On Monday I headed back to Alexandria for the second of the GW birthday weekend races, the mile. It didn't start until 12:30, so I was able to sleep in and enjoy a lazy morning. Saturday's wind was gone but it was drizzling. Not ideal for hanging around pre- and post-race, but pretty ideal conditions for racing.
I had no real idea how to prepare for an all out sprint (funny how a mile now seems so short), but I figured I should get my muscles as warmed up as possible. I've noticed that in all of my recent sessions at the track, my first repeat tends to be the slowest. So I got in 3 miles before the race and tried to throw in a few pick-ups towards the end.
I chatted pre-race with Dash and the eventual women's winner Heather (5:30!). Then we were all lined up and went off with the gun. I attempted to start my watch, but apparently failed to do so. I had my Garmin set to show lap pace so that I could see my projected mile time and have an idea of how I was doing. So when I made my first check and saw all zeros, I decided to start it anyway. I figured it would at least be useful to know my pace and whether or not I "needed" to attempt to pick up the pace.
I spent most of the race with the voice in my head saying "GO, GO, GO, GO." It hurt, but I tried to keep moving my legs as fast as I could. The course was the shape of a L and I actually liked having numerous turns. It broke things up and I don't think it seemed as long as a straight course would have. When I made the last turn, I knew I would have to dig deep and kick it to the end to make my goal. I was pretty sure that I could get a low 7, but I was really hoping to break 7 and have a 6 in front of my time. When I could first see the finish line clock it said 6:30, so I knew I was going to have to really move to cover the remaining ground and cross the finish line under 7. So I just started running as fast as I could, watching the seconds tick away as I got closer. I passed one guy and couldn't see the exact time as I crossed the finish, but was pretty sure I had it. My watch was no help since I failed to start it on time, so I had to wait for the official results. 6:59!
Of course, I had to be in the fastest age group and despite the fact that two of my fellow 30-somethings were in the top 3, I still ended up second and missed out on a Pacers gift certificate. Next year!
Post-race, there was a pretty amazing brunch at the American Legion around the corner. I joined Dash, Liz (who I met for the first time) and speedy Heather for great food with front row (indoor) seats to the parade.
This was the first annual race and I have to give Pacers a thumbs up. A good course, good swag (fleece hats) and great post-race spread, all for $15 ($20 for those who didn't run the 10k). There were only 69 runners, but I have a feeling this race will grow if they keep holding it. Which is probably not good for my aspirations of placing, but I guess I'll just have to get faster.