Well, it’s a little depressing to be writing this recap after the Redskins lost on Monday night, but the race happened the Saturday prior, and we were all feeling pretty confident that our triumphs would of course carry over to the team. So I’ll try to focus on the majorly positive vibes we were all feeling at the race rather than the totally bummer week the Redskins and I are having.

ImageI was feeling pretty sleepy and not warmed up at all the morning of the race. I had put in a decent week of training, but coming off a majorly triumphant PR just the Saturday before, and having been up late without eating a healthy dinner due to a concert the night before, I didn’t have any high expectations. I had signed up for the race purely because it sounded like a fun 5K to do for team spirit and the finisher medal didn’t hurt. A 5K with a finisher medal? Sounds like a fun and easy way to jumpstart my medal collection. (It’s now only my second, and neither are terribly cool looking.)

The exciting thing about this race was that my dad somehow managed to get up and come with me too. He was at the same concert the night before (it was my birthday present from him) and stayed up later afterward than I did. I get my penchant for sleeping in from my dad – neither of us are morning people. My inability to become a morning runner laments this trait, and I have resolutions to change that, but for now, it hasn’t been happening. But somehow Dad made it along.

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Dad raised me a Redskins fan, so I felt it was only necessary he attend this race.

Dad was a track athlete in high school before an injury sidelined him with lifelong knee problems, so it’s fun to talk to him about running. He was a sprinter, and a really really good one at that, but he always tells me how great it is I’ve gotten into distance running. I may only have raced 3.1 miles so far (though that’s changing this month with a 10K and a 10 miler!), but Dad and I both know better than anybody how tough that is in perspective. Reading the results, splits, tweets, and blogs of other, amazing distance runners can sometimes make me feel super inadequate, but parents are the best for reminding you of some perspective: think about how far you’ve come. The fact that I got out of bed that morning to run 3.1 miles! Who have I even become in just the 9 months since I started running?!

Soon my friends Sara and Bridget showed up. The three of us are pretty fond of posting horribly unattractive pictures of ourselves immediately after a run, when our faces are red and sweaty, on Instagram, and tagging them #runstagram, so I was excited that the three of us were finally running a race together. Sara and Bridget are also two of the biggest, most intense Redskins fans I know, so the race had all the ingredients for a spectacular morning.

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All three of us were STOKED about our race outfits. I went for Team Sparkle, myself!

All three of us lined up in the ~12ish minute pace wave and the race kicked off to Katy Perry’s “Roar.” The first few minutes of a race are always the hardest for me – getting my heart rate up, pushing past that initial wall and finding my breath, zoning out the other runners’ psyches and running MY race instead of racing other people, and generally warming up my legs. I had to really zone out all the race-implemented spirit – including “Roar” – and zone into my tried and true well-loved playlist and find my pace regardless of who was running what around me.

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Dad got me in an action shot!

I was surprised at how quickly the people around me started walking but I tried not to think too much about it. I had to find and stay in my zone. I decided to run my 10:1 intervals, which carried me so nicely through the Kentlands 5K, and I just focused on getting to my first walk break. The only two people I was concerned with keeping in my circumference were my friend Sara, who, according to our various smartphone running apps, runs a similar pace as me, and this guy:

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I loved his jersey. Sean Taylor was (is) my favorite Redskin, and I cried real tears when he was killed in 2007. He made watching football more fun than ever – watching Sean Taylor take a dude out was better than action movies. Every time I felt myself losing a little steam, I wanted to glimpse that jersey and catch a little #21 spirit.

All three of my miles were sub-11’s, again, which again surprised me, but this 5K distance is really becoming quite a breeze. At a little past 2 miles I realized the person I’d thought was Sara in my peripherals was in fact not Sara and I didn’t know where she was. Also, around 2 1/2 miles, my friend in the jersey lost major steam and slowed to a walk. As much as I wanted to keep with him, I didn’t want to keep with him enough to actually slow down when I didn’t need to. I felt fresh and strong and finished that way.

ImageI sprinted the last 40 yards, and heard the announcer give a shoutout to my Team Sparkle skirt, announcing I was the first runner in a skirt to finish (and there had been quite a few girls in tutus and skirts). I wasn’t sure what time I had crossed the starting line, so it wasn’t until they posted the results that I found out I had actually PR’d again! At 33:23, I’d beaten the prior weekend’s 5K time by 18 seconds!

So my next goal when it comes to 5K’s is to get sub-30. I know, I’m no speed demon at all, but considering one of my first races, just 3 months ago, was a 40 minute 5K, I’m taking it! Maybe one day I’ll be one of those sub-25ers, or even place in my age group, but for now, I’m just kind of stoked about my consistent improvement, and this:

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In front of our newly groomed field with my finisher medal.

I’m not thrilled that the medals don’t even have the name of our teams on them, but for a completely profit-focused race (oh, something about promoting health and fitness kind of?) I guess that would only have cost more. At least the lanyard it hangs on has the Redskins logo on it. It would be cool, though, to be able to run the Redskins run and the Ravens run one year and have two at least slightly differentiating medals. Ah well, an excuse not to spend the money on a race registration for my backup team. (As in, “go, Torrey Smith! Go, the city of Baltimore which I like so much!”)

After the race, at which I am proud to report that both Sara and Bridget also set PR’s (!!!), the three of us spent quite a bit of time doing as #runstagram girls will do, and taking a lot of pictures.

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Sara! Caught in the act of celebrating her finish!
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Us 3 gals with our medals
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On a runner’s high
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le stadium
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Happy runners

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