March 9, 2013 – Arlington, VA
My first race ever. And no, not the Non-Athletic Sport Centered Around Rednecks. Racing with my feets.
I felt sure of myself, somehow. It was a little chilly that morning. So I wore my new set of compression shorts under my normal shorts (which are actually soccer shorts) and a poly base-layer and another poly shirt under a light track jacket. I figured I could take the jacket off if I got too hot.
The race was in Arlington, starting right outside Ireland’s Four Courts pub. The place my Chelsea FC group meets to watch games together. That was my original motivation to participate, was to support the Four Courts. I met my friends Chris and Kate and watched some of the Everton v. Wigan match (Wigan destroyed Everton 3-0, but anyway…) inside while waiting for the race line up to happen. We eventually all gathered outside (there were several hundred of us), and did our stretching and warm-ups. Many folks were dressed in green for St. Patty’s day the next week, and others, like us, were in normal athletic gear.
I was a little anxious when the race started, as I didn’t exactly know what to expect, but as I got going, I just kind of chugged along.
The course at the start, is all downhill. For about a mile or more, you wind down Wilson Blvd until you get to the Rossayln Spectrum area and then turn onto a highway, which is flat. Mile two marks the halfway point obviously, and we made a U-turn around a person who made sure there weren’t any cheaters and was motivating folks at the same time. Along the way, both Kate and myself (Chris is way faster) slowed a couple times, but eventually Kate waved me on and told me not to wait for her. So I went…I had to slow a couple times as it was quite taxing for my first time out, but I carried on. And then, the hill.
The same hill that we all descended at the start was now in front for the last mile. I’m not sure what the elevation change is, but it’s fairly significant over the course of a little less than a mile. Definitely had to slow down a couple times to catch my breath.
But I finished! At the top of the hill, outside Four Courts, where we started, was also the finish. I came through with a time of 41’20”. Not bad for a rookie, I’d say. We found another friend, Mario, afterwards and the four of us enjoyed some beer and the camaraderie of several hundred runners crammed into our pub.
One race down!