This past weekend was spent in Washington, DC. I actually lived there for three months my sophomore year and nine months my junior year for various internships, so I know the city pretty well, but I hadn't been back in four years and it was fun to see the monuments again. Even better, now that I run, I had a new appreciation for the city!
I did not prep for this race as a race because I didn't want to allow myself to treat it as one. I knew racing it would have a negative effect on my preparations for the NJ Long Branch Half, so I wanted to force myself to just long run Cherry Blossom.
Hence starting off the afternoon in DC with a round of drinks! After the long ride to DC, we all had a drink before walking to the White House since several of the girls hadn't seen it and it was my patriotic duty to play tour guide and show it to them. Once we got back to our hotel, I headed out for a 2 mile shakeout run to see how my legs felt.
I'd been having some hamstring pain and was worried it'd be a bad idea to run. While my calves were very tight, foam rolling seemed to help and I declared myself safe to run. Woot!
We got ourselves beautified then had dinner at one of my favorite DC restaurants, Zaytinya. It's one of Jose Andres's small plates restaurants and it's Greek/Mediterranean. And SO GOOD. The pita, the crab cakes, the hummus, the... everything was fabulous. If you are planning on being in DC in the future, make sure you go there.
|Oh right, and the Brussels sprouts. GET THEM.|
An early bedtime obviously occurred because we are wild and crazy runners. After waking up at 5:15 hearing Beth get up, I lay in bed wondering whether Starbucks was open until 5:45, when I voiced my question to the room. I was laughed at because, apparently, I am kind of addicted to Starbucks. Why does everyone who spends time with me think this?
We debated what to wear, Beth finally agreed that she was going to run Cherry Blossom as a long run (ongoing debate for a week and she didn't decide until 6 AM!), and headed out to the Washington Monument where the race corrals started.
Stephanie went to her much faster corral while I lined up with Kim and Beth. We started together but soon spread apart since Kim was racing (and killed it with a pace PR for a long distance) and Beth was taking it very easy since she'd had a fever all week. Stephanie also had an awesome PR, so those racing it had a great Cherry Blossom race!!
Plus, Abby was acting as cheerleader extraordinaire and popped up all along the course cheering since she couldn't run the course due to a stress fracture. Of course, she's so fast she probably would have finished with plenty of time to cheer us on even if she had been running!
I forgot headphones so was left to my own (lack of) devices, so I kept a sharp eye out for the race photogs and tried to do my best Gisele impression. And by that I mean I made stupid faces if I saw them in time.
|Ahahaha hello cameras! I love you! How are you? I'm just running and having SO much fun.|
|This is my favorite. Austin Powers was my inspiration.|
While I enjoyed the views, this wasn't a fun run for me. My knee started hurting a bit around mile 4 and things never felt easy like they can on good runs.
Oftentimes a run just falls into place somehow, your body just picking a cadence and your mind zoning in. But that never happened, so by mile 4 I felt pretty fatigued. That plus the achey knee and a lack of music to pump me up meant that miles 4-9 were rough, mentally. I would try to pick up my pace and just couldn't. It didn't help that miles 6-8 had a pretty tough headwind!
|How I felt at the end.|
Running 10 miles after not doing more than 5 in 3 weeks is a little rough, not going to lie.
|Race swag. I haz it. I think I'm doing peace symbols but in a swaggy way?|
|Love this medal! It's my favorite of the three I have so far.|
So, I finished a long run without anything terrible happening, I got a change of pace from the NYC run routes, and I got a medal. Pretty solid long run!
Oh, and I had an awesome girls weekend with some really cool women. I hadn't spent much time with Stephanie or Kim and it was so much fun getting to know them better. I'm envisioning lots of future training runs and classes together!
Have you ever run a race as a training run rather than a race? How did you feel?