I originally hadn’t planned to put the 2017 For The Love Of It 10K on my racing calendar. More often than not, I choose not to sign up for races during January, February, and March. Even though I quite like running in the cold, I don’t like standing around waiting for a race to start while I’m freezing. As a result, there are several races held during the winter months that I haven’t given a fair shake.

Deciding to run in this race started back in December when my blogging friend Deborah from Confessions of a Mother Runner said she planned to run this race and asked if I wanted to join her. Having run the race once before as part of Erin‘s birthday celebration, I knew that the high school would be open for us to hang out in until the race started, and that was enough to convince me that I couldn’t miss out on this fun meet-up.

Once I committed to the race, I asked Erin if she was interested in joining us. Not only did she join us, but she picked up my race packet and volunteered to drive to the race. I’m not sure how I got so lucky to deserve such a nice friend, but I’m not going to question it!

Erin dropped my race packet off on her way home and at first I was disappointed that the race shirt was black. After looking at my stacks of running shirts, I realized that I didn’t have a long sleeved one in black so I’m happy. The women’s cut shirt fits perfectly and I suspect I’ll be wearing this shirt often.

 

Erin and our friend Sara picked me up at 7 AM, and after a fun ride to Reston, we met our friend Beth at South Lakes High School where the race started. We hung out in the cafeteria for just a few minutes before spying Deborah, who had just gotten in line to pick up her race packet. I hung out in line with her as she moved forward quickly and then we chatted until it was time to hit the restrooms for one last time.

We stayed inside as long as we could, and then ventured out into the 18° temperature about five minutes before the race started. We found someone to take this group picture after Deborah had already found her place in line and then we all self-seeded according to our expected paces. 

Photo credit: Sara

Not at all surprised that I didn’t wear a Valentine themed outfit, Erin decided that she and Sara needed to spread a little Valentine spirit on me. We later realized that they should have created a heart around me with their arms. Next time…

Photo credit: Sara

Crowded in the 8:00-9:00 pace corral, I had just enough space to jump up and down to stay warm until the race began. Dressed in capris, a long sleeved shirt, a thin nylon shell, an ear-warmer headband, gloves, mittens and hand-warmers, my body temperature felt perfect once I started running. As soon as we turned right onto South Lakes Drive a breeze hit our faces and sent a little shock through me. It only took a minute or two to feel my body start to warm up; and around the 1.5-mile point I had to shed my jacket and tie it around my waist.

Photo credit: Potomac River Running

The course was mostly rolling hills, but considering it was in Reston, it wasn’t too bad. If you’ve ever run the Reston 10 Miler you know exactly what I’m talking about. Surprisingly though, I felt this course had more down hills than up and I got to put my gliding into practice several times to give my running muscles a chance to relax. 

The photographer caught us here around mile five on what was probably our longest and toughest uphill of the morning.

Photo credit: Potomac River Running

This next time a photographer caught me, I had a smile on my face as I approached the back side of the high school. After a quarter mile push, I knew I would turn onto the track and would be able to kick it into high gear as I rounded the track and crossed the finish line.

Photo credit: Potomac River Running

Keeping an eye on my watch during the race helped me pace at my goal of a sub-8:30 and not get off track. I hit the high 7’s on the downhills and some of the flats, and in turn didn’t beat myself up if I crept into the low 9’s on the steeper uphills and when I walked through the two water stops. My mile splits from my Garmin:

  • Mile 1 – 8:36
  • Mile 2 – 8:39
  • Mile 3 – 8:15
  • Mile 4 – 8:09
  • Mile 5 – 8:41
  • Mile 6 – 8:12
  • Final .25 – 1:43

In usual fashion, I didn’t run my tangents tight enough and finished with my Garmin showing the distance at 6.25. With a finish time of 52:12, I ran at an average 8:21 pace (8:24 using 6.2 as the official distance). 

Photo credit: Sara

After we’d finished the 2017 For The Love Of It 10K, we asked Beth to take a picture of us jumping – congratulating ourselves on a job well done.

Photo credit: Sara

We cracked up when we saw we’d been photobombed by another jumper!

Photo credit: Sara

While walking back into the warm high school, Erin saw this Dunkin Donuts selfie frame so we naturally had to take more pictures. It wasn’t until we got home that I noticed the hashtag in the bottom right of the frame – #CatchtheCruiser. Three of the four of us in the picture are indeed Cruisers – Beth, Erin, and I.

Photo credit: Sara

Before we left the Dunkin Donuts table, Beth picked up a tiny little coffee complete with a little lid. It was so cute that I had to take a picture so I had her hold up her bagel for size comparison.

 

We hit up the post-race snacks which included the usual fare of bananas, bagels, granola bars, Gatorade, and water. This Valentine themed race had the additional bonus of delicious iced sugar cookies from Amphora and they were the bomb!

Photo credit: Deborah

The awards ceremony was held pretty soon after the race was over and I was tickled to win a $20 gift certificate to Potomac River Running for placing second in my age group.

Photo credit: Sara

After the awards ceremony we all headed to a nearby shopping center and overtook a table at Starbucks. While enjoying our real live coffee date, I had the pleasure of getting to know Deborah a little better. She’s every bit as sweet in person as she is on her blog and we all chatted like we’d been life-long friends. I left on cloud nine and pretty much stayed there for the rest of the day!

 

Once I arrived home and told Bill how I’d done, he asked if I was happy with my race performance. When I told him that I didn’t throw up at the finish line so I guess I could have pushed harder, he cracked up.  😉

If you’re looking for a fun Northern Virginia winter race with a warm place to hang out until the race starts, look no farther. The Run For the Love Of It 10K is well organized, easy to get to, and has great post-race cookies!

 

  • Questions:
  • Have you ever thrown up at the end of a race? ~ My friend Miles told me that at his very first race he saw someone throw up at the finish line and thought that was the norm, not the exception.
  • Do you like iced sugar cookies? ~ They’re one of my favorites!
  • Have you run a Valentine themed race? If so, did you dress in pinks and reds?

 

Happy Running! ~ Deb