My company has started sponsoring a running club again, so one of the first races with a free registration fee was the Jingle All the Way 8K on December 9th starting in Freedom Plaza, DC. I’ve only been running a few times a week after the marathon, but I figured free t-shirt, why not! I set a 9:30 goal pace for myself.
The morning of the race was pouring rain and cold and I almost turned back on the way to Pentagon City, but I guess I really wanted that free t-shirt :) Plus I had already gone to the trouble of getting dressed and pinning a few ornaments to my shirt to appear properly festive. I got to Freedom Plaza and had a great time chatting with some co-workers I ran into and meeting the Running Club coordinator. I was happy to be wearing warm clothing and my new Salomon Softshell jacket, and thankfully it stopped raining half an hour before the race started.
The race set-up was great (run by Pacers), with an efficient bib pickup and bag check. Despite a ton of runners (a few thousand?) we started nearly on time. It was so fun to hear the sound of jingle bells the whole way, and I didn’t need my music at all. I felt great after the first three miles, running about a 9:30 pace, so I picked it up in the last two miles, averaging an 8:30 or so. It was a new experience for me to have to weave and pass others to maintain my pace, since the Towpath Marathon was so small! I sprinted out the final quarter and had a great finish time of 45:55.
I felt great immediately after the race, but my legs got sore when I got home and I had to apply bengay twice during the day. In hindsight, I probably should have stretched after that all-out sprint! Pacers put together a great post-race spread with hot chocolate, muffins, bagels, bananas, and other delicious munchies.
I had a great time running a shorter “fun” race, and I can’t wait to run more short races and improve my pace times (and hoard more race t-shirts)!
group picture before the race!
somewhere towards the end, I think – my jacket is fully unzipped. why are my legs and feet angled so strangely? lol