Thus summer’s been a surprisingly quiet running season for me. I started with some lofty goals, but my life and schedule right now are both full of an inordinate number of question marks, so scheduling longer distance races and setting aside time for long runs just isn’t possible.
I made a game day decision to run the Rockville Rotary Club’s Twilight 8K this past weekend. I’d run the race back in 2012 during my first summer in Maryland. It’s a very fun and unique run in that the start time coincides with sunset, and the entire race is run pretty much in the dark. The distance is also a bit rare, falling just short of 5 miles.
I rode the metro over to Rockville’s town square and signed up for the race with ½ hour to spare before the closing of the late entries. The weather loomed a bit ominous, but only a few sprinkles of rain dropped from the sky prior to the start.
There’s a large pre-race festival, so the area was quite crowded and I wound up going by myself, so I needed to wander around by myself for nearly an hour. I randomly ran into a friend of mine from the winter marathon training program and spent a few minutes chatting with him and his friends prior to the race, which helped ease some of the jitters.
The race is large, but for some reason doesn’t use a wave start, so I pushed my way up towards the front of the pack. I was hoping to avoid stumbling around too many people during the first precious minutes.
The first 3 miles consist of a large loop through the rolling hills of the neighborhoods surrounding the square. I felt pretty good for the first mile, but struggled with a significant “aside stich” over mile 2 and then really started losing steam during the third mile.
Fortunately, mile 4 was pretty flat and mainly through the grounds of Montgomery County Community College. Around that same time, it started raining pretty consistently. It was quite welcome though, given my overheated state as my late registration and lack of a car parked nearby afforded me no ability for storage, so I was wearing the race shirt we received over my regular tank top.
Just as I passed the marker for mile 4, I met up with my friend from the running group. I had no idea he was so far ahead of me from the start. I turned off my music and brilliantly asked him if he wanted to tackle the last mile together “for old time’s sake.” I slowed my pace and chatted with him about our lives since our respective distance races. Turns out it was a great way to pass the time, and before I knew it, we were quite literally sprinting towards the finish line.
In all, it was a great race and a great way to celebrate a relatively nice mid-summer’s eve. I won’t lie; given the current state of my training– the best part for me was certainly the 4 free draft beers for all finishers at the post race party!