Running All the K's in Sleet

by - Monday, March 02, 2015

Yesterday Pacers held the St. Patrick's Day 5K, 10K and Double. It was the first time in years this race had been held, and it was on a brand new course, which was super exciting because after living in DC for a lot of years and running a lot of races here, it's hard to find a course I haven't run.

Pre-race selfie because it seemed mean to ask someone to take off their gloves to take our picture

I had signed up for the Double with Meghan, and Emily had originally signed up for the 10K, but then Saturday afternoon, yet another winter weather advisory was issued for DC, and Pacers wasn't sure they would be able to hold the 10K at all.

The race directors promised an answer by 5:15 a.m., but also said if people wanted to defer to 2016 or drop from the 10K to the 5K they could.

Emily opted to drop to the 5K, but by Saturday night, the three of us were pretty confident we weren't going to be running the race at all. Nothing sounded fun about running any race in 23 degree weather with the potential of sleet.

This about sums up how awesome it was getting pelted in the face with ice for 9.3 miles this morning. A chilly St. Patrick's 5K and 10K in the books.
This pretty much sums up my feelings on the whole thing

Fast forward eight hours to 6 a.m. Sunday when I spring out of bed wide awake. The Pacers update said all the races were on and the sleet wasn't supposed to start until 10 a.m. After checking Instagram and seeing lots of other people still planning to run the race, I decided to suck it up and do it as well.

Game on!

So we get to the base of the Washington Monument where the race is going to start and line up for the 5K, and it starts snowing or sleeting or something. Cold stuff is falling from the sky.

Ideal running conditions right here!

The three of us set off, and all I'm thinking about is getting moving so I can warm up and regain feeling in my fingers. (You'll note the lack of photos in the post. My hands were too cold to mess with my phone.)

The 5K sort of flew by. Since I was running the 5K and the 10K back to back, my plan was to take the 5K nice and slow, but in my haste to get out of the house in the morning, I'd left Garmin at home. So I was totally running by feel.

I didn't push it too hard and I crossed the finish line with at least 15 minutes to go before the 10K was going to start, which meant I'd done something in the 30 minute range. (Official time from the website 29:20).

I found Meghan and we lined up to start the 10K. We ran the first mile or so together before splitting up.

I knew the 10K would be slow for me. The longest I'd run in training for this race was 6 miles, so running 9 was going to be a stretch. Plus I'd be having some issues with my right calf lately, and I wasn't sure how my legs would handle the extra distance.

I stopped to walk sometime after mile 2 because my form was falling to pieces. My calf was in knots, and was just completely destroying my stride.

But I was able to pick it up again pretty quickly. At this point though, the sleet was coming down hard, and I was getting pelted in the face with ice nonstop. Plus it was sticking to the roads, which made footing really questionable at places. I plodded along until mile 4 and grabbed another quick walk break.

When I hit the mile 5 point (or where I assumed mile five was, the marker wasn't there anymore), I walked one last time and then decided I was picking it up to get to the finish and have this race over with. I was picking up a little bit of speed until we went over a bridge. Ice + bridge = slippery, slippery road and I slowed down big time to make sure I didn't end up on my butt.

I somehow still managed to cross the 10K finish line in under an hour (59:12 official time), which was actually kind of shocking because I hadn't trained well.

I found Megan and Katie and a few other friends who had also run the double.

While the conditions were obviously less than ideal for this race, I'm actually still glad we all dragged our butts to the start line. I loved both courses. They were flat, you ran by a ton of monuments and looped the Tidal Basin. Seeing the Tidal Basin and the Potomac all iced over was actually really pretty.

Snagged this one picture of the frozen Potomac because it seemed worth it to pull my camera out for this.

And as will all Pacers races, this was extremely well organized and well run. The volunteers were wonderful, a big thank you to all of them for being out in the awful weather to help cheer us on and keep everything running smoothly.

I'm a little sore this morning, but not as bad as I thought I'd be, which gives me high hopes that I'll be able to run a strong race at the Frederick Half.

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  1. Run or skate?

  2. Nice! I got some pictures of the frozen potomac up recently too. It is really cool. Great job breaking an hour in those conditions! I got slaughtered in my MD race.