A Little Bit of Everything

It’s been super busy the last week or so but in a really good way.  Here’s a little of what I’ve been up to lately.

Last Tuesday, my mom and I went to a Top Chef lecture put on by the Smithsonian Associates and held at the Museum of Natural History. It was a fun panel discussion with Mike Isabella, Spike Mendelsohn and Art Smith. They talked a little about a lot of things, including the burgeoning D.C. food scene. They had a great chemistry together and it was hilarious to watch Mike tease Spike about how he kicked his butt in Top Chef All Stars. After the discussion, we got to sample small bites from their restaurants. They were all delicious but I think my favorite was the macaron cookie from Spike’s new restaurant.

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Art Smith, Spike Mendelsohn and Mike Isabella. Forgot the name of the moderator on the right.

The next night we met up with Laura and BJ for the Night of the Living Zoo, which was held at, you guessed it, the zoo. We all wore our minion costumes from the Ridiculous Obstacle Race. There was a band, a “freak show” performance, open exhibits, a fortune teller, photo booth and food trucks. Beers were a bit on the pricey side but we had an awesome time overall. The highlight might have been riding the carousel. At least for Laura and I.

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Photo booth fun

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Sideshow performers

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The band

On Friday Joe and I went to the Marine Corps Ball for his unit at the Mayflower Hotel. We got there super early and it felt like forever before things got started. When we finally got into the main ceremony, it was too confusing to try to figure out where we were supposed to sit so we sort of just took over a table. We watched a video message from the commandant and then heard from the guest of honor. I think we finally got dinner at around 10. It was a long night but we had a good time and I met some great people. Somehow I managed to go the whole night without taking any pictures.

Saturday Joe had to drill with his unit so I dropped him off and went to pick up my sweatshirt and bib for the Race for the Parks 10K. I had to go to Falls Church to pick up the packet from a Potomac River Running store, which was kind of annoying, but I got in and out pretty quickly. That was about the highlight of my Saturday.

Sunday morning was the race and since it began in East Potomac Park near the Lincoln Memorial, we just decided to run to the start (two miles). It was a gorgeous morning with temperatures in the mid-50s, ideal running weather.  It wasn’t a big race but it wasn’t that small either. Joe was just spectating, so while I raced, he did some sprints on the nearby field.

About the race: I felt great most of the time. Since I was already warmed up from the jog to the start, I was able to start off a little faster than I normally do. I felt strong through mile four of the race. Since the course was an out and back, the paths got a little narrow at times. The one good thing about that is that it sort of forces you to pick up speed and pass people. I would find someone to pass, make my move and repeat. I was keeping a pretty good pace and I knew by the halfway point that I was on pace  to PR and get sub-60 minutes. I’ve only run two other 10Ks: last year’s Turkey Chase in Bethesda (a disaster that resulted in a final time of about an hour and five minutes) and the Biggest Loser 10K earlier this year (which was poorly organized, sweltering and at least a good half a mile short of 6.2).

Around 4.5 miles, I was starting to feel it. There was a part of me that said “Okay, I’m really at 6.5 miles at this point. I can slow down now.” But I really wanted to get a good race time. And I had less than two miles to go. I had to do a lot self-motivating in those last two miles. I told myself I could run two miles no problem. That it meant less than 20 minutes of running. I told myself I could slow down once I got to mile five…and then I actually ran faster. I got a nasty side stitch but I was so determined to keep going. My legs somehow kept moving under me so I knew physically I could do it. I just needed to stay strong mentally, which is something I’m not always good at. But that day I was.

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Staying positive as I approach the finish line. (Official race photo)

When I finally could see the finish line, I was still about .3 miles out. One thing I hate about seeing the finish line so early is that sometimes it seems like the line keeps moving further away. I felt like I was never going to get there. I started to pump my arms like Joe always tells me to do and just kept pushing. When I was close to the finish line, I heard Joe yell for me and I turned to smile at him as he took my picture. I saw the clock approaching 58 minutes. I wanted to beat 58 so I picked it up…and then the guy in front of me STARTED WALKING RIGHT BEFORE THE FINISH LINE! It was like he didn’t see it there. He needed to take two more running steps and he would have been done but he just stopped right in front of me. You can even see me go around him in one of the official pictures.

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I actually still look happy, probably since I’m steps from the finish. And I was happy to see Joe. And I’m actually kinda striding it out!

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WHY IS THIS GUY WALKING?!?!?!? Do you SEE how close the finish mat is?

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DONE!

Official chip time: 57:17. Average pace: 9:11. I was elated with my results, especially because I pushed myself and still managed to increase my pace throughout the race despite the fact that I had already run two miles to the start. I placed 379th out of 1,068 women. (For some reason the official results separated men from women and didn’t provide overall standings.) I finished 95th in the 25 to 29 age group (out of 267). It was a great way to finish my last race in that age group. (And trust me, the competition really only gets stiffer in the 30-34 bracket.)

Splits:

Mile 1: 9:30

Mile 2: 9:22

Mile 3: 9:18

Mile 4: 9:07

Mile 5: 9:07

Mile 6: 8:56

Last .24: 1:54 (or an 8:05 pace)

After grabbing some free food, we walked the two miles home. Yay for 10 miles on my feet for the day.

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I think this was one of my happiest races. I was so happy with my time and with being able to motivate myself.

I was so excited by my 10K performance that I signed up for another 10K in a couple of weeks: the Annapolis Running Classic. It’s going to be an early wake up call to get to Annapolis for the 7 a.m. start. But I’m an addict so what can I say? I hope it’s a beautiful Annapolis morning.

And I am SOOOO excited to say that I entered the lottery today for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in April. I’ve been dying to do this race since I spectated earlier this year. And what I’m even more excited about is the chance to run it with Laura and Vanessa. I’m super excited to get to the training! Fingers crossed our names are chosen. We’re ready to run D.C.

 

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