Arlington Police, Fire & Sheriff 9/11 Memoriak 5K

Hey, remember me? I used to blog and run sometimes?

I haven’t been very good about either lately, I probably don’t blog much because I’ve been feeling guilty about my running laziness. I’ve only been running once or twice a week lately. It makes total sense because I have a ten miler coming up in a month and we all know I prefer the “run less” philosophy of training.

But fall running season is finally here and I’m pretty happy about that. It still doesn’t feel quite like fall outside yet but we’re getting there and yesterday was my first run of the season. And it was a pretty glorious day for it.

Joe and I ran the Arlington Police, Fire & Sheriff 9/11 Memoriak 5K which starts at 6 p.m. and loops around the Pentagon. I was supposed to do this race a couple of years ago but my grandmother was very sick so I was up in Boston with her instead. Joe ran it and said he thought I’d like the race so I signed up for it again this year. Joe was drilling with the Marine reserves yesterday so I took Metro down to Pentagon City to meet him for the race. I ran to the Metro to give me a little warm up … and you know, to make it on time to the train. I got there one minute before the train arrived.

The race was a lot larger than I had anticipated. There were cops, firefighters, FBI agents and military folks from all over. It created a great spirit for the race. There was a little ceremony before the start that concluded with a flyover by a sheriff’s department helicopter.

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Starting line

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Firefighters hanging the flag near the starting line.

We took off from Army Navy Drive and headed to the west side of the Pentagon, which meant we were running right into the sun for a while. I have yet to find a good pair of sunglasses for running so that was not my favorite part. The paths were somewhat narrow for a while so it made it hard to move around people and a lot of folks were tripping trying to get around people or going on and off the path. I nearly ran some guy over when I pulled off to tie my shoe (I know, AGAIN.) The path finally opened up when we got onto the highway. I am not a huge fan of running on highways but at least some of the motorists on the other side of the highway would honk their horns in encouragement every now and then.

Throughout the race, I felt a little discouraged. I am certainly out of running shape and I felt like a lot of people were passing me. When I have been running, I’ve been running slow because I know that I’m going to need to keep a slower pace for my ten miler. I’m also not a very good runner at the end of the day. I do much better with morning runs. And I ate some cheesy pasta for lunch yesterday which I think slowed me down. I know carbs are supposed to be good for energy but a) I rarely eat pasta so it always feels heavy to me and b) I don’t think the kind of carbs you eat are supposed to eat should be drenched in melted brie. (But if you’re ever in Trader Joe’s and see the frozen pasta shells with asparagus and brie, I highly recommend you pick it up. Very tasty for a frozen meal.)

What I do love about 5Ks is that they’re over in the blink of an eye. Even when you’re not doing your best they go by quickly. As got closer to the finish line, Joe reminded me to pump my arms and let them carry me through to the end. I saw the official time clock approaching 30 minutes so I set the goal to cross the finish line before 30. I think I probably crossed it right at 30. My Garmin had my official time at 29:06 (for those not familiar with running, the time on the official clock is not the same as your actual running time. You usually cross the start line after the clock has begun ticking.) Garmin also told me the course was a tad long at 3.16. So I guess my real 5K time was just under 29 minutes but whatever. Either way I was kind of disappointed. Two months ago I ran a 5K distance in under 26 minutes. Shows how easily you can get out of shape.

Lap times:

Mile 1: 9:28

Mile 2: 9:10

Mile 3: 9:16

Last .16: 1:10

But let me tell you about the best parts of this race. You get a medal at the end and the food is AWESOME. There was free beer (and as much as you could drink really), pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers and other snacks. So Joe and I took full advantage and packed back on the calories and then some.

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Free food!

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One last shot of the flag before the sun goes down.

On Thursday I’ve signed up for a free 5K with Nike and City Sports at Farragut North. They’re going to have some of Nike’s shoes and there will be raffles so why not? Next Saturday I’ll meet Vanessa for the Dulles Day 5K. The race is on the airport’s runway so that should be kind of interesting. It starts at 7:30 so it shouldn’t be too hot but that’s going to be a very early wake up call!

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