I had every intention of posting a few more times last week and a weekend recap yesterday…but after taking my final on Thursday, I’ve been enjoying my freedom and doing very little in the evenings. I had big plans of tackling all sorts of projects between now and mid-January (start of spring semester), but it’s looking like the only thing I’m going to finish right now is The West Wing ;)
Anyway, weekend recap here – starting with my latest favorite meal, which Mike brought home after work on Friday – pho! It’s all I want to eat these days when we eat out. It was good fuel for my race on Saturday (recap later in this post).
Some more weekend eats – Saturday brunch after the race at Liberty Tavern in Courthouse. $20 for the buffet, and I thought the spread was pretty decent (Farmers Fishers Bakers is better though). I went for the fried chicken and pizza and several glasses of their hot mulled cider. I have a juice problem lately.
Sunday was cooking day – I made turkey frittata (with frozen leftover Txgiving turkey), ham soup, oatmeal jam cookies, and I also chopped up veggies for snacks and toppings for salads.I felt exhausted all day Sunday, and ended up taking a two hour nap shortly after breakfast (this never happens!!), but recovered enough by the afternoon to go out for a run. I wasn’t sure how my legs would feel after the race, but I wanted to get in a good distance run to continue to build my mileage. The first few miles were really tough (and it was windy!), but my legs actually felt great after warming up. I ended up running 8 miles, bringing my total to 27 for the week.
12Ks of Christmas Recap
Okay, rewinding a bit now – Saturday began with my first real race since my marathon in May! I knew I wasn’t in the best running shape since I’ve only been running regularly since early November, but I really wanted to run one more race this year to motivate myself to train. The 12Ks of Christmas in DC sounded perfect- small, very low key, and an automatic PR, thanks to the unusual distance!
My goals for the race:
A – just finish! Especially after my DNF at the Rock and Stroll 10K in November
B – Maintain a 9:00 or faster pace, making the race a decent tempo run
C – Maintain an 8:42 pace, right around my 10K PR
The race had a 5K and 12K distance, so the 12K didn’t start till 9:45. I relished the late start – no 5 AM race day wake-up! I rolled out of bed around 7, ate leftover pho for breakfast, and left the house around 8:30 to get to packet pick-up.
Nothing like a holiday race to get you in the Christmas spirit!
There was also a “Miss Vietnam DC” contestant near the staging area in full running gear, complete with makeup and sash. I’m really curious as to whether she ran and what she looked like at the end of the race ;)
The race was an out and back on the C&O Canal running path. While the race was small (~400 runners?), the path was pretty narrow and it took me a while to settle into my pace. The path is unpaved, so I had to pay attention to where my feet were going to avoid stumbling on a rock or stepping in a puddle. I honestly didn’t mind the distractions – it made the miles go by faster! Pace-wise, I decided to shoot for a conservative 9:00 pace for the first mile, and then hopefully run each mile 5-10 seconds faster. Worked out just fine for the first 4 miles: 8:57, 8:49, 8:46, 8:45.
But around mile 5 after the turn-around point, I could feel myself start to flag. I refueled with a gel but my legs were getting tired and continuing to slow down. At that point, I told myself to just to hang on to sub-9 for each mile and find rabbits (slightly faster runners) to chase. My worst mile was mile 7 where I stopped to walk several times, but I managed to talk myself into running the last half mile and sprinting across the finish. Miles 5- 7.5 paces: 8:58, 8:54, 9:31, 8:54 (last half mile)
Final time: 1:06:14 (8:50 pace)
Long-sleeve tech shirts given out at the end!
I was definitely pleased that I finished and managed my B goal. The only way to chase away a bad race (my DNF in mind) is to run another one and run it well. I think I can significantly drop my 10K/12K time in the spring after a few months of regular training, but this was a great effort for my first race back. I also realized that I definitely need to build in longer pace/ tempo runs to practice maintaining that faster pace.
My favorite part about this race was the eggnog/ cider at the finish line. I snagged two cups of cider before attempting the walk to the car.
Overall, a great race. Logistics wise, parking was easy to find (lots of parking garages near Water Street in DC) but a little far away, and though I didn’t need one, there were only 3 port-o-potties (that I saw) for 400+ people. Staging area was small, bag drop was unguarded (my stuff was fine), but I really like small low-key races so I’d probably do it again.