Freedom Four Race and Grant Pierce Spectating

On Sunday I ran the Pacers Freedom Four in Arlington. Afterward, I drove over to the Thomas Jefferson Community Center to spectate at the Grant Pierce Indoor Marathon. I did the same thing last year and blogged about it here. This is pretty much a repeat.

Pre-race selfie wearing last year's shirt

The only reason I registered for the Freedom Four is because it would be a guaranteed training run, and I knew there would be beer at the finish. It's not because I like the course. The course has some initial downhill through Arlington, then some ups and downs, and then an all-uphill, steep finish. There isn't a lot of shade, and it's hot this time of year. Also, there is only one water station. You pass it before Mile 1, when it's kind of too early, then you pass it again after Mile 3, when it's kind of too late. I really wish they would put a water station at the halfway point. This is the same course that Pacers uses for the Four Courts Four Miler, an annual St. Patrick's Day race, and they have the same issue there.

I picked up my packet for the Freedom Four the day before and was surprised to see that we got a beach towel premium instead of a t-shirt like last year. I'm OK with that, since I have a ton of shirts. I wore my shirt from last year to this year's race. I got there not knowing if there would be anyone I knew, but I was not surprised to see Gary, who is often found at these Pacers races. We got a quick pre-race selfie and then we were off. 

Gary and I are ready to go

Ready to start; there are many more people, but they disappear down the hill
I had a fast first mile due to the downhill section. Then I got to the part of the course that I hate: two highway miles, out and back, with long but not steep hills, no shade, no water (I did bring my own water bottle). I did a lot of walking. I did even more walking in the last mile, which was all uphill. I didn't care; I just wanted to get it done and earn my beer.

Steep uphill to the finish; that's Gary ahead in the yellow shirt

I met up with Gary at the finish and we redeemed our drink tickets for a Heineken at Irelands Four Courts. For the St. Patty's races, we get a Guinness, but not for this one. Gary and I hung out for a while and drank our beer, and then we went our separate ways.

Post-race, pre-beer with Gary

Drinking my post-race Heineken at an Irish pub…sad
Here's a Pacers guy modeling the beach towel

I had to eat something before going over to spectate at Grant Pierce, so I got a bagel and then was on my way. I arrived about an hour after the marathon started. I saw Scot and a few other Marathon Maniacs, some of whom I knew. I sat there on the bleachers for the next several hours until everyone finished. I wish I had taken a softer, folding chair, as the bleachers were uncomfortable and had no back support.

Here's Scot early in the race at Grant Pierce Indoor Marathon

Barry the "joggler" switched up what he was juggling throughout the race; he did footballs,  bean bags, tennis balls, mini hockey sticks, and he dribbled multiple basketballs

Spectating at a multi-loop indoor course is different than at other races. You see everyone go by every few minutes. I had my eyes on the entire track at all times. Runners had to do 211 laps on concrete! I don't think I want to run this one – ever. But I'm happy to be there to show support.

Scot and Drew pace Kristen in for her finish

So, that was my Sunday, much the same as that weekend from last year. Even though my own race was only 4 miles, those hills got to me and I was sore the following day. But at least I got in a run.

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