Over the weekend, I ran the Loudoun 8k. This was my fifth year in a row running at least one of the races from this race series. The past two years I did the LoCo challenge, which is an 8k on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday. The year before that I did the 8k. And the very first year I did the half marathon. It was my second half marathon ever and I overslept and almost missed it. That year it started right down the road, so luckily, I made it there two minutes before it started.
Anyways, I signed up for this race a few weeks ago because I decided not to sign up for races more than a month in advance. After all the races I skipped last year I decided it just wasn’t worth it. But I wanted to do this one again since I’ve done it for so many years, it is close by, and it is a great distance – 4.98 miles.
I had a friend running it as well, so it was good motivation to actually get out of bed and do it. Now, as per usual, I did not train for this race. In fact, you might say I did negative training. I ran maybe one or two miles here or there with Toby, but nothing even close to that distance.
On race day I had instant regret. I hated getting up early. I hated being out in the cold. John and Toby came along with me to the race and we got there in plenty of time for me to get my pre-race bathroom break in. There was a much smaller crowd than usual, so it felt like a more intimate race, which I actually enjoy.
I started slowly and tried to push in the beginning. My friend J was kicking butt and running so fast, but I decided to pull back and keep a steady pace. It was cool, but not cold and I started sweating a bit. I had music blasting and just focused on putting one foot in front of the other.
It was longer than I wanted it to be and harder than I wanted it to be. Around mile 3 my ankles got really tight. Yes, John, I should have stretched more pre-race. I pushed through and since I know the course so well, I was pretty aware of where I was. I didn’t ever slow down and take a break.
During the last .98 miles when I got into the parks, I had the most welcome sight: my boys! Seeing them made me push even harder to get to the finish line. By some miracle I had energy left and sped up for the last .10 miles to get across that finish line!
Post Race Reflection
This race was by no means my worst. It wasn’t even bad. I was thrilled when it was over and really proud of myself for doing it despite feeling so lazy in the morning.
I finished in 47:45 with a pace of 9:36. Not too bad considering I did not train at all. Thanks Noble and CrossFit for keeping me in such shape that I can just run a race with little to no training! I did look up my previous times and while I did not beat last year (45:52), I did beat two years ago (50:59), so I’ll take it!
By the way, my friend J absolutely killed it! She finished in 41 minutes and came in 3rd in her age group, 13th overall female. It was awesome being able to see her crush this race and run faster than she ever had before.
As I was running, I was reminded that this isn’t my passion anymore. A few years ago, I could not get enough of running and races. I loved them and I loved finishing them. Now, it's just not the same. I would much rather work on my back squat one rep max or do a set of strict handstand push ups. It is funny how times change!
Now that is not to say I hate running and don’t want to do it. I still enjoy it and I have a goal to run at least twice a week. I do enjoy running -- especially with Toby, so I will continue to do it recreationally. It is good for my mental health,the trail is so close, and it will be really nice to do some warm evening runs this summer.