I woke up at 4:00 AM. On my own. I didn't even need my alarm clock. I knew I was ready. I could hardly fall asleep the night before, which usually is a good sign for me. I think I got about 5 hours. If I sleep like a baby for 8+ hours, I usually don't run very well for some reason. I had one of my favorite cereals, quaker oatmeal squares, and a little bit of orange juice. Later, when I was on metro, I would eat my favorite pre-race snack: 1 chocolate powerbar. There is something about powerbars that sit well with me before racing, in addition to having me feel ready and energized. I would sip on powerade up until the start.
I arrived at the Grosvenor Metro at 5:00 AM on the dot. The train arrived around 5:10-5:15, and I was off to race in our nation's capitol. There weren't many on the train and the whole ride was really ease of stress. It was nice. I got off metro center and took the blue line where there were more runners-still not packed and easy. It was only 5:40 or so. I arrived at the Elite Tent a little bit before 6:00, and there were only a few others there. I did my usual stick massage to loosen up my muscles. Some stretching. Finally I saw familiar faces walking into the tent, GRC guys, and some of my own racing team members-Wendi and Peggy, who would start with the elite women. Wendi and I chatted nervously before getting ready to warmup. Teamates Matt, Andrew and DJ also arrived ready to race. I got in a 20 minute warm up and felt nice and loose.
The race announcer called the elite women to the starting area. They were off at 7:20, and soon we would start at 7:30. I put on my Wave Universe 4s and headed over. The Line was PACKED. I did a stride out and saw several people wishing me luck. The start of this race is always pretty nerve-racking. The more competitive the race, the higher the nerves. Still, I made sure to take a deep breath and get myself in "my zone." I got ready to toe the line with the elites and all of a sudden the race announcer said step up to the line...and very quickly sblew the horn almost without me even realizing it.
My body jolted to life as the gun went off and put myself immediately in the top 15. There was a lead pack already beginning to break away which was of about 10 people. I stayed behind and looked around for others to join me. Certainly there were. GRC's eventual top finisher, David Burnham pulled up next to me along with other GRC runners Paul and Jerry. Pacers runner Frank Devar pulled in front of our forming pack. We rolled together across the Arlington Bridge and I split 5:03 the first mile. We stormed across the bridge like our lives depended on it and ran around already seeing the lead runners forming a gap. Mile 2 we hit around 10:07. I then passed Paul and Jerry with Burnham and DeVar leading the way along with Darryl Brown(PA), and Jay Luna(Colorado). People cheered like crazy on the Arlington Bridge. People cheered for me, cheered for others behind me. Others who were chasing me. We made our way towards the Kennedy Center.
As we made our way towards the U-TURN under the Kennedy Center, we saw on the opposite side the lead African runners FLYING. We made the U-TURN-I hate UTURNS. The faster I get, the more I hate them. For some reason I like to slow down so that I can make the turn as close as possible-other guys I noticed ran furthur out and only ran slightly slower and used their momentum to sling shot around. I couldn't tell which would be better. But it does suck slowing up around the turn and then trying to pick up your turnover again. I just like to run the tangents as close as I can. We made our way to the 3 mile split in 15:10. It was kind of odd as I saw on the opposite side GRC runners Klim and Dusen, who I've never beaten ever. Usually I was used to the direct opposite. I knew they were going to give it their all to run me and anyone else down though. I pressed on and hit 5k in 15:40s.
It occurred to me that i had never been that far up in this race before. Someone counted our places as we ran by...13..14...15. Shit, I was in the top 15! Mile 4 was another daned U-TURN. This U-TURN was an absolute killer...1 u-turn in a race is ok...2 is too much. I again put the brakes on like a mad driver and then sped up again using full acceleration. Then a runner pulled up beside me. A runner who I DEFINITELY have never beaten before. It was Jake Klim's arch-nemesis top Pacers runner Bert Rodriguez(pictured below in blue). He was behind me?? This guy was a stud. He and Jake had run sub 51 on this course in an epic race in 2010. Come on Chris, stay with him, you can stay with him. They can't hurt you unless you let them. Then I saw Beth cheering so loudly for me right around mile 5. I immediately fell in love with her all over again. She has come to so many of my races, and has been there for me when I've had to deal with some of the toughest points in my running career. I hung on with Bert as we closed in on mile 5 in 25:32. But the race was far from over. Crowds cheered and I saw so many people cheering and calling my name. I saw Pat Savoy a runner who I coach going nuts on the opposite side and jumping up and down on the grass yelling my name. I threw him a smile-it was all I could do.
5 19 Jesse Cherry 24 Blowing Rock NC 47:40
6 37 Ketema Nugusse 31 Ethiopia 47:50
7 13 Josh Moen 29 Minneapolis MN 48:38
8 17 Patrick Rizzo 28 Boulder CO 49:14
9 41 Stephen Hallinan 26 Washington DC 50:18
10 345 Paolo Natali 31 Washington DC 50:44
11 346 David McCollam 32 Bridgeport WV 50:56
12 299 Frank Devar 23 Washington DC 50:57
13 112 Bert Rodriguez 32 Arlington VA 50:57
14 290 Chris Juarez 41 Alexandria VA 51:10
15 108 Darryl Brown 29 Exton PA 51:16
16 119 Jay Luna 28 Denver CO 51:17
17 110 David Burnham 27 Arlington VA 51:23
18 296 Karl Dusen 29 Rockville MD 51:27
19 357 Brian Flynn 28 Bridgewater VA 51:29
20 114 Carlos Renjifo 29 Columbia MD 51:43
21 358 Dustin Meeker 30 Baltimore MD 51:53
22 107 Christopher Sloane 28 Rockville MD 51:57
23 116 Patrick Reaves 27 Durham NC 52:16
24 111 Jake Klim 31 North Bethesda M 52:32
25 298 Will Viviani 29 Alexandria VA 52:41