A sure sign that spring is here is when weekends start filling up with races. In my case, it just so happened that I had back-to-back races in one weekend. I have had weekends where each weekend I’m racing but never before I had done one event on Saturday immediately followed by an event on Sunday. Though this was not my original intention, I’ll start off by saying that it resulted in two PRs so I’m not complaining! How did this happen and what were the races you wonder?
Slight Scheduling Snafu
This winter I decided to train for the B&A Marathon in Annapolis. It was the first marathon I had done two years ago and I knew it was a flat course. When I set out to begin marathon training this winter it was mostly to make sure I could handle the work-life-training balance required for 26.2 miles so I didn’t feel particular about the race and something local and inexpensive was going to be ideal. My registration strategy was to wait until the day before the price increase and then register which would have given me enough time to get in several long runs confirming my commitment to the distance.
In the meantime, the Eastern Shore marketing firm I work for was starting to organize the list of annual 5ks that a group of fellow runners participate in. I happily joined in for the first 5k of the season, the St. Patrick’s 5k in Denton, MD.
Shortly after, I learned the B&A marathon had filled up…and filled up early! I was shocked and scrambled to find a local marathon in the March, the month in which I was determined to run a marathon. Luckily, I found the Lower Potomac River Marathon less than two hours from home which amazingly still had space in its 200 max field and I promptly signed up. The LPRM event happened to be the same weekend as the 5k and I immediately set my attitude to one of ‘game on!’
St. Patrick’s Denton 5k
There are plenty of training plans that have runners doing some form of activity the day before the marathon and even the plan I was pseudo following had 3 miles scheduled on the Saturday before race day. However, in parentheses it does say (easy pace). I doubt there is a training plan anywhere that says to race any distance on the day before a marathon. But alas, that is what I set out to do.
The morning of the race was gorgeous and a bit windy. I set out for the scenic one hour drive to the Eastern Shore to meet my fellow colleagues and runners all the while thinking through the rest of my day, the meals I’d eat and my plan to get down to the opposite shore in time for packet pick-up and a good night’s sleep. By the time I got to Denton I had about 40 minutes in which I picked up one of the nicest sets of schwag I’ve ever seen for a 5k, did about a mile warm-up jog and found my co-workers. In my multi-tasking haze I had left my house without a watch and while I felt totally naked at the start line it was kind of fun to know I was just going to run hard without any clue as to pace or heart rate.
I toed the start line next to my boss and with about 200 other runners–the 5k field was just the size of what my marathon field would look like the next day. The race director said ‘go!’ and off we went. I had it in my head that I wanted to beat my time from the previous year and so I just ran hard. The Denton 5k is a cute (if you can call a race course cute) out and back through a neighborhood and little park area and it was fun to hit the halfway mark and cheer on my co-workers as we passed each other. At the first mile mark my time was called off at 7:07 and I hoped I could keep that pace. By the time I was hitting the last mile I knew I was still at all out effort and I was being paced by a tall male runner. Rounding the corner to the finish I pulled ahead for just a moment and I think the “don’t get beat by a girl” motivation set in and the guy found his kick to beat me by a second. My 22:38 finish time gave me a 5k PR and first in my age group so I was a happy runner.
I grabbed my camera to capture my co-workers coming across the line and had a blast chatting it up with them after the race. I love that I work for a company that is not only supportive of races but that participates in races; we have a whole series of 5ks on the agenda for the year!
We wished each other a great weekend and I headed back across the Bay Bridge where I packed up my marathon overnight bag, enjoyed the afternoon at home and had what I believe might be one of the best pre-race meals. My husband made delicious chicken noodle soup. I don’t ordinarily love chicken noodle soup and you might question soup as a pre-race meal but with loads of protein and noodles in addition to the potatoes and other veggies as part of the mix plus a whole-wheat ciabatta stick for dipping it was a perfect meal. (I had decided to get my race packet the morning of so that I could enjoy dinner at home.)
And then I hopped back in my car to make the two hour drive to southern MD so that I could promptly go to sleep.
To be continued…The Lower Potomac River Marathon