Pacers Running is an awesome, DC area store that I’ve visited to buy my past two pairs of running shoes. They have a whole roster of races throughout the year, but this was the first one I had signed up for. What really made me want to sign up was the cool race beanie by BOCO Gear (I’m a sucker for the race goodies; shirts, medals, and other gear alike!). It’s my first pom-pom hat and I really like it!
Pacers is incredibly organized and has an established relationship with the local community (a notable contrast, especially with continued poor customer service from Crucible Racing, who organized the Woodrow Wilson Half Marathon). Packet pick-up was a total breeze. After a yoga class in Old Town Alexandria the day before the race, I went over to Pacers on King Street and was in and out in no more than 2 minutes!
My own preparation of this race did no go smoothly. Three days before, I had my only long-ish run before the race, a 5.5 miler which really wiped me out and was not a lot for a 9.3 mile race. Two days before, my 2-year relationship ended and on the day before the race I helped him move out of the apartment we lived in together (Which for the purpose of racing meant I tired out my body out from moving around too much and lifting heavy things. The emotional aftermath of this life change didn’t hit me yet as I continued to live an unhealthy, emotional lie to myself before fully processing and accepting the reality).
Aside from personal happenings, I was still all over the place on race morning. The 15K started at 8:30AM so I set my alarm at 7:30AM. When I woke up, I took my sweet time getting ready, lackadaisically checking Uber fares. Saying “Oh only 13 minutes to the start line? I’ve got time” quickly devolved into “omg I have nothing to eat for breakfast other than a banana” and “I’ve gotta go!” I quickly threw together some fuel that I got from a previous race expo in a water bottle before getting my race outfit on. I had called an Uber and made it down to the front of my building before I realized I did not have my race bib. I frantically rushed backed into my apartment to get my bib. By the time I was inside the Uber, I realized I’d be at the start line within minutes of the start. Hustling out after the drive, I made it to the race corral within a 60 seconds of the start gun.
The race course went along the Mall, with the most motivating, epic snow covered views. It got rough for me around mile 6 and 7, but I paced myself well and was so thankful I brought my bottle of fuel. During the last mile and a half or so, I felt light, I felt emotional and I thought to myself, “You got this, finish strong” I paced my acceleration during the last 1.5 miles, passing by runners who had passed me 2 to 3 miles earlier. Before the final break away on 15th Street, along Independence Avenue, there was a breathtaking view of the Washington Monument on the left and the Tidal Basin lined by the Jefferson, all snow covered from the first snowfall of the year the day prior.
I’d definitely run this race again in addition to signing up for more of Pacers’ events! Because of the crossroads in my life, this race meant a lot to me. I realized that while running started as a hobby for me, it is much more. It builds my mental and physical resilience, empowers me to truly believing and investing myself and able to draw upon this awesome realities in moving forward during hard times.
Thank you to all the race organizers, volunteers, and police officers! And congrats to all the runners!