Monday, March 12, 2012
On Sunday March 11 we ran the St. Patrick's Day 8k in Washington DC. The 8k race (just under 5 miles) started and ended at Freedom Plaza at Pennsylvania Avenue and 13th Street with a scenic route along Pennsylvania Avenue, up Louisiana Avenue to Union Station, along 3rd Street in front of the US Capitol, along Independence Avenue in front of the museums and then back up Pennsylvania Avenue to the finish.
The pre-race announcer said there were 7,000 runners, all wearing green and pretending to be Irish, even if they really weren't. With that many runners, a wave start is required where the runners are expected to line up in groups based on their expected pace and a computer chip you attach to your shoe records your start and end time when you step across an electronic receiver mat at the start/finish line.
Here is our view "riding the wave" to the start line, which is under the balloon arch, and that's the Capitol Building way in the back:
The excitement of the race and the adrenaline rush usually makes a runner start at a faster pace than normal so you really have to try to control your pace and not take off and pass as many runners who are "just going too slow", otherwise you may burn out and end up really dragging at the end of the race. For a competitive runner, this is easier said than done. Plus we were spurred on by the Irish bagpiper bellowing in front of the FBI building (not a great pic):
After a couple miles, we settled into a good pace that was faster than we normally run, but we felt good, good enough for a thumbs-up while running in front of the Capitol:
The good feeling and energy continued through the next couple miles and then began to fade slightly when we turned back onto Pennsylvania Avenue for the home stretch last mile. But we fought through it and kept up our fast pace, realizing that we could finish in under 50 minutes. We held hands and crossed the finish line with an official time of 49:22 and an average pace of 9:56 per mile (lately our pace has been around 10:30/mile).
Afterwards we grabbed some water and free snacks (fruit, bagles, cookies) and then watched some little Irish dancers who were putting on a performance nearby. Still famished from our sprint performance, we headed around the corner for a delicious brunch at Chef Geoff's where we enjoyed some celebration Bloody Mary's and put the 17 day diet on hold for tasty Eggs Chesapeake (Amy) and Biscuits and Gravy (Ryan).
Amy's Eggs Chesapeake (poached eggs on mini crab cakes with potato-ham hash):
The Washington DC St. Patricks Day Parade was our next stop which featured the DC Fire Department Emerald Society and Pipe and Drum Band. Our family includes current and retired DCFD members so we got to hang out with them at the parade and enjoy a few more adult beverages while watching the parade and enjoying the sunshine.
We had such a great time running together and enjoying a kids-free day (thanks to awesome Grandparents), we decided it would be our annual tradition. And we will welcome any friends and family who want to join us!