Sunday, January 19, 2014

2013 Race Recaps...Finally

I meant to be a conscientious blogger this past year and write up individual recaps for each race I ran right after I ran them. You know, pictures, course information, so on and so forth. That obviously didn't happen. Oops. I still had a fun year of running though, so rather than pretend I didn't run at all, I decided to put abbreviated recaps of all of the races I ran in one big happy running post. It might be a little long, but this is what happens when I slack off. Sorry!

So here goes...all seven races from 2013.


April 13th: Manassas Runway 5k

This was the first race I ran since hurting myself the previous fall. I had originally hoped to run the 10k, but the first few months of the year were a big frustrating start/stop mess of trying to run and fighting off nagging injuries, so I bumped down to the 5k and decided my goal should just be to finish. At any rate, I couldn't pass up the chance to run on an actual runway at one of the nearby airports.

My buddy Jen ran the 10k. She is ridiculously speedy and placed 3rd in her age group.

Running on runway 34R at HEF. The course for the 5k went down the length of one taxiway, turned around and went down the length of 34R, then ended on the ramp. It was a nice flat course and we couldn't have asked for a nicer morning for a race...the weather was gorgeous. There were tasty snacks after the race and everything was well organized, including the fact that we could wait in the terminal building before the race started (which was really nice since it was a bit chilly that morning). Overall, a great race...this is definitely going on my list of races to run again.


June 1st: Fauquier Trails 5k

This was my first trail race, and holy monkeys, was it hot and humid that morning! The trails were behind a community college only 15 minutes from my house, so it was a nice short drive to the starting line for a change. Starting the race at the college also meant plenty of parking, and easy access to the bathrooms in the buildings. Nice!

Packet pickup was super easy and they were offering free tomato plants, donated by a local hardware store, to anyone who wanted one. Bonus! One of the guys I work with was one of the race organizers, so it was nice to see a familiar face at a race where I figured I wouldn't know anyone.

The course snaked along a few trails that passed through open fields and patches of trees.

Running through the woods was pretty fun...I may have to look for more trail races.  :)

My finish time of 38:37 may be my slowest 5k time to date, which is pretty funny since I had mostly kicked my random injuries by this point and was finally running again on a regular basis. The humidity sucked all of the life out of me in the last mile or so of the was miserable. I don't remember exactly what I did after the race, but it most likely involved hiding inside in the cool air conditioning for the rest of the day. Overall, another fun local race, and one I'll aim to run again, even if it is hot and humid.


July 4th: Culpeper July 4th 5k

Mark and I both had to work in the afternoon, but since it's not often you get to run races during the week, I wanted to run a 5k. Culpeper is only 20 minutes or so from our house, which gave us plenty of time to run the race, get home and get cleaned up, and still get to work on time.

The race started back in the Old Town part of town and made its way through a bunch of neighborhoods off the main road. The course looped around a bit but it was well marked and I didn't have a problem keeping track of where I needed to be, even toward the back of the pack. The weather was a bit gloomy but if I remember correctly, it really wasn't a bad morning for a race, considering it was July. There was a raffle after the race and Mark wound up winning a few gift certificates to Buffalo Wild Wings. Mmm...delicious racing.

By the time the race ended, people were starting to set up all sorts of July 4th stuff, and since we had a little bit of time before work, we decided to wander around the classic cars for a little while. I'd run this race again, was close, the course was pretty easy, and there was fun stuff to do at the end.

Mark and his winnings in front of a very shiny car.


September 14th: Navy Air Force 5 miler

I couldn't have asked for a nicer first 5 miler. Seriously.

I was still planning to run a half marathon in November when I ran this race (spoiler: the half didn't happen), so I needed to run 7 miles for my long run for the week. We managed to find parking in the Ronald Reagan Building, which also meant access to REAL bathrooms before the race started. Since Mark was running the Navy Air Force Half Marathon while I was doing the 5 miler (and his race started earlier), I figured I'd warm up for my race by running 2 miles down to the Lincoln Memorial, then back up to the Washington Monument for the start for my race.

Mark stretching before his half started.

Ducks hanging out by the Reflecting Pool. Mark had already started his race by this point, and I was off running a couple easy miles before my race.

The Washington Monument was still covered in scaffolding.

I made it back to the starting area with enough time to grab a Gu and stretch before my race started. Eventually, all the 5 miler runners lined up and we got going. The course was great; we started next to the Washington Monument, ran south past the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, then followed Ohio Drive SW down to Hains Point and back. I spent half the race watching my airplanes taking off from National because I'm a big dork.

This was probably the first race all year that felt good. I was holding a steady 10:40ish pace (which is pretty good for a slowpoke like me) and managed to sprint across the finish line at the end. I grabbed my finisher's coin, made my way over to the support tents and grabbed a banana and a muffin, then hung out for a little while waiting for Mark. He did pretty well with his race, too; I forget his exact time, but it was under two hours for the half marathon. We both got our official finishing times, then made our way back to the car, drove home, got cleaned up and inhaled lunch, and somehow made it to work on time for our 1:30 shifts. I'll definitely be running this race again someday, though I'd prefer to be in good enough shape to run the half next time.


September 21st: Forest Grove 10k (Oregon)

I already wrote up an actual recap on this race, which you can read here. To make a long story short, Mark and I were on vacation in Oregon and managed to squeeze in a fun local (to Oregon) 10k. It was really well organized, the people were great, I PR'd for the second week in a row,

they had a tot trot, which was hilarious,

and I won a bike!! Because, you know, that's perfect for someone that lives clear across the country.   :)

I did manage to get the bike back to VA, thanks to the very generous help of Sue, Wayne, their son Steve, and a very large box that they made. Mark put it all back together and took it to a local bike shop for a tune up, so as soon as the weather warms up a bit I'll be zipping around outside. There's an 11 mile Civil War loop near my house that I've run several times before...I think it would be a great first bike ride.  :)


September 28th: Undy 5000

This is one of my absolute favorite races for several reasons. It benefits the CCA (Colon Cancer Alliance - read more about the Undy 5000 here), which is one of my mom's favorite charities since she is a colorectal cancer survivor. The course is pretty and fast (It's in Rock Creek Park in DC), and they encourage you to wear underwear. What's not to like?

Also, they had a giant inflatable colon that you could walk through. Best. Race. Ever.

We made their Facebook page this year! And once again, I was one of only a couple ladies wearing a bra. More people cheer you on that way.   :)

I don't know if it's the Cookie Monster undies or what, but both times I've run this race I've PR'd (which also made for the 3rd PR in as many weeks...September was a good month for racing for me!). I only got about 4.5 hours of sleep the night before and was all hopped up on coffee, so I wasn't expecting too much out of the race, but I absolutely killed the first mile in 8:24 and was basically neck and neck with a girl who I eventually wound up talking to for a bit. Shortly before the turnaround I saw Mark flying back the other second place. For the entire race.

I grabbed a cup of water at the aid station at the halfway point, gracefully choked on it since I apparently can't walk and drink at the same time, and still managed to finish the second mile in less than 10 minutes. The third mile is a bit rough since it's all uphill and I had to take a short walk break to avoid an ambulance (I think another racer had fallen and hit her nose), but when I rounded the last corner and saw that the time was still in the 20s, I started booking it and managed to notch my first 5k finish time under 30 minutes.

Mark finished first in his age group, and second for the ENTIRE race. Crazy!! He got a medal for the age group finish. He is speedy.

It goes without saying that I'll be running this race every year that I's too fun not to.  :)


November 23rd: Remington Turkey Trot

The last race of the year was on our home turf. We live so close that we could have walked to the start line, but it was FREEZING that morning so we drove. The course winds its way around town and I run these routes all the time by myself, so it's really fun to run around town with a bunch of other people cheering you on. I was hoping to break 30 minutes again but the last hill kicked my butt; it's the road that runs behind our house and I use it as the beginning of most of my local running routes. It's about half a mile of a steady uphill with a sharper incline at the end, but after already running 2.5 miles, I was about done and I slowed down a little too much. Oh well...I'll remember that for next year.

Mark got second place in his age group and once again won the only prize you couldn't eat: a poinsettia. (First place wins a frozen turkey and third place wins a pumpkin pie.) I missed third in my age group by two spots, so I'm planning to do a LOT of speedwork before I run this again next year. That pie will be mine.

You can just see Mark standing on the left side next to the column, holding his winnings. By the way, the poinsettia is beautiful and is still alive; it's sitting on our kitchen counter.


Well, that's all of them. Overall, the year had a frustrating start since I kept getting shut down with random hamstring/hip flexor injuries, but I learned a lot (mostly about how NOT to do things) and I'm planning to use what I've learned to have a much better racing year in 2014.

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