13.1 Miles later…
Okay, I know this is extremely late…but I am a bit of a procrastinator.
Anyway…When you register for some races…especially the big ones, they want to know what time you expect to run it in. I was at an eleven-minute-plus pace when I registered back in October, so I entered an estimate of 2:30. As my husband is my biggest fan and supporter, he also put down 2:30. Unbeknownst to me. this put us in corral 21. I don’t know how many corrals there were total, but I counted at least 28. This meant we were in the 21st wave of people to start. To put this into perspective, it was 30 minutes after the starting gun fired before we crossed the start line. Fortunately we could hear some of the music and at some points we could hear the MCs. In thirty minutes the weather warmed up…actually it could have been the other 20 thousand runners that warmed me up.
Before the first mile my husband and I separated. We had discussed it beforehand and had agreed to meet at the finish line. If I didn’t make it in by 2:30 he was to meet me at the designated meeting area. This was fine with me. I didn’t want to hold him back, and I didn’t want to push myself too hard too soon in the race by trying to keep up with him. Another reason we separated so early was that the race started uphill. This wouldn’t have been so bad, but as I was to learn, it ended uphill too.
There were so many people dressed for St. Patrick’s Day with green running gear and also tutus, hats, and jewelry. It made the whole experience very festive. Another great thing about the run was that there were hundreds of people showing their support through the whole run…with signs, music (both from radios and live bands), and cheering; there were even people handing out drinks for the 21 and over crowd.
The run itself was more difficult than I anticipated. Most of my training had been on a mile track with one subtle hill. As I learned while running the half-marathon, DC is very hilly. Somehow I never noticed this before. The music was okay…sometimes the bands were not playing when I ran by, but I had my ipod, so I didn’t mind. My husband, who had forgotten his ipod headphones and was looking forward to the live music, was very disappointed; he said that the majority of the bands were not playing when he ran by.
The hardest part of the actual course was between mile 10 and mile 12. At some point I passed the sign for mile 11 and didn’t notice it. So I couldn’t figure out why mile 10 was taking forever.
There were many good things about the run. Part of the course runs by the Washington Monument and the flags were flying and it was very pretty and inspiring. I also ran through neighborhoods I had never been in before and will probably never have a reason to drive through. The crowds were invigorating and it was great seeing all the other runners. There were plenty of water and Gatorade stations, as well as GU and bananas. The best part was crossing the finish line. I was so proud of myself and I felt that my training and dedication really paid off. Getting the medal itself was icing on the cake.
The medal was awarded immediately after crossing the finish line. Then they herd you through the food handout area. There was something for everyone. Greek yogurt, bananas, bottles of water and Gatorade. One of the last items was Refuel, a chocolate milk that helps with muscle recovery, but it was too sweet for my taste. My husband enjoyed it.
Once we got through the food line, we went over to get our free beer. Michelob Ultra was one of the sponsors and every participant 21 and over received a free 5 oz beer. This didn’t mix well with the Refuel and I ended up giving most of my free beer to my husband.
My time, 2:22:49, wasn’t too bad for my first half-marathon…definitely have to work on my speed, especially since we have already signed up to run the Virginia Beach and the San Antonio Rock n Roll Half-Marathons. Hope to see you there!
1. Thin socks work best for me…my poor toes
2. Hills hurt a lot and DC has a lot of hills
3. Large races have lots of wait time
4. Layers, layers, layers
5. Don’t wear anything you haven’t worn running before, saw people carrying socks, and tutus getting caught between legs