Saturday was a race that has become of one of my favorites, and one of the only ones I've done every year during my running career, the National Police Week 5K. Proceeds from the race go to Concerns of Police Survivors, an organization which helps the families of fallen officers. As the child of a retired police officer, I was fortunate my father came home at the end of each shift. I figure this race is at least a small thing I can do to support the families of those who suffer such a terrible and needless loss. As a reminder of why we are there, each race bib has the name of a fallen officer on it. This year I ran in honor of Off. Brandon Sigler.
The race itself began and finished next to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and Judiciary Square and takes you around the Capitol, Library of Congress, and U.S. Supreme Court buildings, among others. This includes a climb up Capitol Hill around mile 1. I had debated on how I wanted to race this - do I stick with my 3:1 intervals (I've been in such a good groove with them lately) or do I just all out run, taking a brief walk break with each mile? Since I had not done a 5K since September, and given my PR success this Spring, I knew this would be a new personal best, it was just going to be a matter of by how much.
I got caught up in the race atmosphere and took off. First mile was just about 10 minutes flat. I got slower with each mile, partly due to the climb up the Hill at the start of mile 2, but mostly because of the weather and how hard I was pushing myself. Temps were in the 70s and the sun was beating down. Winds died almost immediately as soon as the race started. I underestimated how warm it would be. I normally carry a small 10oz. handheld bottle, but chose not to in this race. By the end of the race I was exhausted and my mouth felt like a desert. Fortunately, I had the cadence of some of the local police academy groups I had been pacing off of to keep me going. My time was 34:11, a PR of just over 3 minutes.
So, as I start to transition from races to using them as training runs, I have had quite the Spring, setting new bests in 5K, 10K, 10 mile, and half marathon distances. It has been so rewarding to see the hard work I've been doing in the gym and out on the trails paying off, and keeps me more and more excited about how Marine Corps will be in the fall.