Considering that I haven’t run since March 22nd, I’m awfully thrilled with this result! But OH GOOD GOD WAS IT WINDY OUT!
I’m not kidding here, we’re talking the weatherman warning people about killer gusts of wind. With pointy teeth. Well, maybe not with pointy teeth but you get the idea. What I’d underestimated this morning was the effect of the wind blowing off the water, so while a jacket and t-shirt would have been fine if I’d been running on the W&OD Trail, waiting for the race to start in West Potomac Park was nothing short of nightmarish. *shiver* At least I’d had the good sense to put on running tights instead of shorts, unlike poor Chris, who made me colder just looking at him. It was ultimately cold enough in the waiting zone that I took my number off my shirt and pinned it to my leg because I wasn’t sure the jacket was ever coming unzipped. And of course, with Daylight Savings Time, that’s one hour less sleep. Ugh. I felt like a popsicle zombie.
Once we got moving, though, things were much better. There were just five of us from my group this year (a combination of sicknesses and personal tragedies kept the others away) and we stuck together for the first two miles before one of the runners dropped behind. By the time we cleared Memorial Bridge and were heading into Rock Creek Park, a combination of protection from the wind, a little bit of sun peeking out, and being moving even meant it was safe to unzip the jacket for a while. When the wind did show up, it seemed to almost push us forward on the course throughout Rock Creek Park. I like that.
Around mile 5 it was just me and Randy, and the two of us picked the pace up a little once we hit the turnaround point at mile 6.5; up until then our times were ranging throughout the mid-11s, but we pushed it up to 10-minute miles for the last few. With about half a mile to go, Randy took off and I remembered the times when I used to be able to do the same sort of thing. I think this is a clear sign that I’m now running more to the extent of my abilities; I just don’t have so much unused energy that I can blast through the last half-mile of a race. Last year’s finishing time for me was 2:13:53, so I was pretty happy to nail a new finishing time of 1:49:02, which comes out to a 10:54min/mile average.
Then came waiting for the rest of our group (cold! so cold!) and standing around for 20 minutes as the wind started picking back up—big time—may have been a mistake. By the time the last of our group showed up and we started walking back to the Metro, my legs were beginning to cramp up (which disconcertingly made my toes curl up, something I’d never have happen before but talking to others apparently is not that uncommon). Finally it was back home to a warm shower and then a soak in the tub… the latter of which I managed to fall asleep in. Whoops. Oh well, that’s one for the books. At least the water hadn’t gotten down to freezing temperatures before I woke up; the last thing I need is to catch pneumonia from falling asleep in the bath!
Oh, and for my records (and other people’s curiousity), my mile splits, in order from mile 1 to 10: 11:52, 11:17, 11:54, 11:14, 11:13, 11:24, 11:10, 9:56, 9:54, 9:04.