The first of four recaps – woo hoo! About a month ago (Chicago Marathon Training – Week 8 to be exact) I ran my first evening race with Kathryn, Courtney, Emily, and Prianka in Crystal City, Virginia. We were also celebrating Kathryn’s birthday! What a fun idea…I’ll have to think of something similar for March 🙂
Image: Pacer’s Running
The Crystal City Twilighter 5K is put on by our favorite local running store, Pacers! Similar to their other races, they offered early packet pickup at one of their storefronts (Clarendon location for this race) and same day pickup. You all know me… I picked the latter. I arrived in Crystal City around 6:45PM and parked (for free) in one of their garages. Packet pickup was super easy (it was located outside)
We received a gender specific technical tee and a glowstick (I think if you asked..you could get another one).
Since the race started at 8:30PM I dropped my shirt off at my car and went to Subway to grab a snack before the race. I wasn’t too hungry so I bought a water and apples. I also took advantage of the indoor bathrooms too!
Race Goals (“A” least probable and “C” most probable)
Earlier in the morning I had a 12 mile long run, so I knew aiming for a PR or season PR would not be plausible on tired legs. Because this course was very similar to the Crystal City Friday 5Ks I ran in April, I picked a few non time based goals that I wanted to work:
- Run the tangents (I was always long by a tenth of a mile in April)
- Run the entire “hill” after mile 2
- Do not go out too fast
Crystal City Twilighter 5K
After one last bathroom stop I went outside and took a few pictures in front of the start/finish area. I ended up fashioning the glowstick as a headband.
I found Kathryn and Emily – they were easy to spot since they were in their singlets. A few minutes later Prianka and Courtney joined us and we decided to go for a quick warm up run/jog before the race. The Crystal City Twilighter 5K course was almost identical to the Crystal City Friday 5K course (recaps below)
The only difference was the start. Instead of lining up in the circle, we started along Crystal City Drive. I liked that much better, it felt roomier and straight lines are more fun, right? Note: I did not run races #3 and #4.
- Mile 1: 11:15 slow down Jennifer (initially sees 9:XX as the pace)..good job
- Mile 2: 11:07 negative splits yay….so tired. There was a water stop right after mile 2. I usually grab a cup from the last person at the water stop so I could maximize my running time. I got to the last volunteer, but the runner ahead of me grabbed two cups for herself, taking the cup I was going to drink. Since I was still running it would have required more effort to turn around, so I said “hey I didn’t get any water”. The runner looked at me and gave me the second cup of water.
- Mile 3: 11:25 woo hoo no side cramps!
The finish was tough as I ran the entire “hill” back towards the finish. It really wasn’t a bad hill, but on tired legs it felt like it. I passed an older lady wearing a white blouse and yellow trousers – she looked great and didn’t look like she was breaking a sweat! Me…I was sweating buckets!! I finished with a time of 34:58 or 11:15 min/mile. I grabbed a water and some pretzels and found the girls for a group picture.
Overall it was a fun race – I liked seeing all the glowsticks bobbing along the course. The temperature is always a bit cooler in the evening (although still humid) and I would definitely run another evening race. My mom has been asking me about the Rock and Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon – which begins in the afternoon / ends in the evening….perhaps that is in my future.
- Nice fun run to participate with friends and family.
- The course is not too challenging with a slight incline (my hill) at the end.
- I think the Crystal City Drive start helped with me running the tangents. I think my Garmin clocked 3.12 at the end.
- Convenient packet pickup – race day for the win!
- Free garage parking and metro accessible.
- Plenty of indoor bathrooms (there were also plenty of porta potties).
- Pacers provided free pictures, which is always a nice perk.
- There were several high school runners participating as a tune up for cross country season.
- Close to restaurants and bars for post 5K eats/drinks. We ended up going to Good Stuff Eatery…yum!
- Metro accessible.
More recaps to come this week!
Do you have an evening race you would recommend?
Have you participated or organized a run for a birthday/bachelorette/other?