Congratulations, Molly Huddle!
Yesterday I ran the inaugural .US National Road Racing Championships held in Alexandria, Virginia. I was a bit wary of running an inaugural event, but I figured the USTAF knew what it was doing, Pacers was on board to help with local logistics, and the City of Alexandria usually runs a tight ship. It turned out to be a fantastic event, and the elite runners ran record-setting races, including Molly Huddle who set a world best!
So, what made the USTAF 12K great (aside from the gorgeous sunrise)?
- It was perfect racing weather, cloudy and in the 50s!
- The logistics were easy. We were able to park a block from the starting area and there was never any line for the porta-pottys–even when I decided at the last minute that I had to “go” one more time!
- The crowds were light. Now, this may not happen again once everyone learns what a great event it was, but there were only about 600 runners. That is so much smaller than all the other races I’ve done this year, and it really makes for a more relaxed experience. I could actually find the people I knew and the post-race festivities did not feel like a mob scene.
- The course was very well-marked. One of my main concerns before the race was whether I would get lost with all the twists and turns! There were cones and police and/or race volunteers at every turn, so that just was not an issue.
- The course was interesting. We ran through Old Town, Alexandria, along streets lined with cute shops and cute houses. We ran through Del Ray, Alexandria, where families were out with their children and dogs cheering on runners. Even the section through Potomac Yard had much more crowd support than I was expecting, due in large part to the great volunteers.
- The course was mostly flat. There was a short steep hill before mile 1, two steep bridges/overpasses, and a few long, gradual climbs, but the course was mostly “flat and fast.”
I didn’t set a goal time before the race (I never even did the math to figure out how long 12K is in miles!) but I was hoping to sustain an 8:15-ish pace based on my Army Ten Miler performance. I used my Garmin to keep my pace under 8:20, and to make sure I wasn’t going too fast. I did see 7:35 a few times but I knew better than to try to hold that pace!
I was so thrilled to see 1:00:xx on the finish clock!
My split times show that my pace was pretty steady, although the last 2K included a long climb that slowed me down and a downhill stretch that I took advantage of before my near-all-out sprint to the finish!
All in all, it was a terrific finish to my 2013 racing!
Have you ever seen world class athletes compete in person?
Are you planning to participate in a Turkey Trot over Thanksgiving weekend?