Last year I participated in Pacers’ St. Patrick’s Day 8K. The race was flat, festive, and the start of what was a memorable spring season. When Pacer’s released their event 2015 schedule, I was delighted to see a page for the St. Pat’s 10K, 5K, Double and Leap.
Image: Pacers Running
Pacers was bringing back the 10K! Runners had the option to sign up for the 10K, 5K or both (the Double). Double participants would receive a finisher’s medal – ummm nice!! In December my friend Jenn forwarded me the below email:
Twenty percent off race entries – what a steal! I ended up paying $36 for two races, a technical tee, and a medal.
Packet pickup is always easy peasy (at least for me) for Pacers races. Per usual (see here and here) runners could pick up their bibs at their Logan Circle or Clarendon locations the Friday and Saturday before the race.
The short sleeve technical tee was nice (for some reason I really like the A4 brand they use) and I liked the color this year (last year’s was black). My bib also indicated I was running the Double.
Race Goals (“A” least probable and “C” most probable)
If you have been following me, training has not been ideal the past quarter (getting over foot pain, the flu, and balancing work). Fitness/running-wise I knew a 5K PR (sub 30:57) was highly unlikely, but a 10K PR was possible.
My 5K goals (would go easy and use this as a warmup):
- A – Break 33:30 (10:46/mile)
- B – Break 34:00 (10:56/mile)
- C – Break 34:30 (11:06/mile)
My 10K goals (would attempt to PR):
- A –Break 1:09:10 (11:07/mile)
- B –Break 1:12:00 (11:35/mile)
- C –Break 1:15:00 (12:04/mile)
The day before race I had 8 miles planned with my friend Rachel. I wasn’t too worried about running that much on Saturday….after all….I had done that the year before with the Virginia is for Lovers 14K. In hindsight…. (huge DOT DOT DOT).
St. Pat’s 5K
On Saturday night there was a flurry of twitter messages regarding the race. Because of the impending snow and ice on race morning, Pacers put out an advisory notice in the event of inclement weather. The 5K (with the earlier start) would be held and it would be possible the 10K would be cancelled (10K only runners had the option to drop down to the 5K; runners could also defer to 2016). When I woke up Sunday morning both events were on (the Leap was canceled). I was a bit surprised..partially because I convinced myself it would be canceled.
I got dressed and parked about a 1/2 mile away from the start (I was not in the mood to run/walk to the start that morning). The beautiful Washington Monument (the start was towards the left hand side… same start as the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler).
There were quite a few people there, but you could definitely tell people opted out of the race due to the weather. I was able to meet up with Kathryn in the corral and it was nice to catch up. We hadn’t seen each other since the Leesburg 20K.
The race started at 8:15AM and took us west on Independence Avenue and around the Tidal Basin on Ohio Drive.
Image: Pacers St. Pats 5K
The Tidal Basin was frozen and the views were magnificent. While not planned, Kathryn and I ended up running the entire 5K together – it definitely made the time go by quickly! Running while talking about running is always fun.
My finish time was 34:20 or 11:03/mile….sneaking under my C goal.
St. Pat’s 10K
After crossing the finish line and a quick photo opt, we had maybe 10-12 minutes before the 10K start. At 9:00AM the 10K started and it followed a similar route as the 5K. The course was extended by turning around by the Kennedy Center and running along Kutz Bridge towards the finish line.
Image: St. Pats 10K
It was getting cold and my legs were starting to tighten up. The first couple of miles were in the 11:30ish range, and I knew I did not have enough gas for a PR. Below is a view of Georgetown from afar (I even saw Mar on the course as we turned around by the Kennedy Center).
Prior to the race, Pacers communicated that the 10K would be rerouted at the 4.5 mile mark if the course became slick due to the snow/ice. At one point in the race…part of me wouldn’t have mind a re-route…but then the other part of me said… no way I want to finish this. It was a STRUGGLE. The temperature was dropping and the sleet was coming down. My legs felt like ice!
We passed the 4.5 mile marker and the last 1.7 miles seemed to go by very slowly. I think the 5 mile marker was taken down and the sleet was picking up. As you can see from the above picture, the roads were getting slick and it was getting difficult to get a good running grip. I ended up finishing with a time of 1:17:50 or 12:31/mile. My total Double time was 1:52:10.
Fatigued legs + mental doubts + sleet did not make for a fun race. I was not in the same condition I was in last year when I was able to run strong back to back runs (8-9 mile range). I was a little disappointed with my 10K performance, but I know I was a bit overambitious with my goals. Several lessons learned and this will help me set realistic goals for Shamrock weekend. I know I will be back to where I like to be come Summer/Fall.
Prior to the race, Pacers advised Double runners that they would mail us our medals due to the weather (they wanted to breakdown everything as soon as possible so everyone could get home safely). A week later I received this goody and a nice note.
- Another well managed and organized event by Pacers.
- Their communications regarding the weather was timely and clear – I never felt ill informed.
- It was nice they offered runners the opportunity to defer to 2016.
- It was a nice change that this route was not along Pennsylvania Avenue/Capitol Building.
- Flat, fast, PR course (think Cherry Blossom minus the Memorial Bridge and Hains Point).
- They had photo set up at the end.
- Yay medals!
- Hopefully I can fit in the Clarendon Day Double this year.
- Scored with the 20% discount.
- I wonder what it would be like if they held the 10K first, followed by the 5K.
- Not confirmed…when I was at packet pickup one of the organizers/volunteers said they want to try to add a 15K next year… if that is the case…sign me up! I hope this becomes a reality.
I am so glad that Pacers offered the 5K, 10K and Double this year. I would love to run this again (hopefully without the snow and sleet).
Have you run a double before?
Running in any St. Patrick’s Day races this year?