Aaron placed 3rd overall in this personal favorite local 5K race held at Lord Fairfax Community College in Middletown, Virginia.
One of my personal favorite local 5Ks held each years is the Wits for Wellness race held at and by Lord Fairfax Community College. Perhaps I am a little biased (I do work for the college after all), but it is a nice, well organized race with around 125-150 participants that combines some road running, cross country, and a fairly easy trail portion. This year LFCC partnered with the great local running organization Shenandoah Valley Runners (which I am a member of) to handle the timing of the race (using their excellent chip timing system).
This year Christie and the girls went out of town for a girl’s night at the ballet in Washington, D.C., so I attended the race on my own. Having had a high mileage week before the race (53 miles with a hard 12 mile trail run and 16 mile treadmill long run) I wasn’t sure how fast my legs would take me. Also it had been since December 2018 since last ran a 5K (The Inaugural Heroes on the River Holiday 5K). Still I decided I would give it the old “college try” and see how fast I could go.
While the weather was perfect for running in the upper 50s with sunny skies, it had rained the night before which would make the trail portion of the race a little muddy. Knowing the course from the past few years, I decided to run in my trail shoes to be safe rather than sorry. I arrived ahead of time to get situated and while warming up made conversation with fellow Shenandoah Valley Runner Joe Mullen. We talked marathons, recent races, and how we both weren’t sure how we were going to approach today’s 5K.
We lined up for the start and once receiving the GO, I took off at a fairly fast pace that I thought I could maintain for the whole race. Surprisingly I found myself in first place for the first time ever. I could hear another runner close behind me, but told myself to pay no attention and just focus on the course. As this was my first time leading a race, I found a new challenge with that responsibility…knowing where to turn for the course! Luckily the course was marked fairly well, with only a little bit of confusion at one turn through a parking lot in which a course marshal indicated where to go.
Heading into the halfway point of the race on the trails I still found myself leading the way. However it was starting to feel a bit humid and I questioned if I could keep up the pace. As we came out of the trail portion into a field towards a track where we would do a 3/4 loop, I started to fade a bit. At that time the runner in second place passed me, and it turned out to be none other than Joe (who I had been talking with prior to the race). Shortly thereafter another runner passed me as well, putting me in 3rd.
I really wanted to finish in the top three having lead the race for 2 miles of the 3.1 mile course, so I gave it all I had left in the tank. Crossing the finish line very winded in third with a time of 22:41, I was happy with my performance. My time was slower than last year, but I was also not in the midst of heavy multiple marathon training. Joe Mullen wound up finishing in 1st place overall, so a big congratulations goes ou to him!
This race inspired me to work some faster speed runs back into my marathon training regimen. I really enjoy running this 5K every year at LFCC and look forward to trying to run a course PR next year in 2020.
Official Race Results
Overall: 3 of 135
Male 30 – 39: 3 of 60
M 30-39: 1 of 10 (1st Place Age Group)