2015 Crystal City Friday 5K Recap – Race 1/3

April 8, 2015

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?

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      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks Coco! It was def a process to get there after work (go straight from the office via Metro, drive, etc). I was surprised the drive did not take too long.

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks Jill! That is exactly what my trainer said – my breathing changed!

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks Kathryn! Will be interested to see how my body adapts!

    1. Oh, that’s cool that it’s a race series and you’ll have a couple opportunities to try the same course. Good luck with Friday’s race and hopefully the changes prevent the side stitches. I’ve done a couple evening races and really enjoy them, but it does require a different fueling strategy.
      Chaitali recently posted…Weekly reviewMy Profile

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        Thanks Chaitali. It is a fun challenge and nice to get out there and run shorter distances (despite the stitch). Montgomery County has quite a few evening races – I never got to run them when I lived there. It just slipped my mind to properly fuel before the 5K.

    1. This is so awesome, Jenny! I love that you and Courtney are doing this!! Of course, you already know that I run in a local racing series; it’s so fun to see how you can improve. I know you’ll DEFINITELY do better this week; 5Ks seem to be a lot of trial and error for me, and it’s a tough distance. It’s wild that y’all use the same bib for all the races; I’d have to remember to take care of it – ha! Thanks so much for sharing this; can’t wait to hear more!
      Tara @ Running ‘N’ Reading recently posted…Garlic Shrimp with White Beans &TomatoesMy Profile

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        Haha I know! I kept my bib in the visor section of my car..otherwise it would be bent or lost! 5Ks are tough… for me there can be so much time swing.

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks Mindy – that makes sense… getting uncomfortable b/c I am pushing myself 🙂

    1. A race series would be a really fun challenge to try to improve each time. Sorry you had side stitches….I actually had one on my long run last weekend. It had been forever since I had one, DC certainly has plenty of great races to choose from.
      Pam and Christine recently posted…Boston marathon countdown and taperMy Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Very luck to have so many races in the area. Sorry to hear you had stitches during your long run – they can be so uncomfortable, hope they were not there too long.

      1. Run Jenny Run

        I forgot Las Vegas is at night! Night races are nice to beat the heat.

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Exactly! Glad this happened during race #1. I will be missing week 3. Oh I tried to find your email address, but couldn’t find it. I was going to send you the response from my Spam capture service.

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks Jenn! Going through my work motions and completely forgot/ignored fueling before the race .

    1. I heard about this series — love the concept! I think it’s a fun way to get your runs in. I LOLed about the part of venturing into VA after work — I would feel the same way. Haha. I haven’t done any evening races, but it sounds like a lot of fun. Enjoy the rest of the series!
      Nathasha recently posted…8/50 – Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Love RunMy Profile

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        Hahah..don’t you love when you get a real LOL in. Have you run the Rockville Twilight 8K? I think it was an 8K.

      1. Run Jenny Run

        I know! I haven’t had them in so long, so I was surprised to get them.

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Haha I say that about other cities too. Very luck to have so many races to choose from (a few competing race organizations).

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks Abby! It is fun competing against myself – looking forward to reading about yours when you begin.

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