I hope you like lots of pictures, because today’s 2014 Leesburg 20K recap is chock-full of them!  Proceeds from today’s race benefited the YMCA of Loudoun County’s youth programs, and it’s always nice to run a race that benefits something I find important.  I ran this race back in 2004, and I can’t believe that I haven’t run it since.  I think the fear of our August heat and humidity has kept me me from signing up!

The weather forecast this year; however, was pretty good considering it’s mid-August.  A 7:30 AM race start got us going in 68Β°, but it heated up quickly to around 80Β° by the time we finished.  Still, for mid-August, I’m not complaining!  Much of the race was run on the W&OD Trail, a trail that I train on regularly.  We were in shade much of the time and that certainly helped keep us comfortable.  Despite feeling pretty comfortable, I was drenched with sweat when I finished.

Yesterday’s packet pick-up went easy, breezy at the Leesburg Potomac River Running Store.  While there we picked up fuel for Bill, and a new shirt for me (it’s the green one I’m wearing at the race, and I now consider my lucky shirt).  I love everything about the race shirt!  It fits me perfectly, it’s white, it’s got great colors on the logo, and it’s got a cow and barn on the front.  This former farm girl is stoked!

Leesburg20KShirtBibPin
If you remember from previous race recaps, all =PR= Race Series races give away a little pin that goes along with the race theme.  This year’s pin is a cow’s head, a Holstein in fact.

Leesburg20KCowPinCloseup
As I mentioned on Friday, I was really excited to run today’s race because I was meeting up with so many friends.  My runs and races truly are parties on the trail!  I’m a lucky girl!

At 7 AM I had plans with Courtney, Julie, Jenny, and Kathryn to have a little blogger meet-up before heading over to meet my MRTT buddies at 7:15 on the other side of Tuscarora Mill.

What none of us planned on was traffic…  It was quite slow getting into the parking garage, and by the time Bill and I got to the top of the garage, most of the spaces were taken; and there were still long lines of traffic trying to get in.

Courtney and Julie were still stuck in that traffic when we snapped this quick picture with Kathryn and Jenny before Erin and I took off for our next photo opp.  And yes, Kathryn and Jenny are as sweet and nice in person as they look in the picture!

Leesburg20KErinKathrynJennyDeb

L to R: Erin, Kathryn, Jenny, and Deb

The problem with having so many friends you want to see before the race is finding time to make it to the porta potties before the race starts.  I rushed to the porta potties only to find the lines extremely long, and took off for plan B.  Unfortunately, other local runners remembered that there was a porta potty just down the street on the trail, too, so by the time I got there, there was a short line.  While in line, I met a girl named Jenny (not the one pictured above) and chatted a while; and little did I know what a speedy girl she is!  More on this Jenny later…

Just as I got back to our designated multi-chapter MRTT group picture spot, they were finishing up.  Erin saw me run up, and called our chapter back together.  I was shocked to see Sue there, so I grabbed her and had her join our chapter picture.  Sue had just finished running three miles and she was going to run another three miles after the race so she could get her 18-mile training run in for the day.  What a rock star!

Leesburg20KMRTTGirls
After our picture, we headed over to the race start.  I positioned myself up close to the front since I planned to race this one!  Erin and I got a pre-race selfie before we went our separate ways.

Leesburg20KStartLineSelfie
Early in the race I saw Dora and her husband Michael just in front of me, so I did my one-and-only sprint-photo-fartlek to pass them and snap this picture.  Since I was racing, I decided that I couldn’t afford to use up any excess energy, and any additional pictures would have to be taken on the run, and so what if they were blurry!

Leesburg20KDoraMichael
And speaking of blurry photos, I couldn’t resist capturing this.  Sometimes it’s okay for guys to run without shirts, sometimes it’s not.  Believe me, this time it was okay!

Leesburg20KRedWhiteBlueShorts

This is without a doubt my favorite spot on the 44.5-mile long trail, and I decided to take a photo on the run so you could see how fast I was running.  HaHa!  Seriously, I was not about to stop on an uphill section, and have to start up again.

Leesburg20KClarksGapBridge
My friend Jerome paced me at about an 8:45 average pace for the first six miles until he stopped to stretch.  We ran eight miles together on Friday at about an 8:30 pace and I felt great, so I trusted him today.  Once on my own, I kept my pace at pretty much an 8:30, until late in the race when I picked it up.

As you can see from the course elevation, it was a great race for reverse splits, and that’s exactly what I planned, and executed!

Leesburg20KElevationChart
The course was an out-and-back, so we were able to see the lead runners heading back toward us which is always very cool.  I love watching for the front runners and encouraging them.  It’s like having front row tickets at a ball game!  We were also able to watch for friends, and give them high fives as they ran by.  At my position in the pack we were a little spread out, but it looked like sections were pretty crowded.  All-in-all, it didn’t seem too bad, and the non-racers using the trail that morning didn’t seem too bothered by the 969 of us racing the 20K (there were 449 5K finishers).

As always, =PR= had photographers at the finish line, and one snapped this fun finish line photo of me.  If you remember, their photos are available free for download, which is a huge race perk.

Leesburg20KDebbieFinishLine

Photo courtesy of Potomac River Running

I crossed the finish line in 1:45:30 (8:30 pace) and was immediately handed a finisher’s medal and bottle of water.

Leesburg20KFinishersMedal
After we finished, I chatted with these two ladies, Bonnie and Angelika, and thanked them for pacing me for the last four miles.  The three of us jockeyed back and forth, until Bonnie pulled ahead with a half mile to go, and finished about a half a minute in front of us.  Having these two ladies in my sights kept me focused and challenged, especially when I thought Angelika might be in my age group – she wasn’t.

Leesburg20KBonnieAngelikaDeb

L to R: Bonnie, Angelika, and Deb

I worked my way back to the finish line to watch for my friends to come in, and soon saw Erin and snapped this picture.  I love that I caught her with both feet off the ground!

Leesburg20KErinFinish
I was happy to finally find Courtney and Julie after the race (we did see each other along the course), and have time to catch up.  They told me that because they had gotten caught in the parking garage traffic mess, they had started the race late.  The great thing about chip timing is that you still get your true race time.

Leesburg20KDoraCourtneyJulieDeb

L to R: Dora, Courtney, Julie, and Deb

After a girls photo, we decided to let the guys join us.

Leesburg20KJeromeMichaelBillwithGirls

L to R: Jerome, Michael, Dora, Courtney, Julie, Deb, and Bill

Remember my bathroom buddy Jenny?  Well, she just happened to be the second place women’s finisher with a time of 1:25:57 (6:56 pace)!  I told you she was speedy!

Leesburg20KJennyDeb
As always, there was plenty of food, but I had worked so hard that I had no appetite for about three hours after the race.  I did grab more water and a banana for later.

Leesburg20KFood
In addition to water, they had fruit juices, Gatorade, and sodas. I heard several people mention how the soda hit the spot after their hard run.

Leesburg20KDrinks
I chased this guy for about the first five miles and eventually passed him.  What does that make me?  A super badass?  I think so!  Anyway, I saw him in the food line and secretely snapped this picture.  What would I have done if he had turned around and caught me?  Yikes!

Leesburg20KBadAss
While roaming around looking for friends during the post-race festivities, I found my Cruiser buddies Murali, Vamshi, and Ravi, and got a chance to catch up with them.

RaviVamshiDebMurali
Next we found Anne and realized that we had five of our DC Ragnar Relay team members together!  My next race will be Ragnar in mid-September, and I can’t wait!

Leesburg20KRagnarTeam

Cruisers Rockin’ The Relay team members L to R: Anne, Ravi, Murali, Deb, and Bill

We heard an announcement that the 20K awards ceremony was about to start, and headed over to see if I’d placed.  Courtney and Julie were sweet enough to tag along and hang out with us!  They are so fun, and I wish we lived closer together so we could run together every week!

Leesburg20KCourtneyJulie
And guess what? I won my age group!  I was pretty stoked and felt like a little kid on Christmas morning when I received my prize.

Leesburg20KDebFirstPlaceAgeGroup

Age group first place prizes were a cowbell and a $25 gift certificate to Potomac River Running Store!  Yes, please; and thank you!

Leesburg20K1stPlaceAgeGroupAwards
Overall it was a fantastic race; and any day that brings together so many of my running friends is a great day for me!

 

  • Questions:
  • A 20K is not a very common distance for a race, have you ever run one?
  • Shirtless guys at a race:  Never, or only if they’re easy on the eyes?
  • Who raced this weekend?
Happy Running! ~ Deb