Hey friends! So I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth – work and school have been busy the last two weeks, but I wanted to drop in today for a quick race re-cap of the Alum Run 10K I ran on Sunday. The Alum Run is a new race series where you get premiums in your school’s colors and you can register to run with your school’s team. There’s at least two more locations this year – Atlanta and Charlotte.
Anyway, as excited as I was about this race, this was the race that almost didn’t happen for me. After a week of gorgeous weather in DC, it was about 20 degrees on Sun morning, even at 9 AM (race start). I usually pick up my packet on the day of the race, but I decided to do it on Saturday at Potomac River Running Store in Tyson’s so that I didn’t have to wait around an extra hour the morning of the race.
So, that takes me to Sunday. I woke up around 7:30 AM, checked the weather, and STRONGLY considered going back to bed. Like so many others, I’m sick of the cold weather already and a 10K in below-freezing temperatures just didn’t sound like fun.
But I decided that at least it wasn’t raining, so I finally got dressed and decided to show up – that’s 90% of the battle, right? I wore my warmest running clothes (thick tights, winter running socks, Nike hyperwarm top and warmest running jacket), and layered insulated pants and an insulated windbreaker on top to stay warm before the race. And I decided to splurge on an Uber instead of metro-ing to the start at Freedom Plaza to avoid the extra time in the cold. I’ve become a serious baby when it comes to cold weather running =\
All my layers did the trick when I got there, and I managed to keep my muscles warm and flexible prior to the race start, and I waited till about 10 minutes to start to strip off my outer layers and drop them off at the bag drop.
My “A” goal going into this race was to PR. My prior 10K PR was 53:56, set in August 2013, and I thought with the months of solid half-marathon training under my belt, a PR wasn’t out of the question. I knew the course (in DC, around Freedom Plaza) would be pancake-flat, and I usually run a little faster in colder weather so I had all those things going for me. With that in mind, I set an aggressive pace at the start. Mile 1 – 8:36.
What I hadn’t accounted for was the wind. At 10 mph, it wasn’t extreme, but I’m not accustomed to running into the wind and it quickly got tiring! I had also run 8 miles two days before (a planned 6 miler got stretched out because I was feeling good), and I could tell my legs were not well-rested. Miles 2,3: 8:58, 9:38.
The 10K course was twice around the 5K loop, and I was strongly tempted to stop at the 5K mark and just go home. I actually stopped running and nearly crossed the finish line…but something inside me decided to just finish the race and do the best I could. I reminded myself that racing was SUPPOSED to be hard – otherwise I wasn’t pushing myself. My pace dropped in the last couple of miles. Miles 4-6: 9:13, 9:20, 9:07.
My final time was 58:00, about 4 minutes slower than my PR, but I knew that I had run the best I could given the conditions, and I was proud that I didn’t quit! Earned this medal:
Overall, the race was well-organized with some nice perks: a t-shirt in your school colors, a medal that doubles as a bottle opener, and a surprise: a free Soul Cycle pass at the Bethesda studio! Given a class runs about $30, this pretty much made up for the registration cost of the race. We loved our first visit to Soul Cycle, so I was pretty stoked about this perk ;) I think there was also supposed to be a post-race celebration with Zumba, yoga, free spa offerings and an a cappella concert, but I don’t know that anyone stuck around that long, given the cold ;)
I’m excited to see this race series expand, and hope that they do more with the school competition concept in upcoming years. It would be fun to see alumni across the nation taking part in the race and seeing school rankings in various races!