The Crystal City Friday 5K is an evening race series held in Crystal City, Virginia (surprise surprise hehe). There are four races and runners can register a la carte for $20/race or register for all four for $60 and receive a free tech tee.
This race series was not originally part of my race schedule. I was reminded of the series when Abby mentioned she was participating in something similar in Charleston. A few week ago Courtney sent a tweet asking if a few of us from DC/VA were running. I thought it would be a good way to get in some speedier runs during the week, but I was still a maybe. The thought of heading over to Virginia after work on a Friday evening was the main reason I was not a yes right away. Crystal City is pretty close.. but something about crossing that river haha. I realized I was a bit irrational and signed up.
Race Series Goals
I will be out of town for one of the races, so I only have three race goals:
- Race #1: Get a feel for the course, finish 32:00-33:00
- Race #2: Better my time from Race #1
- Race #3: Better my time from Race #2
If a PR comes out of this, it would be amazing. If not, a course PR by Race #3 would be ideal.
Crystal City 5K – Race #1
Runners could pick up their bibs at Pacers Pentagon Row ahead of Friday or pick it up that evening. Again, I did not want to metro over to Crystal City before the race, so I opted for the latter. I drove over (parked at the wrong garage and had to pay…booo…apparently there was a free one) and was in line around 5:45PM. I gave the volunteer my name and she handed me the bib I would use for all the races.
It moved pretty quickly and I am glad I got there when I did….because the line wrapped around outside around 6:00-6:15PM. There was gear check, but I opted out because I stowed my belongings in my car.
The starting area was full of runners, a DJ and a Shoe Lab where people could test out shoes. Does the starting area look familiar? The MCM and MCM10K courses take runners through this section of Crystal City.
Ready for the start! There were no corrals or signage to self sort by time. It was crowded at the start, but I’ve encountered worse.
The race was suppose to start at 6:30PM, but it was delayed a bit…no biggie.
The course took us south on Crystal Drive then north on the same road. We made a turnaround at Long Branch Drive (water stop included) and made our way back to Crystal Drive for the finish. There were no steeps hills, but there were a few long climbs.
This race I wanted to get a feel for the course and try to finish between 32:00-33:00.
- Mile 1: 9:45 (made an effort to slow down in the beginning, calves were tight)
- Mile 2: 10:14 (feeling good…feeling good…ouch side stitches)
- Mile 3: 11:34 (ugh side stitches…need to walk)
I finished with a time of 33:49 or 10:53min/mile. This was my fourth race in which I encountered side stitches and this time it was pretty bad (I had to walk a fair amount for mile 3 so I was not bummed about my time). I looked up some articles online (here and here) and I think it was a combination of breathing pattern (my trainer also gave me some suggestions that were mentioned in the article), fueling (the last time I ate was lunch), and lack of a warm-up.
I’ll make some adjustments for this Friday’s 5K and I am pretty confident I can best my time from last week. Stay tuned next week for Race #2
Have you ever participated in a race series?
Have you ever run in an evening race?