After my Yasso workout last Thursday at the UNC track, I started feeling pretty good about my current fitness level. So I was excited to get back to DC for the weekend and run the Custis Capitol Hospice 12 km road race on Saturday. I met Bryon's at his house on Saturday morning, where he and I started our progressive run (hm, sounds political to me). We had a nice 8.5 mile warm-up, including running most of the course.
Since I was definitely warmed up, I decided to start a bit faster than normal, around 5:50 pace. The miles weren't marked, but I guessed that was about right. Running in the lead pack from the gun, I even briefly took the lead and thought how cool it would be for a dude from little Sisters, OR, to win a race near DC. That thougth quickly left as two guys whipped by and a third joined me. Within 10 minutes from the start, I was solidly in 5th place and stayed there for the rolly, hilly section of the race. I'm not a strength runner, so the short rollers are definitely not my friends, but I tried to power through them the best I could. At the turn around, seeing faces coming back toward me, I felt I definitely had a chance to move up to 2nd.
I made up ground on the rolling hills going back and by the time I hit the flat with a mile to go, 2nd-4th were right there. I surged hard past all of them at once and was able to hold it until the finish. So I got 2nd place in 45:11. I was hoping to go sub-45, but the consensus was that the course was about 7.7 m, giving me a 5:51 pace. I was definitely happy with the effort, and it was so nice to be racing on dry roads in shorts and short sleeves! Bryon and I finished off the run with a 4 mile cool down back to his house, giving us 20 solid paved miles for the day - just what my Boston-bound legs needed.
After the 12k, we headed off to our favorite DC area post-short road race food spot, the Silver Diner. I didn't think I was very hungry, but ordered lots anyway. I devoured a fat breakfast and most of the plate of cheese fries that we shared. Oh baby, good eating. I'm thinking cheese fries might be replacing KFC as my favorite post-race meal. Hey, this could be a new goal of mine - finding the ultimate cheese fries. Can you say road trip?!
A nice nap was in store that afternoon before the big night of bowling and karaoke. I hadn't bowled in a few years, and it showed. Bryon and I did manage to narrowly beat the 5-girl team, however. As usual, karaoke was fun. I didn't feel like drinking, and I definitely do not karaoke without liquid courage. So this time it was fun for me to just watch friends sing and dance.
After sleeping in on Sunday, I went to the start of the C&O Canal Towpath so I could run the first 14 miles of it up to the Billy Goat Trail and Great Falls. After a nice run of crusing in the low-7s, I hiked out to the Great Falls overlook. Not quite what I think of when I think waterfall, but pretty cool. Then I got to try my awesome technical skills on the technical portion of the BG Trail. I was impressed with the trail - pretty cool for so close to DC.
On Monday, my time back east came to and end. I had an awesome trip, learned lots, got in some awesome running in new places, ran everyday except the travel days getting there and leaving, and I wore shorts on every run. While the 108 miles in 9 days of running was less than what I was hoping for, the 6 quality days really made up for the lower mileage. It was good. Sascha and I were very excited to see each other and celebrated with an 11 mile snowy/slushy/icy run together on Tuesday. It was back to the slow slogging, but good to be running with Sascha again, plus the surprise 60 degree weather meant more shorts and short sleeves!
We're looking forward to more sunshine, temps in the 50s, and shorts at least through the weekend.