Sunday, June 14, 2015

Twilight 4-Miler Recap

The Twilight 4-Miler has become an annual family tradition for us. It's a great race with a fun, family-friendly party and it benefits a good cause, Run For Jaime Foundation. In past years, Rick has run the 4 mile race and Freddy & I have run the 1 mile fun run. This year, my dad came with us to keep an eye on Freddy so I was able to tackle the 4 mile course for the first time.

Josie, Maura, & Michele from Run For Jaime
(photo courtesy of Potomac River Running)

Run For Jaime collected all of these shoes for children in Haiti
(photo courtesy of Run For Jaime)

Pre-Race Jitters

Potomac River Running Reston's Distance Training Program kicked off the morning of the race. Although I deliberately took the last two months easy in anticipation of the marathon training cycle I had ahead of me, the kick-off made me start to get nervous. I suddenly felt unprepared for what I was about to begin, and questioned the wisdom of my planned break.

This nervousness carried into my feelings about the twilight race. It was going to be hot & humid. What if I crashed and burned during the race and carried new self-doubt into the start of my training cycle? A whole bunch of stuff bubbled up from I don't even know where. Yikes!

It Takes a Village

Fortunately, I have a vast village of support. I have my Potomac River Running Training family, Moms Run This Town friends, the Reston Runners Best Food Forward ladies, and my actual family. I felt the strength & support of my network as I struggled to push past my doubts.

  • Susan advised me to go slow & do my intervals. Realize that the heat is going to slow me down. Focus on having fun rather than a PR. This was exactly what I needed to hear.
  • Shannon told me she was running the race and would run with me. I love running with Shannon & she will be training for Marine Corps with me.
  • Cheryl posted her "flat mama" in the Ashburn MRTT group and inspired me to pull out my sparkle skirt to add some fun to my race outfit. 
  • Karen gave me a yellow Fellow Flowers which I pinned to my race belt for inspiration.

A surprise gift from Karen

Multi-Chapter MRTT picture before the race.
Meeting up with so many awesome women helps calm my nerves & get me psyched!

Herndon-Reston MRTT - this is my local chapter!
Annie, me, Jade, Amritpal (b-day girl!), Lindsay, Valencia

The Race

Mile 1
Shannon & I planned to take it easy during the race. We set our watches for 3:1 intervals (2:2 would have been a better choice). We got carried away and went out too fast during the first mile. 

I am usually pretty good about reeling it in at the beginning of the race, but we got caught up in the enthusiasm of the crowd and the many friends we heard calling out our names - during the first mile I saw Josie, Maura, & Michele from Run For Jaime; Melissa, Ellen, Susan, & Jessica from Vienna MRTT; and Fred the course marshal on his bike (he periodically kept us company throughout the race).

An overly enthusiastic start for Shannon & me
(photo courtesy of Potomac River Running)

Mile 2
We extended our walk break so I could get my heart rate a little lower. We passed the water table being manned by Pure Barre of Ashburn and I saw my sorority sister Jill. I may have put ice cubes in my bra. We saw runners on the other side of the course heading back toward the finish and I saw both Coach Mike and my husband Rick. 

We saw Mike & Rick close to the Mile 3 marker (source)

Mile 3
We picked up the pace again. We ran through a neighborhood with families out in front of their homes cheering us on. Shannon stayed really positive and kept my spirits up. I saw Cheryl and her sparkle skirt just ahead of us. I tried not to think about how much farther a marathon is than a four mile race.

I noticed my fingers were swollen like Vienna sausages. Shannon told me to raise my arms in the air and it relieved the swelling almost immediately. Such a simple fix, but it never would have occurred to me to do it.

Mile 4
My heart rate got higher and we took some extra walking time. We had to start running sooner than we planned when we saw Coach Mike cheering up ahead on the course. We didn't want Mike to see us walking! 

When we got close to the finish line we started sprinting hard. I heard Amritpal cheering for me. We were almost done! We finished in just under 52 minutes - not even close to a PR, but a respectable effort given the heat. We were given icy cold wet towels when we crossed the finish line & we headed over to my dad, husband, & son.

Flying to the finish!
(photo courtesy of Potomac River Running)

Post-Race Party

My dad headed home, Rick & Shannon went to the beer garden, Freddy & I went to watch the activities at the dunk tank. There was a live band, bounce houses, face-painting, balloons, ice cream & pizza. Mizuno and ElliptiGo had tents set up.

It was almost nine o'clock and I felt like I had missed a lot of the party. I realized my favorite thing about this race is spending time at the party and enjoying all of the activities. By running the four-miler instead of the 1-mile fun run, I had inadvertently cut out most of my party time. We'll be back next year, and I think I will go back to the fun run and maximize party time!


  1. I have such fond memories of this race from 2014. Really want to get back there. Be proud for gutting this through (and noted re the swollen fingers fix!)!

    1. Thanks for the kudos. This really is a warm one! Hope to see you there next year :)

  2. Thanks for the shout out! So glad my advice helped. Sometimes you have to leave your PR at the start line and know that you are just running for fun. It takes the pressure off. :)