for their weekly Saturday long run. This group meets right across the street from my apartment and I’ve been saying I was going to get myself up and run with them for years. This was the first time I actually went! I’ve been trying to make much more of an effort to run with groups since it makes training a little more fun and helps me push myself to run faster.

We ran a route that took us over Memorial Bridge, down the Mall, by Union Station and back down the other side of the Mall before running along the river and returning via 14th Street Bridge and the Mount Vernon Trail. Runs like this remind me why I love this city so much. No where else can you go for an early morning run past so many cool monuments, memorials and historical sites. I was also entertained by the set up and prep for the Cherry Blossom parade going on later that morning.

Sunday I volunteered to help with the early packet pick-up for the GW Parkway Classic 10 Miler and 5K. I’ve heard great things about this race and definitely plan to do it sometime. I helped out at the Clarendon store, and let me tell you – it took no small amount of will power to spend 5 hours in a Pacers and not spend any money. I did leave with several things on my wish list for my next visit there though!