Race Recap: Dulles Day 5k On The Runway

Last year I heard about a new race coming to DC – the Dulles Day 10k and 5k. It took place right on the runway – so cool! I was out of town for the race weekend though, so I wouldn’t get to do it. This past September, however, I would not miss out!

My biggest regret is that I was not in better shape for this race. It is the ultimate flat PR course. It still turned out to be a cool experience though.

Ian was out of town for the weekend, so I rented a car to make the early trip out to Dulles Airport on Saturday morning. The earliest public transportation could get me there was well after the race would have finished so that wasn’t an option. In a tiny Chevy Spark that was mine for the weekend, I made my way out to Dulles bright and early. Well, actually it was still dark.

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I needed to pick my packet up day-of so I got there an hour early thinking that would be plenty of time. It wasn’t. Parking for the race was at the Steven Udvar-Hazy Center – the companion museum to DC’s National Air & Space Museum. We got to cut through the museum to make our way to packet pick-up and the race start. I can’t believe I have never been out here before and now totally understand why everyone says it is so much better than the museum on the Mall.

The packet pick-up line wound around in circles making it a bit disorganized and hard to find the end. Once I got my place in line it slowly chugged a long as I watched the time click down towards the start. I finally got my bib and then turned to see a line for the bag drop. I finally made my way to the front of that as they announced 3 minutes until the 5k start.

I bolted off towards the start line and had to work my way up from the back of the field. I got about midway through when the race began. We made our way out onto the runway – talk about a flat course. There was one plane out along the way for us to run by before we shot down a straightaway. We made a slight turn and came back down the other side passing the start line and finishing back behind the Udvar-Hazy Center.

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The weather was perfect – a touch of chill in the air. I wore my Oiselle arm warmers for most of the race before pushing them down for the last mile along with shorts. Still, I felt slow and flat-footed. I wasn’t in shape and it showed in my time as I crossed the line in 26:12. That’s slower than my PR marathon pace!

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I did pick it up for the final mile, but wish that I’d had more to give. I did love the race though and will definitely go back next year if I’m in town. For you speedsters, the winners of the 10k get a pair of round-trip tickets from United and the top male and female 5k runners each get one round-trip ticket with United. Not a bad prize at all!!

What unique races have you done?

 

Back to Where it All Began…

The first 5k race I ever ran (at least that I can remember) was the Swamp Rat Run in Cicero, New York. I was 17. My older brother Dan found out about it and asked if I wanted to run it with him. To say we were newbies is, well, a bit of an understatement.

I remember stopping at a gas station on our way out that morning so Dan could get a red bull to pound before the race for extra energy. If only I knew then what I know now I could have advised him this was a bad idea!

I lined up at the start line wearing a basketball practice pinny, shorts that came down to my knees and were likely not made of any kind of wicking fabric and…basketball sneakers (they were low tops if that makes it any better). I wish there were pictures. I can guarantee you that none of my ensemble was nearly as fashionable or functional as any of my Oiselle duds I race in now!

Dan, who was always a pretty good sprinter, bolted off with the front-runners leaving me in his dust at the start. That red bull would come back to bite him though as I actually ended up passing him along the way to my 25-minute finish! I remember it was really hot out and I can vaguely picture the start/finish area, but the only clear memory I have of that race was how cool it felt to cross that finish line. The results were even published in the local paper the next day. I was hooked.

This year that same race coincides with my bridal shower weekend, so I’ll be home in Syracuse for it. I know it’ll be a busy weekend, but I couldn’t resist and had to sign up. Thirteen years later at 30 years old, I’ll be back on the same start line where my love affair with racing began. The race experience will probably be a bit different, but I am pretty sure about one thing – that I will get that same feeling of pure excitement and joy as I cross the finish line that I’ve gotten to enjoy time after time in the last 13 years of racing everything from 5ks to marathons!

From SwampRatRun.com Website

From SwampRatRuns.com Website

Do you remember your first race? Have you ever gone back and run it again?

Back on a Plan

I’ve been slowly getting back into my running groove lately, but I have been running whatever I feel like and mixing in a lot of cross training with no real plan or purpose. Sometimes I like this, but I also tend to do a lot better when I’m on a plan – so I’m pretty excited to be getting myself back onto a training plan.

This week I’m starting half marathon training. I haven’t made a final decision on which fall half I’ll do yet, but I’m looking at either the International Peace Half Marathon on the C&O Path in DC or the Navy Air Force Half, which I ran last year, also in DC. Both are the weekend of September 13th and I have a handful of shorter races planned along the way – more to come on that!

The week ahead will be all easy runs ranging from 3 to 8 miles just working on base building! Thanks to a Facebook contest from my favorite running store, Pacers, I won a new pair of Saucony Kinvara 5s along with a new tank, Feeture’s running socks and a Sweaty Band headband! So exciting and I can’t wait to take the new shoes out for a spin tomorrow to kick off my training!

New Saucony Kinvaras courtesy of a Pacers Running Store contest!

New Saucony Kinvaras courtesy of a Pacers Running Store contest!

Do you like being on a plan or just running by how you feel each day? Does new gear motivate you to get out there an go?! Tell me about your summer and fall race plans – any big goals coming up?

 

Race Recap: Cherry Blossom 5k

OK, final overdue race recap is here! I’ve frequently talked about my love for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler on the blog, and this year was no different except that I opted for the 5k instead of the 10 miler.

It took me until Saturday night to make the final decision to switch to the 5k. Could I run 10 miles? Of course. Would it be a lot slower than my previous two years of finish times? Absolutely. Now I know that’s a dumb reason not to do a race, but I knew it would bug me and I just wouldn’t enjoy the race as much. It turned out to be a great decision. I loved the 5k course and I even showed a little speed compared to my runs of late this year giving me a good push to getting back into things and picking up the pace in my training runs going forward. It also didn’t hurt that the start time was about an hour and a half later than the 10 miler – yay for sleep!

Things kicked off on Saturday with a Oiselle meet up at Vapiano in D.C. It’s always so fun to get together with these girls!

Oiselle Team & Friends

Oiselle Team & Friends

On Sunday morning, Ian and I were up early and off to the metro. We ended up running into my Oiselle teammate Prianka at the Smithsonian stop, which was pretty amusing since I also ran into her randomly on the metro before the Marine Corps Marathon last fall. Almost as if we planned it, we walked by the start/finish area for the 10 Miler just as the lead women ran by. Boy can they fly, and yet make it look so easy.

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We made our way to the 5k start area. I headed off for a quick warm-up and Prianka went to meet a friend she was going to pace for the race. I again sported my Oiselle shimmel tank and fresh green shorts for the race. Somehow I greatly underestimated how chilly it was going to be out. Luckily I had arm warmers and calf sleeves on as well to give me a little extra warmth.

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Waiting at the start line was brutal. I was absolutely freezing. As you can tell by the picture below I appear to be the only one who didn’t get the memo about the temperature. Fortunately I warmed up really quickly and felt fine by about half mile in.

Missed the memo on how chilly it would be!

Missed the memo on how chilly it would be!

I loved this 5k course. I busted out my Newton flats for the first time in a longtime and they felt so light on my feet. Love that feeling! We started off heading down Independence Ave. on a slight decline before a quick right and left turn taking us over Memorial Bridge.

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I really felt good and started to get into a groove. After crossing over the bridge, through the traffic circle and a bit closer to the entrance to Arlington Cemetery we made the turnaround to retrace our steps back to the finish. Even with the slight incline back to the finish line where we started I still ran each mile increasingly faster.

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My 25:20 finish time was no where near my PR, but I was really happy with it and am excited to start getting my speed back over the next few months here as I get running more and start integrating speed workouts back into my training. It was also good enough to put me in 74th place overall out of 2,067, 25th out of 1,519 women and 6th out of 364 in my age group.

This little guy was cheering on runners from the sideline. I think Ian really needs to follow through on his idea of starting a Tumblr site featuring race dogs!

IMG_3914I was able to really quickly navigate through the finish area and make it back to where Ian was watching from in time to see Prianka run to the finish as well!

IMG_3931Then we decided to take a shot at heading up to the 10 Miler finish to see if my brother’s fiancee and her sister had finished yet. With so many people in that race we didn’t think we’d have a great shot, especially since we didn’t even know what corral they had started in. As we walked near the finish line I somehow spotted my brother waiting on the sidelines, and we were able to grab a spot and catch Adrienne and Courtney on their way to the finish line!

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We wrapped up a great morning with breakfast at Bob & Edith’s Diner on Columbia Pike in Arlington. If you live around here and haven’t been there yet, you should go! Yet another successful Cherry Blossom in the books!

 

Race Recap: Burke Lake 12k

Better late than never, I finally got around to my Burke Lake 12k race recap. This race was part of the DC Road Runners Snowball Series back at the beginning of March. Being a member of DCRR, the race was free, so the price was definitely right.

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Not shockingly, based on my once or twice a week running schedule I had going on at the beginning of the year, this was not going to be a fast one. In fact, I finished just a few minutes ahead of my last 10 mile time (1:12:15)…yikes! I went in with the expectation that this would just be a run to enjoy, not race, and a plan to evenly pace myself.

Off and running at the start with a smile!

Off and running at the start with a smile!

Race Dogs!

Race Dogs!

Burke Lake is only about a 30 minute drive from Arlington on the weekend, yet I had never made my way out there. I’m so glad I did. It was a bit brisk, but overall a nice, sunny day that could have been a whole lot worse with the winter we had, and the scenery was wonderful.

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The race was an out-and-back almost completely around the lake starting in the parking lot near the ice cream parlor before entering the trail. It was a dirt trail that was pretty muddy that morning. It wasn’t very technical, making it my kind of trail run and also meaning I didn’t fall once, so there’s a positive. I also really liked running around the lake making it pretty hard for even me to get lost.

Final uphill to the finish.

Final uphill to the finish.

I’m so glad I found this new-to-me running spot so close to home and hope to get more runs in there throughout the year. I also hope to go back and race this next year when I’m in better shape. I continue to really enjoy these smaller DCRR races!

Upcoming Races

I’ve finally nailed down my race schedule (meaning registrations are in) leading up to the Shamrock Half and even a little beyond. This is where I’ll be picking up the pace over the next few months. Hope to see some of you out there!

Where are you racing this winter/spring?

Footprints: Weekly Workout Recap

Well I’m a bit behind with my usual Monday morning recap, but still wanted to fill you in on how week 2 of my Shamrock training went. Overall, it was a really good week of workouts although I have to do a better job of figuring out how to integrate my spin workouts into my run schedule. I always have good intentions of still running, but once I’ve finished spin I don’t quite have the same level of motivation. I think this is fine on my 3 mile easy run days, but I don’t want spin to replace any of my quality runs.

Here’s the day-by-day breakdown:

Monday: Spin Class – Real ride at Revolve.

Tuesday: I put in 3 easy miles on the treadmill followed by my P90X routine and a leg workout.

Wednesday: I ran the DC Road Runners Predictions & Resolutions 5k in Rosslyn along the Mt. Vernon Trail as a fun training run. It was definitely not close to being one of my speedier 5ks, but I had a blast and it was a beautiful day for a run!

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Thursday: Spin Class – extended body ride at Revolve.

Friday: I took my speed workout to the treadmill with 7X400 meter repeats followed by an abs and lower body workout.

Saturday: Spin Class – extended body ride at Revolve.

Sunday: I debated between my missed tempo run or my scheduled long run, but was really feeling the need to work on some speed so I went tempo run. It turned out to be a great decision and I rocked a 45-minute tempo run maxing out at roughly a 7:13 pace!

Fav Posts of 2013

With the year winding down, I took a look back at this year’s blog posts and wanted to share my favorites with you.

In the order they appeared…

  1. A Pizza Kind of Weekend – because it’s not always just about running and pizza is one of my favorite foods!

    Fresh out of the oven

    Fresh out of the oven

  2. Running Missteps – even after years of running, it’s good to remember that we can all fall into some rookie mistakes now and then.
  3. Birthday Fun – because it reminds me what a great b-day I had this year.
  4. Race Recap: Cherry Blossom 10 Miler – not only do I LOVE this race, but it was also one of my fastest and most successful races of the year making it a fun recap to relive.

    Smiling after hearing Ian call my name!

    Smiling after hearing Ian call my name!

  5. So Sad – because this was one of the most emotional posts I’ve written, and I still find what happened in Boston hard to believe.
  6. Book Review: Pre: The Story of America’s Greatest Running Legend, Steve Prefontaine – because I can’t believe it took me so long to finally read this book and because you should too if you haven’t read it yet!
  7. Race Recap: Such a Rush – the day I ran my first-ever track race and loved every second of it!SprintToTheFinish
  8. Engaged! – because this was my favorite thing about 2013!

    Celebratory Toast at Fireworks

    Celebratory Toast at Fireworks

  9. A Conversation with Bart Yasso – because I got to talk with Bart Yasso. Enough said.
  10. MCM Race Recap: BQ or Bust… Well, Not Exactly – while this race wasn’t at all what I expected I love the emotion that comes through in the recap and the understanding that a bad race isn’t the end of the world.

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Tell me what was your favorite post you wrote in 2013.

Resolution Check-In

During my mini hiatus from blogging last week, I missed my usual beginning-of-the-month resolution check-in. I swear I was just writing those resolutions and now the end of the year is just about here. Crazy!

I didn’t hit everything I was hoping for, but overall it was a pretty good year filled with a lot of fun races, a couple PRs and a couple more challenging ones!

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Last month my focus was cross training and recovery. I mixed it up a bit before starting up with the Runner’s World Run Streak on Thanksgiving giving myself just the break I needed. My legs feel completely recovered and strong, and ready to get back into racing.

For this month I’ll focus on strength training and slowly building my mileage again, so I’m ready to start a new training plan in late December for the Shamrock Half Marathon!

How did you do on your resolutions for 2013? Have you started thinking about 2014 yet?

Meeting a Running Idol

On Sunday I volunteered to help out at the U.S. National Road Racing Championships right here in Alexandria. The day started with a 5k followed by the 12k women’s championships and the 12k men’s championships and community race.

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I checked in at the volunteer tent at 5:30 in the dark and jumped at the chance when they asked a few of the volunteers to staff the elite/masters area. Shalene Flanagan, Abdi Abdirahman, Molly Huddle and more amazing runners were going to be there! Ahh! I also spotted Oiselle Haute Volee runner Caitlin Comfort!

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Naturally I was too nervous to go up and say anything to any of them – not to mention I didn’t want to mess with anyone’s pre-race prep, so instead I wandered around in awe and tried to do my assignment of keeping people who weren’t supposed to be in the VIP area out. I probably didn’t do a very good job of this, but I was a bit better at running checked bags to masters finishers after they crossed the line and worked their way through the finisher’s chute.

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It was such a cool day. I got a front row seat at the finish line to see Molly Huddle beat out Shalene Flanagan and set a world record in the process finishing in 37:50. Aaron Braun nearly broke an American record in the men’s race as he coasted to the finish in 34:28 waving to the crowd.

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To top it all off, Deena Kastor was at the race. It was her record that Molly broke. She holds the American records for the fastest marathon and half marathon among others and is one of my running idols! I was so excited to get to meet her and talk for a minute, and she graciously took the time to take a picture with me too totally making my day!

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