The Quick & Dirty
Heroes vs Villains Run for Justice 5k
Fairfax Corner, VA
30:50 (9:57 pace)
Overall Female Rank - 54/227
Age Group Rank (F30-39) - 18/79
Pre-Race & Warm Up:
The Heroes vs Villains Run for Justice 5k was a rousing success. Race morning I woke up around 6am. I blearily made my way to the kettle, had a cup of green tea, then started in on my tri-berry nuun. I made an entire 20 ounce bottle, but only drank about half of it. I jumped in the shower at 7am, more to wake me up than anything else. I gathered together all the pieces of my costume, got dressed, and packed my bag. At 8am I had an applesauce, then J and I headed out.
I love the Fairfax Corner race venue! This race didn’t have a huge attendance, likely because of the chilly temps race morning, but even at fuller races there’s always plenty of parking. Immediately upon arriving who should walk up to the car but Captain America! Cap and I entered ourselves into the costume contest, and then we had a bit of time to burn before the start.
I didn’t do a formal warm up, despite the cold. When I say cold….it was 30 degrees! Standing in the shade meant full on shivering, but it was at least tolerable in the sun. My brother was nice enough to give up his Sunday morning to come out and cheer, and he was wearing a hat, scarf, and full coat. Brrr chilly! Cap spotted some coffee, so he and J each had a cup. There was a DJ and some dancers from Emotion Dance and Fitness Studio to lead us through a warmup. The kids dance team was adorable, and there were some great dancers on the adult team, too. Incredible Hulk and Poison Ivy were on point! Check out their Facebook page for some videos.
After the warmup, Cap and lined up for the start. I looked around to seed myself properly, but I didn’t get the feeling that most people were in this event to run fast. My brother and J later told us that the anthem was played, but Cap and I never heard it. We didn’t even hear a starting pistol or anyone shouting “GO” or anything. People just suddenly started moving forward, so we did, too.
I'd never run with a friend before, but it was such fun, and he was a great pacer! Right away we were running faster than I thought we would, but it felt comfortable so I wasn't worried. As we hit the first turn, I commented that my feet were freezing. That was to be the last time either of us felt cold! In fact, as we ran into the sun, Cap started to get quite warm. His costume had the full padded muscles and everything, so before long he was peeling off his gloves and hat. I was so impressed that he never seemed to waver. I don’t think I could have been so steady when running in a costume like that! The first mile went quickly, and I finally felt warm as the mile marker went by. I had told Cap ahead of the race that I’d been training in the 11:30-12:15 minute/mile pace range, and when we hit mile one at 10:28, Cap commented that we were going quick. I confirmed that I felt good and was ready to speed up.
The second mile had a few hills, and it was starting to get a little harder. I don't know if I'd have stayed in the zone if I’d been by myself. Cap talked the whole time, telling me about his recent training cycle for the Goofy Challenge. I understand now why people say the miles go fast when running with a friend! Passing the mile two marker, I saw a split of 9:46 and was shocked. I haven’t seen numbers like that in years! From that point on, we started passing plenty of people, but the going was getting tough.. I could feel tension in my shoulders, and my breathing wasn’t as relaxed. There was a final hill as we made our way to the mile three marker, and conversation gave way to focusing on the task at hand.
We passed mile three with a split of 9:24, and I told Cap I wanted to leave it all on the course. As we headed towards the last turn, he let me take the inside corner. I could feel my stride stretching out and heard a few cheers, but I could also feel my heart pounding in my chest. I started smiling like a crazy person and crossed the line strong!
As I slowed to a stop my hamstrings immediately started to feel tight. I kept moving and did some high-knees to keep from locking up. We walked around to find some coffee and grabbed some snacks, waiting for the costume contest winners to be announced. Cap and I were a little salty about losing to a couple of kiddie stormtroopers. There was a father/son duo dressed as Flash and Reverse Flash that looked fantastic, and we wouldn’t have minded losing to them. But stormtroopers? Disgraceful! Once the awards we announced Cap headed on home, while my brother, J and I hit up Silver Diner for some breakfast.
Goals & Race Post Mortem:
As a reminder, here were my goals for this event:
- Go sub 35:00 (Yes! 30:50)
- No walking (Yes! never even occurred to me to walk)
- Negative splits (Yes!)
- 1 - 10:28
- 2 - 9:46
- 3 - 9:27
- .1 - 1:19
Whoop! Three for three!!
If I were to do anything differently, I would have taken a bit of time to warm up. It took me some time to find my groove, so maybe loosening up and stretching before hitting the start line would have been a good idea. My limiter for this race was my aerobic base. While I’ve been working hard, I could tell that my heart rate rose quickly and stayed high. Continuing to work on building a strong and deep aerobic capacity will benefit me in the long run. (Haha - long run!) All in all, I’m extremely happy with how this race went, and I think it bodes well for the rest of the season. Not only do I have triathlon goals for this season, but I intend to run a few more races between now and the fall on this same course so I can track my progress. I can’t wait!