March 10, 2013

Race Report: 2013 St Patricks Day 8k

It was a wonderfully joyous (stressful) off season of becoming a father, dealing with a knee injury (seriously running gods? already? in January?), and finding out what sleep and training schedules looked like with an infant. So after some time away from racing, this morning's Pacers event was the first of my 2013 season. I figured it wasn't going to be a PR race for me, so I decided to dress up and theme myself out for the first time...may as well have fun with it.

So I rocked some green 'BEER' knee-high socks, bought a clearance rack green Asics shirt, and put a couple big cans of Guinness in my iFitness hydration belt. The beer was on my back, so I was business up front and party in the rear - mullet runner!

As with all Pacers events, it was logistically flawless and the check-in tent was well staffed with fellow Pacers Ambassadors. After quickly grabbing the swag and bib, I took advantage of another Pacers perk, the pre-race drink tent which offered hot chocolate, coffee, and water. It was a bit chilly, I'd considered arm sleeves, but ultimately the temperature was supposed to rise quickly through the morning so I just resorted to sipping some coffee.

My only complaint, the swag shirt was white and when I tried it on was slightly see through. The A4 brand shirt from the Jingle All the Way 8k is one of my favorite to bum around the house on weekends, but it was a dark color; maybe white just isn't their (or my) best look.

Lots of fun costumes at the race, as everyone was appropriately Irish for the day. "Irish I ran faster" and other slogans had me smirking through most of the warm-up. And a few folks were complimenting my carrying of dual Guinness race fuel.

The Course

And I'm off!  Guinness hiding on my back.
The course carves through the streets in downtown DC, and even though there are a few U-turns around traffic cones to slow you down, it's overall a very flat and fast course. Starting at Freedom Plaza, runners launch toward the Capitol Dome, providing a great morning view. It crosses the National Mall, takes you past many museums, and gives you several views of the Capitol. There's also a funny dog-leg off the main straightaway just before the end - no matter how many times I reminded myself the finish wasn't as close as it still messed with my finishing sprint to cut off and back for a half-block turnaround.

The course was familiar from December's Jingle All the Way 8k, so I felt comfortable letting go and pushing the pace a bit.

The Results

Ended up with the PR I wasn't expecting, came in at 31:06 (6:15/mile). Was a great morning for a run and was a great way to start the season. After a couple tries, I think I'm getting used the unconventional 8k distance, and I look forward to racing on this course in the future.

Entering picture at left, passing the Capitol.

Both in-race photos courtesy of amazing work by Swim Bike Run Photography.