Sunday, July 20, 2014

Off to the Races

I promise I will finish up my Belgium-related posts, but there is so much other stuff I need to post about and I keep putting it decided I would suck it up and do things a bit out of order.

Races have figured prominently in my spring and summer. Not just running races, but also horse races! Part of the reason is a new goal I have set for myself to make sure I keep up with my running: I plan to run a 5K a month for the rest of the year. That's 7 races total from when I made this solemn vow back in June.

Well, it wasn't that solemn. It was more me sitting on my couch and thinking, "how can I make sure I keep up with my running? I know! I will make myself spend a lot of money on race registration fees so I make sure I actually put in the time for training!" So not only do I get to suffer physically, my wallet will also take a hit. Awesome.

I also reached my Spring running goal of completing my first 8K! That's five miles for those of you who can't perform instant kilometer to miles conversions in your head. If you had told me three years ago that I would be able to run five miles, I would have laughed in your face, fallen out of my chair, and then laughed some more. But the joke is on me, because I totally did it!

In fact, the day of my 8K was full of races--not only did I get up and run in the Fairfax City 8K: Race FOR THE CHILDREN along with my friend Matt who was in town, I also immediately drove out to The Plains, Virginia to see the Gold Cup, or Diet Kentucky Derby.

Me and Matt ready to pwn the 8K!

I am happy to report that both races--the humans and the horses--were an amazing success. Despite the hilly course (I hate those hills), I came in right at my goal of time of under an hour for the 8K at about 55 minutes. And all the logistics went off without a hitch. My friend Rachel who lives in Manassas graciously let me stop at her place on my way to The Plains to shower and change and I arrived at the University Row event before the horses started running.

I was really impressed by University Row. The event is sponsored and organized by colleges that have a high population of alumni in the area and for the ticket price you get access to the private race area, an open bar, all day long food buffet, and games and other activities. You never really know how these kind of things are going to go--usually you end up with crowds, long lines, weak drinks, and food that runs out after the first hour. But I am happy to report that this was not the case. The whole event was classy, the food was amazing, and the layout and quality of the food and drinks was great. I was impressed. And I got to wear a hat!

No better excuse for a hat than a horse race.

Speaking of races....I found that I was having trouble keeping myself motivated for the running after my 8K. Finishing a big goal can sometimes leave you in a bit of a funk and looking for something to keep yourself going, especially in the middle of a DC summer when you remember you live in a swamp. So I came up with a new goal! From June until the end of the year, I plan to run a 5K a month.

It's not THAT difficult a proposition-after all, three miles is a regular running distance for me now, but it will allow me to focus on lowering my time and getting closer to the elusive 10 minute mile mark. I have already run my June and July races (more on the July race below) and have my August and September races booked! I haven't decided what to do for an October race yet, but you can bet it will somehow involve zombies or some other Halloween-themed monster. Remember the first rule of the zombie apocalypse: cardio.

Getting back to July, I am just coming off a week in Los Angeles visiting my brother and his family and meeting my new baby nephew, William. I figured why run a 5K in hot and humid DC when I could do it in LA, so on Friday I ran the Redondo Beach Fourth of July race! It took place on the road that runs along the ocean and OF COURSE the weather was perfect. Not only did I make a new PR (34:50), but it was even more fun since Amanda loaded my nephews, James and William, into the stroller and walked in the race. When I had finished running, I jogged back and met them along the course and we were all able to cross the finish line together. It made it all the more special since we did it as a family--though my brother (predictably) spent the morning sleeping in and missed out. Though he would probably say that we missed out. On sleep.

How do you convince a 2 year old to sit in his stroller for an hour during a race? Trail mix, of course.

Lots of running around--literally and figuratively! If anybody has any interest in joining me for a 5K in October, November, or December just let me know. It's always more fun when you have other people to share in the torture...I mean, fun!

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