Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I survived! The St. Patty's 8K Edition

You read that right... I survived! 

On Sunday morning, I ran the St. Patrick's Day 8K through the streets of DC. And not only that, I did better than I expected, and I didn't hate it. YAY! 

Proof in a picture:
Post-race: My sister, her fiance, and I - my running buddies!

I got up before the sun on Sunday, after struggling to sleep all night. I had turned my clocks forward for Daylight Savings, and I was super nervous about the race - between those two things, it was tough to get any shut-eye. I dressed in the outfit I'd planned the night before - black ColdGear pants and a pink long sleeve, plus a green short-sleeve shirt to fit into the St. Patty's Day theme! Added an orange pullover, and I was a rainbow sight to see - hoping for a pot of gold at the end of the race, I guess! (no such luck. sads!) The weather channel said it was going to be in the upper 60s that day, but that morning it was definitely not - only about 30! I had a cup of coffee, a banana, and a granola bar, and waited for my sister and her fiance to get to my house so we could head downtown.

We took the metro and got off at the Federal Triangle stop, which was right by where the race started. We got there by about 8:30 AM, and the race was scheduled to begin at 9. I found the line for the porta-potties while my sister found the bag check to put our backpack away. We had a few minutes to kill after that, so we stretched a little and jumped around, trying to keep warm. My sister's fiance is a faster runner than my sister and I, so we split up and found places to start. Before I knew it, we were off!

My sister and I did a 5K Turkey Trot in November, and we started off way too fast - lesson learned! We went nice and slow this time, and it definitely paid off. We stuck to a nice, gentle pace, passing some people here and there, but mostly sticking with the same group of people. The path was wide and smooth, the sun was out, and everyone was in a great mood! Nat and I both commented about how good we felt - no pain, no breathlessness, nothing! And we'd both had bad runs earlier in the week - we were surprised how great we felt on Sunday!

I pointed out familiar landmarks to my sister as we ran - C's office, my office, the places we go for lunch sometimes, and other cool buildings. It was so much fun to be running in the same place where I work every day - the route wasn't familiar, but I knew where I was the whole time. Great way to see the city in a different light!

Neither Nat or I have Garmins or anything like that, but plenty of people around us did, and no one minded when we asked them how long it had been or how many miles. Everyone running was so friendly! There was a water station at mile 2.5, and then again at 3.5 as we looped back around. Around mile 4, we were passing C's office again, and I spotted him and my mom waiting for us! We called their names and waved, and they cheered us on. My mom snapped a couple pictures on her phone! 

Here we are:
Still running! Nat in dark green and me in lime.
And there we go!
Before we knew it, we were getting to the last turn. Nat decided it was time to up it, and we pushed ourselves to go just a little faster and harder in the last mile. She sped up ahead of me, but I kept pushing myself even after she was gone. I could see the balloon arch ahead, and I knew I could make it. I could hear the people cheering and clapping, and even if it wasn't specifically for me, it felt like it was. The feeling of crossing the finish line was amazing! I slowed down and walked off the course, and met Nat and Roger under the sign we'd designated before the race. High fives and hugs went around - we did it! Nat and I went to get snacks and water, and Roger got the backpack and our phone so he could call C and my mom. When we all got together again, there were lots of hugs and pictures - we had to document our accomplishments!

The Capitol building is in the waaaay back!

My cheerleader & I :)

Sweaty <3
My running partner! She's so encouraging the whole time we run - love her!
Feeling so good post-race
Thumbs up. We did it!
This is the picture C took as he was walking up... classy. Stretching it out!

We all decided to head to Shirlington to my favorite brunch spot - Busboys & Poets! I couldn't think of anything better. Bloody Marys, fresh fruit, and a HUGE Reuben sandwich were just the ticket. Yum!

By the time we got home that afternoon, I was completely wiped - a shower and a nap were just what the doctor ordered.  The endorphins were definitely flowing, though. I felt so good the rest of the day! I really understand the meaning of a runner's high now - what a feeling! I ran five miles. Five. Miles. And never slowed down to walk a single step. This is a huge, huge accomplishment for me, and I am so proud of myself. I can't wait to do another race! I'm not sure how much longer I could go, but I can definitely see another 8K, and maybe even a 10K, in my future.  I think I might be a real runner after all!


St. Patrick's Day 8K
Official Time: 49:21
Avg Pace: 9:56 --> exactly what I was shooting for! :)

1 comment :

Caitlin said...

Call me a total sap, but I teared up a little bit when I read that you ran 5 miles without stopping! SUCH a great accomplishment!!!!--I got back into running after graduation and loved hitting those milestones. I think it's hard for those who don't run to understand how exciting it is. Such a personal accomplishment! I never thought I'd like running again after high school, but I've rekindled the love! Let me know if you ever want to go running some time--we should totally do a race together soon! Love your blog posts! :)