When I realized back in March that I maybe was really sort of mostly healed and could run again, I signed up for this race, hoping for redemption from the 2015 version. That day was a sweaty slog through 6.2 miles of humidity and strong sun (historical weather site says 75 and 71% humidity). This Saturday was luckily 68 degrees with 70% humidity. I was unprepared for the sun (time to start running with a visor?) but the temperature felt pleasant overall.
The view of Bethesda Terrace was very different than last week’s pouring rain and features many adorable off-leash dogs.
I arrived early (around an hour before the start) and got my on-demand bib very quick. I spent my last $3 cash on a blue Gatorade from a cart then checked my bag and ran into some friends and teammates. I forgot how big this race was and how far the start was from the race village. I headed to the corrals 16 minutes before the start and luckily met up with and spotted many similarly paced teammates. We had a nice little pod of 5 that started together and got called out by the announcer.
The first 5K went really well but I remember this also being the strongest part last year before I fell apart in the second half.
I eschewed water the first few miles which was probably unwise, but I really had to pee and was feeling quite hydrated already thanks to the first half of that blue Gatorade (blue is the only flavor I like, but either the regular or the frosty blue will do).
My first mile was slow as planned and I was very proud of my second and third miles because they still felt pretty loose and easy. My tangents were getting worse each mile from the tangents and running around people in the crowd so I tried to remind myself there would likely be an extra 0.2 total.
The fourth mile is where the semi-struggle began. I knew I couldn’t hang on to my breezy lower 9:00 paces and there were lots of sunny spots, so I slowed my roll. I grabbed some water at each of the last 3 water stations and managed to dump some on the top of my head in the worst of the sun. After the Mile 5 marker, I knew I could push the pace a bit more and try to enjoy the rolling hills. Crowds increased on the South side of the park but it was mainly confused tourists hoping to cross the road. I sprinted in the last 0.2 in part because I saw a teammate and wanted to reel her in.
Overall, this UAE 10K went much better than last year’s where I had my worst 10K ever. I like this distance and am hoping to whittle down my PR for the Mini 10K next month. More reporting on my workouts (McMillan’s and otherwise) to come.
I’m going to be out of town this weekend and have the biggest Brooklyn Half FOMO. To everyone racing (and to those cheering), have so much fun! I hope to get in next year but might also volunteer for a guaranteed spot in 2018 (it feels so weird to type out dates that far in advance. Let’s figure out when I’m running this darn marathon first).