Sunday, November 10, 2013

Cross Country Style

Last weekend, Zach and I ran the RoadRunner 5K to benefit a local elementary school and help them buy new playground equipment.  Despite the name (I think it is because of the school mascot), the race is a cross country race at one of my favorite places in Northern Virginia, Great Meadow!  I was very excited about getting to run on the same course that the horses use for the Gold Cup races.  In addition, it was a nice chance for Zach to test out his cross country skills particularly because this is the course that the Virginia State High School Cross Country Championships uses.
Saluter...best horse ever in Gold Cup!


There was also a 1 mile kids race that Nicolas decided to run in.  Packet pick up and check in was really easy.
No lines here...also no lines for the porta potties.

We waited around for a bit and then the kids mile started.

Someone is serious about the mile!


Nic ran a great race.  The course was a little confusing so he hung with the older kid who was supposed to be the pacer for the group.  I think he finished 4th or 5th and had a great run!




Then it was time for Zach and I to start.  We lined up at the start.  Zach was nervous, but they were playing Bon Jovi Living on a Prayer so I took his mind off of the nerves by embarrassing him by singing along.  The gun went off and we started at a pretty good pace.  We ran a pretty strong first mile about 9:10.  
video 
Short video of Zach and I during mile 1

The course at this part was over some packed gravel.  It got much harder in the second mile when we hit the thick grass.  Zach was struggling a little because the grass was grabbing at his feet, but he kept a strong 9:19 pace.  The third mile was a lot harder for him as it was much hillier, into the wind, and almost all grass.  He faded a bit here to a 10:37.  The course was actually long at 3.27 miles.  He ran the last quarter mile at a 9:38 pace and finished strong passing a bunch of people in the final stretch.  Nic was a great little brother and came to run him in on the last stretch just as Zach had run him in on the last stretch of the mile earlier.
Zach and I finishing strong!

We finished at 31:34 for an average 9:36 pace since the course was longer than a 5K.  He did a great job and ended up 7/20 in the <14 age group with the only boys beating him being 10+ and 40/143 overall so he did an awesome job on a tough course.  We had a fun time running together, and I was really proud of him and glad that I got to share the race with him.

Gorgeous course views!
How can you not enjoy a course like this?

Overall this was a good race with a great course and friendly volunteers and nice long sleeve cotton shirt for a low entry fee.  The parking was easy as was packet pick up.  The only negative for this race was the fact that they added a 10K this year which made the course confusing as the 10K runners were entering and leaving the course at various spots.  I'm pretty sure Zach may have gotten lost if I hadn't been with him as the volunteers themselves seemed a little confused as to where we should go sometimes and the course marking wasn't that great in the back section of the course.  I would definitely do it again though for the beauty of the course.




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