I was probably better prepared to wake up early for this race than any other since my new running schedule has been to get up at 5:30 every day. Anyway, I woke up Saturday at 5:45 and had my usual bagel and peanut butter. The bagel sucked by the way—Safeway—but it was just about the carbs after all. I listened to some tunes and then at 7 am I was out the door. I hopped the bus, although I could have walked since the start was so close (it was at the Georgetown Waterfront, K and 31st).
My friend Brian and I were supposed to meet at 7:30 so when I got there with 15 minutes to spare, I made a beeline to the port-o-potties. Good thing too, because the lines go long fast! After TCB (taking care of business) I met Brian at our designated spot. He hooked me up with my number and goody bag and we headed to baggage check. We chatted it up the whole time and marveled at the huge number of people (this is the largest 10k in DC with about 4800 people). With about 10 minutes to go time we went our separate ways but arranged to rendez-vous post-race at the same spot.
I made my way to the “corrals.” They were super-unofficial—just people holding signs—so I knew it might be chaotic. I headed for the 6 min/mile corral and couldn’t believe how many people had lined up in the 5 minute group; I could tell by the number of people that not everyone was being honest… After the Ms. DC-Galaxy-Universe-International-Somebody-or-Rather sang the national anthem it was go time. I mean that almost literally since instead of firing a gun they just said “Go!”
The first little bit headed out on K Street and then took a sharp turn in the opposite direction onto the Whitehurst Freeway. This was the only real uphill so I tried to conserve some energy. As soon as we got on the freeway I started picking people off who had gone out too fast. The sun was bright but it wasn’t too hot yet. Just as we got to M Street I passed Mile 1 (6:08).
The race then continued along Canal Road which was nicely shaded. At this point it had started to thin out some too. There were no spectators here since the road has no side walks so this was really just me and the road. I guess I focused a little too much on the road because I missed the marker for Mile 2. I knew I’d passed it and just hoped that I was on pace. When I saw people coming in the opposite direction (it was an out-and-back course) I knew I was almost at the turn around. Just before I hit the turn around I saw Mile 3 (12:15 for Miles 2 and 3). I had made really good time but now I was starting to feel the heat and I hadn’t hit a single water stop yet.
The second half was ever-so-slightly downhill for a while—Thank God! Even so, I was slowing in the heat. Mile 4 was slower (6:15). Seeing Diz and some other friends running in the other direction perked up my spirits, if not my pace. At some point around there they were handing out cold sponges, they made me feel better, but couldn’t counteract the heat and humidity as I hit mile 5 on M Street (6:20). Now there would be no shade and probably no PR but I wanted to have a respectable finish for the team. On the Whitehurst everyone seemed to disappear and I could really feel the sun. As I turned back onto K (dang that hairpin turn!!!) I passed Mile 6 (6:25). I could see the finish now so I did that thing where you dig deep and ran the final .2 miles in 1:12!
As soon as I got my bag and camera I went to wait for Brian by the finish. With my bad luck I saw him, but not in time to snap a photo so I went and waited for him at our meeting spot. After we’d both taken in the finish festival sights it was off to brunch with the good people of Dewey & LeBoeuf, the firm we were both running “for.”
I have to say, this was an awesome race! It was really fun meeting Brian and running with him, even if we didn’t actually run together. It’s so seldom I have friends at races with me so this was a real treat!
The other great thing was that, while I missed a PR by 13 seconds with my 38:37, I came in 48 Overall, 3rd in my Age Group, and 2nd in the Law Student category! I’ve never placed so well in such a big race! Well, I will stop rambling now and go back to running.