Striding Through

Because a life well lived always finds the right pace

Race Report – National Press Club 5k 9/12/09

Short version: 19:35, 34/549 OA, 3rd place in 45-49 AG. Full results here.

Full version:

I’d heard much about this race over the years but until this year had never gotten around to running it. Even this year, I had been looking at a different 5k race this weekend. But when that one fell apart, I seized on the opportunity and jumped into this race. I’m glad I did.

When I got down to 14th and F Streets on Saturday morning it was a crazy scene indeed. Not only were there runners all around, but also lots of “Tea Party” demonstrators — not my type of crowd to be sure — gathering for their protest of everything Obama. Whatever. I was here to race.

After waiting in line and getting my bib just in time, having changed into my singlet and flats while waiting in line, there was no time to warmup other than doing some quick plyometrics in place. The next thing we knew, honorary starter Jim Ryun was calling the “faster runners” forward.  So up we went to the start and we were off, heading down F St. towards 13th. Then it was a quick turn down 13th, down a big hill and left on to Pennsylvania Avenue towards the capital and past the raucous tea tumblers.

My first mile was crazy-fast — 5:25! I was pretty sure that was a short measurement until a friend reminded me that we were going downhill most of that mile. Still…that’s faster than my current mile PR. Surprisingly I continued passing people in Mile 2 even though that turned out to be my slowest mile at 6:54 (due to either being long, see Mile 1, or uphill). The turnaround came just near the Hart Senate Office Building on D St, then it was back the way we came, along Louisiana, a piece of Constitution and back onto Pennsylvania.  Around 10th St. or so I started laboring a bit but focused on keeping my stride long and relaxed. One woman did pass me — she ended up being the 2nd place overall female — but no one else did. As we hit the 3-mile marker turning back onto the (now uphill) 13th St. piece, I could feel the end coming, still felt pretty strong. As I turned back onto F St. for the finish I could see I was already in the 19s, no chance at breaking 19:00 today; admittedly that was a very ambitious goal. But I gave it a little extra juice for the strong finish anyway — 6:33 3rd mile, 0:39 for the final tenth.

While there’s still some ways to go to break 19, I did take 12 seconds off my performance a month ago at the club 5k championships (where I also finished 3rd AG).  In fact I believe this is a road racing masters PR for me at 5k.  Overall I’m very pleased. 🙂 And I still think on the right day, that getting closer to 19:00 or even breaking it is still out there for me

Nice touch after the race…instead of the usual bananas and orange wedges, we got a sit-down breakfast inside the National Press Club where they also did the awards and door prizes, etc. Sometimes you just have to love living in the nation’s capital. I got to meet some very interesting folks and talk lots of running stuff. Good times.
It won’t be long before my next 5k race: this weekend, Saturday in Alexandria, at the New Orleans Rebirth 5k in Alexandria.  

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