As mentioned earlier this week, I signed up for the Leesburg 20k on a bit of a whim – and after the experience…I can definitely say I am glad I did!
Since it was a bit of destination race (Leesburg is about 2.5-ish hours North of Charlottesville) hubs and I decided to make a weekend trip of it – traveling up on Saturday afternoon. After a delicious lunch at Eden Center in Falls Church, we headed over to packet pick-up at Potomac River Running Store – totally smooth, and I was definitely impressed with the Race Swag – a Nike Dri-fit top as well as a cool pint glass!
The glass has the same logo, but all in white – and the race is only $40!
After the pick up, we headed to the hotel that we were staying at to unpack some of the stuff from the car, then headed downtown for pizza at Fireworks! It was really good and great pre-race food 😀
Bedtime was early, and I got a full 7 hours of rest before getting up at six (definitely one of my favorite things about staying at a hotel before a race – wakeup call!) and then race prepping – and off to the start by 7 AM (race start time 7:30 AM).
…and yes, I did bring my lucky skirt out of retirement for this!! I just love it so much…
But – back to the race! I heard that there were about 800 participants in the 20k – and there was a 5k too – and they shared start times (this would probably be a criticism of mine if I ran the 5k because it was pretty congested) so I tried to get a nice middle-pack spot before the race started.
Side note: when there are no corrals, it shocks me how many walk-runners try to get front spots. There is nothing wrong with walk-running, but really…be respectful of your fellow race participants!
Mile 1 – 8:30 – crowd was thick! No passing this entire mile, and since the race started off across all the road lanes, there were groups forming walls!
Mile 2 – 8:06 – finally…passed a few people when we hit the turn-around round-about maneuver around the local high school. Before long, we were headed onto the W&OD Trail which was in a word: GLORIOUS.
Mile 3 – 8:24, Mile 4 -8:35 – relatively uneventful, though around the fourth mile point my left shin was acting kind of weird. I told myself that YES, it was okay to run a little slower for a while and monitor my pain level. It was more like a soreness so I kept it nice and easy.
Mile 5 – 8:14 – leg pain all but dissipated. Yay! Time to sit back, relax and enjoy the trail – wait, what is this…
Mile 6 – 8:21, Mile 7 – 8:13 – I call this portion of the race…STOP AND GO ANNOYING MAN RACE TIME. So yeah, here’s what happened…I’m just coasting along, feeling good and all of a sudden – this guy…burgundy tech tee, dark hair…he somehow thinks we are racing. I mean, not 20k racing, but me VS. him racing…which is fine and dandy, a lil friendly competition never hurt, but he does NOT know what he is doing! I am keeping a relatively even pace, while he darts forward, all-out sprinting…then STOPS. Abruptly. Like, pull out all the stops break stops. UGH. For those of you that have been on the W&OD – it looks like this:
Green, gorgeous – and narrow. As in, GET AWAY FROM ME ANNOYING MAN! I did everything I could to get away – run ahead of him in his stop-phases, stay back at a water station to attempt to let him get ahead…it just wasn’t happening…argh! So, I just turned up my music a bit and tried to ignore him…
Mile 8 – 8:54 – Miraculously, he disappeared somewhere! I was so happy. I also realized that I hadn’t taken any nutrition during the race, so I slowed down, pulled to the side and took a GU (the race provided them, and I broke a race day rule and tried a flavor that I had never had before – Mandarin Orange – and LOVED it)
Mile 9 – 7:50, Mile 10 – 7:56 – WOW! Power up. That GU rocked. At this point, I ran a portion of these two miles with a girl that had a similar pace as me. We chatted for a while about the awesome weather, the trail and (!!) annoying STOP AND GO race man! Hah! She had to deal with him, too…it was nice to chat for a bit!!
Mile 11 – 7:37, Mile 12 – 7:22 – I was flying now! I thought back at that feeling at Mile 4 – shin pain, self-doubt…it was all gone. SO gone.
Mile .4 (of 13th Mile) – 7:13 (avg) – After I passed the Mile 12 marker, I recognized the area and knew exactly where the upcoming turns were going to be…the finish line was deceptively uphill, but I felt like I could keep running even after passing under the sign!
I had a huge smile on my face…and started walking over to the finish-line goodies before realizing (as usual) that I had not stopped the Garmin…so I did, and my smile got bigger when I saw that!
As I gulped down the Fruit Punch Gatorade from the finisher’s goodie table, I practically skipped over to the parking area where hubs was going to pick me up…I was stoked that our hotel was so close because I had a date with a bath tub filled with ice…
I was so thankful that our room was just three doors down from the ice machine! Also…super stoked that the thick plastic packet pick-up bag doubled as an excellent carrier of a WHOLE LOT of ice!
10-minutes later…and I confirmed what I had felt from the moment I registered…this was an excellent race…and I couldn’t have been happier about how it turned out!
Have you ever run a 20k?