Feelin’ Groovy – Women’s Distance Festival 5K Race Report

I learned a lot about myself today.  I learned that I am capable of so much more than I thought possible.  I learned that I need to trust in my abilities and let myself go there … that I thrive on finding out what I’m made of and that I love sharing this feeling with other women who run and with my family. 

Today I set a new 5K PR by nearly two minutes and I finished first in my age group.  This has never happened for me before.  And – ohmygosh – was it FUN!  When I crossed the finish line with what I’m sure was a seriously goofy grin on my face I was smiling because I had just had so much fun running, because I was happy with my time and because I felt good and I felt strong.  I knew I could do even better – and I believe without question that I will.  I can feel my potential and it is exciting to me.

After getting my award.  No way!!

So … without further adieu here is my very first ever, as official as it gets for me, Race Report:


Race: Women’s Distance Festival 5K

Date: June 25, 2011
Location: Reston, VA 

Weather: Hotttt.  But not too humid thankfully.  Very sunny.  Not much shade at all.

Course: Mostly along the W&OD trail with some out/back loop portions and hairpin turns.  The terrain was mostly pavement but there were also some gravelly and woodsy trail sections.  A few hills – not killer, but definite inclines!  This was not a simple out-and-back course as one might have assumed since it is marketed as being along the W&OD trail.

Groovy Facts: This is a women-only event!  There were men volunteering along the course though – manning the water stations and telling us where to turn and what our splits were.  Lots of men cheering us in at the finish too and even one man offering “hugs” in the finishing chute (this I found weird and next time I will try to spot him sooner so as to avoid the hug.  Kinda creepy if you ask me).  There were about 500 women registered today.  The youngest participant was 5 years old and the oldest was 76.  Many women also walked and there were awards for the walkers as well as for the runners, which I think is pretty cool.  The race had a 60’s theme and everything was very groovy – peace signs everywhere, tie dye balloons and beach balls for the kids, 60s music playing at the finish.  The trophies were lava lamps – soo fun!  There was a whole lotta love going on.  You just couldn’t help but smile – the atmosphere was totally fun.

 Tips: If you want to run this race, make sure that you start towards the front since there are a lot of run/walkers and walkers.  The race is on the trail so it is a narrow lane and passing can be tough.  Also, if it is a sunny day be sure to protect yourself from the sun – hat and/or sunglasses and sunscreen a must if you don’t want to get a sunburn.  If you are a mom and live nearby – have your husband bring the kids to cheer you on!  It is a very family-friendly race and my kids had a lot of fun today.  Oh and stay for the awards even if you didn’t place because there are a bunch of pretty great raffle prizes that you are only eligible to win if you are there when your number is called.


Finish Time: 23:08
Avg Pace/Mile: 7:27
Bonus!!: 1st in my Age Group (35-39)

Jodi and me feeling post-race happy!

My goal going into this race was to PR – because I knew I could.  My previous PR was 24:52 and that was set last month at the We’ve Got Your Back 5K also here in Reston.  I wanted to have a sub-8:00 pace per mile but wasn’t sure how far under that I could be.  I was thinking 7:30s should be do-able because the other night at the track I ran 4 miles at that pace.  (There were 3-minute rest periods between my reps on the track, but I was not going “all out” that night and felt that for a 5K race I should be able to hold that pace without killing myself.  I was right.)  I maintained a steady pace of around 7:15 for the first two miles even with the sharp turns, hot sun and gravelly/woodsy terrain sections.  Mile three was just plain HOT and I slowed down a little over the last hill but never gave in and felt strong.  The last stretch was fun – I gave it more ooomph and pushed to the finish.  When I was done I wondered though if perhaps I should have pushed harder that last mile because I felt like I had more in me when I crossed the finish.  I do this a lot – especially when I see people crossing and nearly collapsing or puking – should I have pushed myself to that point?  I think the answer is NO, not unless I wanted to!  Which I did not.  I was super-happy with my time and my performance and I was glad I wasn’t feeling like I could hurl because I got to see my husband and my kids and celebrate with them!

me and Abby getting our groove on
me and baby Gus feelin’ the love

When it came time for the awards I asked my husband if we could stick around because I thought maybe, just maybe, I may have placed in the top three in my age group.  When they announced that I was FIRST in my age group I was completely surprised.  It was a total thrill for me!

My “trophy” is a groovy lava lamp and it is BEYOND cool.  Just ask my kids.  I think the best part of it for me is their reaction.  Although I’m pretty sure they’re more in awe of the lava lamp than they are of the reason I won it, I don’t care.  It just makes me happy.  I’m enjoying their compliments and praises of my “awesome” award.  I love listening to them play with it – they aren’t allowed to touch it because it is fragile and it gets hot – but they stand around it and pretend they are wizards and it is their magical, mysterious lamp.  Sort of like a crystal ball, I think.  If I had to list things in this life that make me happy very near the top would be the sound of my kids using their imaginations together happily.  So, I’m thankful for this lava lamp because it is inspiring my kids to get along and be creative.  And it is inspiring me to keep running.

lava lamp in action

6 thoughts on “Feelin’ Groovy – Women’s Distance Festival 5K Race Report

  1. Oh my gosh, seriously tearing up here at the the part where you get your award and your kids are so excited! And what fun to get a lava lamp!!! So stinkin' cool. They must think you are their hero…as it should be. Love the way you wrote this Jessica….WEll DONE girl!!! SErious congrats to you!!! Wow! Big things are on the horizon for you girl!!

  2. oh and I love this: “I learned a lot about myself today. I learned that I am capable of so much more than I thought possible. I learned that I need to trust in my abilities and let myself go there … that I thrive on finding out what I'm made of and that I love sharing this feeling with other women who run and with my family. “

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