With each race completed there must be a race report. This, is a rule, so I am going to try to portray my most recent “run” in the best way I know how, and hopefully it will provide you, the reader, with enough insight when making a decision on which races to sign up for in the future.
Let me start by saying this … I have liked all of the Rock ‘n Roll races I have completed, this being my third, but I went into this one a little hesitant. This was not due to the race itself but more due to the potential disaster awaiting me.
I recently wrote about being prepared, and though I have been preparing for this run, I know I could have/should have done more. Some was due to being limited physically, but some was being limited mentally. I hope to correct this going forward. I had no visions of getting a PR. My main goal was to enjoy a race for once and not be hurting so badly afterwards that I could only sit and not move for a few days in order to recover. In that aspect I succeeded because I went into the race with a plan of staying in the 16:00 pace zone and stick to it even if I felt I could go faster. I executed that plan well, and came out with minimum pain.
The main issue was the weather. We got into DC Thursday and spent Friday walking the city (about 6 miles worth). It was a gorgeous day. Temps were in the mid 50’s with a bright blue sky. We walked to the Monument, walked down to the WWII and Viet Nam shrines, over to the Licoln Memorial, and back to the Korean War Memorial before heading into town and seeing the White House. When we got back to the room we rested well, slept well, ate well, and awoke the next day feeling good for the race.
Until we stepped outside.
The temps were now in the low 40’s and it was raining. It would not stop raining all day until after the race was over. Luckily we had heard that this might be the case so we were prepared, but when it is windy, and cold, and raining all at one time, no amount of clothing is going to keep you warm. Luckily we had purchased the VIP package so could wait in a very nice hotel (The Willard) and stay warm until right at race start. We were in corral 30 so did not even start walking down until the race had begun. Cold and wet right away, so it’s just a matter of getting your mind-set to that fact and moving.
So … that’s what we did.
We jumped into a corral and got to the beginning pretty quickly, and I settled into my 30/45 run/walk split. It felt really good right away to keep myself back and stay calm. I actually started feeling warm pretty fast but decided to keep the jacket on for a while, which proved to be the right move later when it got colder and windier. Around mile 2 I was feeling really good and felt I could go harder, but kept Meghan in my head and held it in check, making myself stay in the 14-15 range overall. I lost sight of Jennifer and Andrew around mile 2.5 and was concerned about Jennifer and the cold, but know she’s a strong-willed woman and would do great. I do wish we were at the same level at one time so we could run together the whole race. Up until this year I was behind her, and now it is switched, but I feel confident that by the end of this year we will be in the same zone. I like running and cycling with her. It’s good company.
OK … who ordered the mountain??
I felt good all the way until right at mile 6 when out of the rain and fog appeared a climb like no other I have ever run up. I could not see the end, only that it continued to rise and rise (and rise). It was at this point that all alongside the climb they had volunteers standing with American flags, next to pictures of those who have fallen in battle. Great placement, because it brought home really fast what you are doing and what they cannot do. It is humbling, especially as a veteran myself, to see how many lives we have lost. When looking at the Viet Nam wall, the WWII walls, and you see name after name of all the men and women lost … there is really nothing you are doing that can compare. Get up that damn hill.
I was pretty beat after getting to the top but still felt alright overall. Let me say this … the course is beautiful. Hopefully next year it will be better weather and I can enjoy it more.
This was my barometer. The last race I did was Disney and I made it to 8.2 before having to pull out, so my target this time was the 8 mile mark, and when I hit it I felt like I would have no trouble completing this race. It was during this stretch that I met up with a fellow runner and just having someone to run with for a few miles helped. My feet were just starting to ache at about mile 9, so having conversation to keep my mind off the pain was very helpful. The rain had kicked back up and it actually felt like it was getting colder, but I got through this stretch relatively unscathed. My pace had suffered a bit after the climb but was now back to the 16-17 range overall, even though the run splits had slowed. Reaching mile 10 is always the marker in a half marathon to me, because I know it’s only a 5k away.
Mile 10-13.1 (actually 13.3 on my watch)
At this point I knew I was going to finish so I relaxed and just took what the race had to offer at this point. Running through a great neighborhood with welcoming people lining the course, offering hot drinks, beer, BEEF, and support was so helpful and generous. I know I walked most of mile 12 because … well … let’s be honest … I knew Meaghan Nana-Sinkham had driven in from Delaware to cheer us all on and I didn’t want to look wimpy crossing the line meeting her for the first time. LOL
It was a great weekend. I enjoyed the time away from work and getting to spend it with my favorite person, seeing the sites which I had not seen since I was 13, and even with the rain and cold I was happy with the run and what it provided me. Not the best time, but I was NOT last, and honestly it wasn’t about the time on this run … it was about getting a race under my belt to start off 2015.
Thanks to Meaghan, Andrew, Tim for supporting me and everyone else during the race. As always, though, I would not be able to do these things if not for Jennifer. She’s always there when needed …
On to the first triathlon now in May.