Sunday, July 18, 2010

Rockville Rotary Twilight Runfest Race Report

Saturday was the 25th Rockville Twilight 8K and the first time either I or Courtney had run it.

shampoo and haircut

After spending the morning at Capitals development camp watching the rookies scrimmage and lunch at Rock Bottom Brewery we headed over to Potomac River Running in Rockville for last minute pre-registration.

A couple observations; I really like the free space counter and signs directing you to open spots. Also, if the parking lot has free space counters and signs guiding you to the open spaces, why are you driving around asking people if they are leaving?

A huge ice cream cone

After registering for the race with about 4 hours to kill we headed to the movies to sit in the AC and took in a showing of The Sorcerers Apprentice, it was lighthearted and entertaining. With that done we got smoothies at Robeks for a light early dinner and C- got a pre-raceshampoo and haircut.

The square around packet pickup was packed with people picking up packets, stretching, putting chips on their shoes eating huge ice cream cones and having a good time while enjoying the atmosphere and shade waiting for the sun and temperatures to fall.

Around 7:45 we headed back to the car to change and on to the race start to warmup. After checking my bag I decided to turn down the offer from 7-11 for a free hot wing sample. However, I observed a number of runners taking them up on the offer which I decided was very daring minutes before a race.

At the starting line I saw the youngest race official ever and headed out for a moderately hard warmup befitting the relatively short nature of the race.

the youngest race official ever

At 8:35 I ran into Mandana who was still in need of a warmup and Allen who was trying to decide just how hard of an effort he was going to put it. Allen and I looked for Tom and Carol and any other members of the AARC who might have been there to pass the time until the start (Although most of them would likely be much closer to the starting line than we planned to be).

As Allen and I waited we wondered about the utility of announcing on a hard to understand PA that specific paces should try to line up by X, Y and Z but seemingly only the once instead of having pace grouping signs.

Around 8:50 at the 5 minutes to the start announcement I felt like I was starting to tighten up a bit and started feeling antsy to get the race going.

At 8:55 the race started and we were off for a leisurely race in the heat and high humidity. Having talked to Ray Pugsley about the course earlier in the day I was expecting some hills and had decided that this was not going to be a PR attempt. I would go out a bit easier than tempo pace and pick it up a little each mile.

Near the first turn Allen wished me luck and dropped back a little only to fly by just at the second turn at a little over a mile on the down hill. I called out asking him how he felt about his pace and slowed ran with me (a bit faster than his original plan).

Right around the hill of the first water stop Allen wished me luck again and I didn't see him the rest of the night. Looking at the results I believe he finished about 10s/mi faster than the pace he had been aiming for.

I stuck to my plan picking the pace every mile but got to the end of the race with too much in the tank. At mile 4 I realized that although I had too much left I didn't have enough to run the fastest nearly mile of my life to PR and just did a progression picking up the pace to a final sprint for the last 100m or so.

I dropped off my chip, grabbed some water and reverse ran a bit of the course looking for Allen and C- to cheer them in while I cooled down. I missed Allen but saw Courtney who was looking good so I headed back to the finish to cheer some more. After C- crossed the line I heard the announcer call out the name of a friend we hadn't seen in years and went to say hello, chat and get her over to say hi to C-.

Then we headed to grab our bag, some food, our beer and to look for friends and eventually as the party was over head on home.

I definitely had a good time and would look to do this race again next year. C- mentioned that after starting fairly far back she was jostled and had her elbow hit by at least three people running at a substantially higher pace than everyone else around her in the first mile to the point that she was wondering why anyone would want to race and was thinking about dropping out. Thankfully the field opened up a bit and she ended up having a good race as well.

Ron Mandana and Courtney Post race beer and donuts

Post race beer

The full gallery of pictures by Shawn Ferry

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