The lottery closed on December 11th. That was the day I put my name in. I was really struggling because I knew I had the Rutgers ½ two weeks after and I don’t like to be gone twice in a month. Did I really want to use up the last of my credits from when Dave went to Utah for a week leaving me to do solo dog duty for 7 days?
December 14th our team was alerted, we were in! There were going to be 7 of us gathering in DC to run. Two women I work with, two sisters of one of the women, a friend and a boyfriend of another woman.
Those 3 or 4 of you who follow me regularly know that I imploded at Marine Corps in 2013 so the thought of going back to run those same streets was a little overwhelming couple that with my lack of miles and motivation in 2015, my longest run was 13.1 at the watershed Gansett ½ in October. It was time to get back to enjoying running in 2016. For me this meant to run races for fun, and not commit to to much in advance.
I’m not a big fan of huge races or out and backs, so going into this I really had to focus on getting in a good 10 mile run with 16,000 of my closest friends and nothing more than that.
C: Do not die
1:45 was easily achievable with a 10:30 pace, a pace I maintain fairly regularly with not much effort. Could I maintain that pace weaving in and out of people in the 20 MPH NW winds?
Fortunately it has been windy for my local runs so I knew what the struggle against the wind would be, but maybe would all these people help block the headwind? Not so much.
Full results here.
My result: 1:47 10:39 pace – pretty darn close to my A goal, honestly I really wasn’t focusing on anything but feeling good while running and not letting the demons I’ve allowed to sabotage me lately win and only checking my watch on occasion. I had the pace set to the pace at the moment, not the lap pace so it wasn’t much help anyhow! I could feel when I was lagging and the paces showed me what I felt. I feel like such a grown up runner girl being able to 'feel' my pace.
I’m pleased with my effort and result. Mostly how much I was able to change my attitude about the things I like least.
The odds were stacked against this race, overall dislike of huge races, running around people, navigating around people, out and back courses, and my recently acquired (an now gone) fear of completing a 10 mile run. (Wonder if there is a 10 mile phobia?)
Driving into DC with trusty Waze by my side, Thomas told me I would be in DC in 5 hours and 39 minutes. I don’t think at 7:30 a.m. he really had accounted for the slow driving due to rain nor the unbelievable traffic in DC or the fact I need to stop to get coffee, food, and gas. We arrived 7 hours later, two hours before bib pick up closed. That was my main concern, get to DC before 4:00 so I had 45 minutes to pick up my bib.
Bib pick up was easy; all you needed to know was your number. My friend was stuck in traffic and wasn’t going to make it to bib pick up. She forwarded me her confirmation and I was able to pick up her bib also! Off to get the race shirt and wander around the expo. All super simple and not over crowded.
The race also had a great app that helped with directions and questions and runner info. I’ve never used one of those before and it really was a good resource.
I took a short walk to the start area, the Washington Monument. I hadn’t been there since Marine Corps 2012 when I met three new friends and we were ‘trapped’ in DC for nearly a week due to Super Storm Sandy knocking out power and flooding train tracks. It looks even more beautiful on a sunny day with the grounds filled with people flying kites. Truly amazing to see in our current state of constant chaos; people enjoying themselves.
Our met for dinner at a brew pub, great conversation, laughter, good beer, and good food, just the right stuff to ensure a good night’s sleep!
We arranged to meet at 7:15 a.m. for a quick photo and those that wanted could go off to their corrals. We decided to all stay in the second to the last corral mostly to stay warm! It was cold, and windy. The day before the race the race director made the decision to take down all course signage, timing clocks, tents and eliminate the pre-race activities, all but the singing of the National Anthem, and all post-race activities. The communication on this was EXCELLENT at the expo, via eMail, and via the app. Race day greeted us with 20 MPH sustained NW winds with gusts to 50 MPH. A half marathon in Middletown CT was postponed due to the winds there. I think their winds were a bit stronger. Syracuse, on the other hand had their 1/2 in a blizzard (or something like that).
Emily, Tanya, Miho, me, Rebecca, Mary, Kelly
Miho's boyfriend took the picture
We got our group picture, Tanya and I snapped a selfie and in the middle of a conversation our wave was off. Whoops, get the watch started and run silly girl!
Mile 2 (10:21) a pace more like I expected, half way across the bridge, no one blew off in the gusts! Into the wind most of this mile.
Mile 3 (10:25) off the bridge and back into the wind for our second out and back. My hands were burning and stinging, they were FINALLY starting to warm up in my gloves, yeah!!
Mile 4 (10:38) and with the wind at our back, my hips were tightening up. Eat a couple gummy things silly. SO I did and that felt better. Mental or real? Who knows, chewing the three gummies kept my mind off of anything but NOT choking on the gummies! Passed the water. Wow the cups were everywhere what a mess, I wonder how many ended up as litter across DC and into the water?
Mile 5 (10:41) the gummies started kicking in a bit or who really knows. We were on our third out and back and back along the parkway we ran from the start out to the bridge. Really pretty with all the trees, maybe next time we will get Cherry Blossoms.
Mile 6 (10:40) and back into the wind to then get to the part where had we run a week earlier the view would be 2,000 cherry trees in bloom.
Mile 7 (11:01) and along the Potomac, I stopped for water, there wasn’t a choice but to stop and get water and then run again. It was a ZOO! I think MCM has water on both sides. Grabbed Gatorade first, whoops, then some water which was what I really wanted. I doubt I actually needed a drink it was nice to walk for a bit. Ate three more gummies, probably a good idea to get back on my fuel at 3 miles plan for longer distances.
Mile 8 (10:39) and wind at our backs, people were slowing and walking so there was bobbing and weaving. Someone was passing out Dixie cups of beer, nearly got tripped by someone cutting cross-ways to get the beer. I passed on the beer, I had a race to finish and while I wasn’t going to meet my A goal (unless I started my watch a minute early) I really wanted to be done, I was getting a little (ok a LOT) tired of being around people.
Mile 9 (10:48) and we are into the wind, the people weren’t blocking it, which was surprising, no matter where I went I couldn't catch a draft. WOW! I could imagine how beautiful this was in full bloom. And oh my, was this the site of the 2013 sweat encrusted porta potty break after the 20K mark of MCM 2013, why yes, yes I think it is. And then the image of the gal who elbowed me in the gut while screaming something foul about slow people. Ah yes, not a fun memory. I moved through it, that was a long long time ago.
Mile 10 (10:18) and no break from the wind. Wait? What? On this pancake flat course we were experiencing a climb; it was all of 20 feet and felt like a mountain! Where is the finish line? Was it at the monument or before it? Oh shit there it is! Better speed up! So the race ended like it started -- as a complete surprise to me!
Would I do this one again? Absolutely! Yes, it has everything I hate about a race and I loved it and would do it again! What was the difference? Perhaps because it was a surprise to get in, a surprise to start, and a surprise to finish?