We had a great time in Washington DC, and the family trip deserves a blog post of its own. If I have time, I’ll do that.
However, more importantly, I survived my half marathon! I ran the entire race! It wasn’t my worst time! (can you tell I had very low expectations after my bout with pneumonia? Not to mention the 6 days of nonstop walking the week prior to the race).
Beginning about 48 hours prior, I started feeling very apprehensive. First, there was the lack of optimum diet and rest. My legs were already sore from all the sight-seeing. We were eating out every meal. I wasn’t sleeping well in the hotel.
Then, there was the weather: cold and rainy.
begrudgingly optimistically laid out my clothes the night before, and set my alarm. I knew I could finish it, but I anticipated having to walk-run the race instead of my (usual) steady jog throughout.
I left the hotel at 6:15am to walk in the cold rain (cue Hemingway novel) to the nearest metro stop. It was already crowded with several runners. Crowded, as I would soon discover, was a relative term.
This was the crowd waiting on the metro platform to exit Federal Triangle station. It took me over 15 minutes just to exit the station. Post-race, it would take me TWO HOURS to get back to my hotel. I do not have a picture of that nightmare because my hands were frozen, wet claws and I could not handle my iPhone.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
I made my way to the corrals where, somehow, against all odds, I found my online friends, Loni and Sue. I have been social media friends with these ladies since long before I started running, and I was so excited to finally meet them in person.
After chatting for about 10 minutes, we headed to our separate corrals. Both ladies had amazing races: Loni (rockstar badass) broke 2 hours, and Sue completed her first ever half marathon.
There were over 25,000 runners registered for this race. To get an idea of what that looks like, the first corral crossed the starting line at 7:30am. I began running at 8:01am. There were many corrals behind me.
I spent just over 30 minutes in the cold rain in my corral, waiting to start. It was not enjoyable.
Mile 1: Oh thank God I’m finally moving. I’m so cold. I’m so glad I decided to wear three layers. Washington Monument. White House. No biggie. Just running past famous places.
Mile 1.5: Normally I would totally judge you, people waiting in the line for the port-a-potties after less than 2 miles, but given how long we just stood in line to start the race, I kind of understand. Still … sucks to be you.
Mile 2: Heading over the bridge. Look around, and try to enjoy this. Remember, you signed up for this because you thought it would be fun to run around Washington DC. You thought wrong, but try to enjoy it. I wonder if I’ll be able to see Loni coming back over the bridge. Maybe I can distract myself by looking for her.
Mile 3: Getting into a rhythm. This isn’t that bad, actually. 3 miles down, 10 to go. Wait, run the mile you’re in. Stop thinking about that nightmare hill just after mile 6. I’m so scared of that hill. I don’t want to run that hill. Does a 60 degree angle even count as a hill? It’s more like a cliff. Don’t think about it.
Mile 4: I’m pacing pretty well. Maybe I should try to slow down. This is a strong pace for tired legs. But my legs don’t feel tired. You always do this. Pull it in a bit, and do your counting. 1-2-1-2-1-2. There. Keep that.
Mile 5: The hill is coming. It’s lurking. I know it’s coming. It’s just after mile 6. Oh look, Watergate and the Kennedy Center. Look at all those people ducking under the overhang to run. Guys. We’re soaked. I promise you, running out of the rain for those 100 yards does not make a difference.
Mile 5.15: There’s the 5 mile marker, but my Garmin says I’m already at 5.15. I hate that. I know it’s normal and happens every race, but I really think I should get EVERY. SECOND. OF. CREDIT. I always run more than 13.1 miles, so my pace looks slower. Sigh.
Mile 5.5: Ooh, an a capella group! Is it the Georgetown Chimes? WHY IS THERE NO SIGN? I’m going to pretend it’s the Georgetown Chimes*. That makes me happy. Hoya Saxa boys!
Mile 6: Oh god. I see the hill. You’ve got to be kidding me. Nice job with the American flags with cheering volunteers, but patriotism ain’t gonna get me up that hill.
Mile 6.1: I can do it. I can run this. Just go reaaaally slow.
Mile 6.13: Nope. I cannot. Neither can everyone else around me. Let’s powerwalk up this guys. Oh, look at all those spectators on the bridge. Yeah, I bet this is the fun part of the race to watch. This is where runners come to die. I’m not even halfway through the race.
Mile 6.25: Let’s try to make up some time. My legs hurt. That hill killed me. Lots of people still walking. Just jog easy and try to get back on pace.
Mile 7.5: That lady with an umbrella looks kind of like Kasey. It IS Kasey! She came out in the rain to cheer me on! But she’s on a downhill. I don’t want to stop. I’m flying down the hill. Kasey, quick! Take a picture!
Mile 7.75: I feel someone bump into my left arm, and I murmur “sorry”, even though I know he/she bumped into me. Oh my gosh! It’s the 2:15 pacer dude! I’m with the 2:15 pacing group. I’m so totally going to run with them! I GOT THIS I’M RUNNING WITH THE 2:15 GROUP I AM SUCH A BADASS.
Mile 7.9: And they’re off.
Mile 9: Adams Morgan. Wait, what does that sign say? Smoked MEAT? There is a person standing on the side of the road with a huge platter, tongs, and pieces of what appears to be, yes, smoked meat. If that is not strange enough, many runners are pausing and grabbing pieces of meat. I am now obsessed with thoughts of my fellow runners eating poisoned meat from a stranger on the streets of Adams Morgan.
Mile 10: Under a large tent with the sign “DC Tri Club” are a series of stationary bikes with athletic looking men pedaling furiously shouting “Go runners!” as we pass by. Okay, that’s awesome. Mile 10. A 5k left. Only a 5k. I hear several runners yelling “5k left people! We got this!” I’ve heard that every half I’ve run. I love that tradition.
Mile 11: 2.1 miles left. I’m still running. I actually have this. I haven’t had to walk yet (I do not count the hill. No one counts the hill. Everyone walked that hill. That hill should die.)
Mile 11.5: I feel someone jogging beside me. Um, hi, personal space? Oh shit, it’s my dear friend Robin! She falls in next to me and chats away effortlessly. It’s so easy for her to run this pace that she is actually texting my husband as she runs. And is able to take a selfie of us.
I cannot decide if I appreciate her being there, or if I am annoyed by how freaking easy it is for her to talk nonstop while I am struggling to keep moving in a forward direction. She keeps pulling just ahead of me, then dropping back to match my pace. At one point I may have crankily said, “Look, if you want to run faster, be my guest, but this is as fast as I am going right now.”
We’re very good friends. I can say that to her.
Mile 12.5: Less than a mile left. Robin is still easily cruising beside me, encouraging me. At one point she says, “If I’m annoying you, just tell me to shut up.” I shoot her a look, and say “Just don’t expect me to answer you.” Fair enough. We keep cruising. It’s downhill, and I’m starting to see runners with medals and foil wraps pass in the opposite direction, saying “You’re almost there!” I speed up. I can tell I’m going at a good clip at this point.
Mile 13: Just as I’m about to enter the finishing chute, I see by my watch I’m going to break a 2:30. Holy. Shit. I’m not pacing to my best time, but I’m doing far better than I anticipated. I tell Robin I’m going to break a 2:30 as she peels off, and I hear her yelling as I leave her to run the last .1 by myself.
I didn’t know she was taking this picture of me, post-finish. Clearly.
- Mile 1: 11:13
- Mile 2: 11:06
- Mile 3: 11: 18
- Mile 4: 11:06
- Mile 5: 11:17
- Mile 6: 11:13
- Mile 7: 12:09
- Mile 8: 11:12
- Mile 9: 11:03
- Mile 10: 11:09
- Mile 11: 11:32
- Mile 12: 11:43
- Mile 13: 10:45
- .28 miles: 2:35
Official time: 2:29:20
I’m really happy with this time. I thought for sure it would be my worst run ever (it seems my July 4th Colorado half really set the bar high for a horrible run), but I was a full 6 minutes faster than my worst, and only 3 minutes slower than my PR.
I thought the Rock n Roll half was really well done (the weather and public transportation wasn’t the race’s fault!) and would love to do another one.
Although I am not taking public transportation next time. I was in a sorry state by the time I finally made it back to the hotel.
*According to the race website, it was Supreme Chord.