I had heard good things about this race from my brother-in-law Mike, who has run it a few times in years past, so I decided to give it a shot.
Race day was sunny but cold, about 36 when I left the house, and there was a crush of people around the community center before the race. The 5K registration was about 4,000 (sold out), and they had an untimed, open 2K, which I believe put the number of participants at over 6,000.
The course was fairly non-descript, run mainly through a residential neighborhood in Centreville, VA. Other than the usual hills you find in Northern Virginia, it was nothing special, course-wise. But my performance was extra-special (for me).
I started slow, as usual, behind a horde of mis-seeded runners, but quickly passed a lot of people within the first mile when the first hill appeared. I ran that first mile in about an 8:35 pace, right where I wanted to be. Mile 2 was a bit faster, around an 8:15-8:20 pace. But mile 3 was where I really surprised myself. It's usually that last mile when I start to fade, but on this day, I tore off an 8:05 (or so) mile. The final .1 I did in sub-8 pace, and my PR was hit. I broke 26 minutes for the first time in a 5K, just 5 days after I broke 27 minutes for the first time.
But what I was more proud to have achieved was running each mile faster than the previous one. That's a personal accomplishment that really makes me happy.
I decided after that race to forgo trying to run another 5K this Sunday, December 4th. Better to end my 2011 racing year on a great note. I'm hoping to start up again running a 5K in Reston on New Year's Day, then I've got the Rock & Roll USA Half Marathon in Washington, DC on March 17th.