This weekend, I needed about 12 miles for my long run and it just happened to coincide with two great races. I ran the Reston Ten Miler last year so I decided to go with the St. Pat’s Double (plus a few extra) this year.
As a bonus, a friend who is coming back from some health issues asked if I would pace her for a 10/10:30 pace for the 5K. Normally, I can’t pace for crap but I thought I could keep her pretty close and readily agreed.
I decided to go in to DC early so I could get a good parking spot and pick up my bib plus run my extra miles. I was able to park right on Constitution Ave., so that was perfect.
I then ran 3 easy miles, to get my yayas out before meeting up with my friend. It was a gorgeous morning and I was feeling great as I ran down the Mall to the start!
I ran up the Lincoln steps. And barely managed to stop myself from accidentally blowing a snot rocket at the memorial. So classy!
There was an Italian gentleman there, recording himself in front of Lincoln. He kept looking at me like I was nuts as I tried to get this shot!
I rolled back in about 15 minutes before the start. Quickly found my friend, plus a couple more who wanted to come along for the ride, and we confirmed our place in the corral.
As we were running, I kept an eagle eye on my watch and pulled the group back a bit when ever we started speeding up. I also tried to encourage them on the hills at the end of the course. One of the group was clearly struggling but she did not give up! All three pushed hard to the finish and we had an average pace of 10:01!
I tell you, I was riding high after this! I grabbed some water and ate a food packet before lining up for the 10K. I went out a bit faster than I probably should have with the 10K (9:30s) and, at mile 3, I decided to drop out of the group I was in and go my own pace. I saw some of my super speedy friends out on the course and that was a lot of fun! At mile 5 (11.5 for the day), my hamstring really started to hurt and I was starting to feel discouraged. Right then, I looked left and saw “my girls” on the other side of the course and gave a shout out. They hollered back and that was the encouragement I needed to keep pushing on. They didn’t quit so I didn’t either! I finished with a 10:11 average, which was really where I needed to be.
After crossing the finish, I went to get my medals only to find there was a very long line. I’m not sure why, there were plenty of volunteers, but we were back up into the finishers chute.
I then went to get some food. They had (tiny) cups of hot coffee – fantastic! – as well as bananas, granola bars, and Costco blueberry muffins (less than fantastic. I didn’t look up how many calories are in one of those until I shoved it in my mouth. Over 600!!!)
By that time, I was freezing and ready to go home so I left without tracking down my other friends. Sorry, ladies, but I was shivering!
Overall, this was a great race! I loved the fact that they had corrals (Pacers races often don’t). The medals were cute. The race shirt was okay (sorry, no picture). There were plenty of portajohns. I give this race a solid A- (the lines for the medals and food could have been handled better).
BUT! The best part of this was my pacing duties. I absolutely LOVED doing it! I definitely want to pace more 5K and 10K groups, maybe even longer with some practice. This, combined with thoughts of my upcoming RRCA certification, is making me think about a lot of things. I definitely feel a calling for a service role but never found my place. Maybe I have now?