Sunday, July 13, 2014

Brutal (but Fun) Birthday Bash 5k

Today was the Birthday Bash 5k and it was a challenging race for Karen & me for a variety of reasons. I'm glad I did it, but I am glad it is done!

Packet Pickup & Swag
Packet pickup was yesterday at Fairfax Potomac River Running. In addition to the race shirt and the commemorative pin, my packet had bonus coupons for some stores in Fairfax Corner and an awesome rucksack from Lucy. Freddy and I headed immediately to Pinkberry to use our 20% off a smoothie coupon. Yum!

swag from packet pickup (this is the back of the shirt)

close-up of the pin

What made the race fun?
  • Running with Karen
I've been running with Karen since February. She is a great running buddy who helps me keep my spirits up even when we are having a tough run like today. Thank you Karen!

pre-race - little did we know how rough it would be!

  • Celebrating the successes of others
It may have been a tough race for us, but there were lots of things to celebrate. Laura ran 31:18, which is phenomenal given the weather and the extra distance tacked onto the course (see below, things that made it brutal). And Jen finished off her 40k of racing before 40 today - a whole month ahead of schedule. Congrats Jen!

Laura - finishing triumphantly!
[photo courtesy Potomac River Running]

Jen - finishing 40k of racing by 40!
[photo courtesy Potomac River Running]

  • Celebrating Potomac River Running's Birthday
The purpose of this race is to celebrate PRR's birthday! This year they are 11. So the race has fun food like snow cones, cupcakes, an ice cream truck. There is a photo booth. Lots of shoe manufacturers (Adidas, Brooks, Mizuno) had test shoes you could run in. There were prizes and giveaways, like PRR shirts. This is a party! And it is fun.

Brooks shoes
[photo courtesy Potomac River Running]

The Brooks Ice Cream Truck (Freddy's favorite)
[photo courtesy Potomac River Running]

Free PRR shirts and Nike balloons (Freddy's 2nd favorite)
[photo courtesy Potomac River Running]

Asics shirts and socks;
Adidas shoes in the background
[photo courtesy Potomac River Running]

Adidas running shoes for testing
[photo courtesy Potomac River Running]

Saucony Kettle Korn for eating!
[photo courtesy Potomac River Running]

  • Support from Rick & Freddy
I always appreciate it when Rick and Freddy come out to cheer for me. They picked some cool places along the course, one up above us close to mile 1, a little later around mile 2.5, and close to the finish line. Thank you to my guys for supporting us!

Seeing Rick, Freddy, and the orange balloon
made me so happy right here!
[photo courtesy of Rick]

Getting an assist from Freddy. We were
really struggling at this point, and they
boosted my morale a lot!
[photo courtesy of Rick]

Finally, the finish line is in sight!
[photo courtesy of Rick]

What made the race brutal?

Brutal. This pretty much sums it up - me, wanting to submerge
myself in the trashcan with icy water bottles after the race.
[photo courtesy Potomac River Running]

  • Training run the day before
Yesterday Karen and I did our long run. It is a recovery week, so long only equaled 4 miles, but it was hot and humid yesterday morning (94% humidity and 68 degrees when we started). And we are having some challenges adjusting to the 6:30 am start of the long runs. In the winter when we were training for Cherry Blossom they started at the cushy time of 8:00 am. In retrospect, we probably should have either selected the Saturday morning long run OR the Sunday morning race. Especially since it was a recovery week. We adjusted by running easy instead of racing for time, but it was still rough going.
  • Heat and humidity
Today was 83% humidity (a bit lower than yesterday) and 73 degrees (a bit warmer). But most of the course is in the sun, and I sure missed the shade of the trail from our training runs.  
  • An extra quarter mile on the course
The race leaders took a wrong turn at the start of the course which added a quarter mile. I thought it was odd when we turned left in the parking lot instead of going straight like I expected, but thought I must be remembering the course wrong, or they had tweaked it.  When we didn't get to mile marker 1 until 1.25 we thought maybe it was in the wrong place. When we again hit mile marker 2 at 2.25 we started to wonder what was wrong. In the end, my Garmin registered 3.41.
  • Trying out new clothes
Yes, we know better than to try new stuff on race day. but it was a 5k and we weren't looking to PR. Karen tested out her new running skirt from Athleta. Shorts didn't ride up, it was very cute, but did have a rough seam. Karen also ran in some tester shoes from Adidas, which gave her an extra raffle entry. The shoes didn't help her foot numbness. And speaking of...
  • Foot numbness
We both have problems with our feet going numb when we run. Karen has been to the doctor and been diagnosed with Morton's Neuroma. She has tried a variety of treatments and hasn't landed on the magical cure yet. I'm going to the doctor in a couple of weeks; so far I've moved to larger shoes and adopted Lock Laces. Both have helped, but not solved, the problem. Today numbness was a factor for both of us, and it is really becoming a source of frustration.

stick a fork in me, I am done!
[photo courtesy Potomac River Running]

Happy Birthday Potomac River Running!!
But in the end, the fun outweighed the challenges and a good time was had by all. Thank you Potomac River Running for all that you do for the running community! and Happy Birthday to you!!


  1. Congrats! It was rough out there yesterday with the humidity wasn't it?!

    1. It was indeed humid! I can only imagine how your Foam Fest must have been. Where is the return of the polar vortex we were promised for this week? ;)