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The Long and Short of It - The Parks 10K

Sunday was definitely a good day.

I got an extra hour of sleep, so my 5 am 5:20 am wake-up wasn't terrible. It was rainy and a little windy and I got to run a race! A race I've been looking forward to for some time, and my mom joined me.

My mom has actually never been to one of my races for the full thing. She's come at the tail end of races to watch me finish, but it's just never worked out that she could be there for the whole thing.

So when plans changed at my house, and the husband wanted a last hurrah at a golf tournament on the same day as my race, she stepped in to by my cheerleader and driver. I don't know if I was more excited that she was joining me or the fact that it was finally here.

Oh, and I need to apologize to everyone. It's my fault it rained. It's a race, and I'm participating. It's bound to rain. The rain started just after the start, but did end just before I finished. Yay! I'm so glad that all of the rain fell for the 1 hour I was going to be running.

Mother Nature we need to have a talk. Seriously.

Ok, I feel like I'm getting ahead of myself, and being a little chaotic in this review. I apologize. I was going to say I was going to restart this review, but I'm actually not as chaotic as I think I'm being. Apparently the filters are working inside my head, so that I get this review out in the timeline it actually occurred in.

First off the quick review of pros and cons.
Pros - It's a small race, free photos, gorgeous views, November running
Cons - November running

So now back to the play by play.

Mom and I decided that we'd drive into DC for the race. This was a "in the car on our way to 66" decision. Yay for last minute! It was lovely though. We got to chat the whole way in and we found a nice parking spot along Constitution Ave., near the WWII Memorial, to park in. It wasn't too far from the start, so we just hoofed it over. We commented on the memorials we passed, admired the river, mentioned the rain, and discussed if I should wear my vest during the run. A lovely morning stroll.

We get to the start line, and per usual, I had to go to the bathroom. Runners are awesome at porta-potties. The line moved quickly and efficiently.

Mom and I then wandered across the street to the waterfront to snap our early morning picture. I seriously love the view, and I'm completely envious of everyone who gets to run with that view on a regular basis. Really, I'm envious of just everyone able to run DC. It's very pretty, if you're able to stop and notice the multitudes of statues and small memorials that dot the city.

We chatted some more, and wandered around. I started snapping pictures of some of the views. About 10 minutes until the gun, I shrugged off my vest, handed it to Mom and we went to the starting line. I found my corral, and started warming up.

There was little fan fare, but that was ok. It was cold, a bit windy, and the rain was starting to come down a little more. I don't know why the lack of party didn't bother me. I know it's bothered me at other races (Diva, anyone?), but for some reason it seemed fitting today. There was music, but it wasn't blaring. The mood was subdued and relaxed. Everyone was there, because they wanted to be. It was the way a rainy Sunday morning should be. I don't think I could've felt more at peace any where than if I'd been at home, with my family, enjoying one of our usual boisterous breakfasts.

Minutes before the gun went off. 
The gun went off, and there was the usual shuffle to the starting line, but it opened up as we crossed under the archway.

The first mile was just as you'd expect. I found my pace, and then realized I was going to fast. We went over the inlet bridge and the Washington Monument stood over us. It is really amazing at how close the marble is in color to the cloud cover. Ooh a helicopter. Its flying super low. Its navy blue and gold. I wonder why they're flying so low. I picked out someone I could pace with, my unicorn. Some random woman, who'd I'd complimented as we'd been standing in the chute together. She seemed like she was going a pace I could follow. She'd be my unicorn. I felt good. Light on my feet even. My garmin hiccuped under the first of 3 overpasses, but only momentarily. All was right, until I realized that I'd finished that mile in 10:22. Well that's a bit fast. Oh well. It feels good.

Mile number 2 was much the same as mile 1. I still followed my unicorn, and even caught up to her. We paced along each other for a bit, until she started to pull away. Bye unicorn. I can still see your ponytail swishing, but I'm going to run this race at my pace. I stayed true to my pace, and marveled at how big the raindrops that were falling now were. Small boulders. The wind also picked up a bit. I hope that I didn't make a mistake by leaving my vest with Mom. She'd tell me she was right, and I'd have to admit she might've been. Oh well. Nothing to be done about it now. The colors are so pretty, and with the cloud cover, the planes flying into National were like little roaring cheerleaders. Half way through this mile, I found my warmth. My eyes felt like I had smouldering embers behind them. Why are my eyes so hot? Oh well, the rest of me is warm, and I'm feeling pretty badass because this rain is cold, and the wind isn't helping. Oh, there are the fast people. How are they already on their way back? Holy crap! Go you guys! 10:48 pace. That's a bit better.

Just a bit more and I'll be halfway done was the thought for mile 3. It was truly lovely out there, with the wind, rain, and my unicorn. I'd caught up to her. We paced along side for a bit, and then I pulled away. I didn't mean to, but I was just going my pace. I'd decided not to bring water with me today. I'd hit up the water station. The water station didn't have the usual crush. The water was nice. I didn't even stop running. I managed to swallow the entire cup of water without spilling it all over myself, and I even made the basket when I tossed the cup into the trash barrel. Yay! I rock. Today is amazing. 11:01 pace. Perfect!

My pineapple costume.
The hat and I didn't get along.
Around the curve, thank the volunteer, and I'm coming back down the home stretch. Mile 4 had me imagining my gazelle-like sister running next to me. She'd really like this race. She's running a 5k at some point. She told me, but I forget. I wonder how long I've been running. I start adding up my splits. They're not half bad. Hey! There's my unicorn! She's almost halfway! Go get'em unicorn! She smiles and nods. No, I didn't call her unicorn, that was in my head. The go get'em was said. I'm not that creepy or crazy. Truth be told all runners are crazy though. Just a little. My gazelle of a sister would agree. Maybe I should try to run more on the balls of my feet like the gazelle. She looks stupid graceful running. She got all the grace in the family. Mom had to put me in gymnastics to learn a smidge of grace. I'm going to practice gracefully running like a gazelle. This is actually kind of fun, and I seem to be better able to keep my shoulders down and my back relaxed. My calves are working, but not in a bad way. This isn't half bad. Maybe the gazelle knows something. I could probably run with that stupid pineapple hat from last night. Stupid pineapple hat. Ugh. That's another story. Back to maths. What is the estimated length of time for my finish? 1:07? That'd be nice. Isn't my PR somewhere in the 1:07 range?  What's that building over there in the middle of the river? It's pretty. 11:02 pace. Yay, consistency!

Mile 5 was full of admiration for autumn's splendor and praying I didn't slip on wet leaves. I cheered on other runners, and continued to do math in my head. I kept up my gazelle-like form, and plodded along. There weren't many other runners that I could tag as my new unicorn. I appeared to be in the thick of a Hal Higdon running group. Not that there's anything wrong with that. The symphony of watches beeping and then people systematically walking and running was nice. It was like our own little runners orchestra. I did whole-heartedly appreciate the runners that moved off to the right side when they started walking. I appreciate those people a whole lot! Thank you. Also thank you for signalling that you're about to stop. I'm getting a little tired. I'm breathing shallow too. Deep breath. Use your whole diaphragm. Breathe in. Breathe out. Fill your belly with breath. Ooh look, a plane. Thank you woman who just complimented my pants! Oh yea, breathe. 11:10 pace. Not too shabby. Pick it up this last bit. You're almost done.

I wonder if my watch will hiccup under these overpasses again? Nope, we're good. Where is the bridge in relation to the overpasses? Is that it up there? I think it is. Hey look, a photographer! POSE! Yay! I probably look stupid, but meh. I don't care. There's the monument again. It's pretty with the sun trying to peek through. More river. Pretty river. Do not speed up. You are not allowed to speed up until your watch beeps that mile 6 is done. Stop. You are not a gazelle. You do not sprint. You are a slow gazelle. You do not have the stamina for a mile long sprint. How long have I been running again? More math. Math will distract me, for half a second. Dangit. My splits are not so great in difference that it's hard for me to add them. Stupid head. Well, what's your estimated finish time? Well, its slower now. Can I still hit 1:07? I think so. You can run at a slightly uncomfortable pace, gazelle. Mile 6 pace 11:06. Well that's good.

Apparently I forgot to pose, even though I thought it. 
Now it's time to sprint. Use your legs. Stretch them out. This feels nice. I'm a robot. I feel a bit robotic. My legs are not connected to my body. Man, my stride is enormous when I let them go. No wonder I'm not a sprinter. These things are stupid long, and it takes a lot more muscle to move them like this. This is why I told you to hold back. You're not a sprinter, you do not have the stamina to move these freaking things like this for very long, but look there's the finish. Just one archway. No, psych-outs. One archway and you're done. Hey photographer! HI!! I probably look equally stupid in that one. Oh well. Keep going. Go faster. You're almost done! 9:38 pace for my .22 miles to finish up the race.

Not my best post, but probably not the worst one either. 
I'm going to throw up. Keep moving. Nope, I'm gonna yak. Hey, a medal. Thank you volunteer. Where's mom? I'm gonna puke. Oh god. Keep moving. Mom! Hi! I need food.

Mom's are good at finding their kids food. I love Mom. She brought me to the food tent. You have to love runner's brain. Thankfully it was momentary, and the chewing of the super chewy bagel calmed my stomach. The banana helped the low blood sugar while walking back to the car. Funny, how good you get at diagnosing yourself and fixing yourself as a runner.

On the way back to the car we meandered through some of the memorials, and I snapped pictures along the way. Here are the sights.

Well there's my recap. The Parks 10K will remain a favorite race, and I look forward to running it again next year. This little race, should definitely be added to your race schedule.


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