Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Pacer's St. Patrick's Day 10k

Last weekend, I went downtown with a friend to run the Pacer's St. Patrick's Day 10k.  This race has both a 5k and 10k option, or you can do the double which is running both the 5k and 10k.  A little background, I had signed up for the double last year.  But because there was freezing rain the day of the race in 2015, Pacer's let people defer to 2016 if they wanted.  So that's what I did.  But since it was the weekend before the Rock and Roll DC Half, I just decided to do the 10k instead of the double.

Packet pick up was at Pacer's stores the day before the race, and they also had a race morning option.  I went to the store the day before the race to pick up packets for myself and my friend.  There was just one person in line ahead of me and it went super fast.  Packet pick up was nice and easy and included a shirt as well as the bib.  I did let them know I was planning on running the 10k instead of the double and they said that's fine and that I could still use the same bib.  The only slight snag is they were out of safety pins but it wasn't a big deal.

Race morning dawned, but not as early as other races, which was nice.  The 5k started at 8:15 but the 10k didn't start until 9am.  This gave the people doing the double 45 minutes to finish up the 5k and get back to the start line for the 10k.  We drove to the race and there seemed to be plenty of street parking available.  We parked a couple blocks away and then walked over to the race getting there about 15 minutes before the start. It was also great running weather.  It was cool but not cold and overcast but not rainy.  I think it was a bit on the humid side but not too bad.

There weren't really corrals but there were signs indicating pace and I think most people tried to line up in the right spot for their pace.  My plan was to try to take it easy since this wasn't a goal race and was just a last training run for the Rock and Roll Half.  The race started right on time and it seemed like they were letting people start in waves so it was about 4-5 minutes after the official start before we passed the starting line.

This was a really fun race.  First of all, there were a lot of people in fun, St. Patrick's Day costumes.  There were also a lot of adorable dogs sporting festive green attire.  It turns out I have no green running clothes so I actually ended up just wearing the race shirt.  A no-no, I know.  But it worked out fine and I added in a sequined green bow I had picked up for cheap at the party store.

Another great thing about this race was the course.  It was flat, and beautiful.  It started right in front of the Washington Monument.  And then we ran along the river past the Kennedy Center and toward Georgetown.

That was an out and back section so we turned around and headed back around mile 2.  Then we ran around the tidal basin with a great view of the Jefferson Memorial.  After that, it was back to the Washington Monument for the finish.

I felt strong during the race.  I don't know if it was the extra rest during the week, the great weather, or the training but I got caught up in the race day excitement and had a hard time slowing down.  In fact, I even stopped to the side twice to take a photo.  And I had to stop once to fiddle with my headphones and get them to work.

And in spite of the pauses and actually trying to not push myself, I ended up with a PR!  My official net time was 1:14:21 which is an average pace of 11:58 per mile.  My previous PR for the MCM 10k was 1:14:40 with an average 12:01 pace.

And as icing on the cake, there was a nice medal too.  Funny story about the medals, there was one medal for people who did either the 5k or 10k and than another medal you were supposed to get if you did the double.  We had the bib for the double but had only done the 10k so we got our 10k medal and started to walk off.  Someone actually chased us down to give us the double medal.  We explained we hadn't actually done the double but he insisted and said he had to give it to us since we had the bib.  So we took it and I gave my extra medal to my friend so she could give the 2 identical medals to her sons.

So as you can tell, I loved this race!  The logistics were fairly easy, the course was flat and beautiful, and they had multiple distances available. If you're looking for a fun March race, I would definitely recommend this one.