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Clarendon Day 5K – The 2 Minute 5K PR!

Posted Sep 25 2011 7:12pm
Last summer, when I decided to do the Couch to 5K program, I picked the Clarendon Day 5K as my goal race.  I loved this race: a really fun downhill race that goes from the Clarendon neighborhood to Rosslyn in Arlington.  I was so excited to run it again and see how I’ve improved over the last year.

My goal was to try to break 30 minutes for the first time.  I thought I had a pretty good chance at it and I was really excited to try.  So Saturday morning, I waited at the start line with the boyfriend and my friend Sam (who was also running this race for the second time and did so great!) ready to kick some butt.
I took off FAST. But I felt good and went with it.  I got through the first mile in 8:39, which maybe wasn’t the smartest idea but I was having fun.  Mile 2 was also mostly downhill but I slowed down to 9:48.  This is still extremely fast for me – I’m sure it’s the fastest I’ve ever run two miles by a long shot but I felt like I was running out of energy fast.  On Friday, while I was at work, I was playing around with numbers and came up with the idea that to finish the race in under 30 I’d need to get to mile two in under 18 minutes, because I knew I’d get tired during mile 3.  This turned into a self fulfilling prophecy because when I looked at my watch at mile two I immediately thought “Well I’m going to miss 30 minutes” because I was near 18:30.  I actually did completely bonk during mile three but I’m not sure how much of it was mental.  I finished up the last 1.1 at a 10:55 pace and finished the race in 30:34.  I came so close to finishing under 30!!

I need to stop looking at my watch when I cross the finish line.

When I turned down the street that had the finish line and saw the clock read 30:xx, my heart fell.  My immediate reaction was total disappointment but that only lasted for a minute because I set a gigantic PR!! Coming into this race my best 5K time was 32:27 and I took nearly two minutes off of it.  Holy crap! I also ran the tangents of this course almost perfectly – no extra distance at all, which is a huge feat for me!  I took almost 3 and a half minutes off of my finish time from last year (33:54).  What an improvement over the course of a year!

I chose a more dramatic running pose. I am so coordinated.

I absolutely love this race.  I know I’m going to run it again next year and I hope 2012 is the year that I finally break the 30 minute barrier.  I definitely have a little bit to think about when it comes to obsessing over the Garmin during a race.  I can’t help but wonder if I would have finished it under 30 minutes if I wasn’t so obsessed with hitting the miles at an exact time.

I felt pretty good after the race so while the BF was getting a haircut I ran a few miles around Claredon and Courthouse.  I’m pretty proud that I was able to put in another 3 miles after racing my butt off.  I felt like I could have run for longer but I wanted a ride home so I needed to finish at the same time the haircut was done :)  It was such a nice confidence booster in preparing for Baltimore .  I’m so excited for this half marathon!

Have you run the same race course in different years?

Do you get wrapped up in your Garmin data? Do you run races without it?


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