Thursday, January 1, 2015

Fairfax Four-Miler Recap (2014)

What a difference a year makes! I have such vivid memories of running the Fairfax Four-Miler in 2013 and contrasting them to my experience running the race last night is striking. Both times I set a PR (personal record) and felt really good about my performance. This year, however, I was with friends and had an entirely different and far more fun experience!

Pre-Race Prep

Glow-stick bling is a must for this race. I picked up some in the dollar bin at Target and a fancier "party pack" at Amazon. I am really glad I got the party pack because it had some fantastic accessories and the quality of the glow sticks was far superior. Next time I will skip the Target bargain buy.

Amazon promo pic for the party pack (source)

Freddy helped me make some of the accessories the afternoon before the race. He wanted to start earlier but I told him we needed to wait until closer to the race so the sticks would still glow during the race (a little tip I found out last night - putting active glow sticks in the freezer will preserve the glow...I also heard that putting a "dead" glow stick in the freezer can reactivate it - albeit fainter than before - but I haven't tested that yet).

glasses and headband

triple-strand bracelet
(accessories shown above my hand)

accessories for necklaces, earrings, & a ring

Pre-Race Logistics

We had two teams of four ladies registered from the Reston Runners Best Foot Forward group. Pacers ran a nice promotion where you could register four runners for the price of three and we took full advantage of the discount! Seven of us met in Reston and carpooled to Old Town Fairfax. We parked in the Courthouse shopping plaza and made a potty break pit-stop at Safeway.

Groupie at Safeway! Clockwise from back left:
Susan, Laurie, Roz, Terri, Lynn, Molly, me

Then we headed back to the cars to add some more glow accessories and finishing touches before heading over to Pacers to meet up with Norma.

Roz rocks glasses, earrings, a necklace & bracelets

Lynn, Laurie, & Susan showing off their bling
(photo hindered somewhat by reflective gear)

Then we headed over to Pacers where we linked up with Norma who gave us fancy bead necklaces.

In full bling mode!
back from L: Susan, Terri, Norma, Molly
front from L: Lynn, Laurie, me, Roz

I bumped into my friend Andrea before the race.
She and her friend Sara rocked some sparkly tutus!

The Race

The race is a lollipop course that goes down George Mason Blvd, around the George Mason Campus, and back up the boulevard. It has some sections that are dark and some uneven pavement, but most of it is sufficiently lit. 

Course map (source)

We all started together but ran our own races so we separated quickly. I decided to do 5:1 run:walk intervals for the race. Lynn stuck with me for more than half the race, which was awesome. We got to see some of our friends during the two small out & backs on the loop and cheer for each other. 

I focused on negative splits and picking it up during the second half of the race. I ran the first half in 24:18 and the second half in 22:00. My finish time of 46:18 was a PR by just over a minute; last year's time was 47:20. I was happy with my performance and PR. I felt a bit frustrated the last half mile or so when I wanted to go even faster than I was going and I just couldn't get around all of the people on the narrow section of the course. I remember that happening last year, as well, and I just accept that it is the way this particular race is.

Molly's feathery headband was easy to spot on the course!
Here, BFFs lined up after the race to cheer for us slower folks
(photo courtesy of Terri)

Crossing the finish line was fun - I heard someone say "way to go, ears" and my faster BFF friends were lined up at the chute cheering for the rest of us.

Post-Race fun

We all headed over to the Pacers Photo Booth and got a group photo taken:

photo courtesy of Swim Bike Run Photo (source)
Note: photo booth is designed for smaller groups and
wouldn't normally show "long fence" sign & fencing.
We broke the photo booth!!!

Then we went inside the Old Town Hall and enjoyed some pizza while soaking in the ambiance and listening to the speedy age group awards.

Inside the Old Town Hall
(photo courtesy of Terri)

We left the race and went to a nearby bar where we toasted the New Year and each other.

Terri, Roz, & Norma with the 2015 headbands
(photo courtesy of Terri)

The Ladies Room sign that made us laugh

Post-race revelry at the bar
(photo courtesy of Terri)

We marveled over how we all felt like we had known each other for ages, but just a year ago many of us hadn't known each other at all. Last year at this time I only knew Lynn! And now some of these women are among my closest confidantes. How quickly things can change. Here's to a great 2015! Happy New Year!


  1. Looks like you had a blast! congrats on the PR and Happy New Year!

    1. thank you Deborah! Happy New Year to you, too!

  2. Looks like a lot of fun - good idea to get those glowsticks. Congrats on the PR and Happy New Year! Hope to see you at a PRR run soon - will you be running the one on Feb 8 (that is a maybe for me) :)

    1. Thanks Jennifer! Happy New Year to you, too! The Feb 8th race is a maybe for me, too. I've run it the last couple of years but they moved it from Reston to Fairfax which makes me less sure. But if you are running it that will likely sway me to yes :)