Last Monday I kicked off Memorial Day by running a brand new race to me – the Ringing in Hope 10k. Although running races put on by Potomac River Running, a DC area running store, is far from new for me, I’d never previously run this race, or in the neighborhood where the race was held. This race initially appealed to me since I was in search of a late Spring/early Summer 10k race to run, with the hope of PRing so that I could earn a new proof of time to submit to runDisney for November’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon (the proof of time deadline is at the beginning of August). Then when I looked a bit more into this race, and discovered that the proceeds from this race benefit combat veterans and their families, the race appealed to me even more. As a veteran’s wife and member of Team RWB, I’m always looking for ways to help give back to veterans and their families.
The race started and finished at One Loudoun, which is a town center area in Ashburn, Virginia. It was an easy 25 minute drive from our house, and I was excited to not only run a race in a new area but also bring Preston and little man along with me.
Race morning started off with the 5k at 8 a.m., followed by the 10k ten minutes later. It was exciting to cheer the 5k runners on before I lined up at the start line for my own race. Prior to the race I had studied the course map, and was aware that each turn of the race course took runners to the right, until the last quarter mile or so of the race. I also knew that this course had rolling hills. Knowing both of those things, I felt well prepared to successfully run this race.
For all of my long runs of this past half marathon training cycle, I used run-walk intervals of 4 minutes 15 seconds of running followed by 45 seconds of walking. Since this race was my last long training run before ZOOMA Annapolis, I decided to start the race off with those intervals. Since I felt great during the first two miles, I decided after passing the mile two marker to change my intervals to 4:30 of running followed by 30 seconds of walking. As I continued on for the next three miles, I still felt great. None of the small hills got the best of me, and I did my best on the small downhills to not run too quickly. Since I felt as great as I did and knew that I was pushing myself for a PR, I decided for the last mile to cut my walk interval down to only 15 seconds. I had never done this before, and I know that you should never try anything new on race day, but I thought, why the heck not. Since I was trying to push myself as fast as I could, I thought it was worth a shot. And in the end it paid off.
As I made my way back towards the town center, with just over a quarter mile in the race, I started to push my speed as fast as I could. By the time I made it to the finish line, I felt like I was sprinting. I saw one of the race photographers, and though I usually try to smile for race pictures, I was so focused and determined to get across the finish line that I felt like I couldn’t waste any energy by smiling.
I crossed the finish line at 1:01:01, which was a 55 second PR. While 55 seconds doesn’t seem like much, it dropped my average 10k PR pace from 9:59 to 9:50, which is significant when it comes to submitting these race results as my new proof of time for November’s half marathon.
Immediately after crossing the finish line I met back up with Preston and little man. Since I knew that I had PRed, I suggested that we wait around a bit to see the official results. While we waited for them to be posted, I grabbed water, a banana, and a granola bar. Like at other Potomac River Running events, there was more than enough food and water to go around for everybody. Firehouse Subs was one of the race sponsors, and was even handing out subs to runners to enjoy. Although I wasn’t hungry enough to eat a sub, Preston was more than happy to enjoy one for me.
All in all, it was another great race experience with Potomac River Running. I cannot speak highly enough about this race series. If you live in the DC area, I highly recommend checking their races out.
QOTD: Do you prefer local races or larger, well known races?