Yesterday morning, I ran the Jingle All the Way 8k! It’s an annual race put on by local running store Pacers, and I broke out my festive finest for the occasion, obviously.
This race will go down in the books as the time I set a new PR while wearing a Santa hat.
After the Richmond Marathon, I decided it would be fun to get another race on the calendar to keep me motivated and give me something to look forward to. I’ve done the Jingle All the Way race in the past (it was actually a 10k when I did it back in 2010) so I emailed my running buddies a few weeks ago to see if anyone was interested in joining me for the adventure. My friends Mary and Karen were in!
We all met downtown bright and early for the race. When we arrived, it had started to snow. Hmmm. Why did we think this was a good idea again?
The race was well organized and we had no problems getting our bibs, our shirts, hitting the porta-potty, and heading to the starting line. Karen’s boyfriend, Jeremy, came out to cheer us on, which was awesome. Thank you to him for getting all these cool photos of us in action – and for coming out in such freezing weather!
Mary headed on ahead and Karen and I lined up together around the 8 minute mile group. We decided to run together and didn’t have any real goals besides just aiming for a fast clip.
An 8k is almost exactly 5 miles (4.97 miles); I knew from a glance the night before at my race recaps and PRs page that the only other 8k I’d done was the St. Patrick’s Day 8k a few years ago, which I finished in 40:50 for an average pace of 8:13 minute miles. My 5 miler PR, on the other hand, was from last year’s Alexandria 5 Mile Turkey Trot – I finished in 38:34, average pace of 7:43 minute/miles.
I haven’t been doing much fast (for me) running lately – during marathon training my goal was obviously longer, slower runs, and since the marathon my legs just haven’t wanted to move that quickly. And Karen has been working on coming back from a knee injury (some of you will recall she was originally going to run the marathon with me but had to drop out to heal up). So, we figured we would just see how our legs felt and go with it. #1 goal: have fun & don’t freeze.
The course was nice and flat and fast, taking us around the US Capitol and along the east side of the National Mall. Karen and I settled in at a nice clip, chatting some to catch up on life. When our first mile split popped up on my watch, I was surprised. 7:56! Nice. It felt fast but comfortable. Let’s keep it up, I said, and Karen agreed.
We first spotted Jeremy around the half way point and smiled for the camera. By this point, we were warm and feeling good!
We forged on, loving the flat course and simply going by how our legs felt. The miles flew by and we saw Jeremy again about a half mile or so from the finish. We were both feeling a little tired by this point, but we knew we only had to keep it up for a little while longer! We had unintentionally sped up quite a bit – every time a mile split popped up on my watch it was better than the last!
To the guy behind me: I’m sorry for posting these awkward photos of you on the internet.
Around the corner we go!
We really pushed it the last mile, even though our legs were getting tired, and we blazed through the finish. Whew! What an unexpectedly great race!
- Mile 1: 7:56
- Mile 2: 7:46
- Mile 3: 7:33
- Mile 4: 7:31
- Mile 5: 7:16 (!)
My watch was a little off (pictured below): our official finish time was 38:13; average pace: 7:42 minute/miles. We blew my old 8k PR out of the water, and beat my 5 mile PR, too, I’d say, even though this was only 4.97 miles.
I was super excited about our negative splits! Lesson of the day: we can run faster than we think we can. We just have to try. Thanks for keeping me inspired out there, Karen!
Mary crushed the race, too – she finished in just over 35 minutes! Speed demon. We toasted our victories with some celebratory hot apple cider. +3 points to the race for having this. Yum!
After we had caught our breath and rehydrated, we said goodbye to Karen and Jeremy and Mary and I headed towards the metro, enjoying all the fun costumes everyone was wearing. We spotted a guy wearing a red bathrobe, white tights, and a ridiculous hat, and I suddenly realized: wait, I know him! It was my good friend Jimmy from college study abroad in Australia! We hadn’t seen each other since my wedding last fall because we suck at keeping in touch, so we ended up going to grab brunch after the race together. Such a random and fun coincidence!
What did you guys get into over the weekend? Anyone else do any fun winter-y races?