Sunday, December 11, 2011

2011 Jingle All the Way 8K Recap


Today was the first time I'd run a race with a friend and also gone in looking for more of a training run than spectacular results. Done and done.

After my panic yesterday morning with the local NPR traffic reporter declaring multiple times that the 8K was yesterday, today's hitches were significantly less stressful. The race organizers had written on the race website that racers could cross the start line as late as 9:15am, and after my running pal's last-minute early-morning waffling (from "Well....I think the right decision is not to run" at 7 a.m. to "Okay, I'm on the train" an hour and fifteen minutes later), I figured we'd be using that 15-minute grace period. 

I jogged a little over a mile to my office, testing out layers and carrying post-race gear in a pack. As I neared the White House, I saw more and more of my brethren  – runners wearing Santa and elf hats, wearing reindeer antlers, and decked with boughs and holly – jogging toward the start line. A running shoe company could have filmed us all and deemed it their holiday message, and it would have been rad.

From the warmup, I figured out that I was wearing too many layers on top, even though I was carrying a pack. I was now down to a tank and my trusty long-sleeve JL Racing shirt, a holdover from my coxing years....so glad I'm retired from that, by the way.

It turns out that the race start was delayed by roughly 30 minutes to re-set the race course after miscommunication with MPD. Whoops. Capital Running Company promptly sent us all emails this afternoon apologizing about that, too. Good for them.

We waited in a patch of sun on the side of Freedom Plaza, uh, unoccupied by the Occupy DC people, and wondered what the holdup was. By the way, the same ridiculous NPR station that kept saying the race was yesterday had also said it was 24˚F when I walked out the door today. Seriously, I have no idea if the station is ground-truthing any of its reports, but I'm sure it was over 30˚F. And no other weather website was reporting temps under 30˚F in D.C.

Even having spent the better part of the last three weeks sick, I still had some expectations for this race beyond finishing. My secret undisclosed plan was to run at an 11-minute mile pace and to pick it up in the end. 

We ran at a very even and manageable pace, and because I've run this 8K course several times and had someone to talk to, I wasn't even annoyed at the multiple loop-de-loops. Miles 1-2 took just under 22 minutes. Miles 3 and 4 were again in the 21 to 22 minute range. The last stretch – where we caught up to another gal rockin' a green Team Sparkle skirt – was probably at nine and a half-minute mile pace.

This was by no means my fastest 8K. It may have been my coldest 8K, and it was the first in a green Team Sparkle skirt. And, I got in a good, long conversation from a great friend (who may or may not have contemplated telling one of her children "Mommy's going for a run!" before driving to the Metro to head into the District). Heh.

Santa drew me in for a tight hug. That was a little weird.

Result: 53:03/10:40 pace.

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