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A belated St. Patrick’s Day 8K race recap

March 24, 2011

Hi friends! (All… two of you? It doesn’t matter. I love you both very much.) 

I apologize, this race recap is slightly delayed because you know, I forgot I drafted it until right now.

So, this past Sunday two Sundays ago, I dragged my butt out of bed at 7am to go run the 23rd annual St. Patrick’s Day 8K. Apparently, this race is kinda a big deal, and marks the beginning of the DC running season. Here’s a little blurb from the website: The St. Patrick’s Day race has been a tradition in Washington, DC since 1988… In 2006, due to constraints on the use of streets in downtown Washington, DC, the race became an 8K. Although some runners were unhappy about losing two kilometers of roadway, the new event appealed to many more and grew to 5,983 runners, the biggest year yet!

So Brett and I jumped out of bed, chugged some coffee, and took the metro downtown to Freedom Plaza, which was the start (and finish) of the race. We picked up our bibs, got a banana and some water, and got in line for the port-a-potties. 

Brett eating banana – sorry babe.

We had just enough time to stretch out before I jumped in the 11 min/mile corral and Brett took off for a much faster corral. Although I normally run between 10-10:30 min miles outside, I decide to jump in the 11 min corral – I figured it would be better for my confidence (and much more fun!) to pass people instead of being passed. 

As I’m waiting the Irish ambassador (I told you – this race is apparently a BFD) got on the mic and gave us all a nice Irish blessing. One of the organizers got on the horn and gave the signal for the elite runners to start. Five minutes later I was off! 

It was an incredibly beautiful day and the course took us right down Pennsylvania Ave toward the Capital. I had some serious adrenaline pumping, and I was weaving in and out of runners like it was my job, but I still got a big shock when I looked down to see that I ran a 9:33 first mile. Err – for me that’s in the range of my speedwork, during which I usually want to pass out, throw up, or die. And oddly, I wasn’t feeling tired or spent at all.  

The next mile was a little bit slower (9:57) because of a pretty steep incline throughout most of the mile. But I dialed it back up with the next three, averaging around 9:33 each.

I loved this race, but I have to complain about one part: when I turned back down Penn Ave and the finish line was in sight, I started to sprint before I realized that there was a 180 degree turn and we actually had to run down a side street and back before heading to the end again. SO MEAN. 

But, apparently, I had some energy left in the tank, because I sprinted (again) to the finish line and I ran at a 6:48 pace for the 300 ft I had left. I imagine that is the fastest I have ever run. I was so pleased with the whole experience because I felt like a real runner for the first time in my life – which is ridiculous. I’ve always argued that you don’t have to be a fast runner to be a runner, but something about getting under 10 min miles for an extended period of time just made me feel so proud of myself and like all the training has finally paid off.

Totally impressed by Brett’s mad iPhone photo taking skills

Anyways, I met up with Brett at the finish line and he shoved a cookie in my mouth (good man) and handed me a bottle of water. 

We hung around for a little while and enjoyed the festivities – including adorable little Irish dancers – and then went to Dupont Circle and feasted on many, many brunch carbs. 

Moral of this story (race recap)? You are so much stronger than you think you are. Bring it on half-marathon! I will own you! 

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