Back in September I was at the height of my training for the Chicago Marathon. To help break up the monotony of long runs, I tried to incorporate as many races as possible into my training plan. I did this with Rock ‘n’ Roll Philly the day that I ran my 20 miler. The weekend after Philly I had one last double digit run before the big marathon, and decided that running the Clarendon Day Double (5k followed by 10k), as well as a couple of extra miles would be a great way to get the miles in.
The weekend of Clarendon Day I was at the end of battling a cold. I had also run the Dulles Day 10k on the Runway the day prior. So not only was I not feeling 100% but I also ran the races on tired legs. Regardless, I ran both races, crossed the finish lines, and walked away with two medals to commemorate the experience.
First up was the 5k. The races both started in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington. After successfully finding free street parking, I parked only about a 10 minute walk away from the start line. Since I had picked up my bib the day prior, I just walked right up to the start line, and after a brief wait the 5k started promptly at 8:00. It was a very low key way to start a race, but given that I wasn’t “racing” that morning, I was okay with it.
Both the 5k and the 10k were net downhill races, so it was very easy to push the pace, especially at the beginning of the race. I did my best to not let myself run too fast, and reminded myself that I still had the 10k afterwards, as well as extra miles to run in order to complete all 12 of my planned miles for the day. Even though it was a 5k, I utilized my usual long run intervals of 4 minutes of running followed by 1 minute of walking, and crossed the 5k finish line in 32:13.
After crossing the finish line, I then had to make it back up the “Hill of Death” in Rosslyn, which you run down during each race (part of what makes these races quite speedy), and back to the start line in Clarendon. The 10k was scheduled to start at 9:00, just one hour after the 5k started, so I had to move with a purpose to get back up the hill.
1.69 miles of running and walking later, I was back at the start area, where I met up with Deborah and Mar just prior to the start of the 10k. Deborah and I wound up running the first couple minutes of the 10k together prior to my first walk interval, which gave us a couple of minutes to catch up and talk about motherhood.
It was deja vu with the 10k, as the first half of the race is on the same route as the 5k. So back down the hill I went, again trying to remind myself to not push my pace too fast. The 9:00 start meant that the sun was also beating down at this point in the morning, and I definitely felt the effects of the sun given that the Clarendon course is not shaded at all. The further that I ran, the slower that my pace became, and the more challenging that the race became. Once again, I utilized 4:1 intervals, and crossed the 10k finish line in 1:10:14.
After collecting my medals, downing a bottle of water, and having a quick snack, I slowly started to make my way back up the hill since I had parked near the start line. 2.34 miles later of some running and lots of walking and I was back at my car. My combined time and distance of running and walking for the morning wound up being 11.12 miles in 2:03:12 (11:04 pace), which was consistent with my long run training pace.
Overall, I was quite pleased with how I handled the double run, especially given the sun, heat, and that I was at the end of fighting a cold. Running races is always a great way to make long training runs more fun, and I’m glad that I was able to participate in Clarendon Day again this year.
QOTD: When training for a major race, do you incorporate shorter distance races into your training?