Well I survived.
After a broken training cycle because of my foot injury, I wasn’t sure what to expect of this race. I missed about three weeks of training, and my longest run pre-race was only nine miles.
So the night before the race, I went to bed a big bundle of nerves. I just didn’t have a great feeling about the race, plus it was only going to be in the low 20s at the start of the race — easily one of the coldest days we’ve had all winter in DC.
Because the DC Metro is a hot mess, the race organizers pushed back the start of the half marathon until 8:30 a.m. This was awesome on so many fronts. It meant I got to sleep in until 6:30 (though, I definitely woke up at 6 because of nerves), and the sun was up and shining well before I had to leave my apartment.
When I got to the race start, I hit the porta-potties and then made my way over to my corral hoping to spot Emily and Megan. I found them minutes before the race started — just in time to snap a quick picture!
Then we all hopped in our respective corrals. Megan told me she hadn’t been able to train as much as she hoped to for the race either and her goal was to keep up with me. If you used to read Megan’s blog back in the day, you know this is LOL-laughable because Megan is so much faster than I am.
But we started together and actually ended up running the whole time together, and it was so nice to have a race buddy. Normally I really hate running with other people because it adds so much extra pressure, but I think because our joint goal was mutual survival it worked out so well.
The first five or six miles went pretty well. We were running at a relaxed pace and chatting about random things — work, Megan’s wedding planning, etc. Around mile 4 the road really started slanting to one side badly and I could feel my entire left leg freak out, but eventually that settled.
When we got to the massive hill to climb from Rock Creek Parkway into Woodley Park, Megan and I took our first walk break of the course. That hill is a brutal biatch, and we both decided it was smarter to try to conserve energy than plow forward up it.
The second half of the course is much more enjoyable than the first half. We ran through tons of different neighborhoods as we wound our way through Adams Morgan over to Howard and eventually down to Capitol Hill. There were way more spectators out in these parts of the race — handing out food and champagne, beer and whiskey.
We passed Megan’s fiancee around mile 10.5, and he biked to meet us a few other places in the last couple miles. It was nice to see his friendly face because Megan and I were both struggling at that point.
Mile 11 seemed to drag on for forever. Everything in the lower part of my body hurt. My hips, my quads, my calves. Putting one foot in front of the other was miserable. Megan and I kept counting down how much running we had left as we tried to motivate ourselves along.
The course finished on a slight uphill, which felt especially cruel on Saturday.
My friend’s parents caught this great shot of Megan and I running up the hill at the very end of the race. They said I was smiling the whole time, which to me seems crazy because everything hurt so much, I don’t know how I managed a smile.
Perhaps I was just so excited to be almost done.
I also heard some of my other friends cheering for me right before the finish. It was so nice to see their smiling faces and then be done.
Megan and I crossed the finish line in slightly over 2:10. My official time was 2:10:26, which works out to just faster than a 10 min per mile average. Not too shabby all things considered.
Despite my lack of training, my horrible nerves going into the race, and the freezing temperatures, I think this was one of more pleasant races I’ve run lately. All credit to Megan for that. Having a buddy to run this race with made all the difference in the world.
A big, big thank you to everyone who came out to watch and cheer on Saturday morning. It was freezing cold, and I would have wanted to be in my bed if I wasn’t running. So thank you — you all are the best.