St. Patrick's Day 8K - Run8k

View Member's Race Log View other race reports
Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C.
United States
Capital Running Company
42F / 6C
Total Time = 29m 4s
Overall Rank = 50/6009
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 2/299
Pre-race routine:

The goal for this race was to use it as a fitness test ahead of next week's half marathon. I have been worried about a sore achilles, and have dialed back the running for the past week. I wasn't confident about making it through the race intact. And I also didn't want a repeat of the mid-race cramp that spoiled the 10k race that I did 3 weeks ago. In light of all that, I'm pretty happy with how things went.
Event warmup:

Early start - the start of daylight savings didn't help. Metro into downtown DC. The race started at "Freedom Plaza", just a couple of blocks from the White House. Fun to see a bunch of other runners on the first metro trains of the morning. I took the warm-up very steady, first jogging super slow to get the achilles warmed up and loose, then gradually moving closer to something approximating a run. Mostly worried about making it around without further damage.
  • 29m 4s
  • 4.97 miles
  • 05m 51s  min/mile

The organizers did a good job of separating runners by expected pace, and in this case people seemed to take it seriously enough. I started a few rows back, figuring that I might break the top 100, based on last year's times. The route was crowded for the first few seconds, but after that it was plain sailing. The wind was swirling around the big buildings, so I tried to tuck in behind a couple of other runners, but that didn't work for very long. I was running at a reasonable clip, but did not at all feel that I was pushing the pace. Fortunately, the achilles was behaving reasonably.

I was surprised to pass the 1 mile marker in 5:36. This is a recurring theme in my recent races. Note to self: hold back more at the start of next week's half marathon. I tried to just hold steady for the next couple of miles, but worried that I was slowing a bunch. So I was relieved to pass 2 miles in 11:25 (5:49) and 3 miles in 17:15 (5:50). There were extra timing mats at the 5k mark, which I passed in 17:47, itself my best time since the 1980s. My goal for the race was to be inside 30 minutes, with a little time to spare, so I was increasingly confident that I'd reach that target. My commitment in the 4th mile perhaps wasn't as good as it could have been, but I thinking more of the hard last mile along Pennsylvania Ave into the wind. I passed 4 miles in 23:14. I mostly focused on just holding my place for the last mile. Correction: I was really only paying close attention to old-looking guys who might be in my AG. If a young 'un came past, I didn't much care. But then at the last turn-around there was somebody who looked on the older side, so I put in a burst to get away (needn't have worried - the dude was 56 years old, impressive). Entirely satisfied with the final time. It was as good as I could have hoped for, especially given the injury ups-and-downs of the past few weeks and not being able to do any speed work. 2nd in the AG was as good as I could have hoped for, as the first guy (another triathlete) ran a speedy 27:59.
What would you do differently?:

Very little. Though I should perhaps experiment with starting a little more cautiously.
Post race
Warm down:

Jogged a little, trying to keep the calves from getting too stiff. Looking out for Akira and Elise among the throngs of later finishers. To no avail. Though I did meet up with them after they were done, and got to hang out with them for a while.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Very little. I just need to keep the injuries at bay and find a way to maintain consistency in training. There's a bit more speed to be had from this old body yet.

Event comments:

This is a very nice race in the Capital Running Company portfolio of races, and it's little surprise that it gets more popular every year. Nothing about the race is super-fancy, though the downtown Washington course is pretty special. The first and last miles follow the Inaugural Parade route down Pennsylvania Ave. But everything works like a charm. And the various Irish touches are nice: bagpipers along the course, and dancers after the finish. Not to mention the sea of green runners. I would definitely do this one again. Good value for $30.

Last updated: 2012-01-22 12:00 AM
00:29:04 | 04.97 miles | 05m 51s  min/mile
Age Group: 2/299
Overall: 50/6009
Performance: Good
#1 - 5:36; #2 - 5:49; #3 - 5:50; #4 - 5:59; #5 - 5:50. 5k - 17:47
Course: Winding route around the streets between the White House and the US Capitol. Almost entirely flat. Many sharp turns and 4 180-degree turn arounds.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4