Pacers are a staple on the DC-VA race circuit. Potomac River Runners put on a lot of races as well but those tend to be in the middle of nowhere burbs and Pacers is more metro accessible (you know, when it starts after the metro opens) so I do the Pacers races.
This weekend after the Mid-Atlantic erg sprints, I got up Sunday morning to my alarm (it’s really cruel to have an alarm go off on both weekend days) and headed to West Potomac Park. “West Potomac Park” is a fancy way of saying “Hains Point” but not exactly Hains Point, kind of like, above it. Why the fancy name? Because if you run in DC, odds are you hate Hains Point. In fact, on the site for another Pacers’ race it specifically says:
“Starts and finishes in front of Washington Monument; runs along Independence Avenue, Rock Creek Parkway, Ohio Drive and several monuments. USATF certification pending. No Hains Point!“
The race seemed really small relative to their other events, but all in all it was a flat out-and-back course that covered part of the Marine Corps marathon course and the Nike Half Marathon course. I’m happy to say that for another race, I did not get passed by the man wearing the giant Woodrow Wilson head. That’s another DC thing–we like when people run around with giant Presidential heads on (exhibit A: Nationals game), we’re a simple people here in the nation’s capital. He’s been at every Pacers race I’ve participated in and for each runner he passes there’s a charitable donation–he’s also a running advertisement for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge half marathon in the fall. FYI, he’s actually pretty fast with that head on and yes, he does wear a giant sweat band.
The race was run really well–dogs were welcome (they are at quite a few Pacers races) and the black lab was well represented at the race, so there was some serious dog cuddling and oogling going on. I finished and headed back to meet my friend and run the last quarter mile with her in what has become (fondly? angrily?) called my land coxing among the people I row with.
PSA: The 5k never, ever, ever gets easier. It hurts. It hurts bad. Like, “my lungs are burning, how is it only half a mile in” hurt.