Thursday, July 24, 2014

Rockville Twilight 8k

If there is one work I can think of to describe this race, it would be "fun!" It was just a really fun experience from start to finish and very well organized. The organization makes sense since it seems to be a joint effort between Potomac Rive Running and Montgomery County Road Runners Club.

Packet pick up was at the PRR store in Rockville and it was very easy. They had hours on Friday, Saturday during the day, and right before the race. We went on Friday night and it was quick. We returned on Saturday at 7pm though the race didn't start until 8:45pm.  A friend of ours has an apartment a block from the start line so we hung out there for a while.  We walked over to the start line around 8:15 and it was a very lively atmosphere. There was a band playing and a lot of festival booths set up with various products.

The beginning was my only negative for this race.  It just seemed like a mass of people and I couldn't see any signs indicating where to start for different paces.  We also had a difficult time telling whether we were in the right place for the 8k or whether we were in the section for the fun run.  They both started at the same place but I think the fun run started after the 8k. We couldn't hear the an nicer very well so it was just confusing at the beginning. But everyone around us started moving and so did we :)

The race had 4-5 water stops, which is awesome for a 4.9 mile race!  There were also at least three places where they had set up a hose to mist water that the runners could go through.  This makes a lot of sense for a July race as it would usually be hot.  The weather here was an anomaly last week so it wasn't hot at all but it was nice to see they were well prepared. And they had on course entertainment in the form of bands set up at various places along the route.  This goes from amateur rock bands to a guy with a saxaphone.  The variety of music was cool.  A lot of the course was through neighborhoods behind the Rockville town center and people in the neighborhood were hanging out with lawn chairs, kids were out there giving five, and people were cheering.  It was such a great atmosphere!  And the volunteers were spectacular, as always.

The race was a little hilly through the neighborhood, but not too bad.  And it was mostly flat or downhill toward the end.

As far as my personal race experience, my goal was just to have fun.  I was using this to replace my long run which was supposed to be at an easy pace so I didn't have a time goal.  And I wanted to help out one of my friends that I was running with as she was struggling a bit.  So I stayed with her most of the time but at mile 4 she sent me on my way so I could finish strong.  You can see the variance in my pace here.

Another perk of the race are free race photos, which I love, even though they're not flattering. But maybe flattering is too much to ask of photos taken while you're running!

My official time was 1:10:26, or a pace of 14:11. Here is the info from Garmin which gives me a pace of 13:53.

The fun continued after the race was over with free beer for runners, snacks, more musicians, and random prizes.  It was really crowded so we opted out of staying there too long and met up with some more friends to go to a nearby restaurant for tapas and sangria.  Yum!  

This was a great race and I would definitely recommend it. It might become one I do every year because it was a fun distance, a fun event, and cool running at night.