I went to DC this past weekend to run the Rock N Roll USA Half Marathon. I didn’t PR. But, lets get right to the meat of the story.
I traveled to the start of the race with my sister, Kerri, who was running her very first half marathon. We left around 6am, hopped on a SUPER crowded train around 6:30 and go to the start around 7am.
We headed inside the armory to keep warm for a few minutes before we hit up the porta potties. The lines were INSANE, but luckily we found ones on the other side that had barely any lines at all. I waited maybe 2 minutes and was in and out.
We walked to the corrals and split up about 15 minutes before the race started. I wished her luck and plodded through the crowd to corral 7.
This was my first Rock N Roll/Competitor Group race and I don’t know if they do this at all of them, but I liked how they staggered the start. They stopped each corral at the finish line and waited a few minutes before each one was let go. I was right at the front of my corral so I didn’t have to deal with any crowds at all, it was so nice!
Within the first 2 miles we hit the Capitol building.
I debated whether or not I should dig my phone out to take a picture, but I am so glad I did. This was definitely one of the nicer views from the race.
I started out just under 9 minute miles and I was feeling really good. I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to hold my 9 min/mi pace right away since I was sick for so long before this race. But, I was feeling really good and the first 4 miles ticked by incredibly fast.
Mile 1: 8:54
Mile 2: 8:45
Mile 3: 8:37
Mile 4: 8:53
It started to get a bit hilly at mile 5, but it was expected according to this elevation map.
In my mind, I figured once I got to mile 7, the rest wouldn’t be so bad. Wrong.
Miles 5 through 7 were definitely hilly and I pushed through them mentally and physically. It was a struggle, but I stayed positive and I managed to maintain a solid pace. I had to talk to myself A LOT during this race! I usually don’t have to push mentally until the very end, but I was really pushing my brain during the halfway mark. I just kept telling myself to go, just go, move forward and keep your legs moving. I took a GU at mile 5 and ended up seeing Derek and Scott around mile 6, right before we went into a tunnel.
Mile 5: 9:08
Mile 6: 8:28
Mile 7: 9:30
I finally got some relief after mile 7 and I started to feel good again. I was a little upset with that 9:30 mile, so I was trying hard to make up for it and wanted to make sure my next few miles were all under 9 min/mi.
I’m not sure where any of my pictures were taken, but I don’t look very happy in any of them.
It was starting to get HOT. I swear the whole course was in direct sunlight and I was really starting to feel it. The temperature was rising and there was no shade anywhere. I needed water stat. I had a lot of ups and downs from miles 8 to 10, sometimes I was feeling great and motivated, other times, I was swearing under my breath at all of the damn hills. This course is NOT FLAT. Don’t let anyone fool you. I’ve heard it was rather flat and I’ve also heard it was hilly. It’s hilly. I wish I was more prepared for that.
At mile 10, I took another GU and I couldn’t run with my head up anymore! It was so dang hot, I could not handle my face being in the sun. I probably missed a lot of nice sights, but at that point, I just didn’t care.
Mile 8: 9:03
Mile 9: 8:53
Mile 10: 8:52
After I took my GU, I was dying for some water. It was at this point, I felt like there were not enough water stations. I felt so dehydrated. I had stopped at just about every water station there was and drank water and/or gatorade, but the heat was really getting to me. Once a water station finally appeared, I grabbed 2 cups of water and a gatorade. I poured the water down my throat so fast that it came right back up.
I started to feel a bit better. The final 3 miles were here! I realized my Garmin was ahead by made .05 miles so I was trying to compensate my speed for that as well. Mile 11 wasn’t so bad and I was starting to feel super positive again, I had this! When mile 12 hit, I started to calculate in my head how much time I had to get to the finish while still being able to PR. It was going to be close.
Well, mile 12 hit and so didn’t a steep ass, long hill. I was so pissed at this point. I never gave up though, I just kept pushing and pushing and pushing. It was incredible that my mind was still in a positive spot with how much I felt like I was struggling.
I was delirious at this point. I don’t even remember the last mile, but I knew I was almost done. According to my Garmin, I still had a chance of PR-ing. There was one last steep hill right before the finish line and I’m pretty sure I swore loudly when I saw it. I pummeled up it and I could see the finish line around the corner. I saw my watch click to 1:58 and I tried as hard as I could to book it to the finish line. I crossed and finished! I thought I PR-ed! I was dead. I had to go to the side and put my head down.
Mile 11: 8:38
Mile 12: 9:42
Mile 13: 8:57
Mile .19: 9:16 pace
Garmin Time: 1:58:10
I had no idea Derek was even at the finish line, I wasn’t paying any attention, I did not care at that point. I got up and kept walking and I got super excited again because I saw the medals and I had forgotten all about them.
I grabbed so much food and drinks, I could barely carry them all.
I got my picture taken and it came out terrible and then handed all of stuff to Derek before exiting the area. I was so overwhelmed by everything that just happened. My mind was still going a hundred miles an hour and I kept wondering how my sister was doing.
It wasn’t until 20 minutes later when I looked up the results on my phone that I realized I didn’t actually PR. I didn’t know how to feel. I was definitely upset, but looking back on the race, I knew I gave it absolutely everything I had. I don’t have regrets and I don’t even know what I could’ve changed. I should’ve worn a visor maybe, to help protect the sun from my face.
Official Time: 1:59:57
Average Pace: 9:09
Why was my Garmin so far off? I’m not really sure. I know it got a little messed up when we ran through tunnels, but I don’t remember the actual clock stopping on it. I mean, I expect the distance and pace to be inaccurate, but I’ m not sure why the total time is different.
Anyway, I am somewhat happy that my Garmin was messed up, otherwise I might not have pushed myself as hard as I did toward the end. I might’ve just gave up and said screw it if I knew I wasn’t going to PR anyway.
My sister finished about a half hour later and I was so happy for her! She did great and said she never felt out of breath the whole time!
Okay, I know this is long, but one more thing! I somehow found a half marathon that is happening this weekend in Queens and I may or may not have signed up for it! My body feels like it is completely capable of running again this weekend and I REALLY want that PR so I am going to try again. I think and hope this course is a lot flatter.
Seems like everyone raced this weekend! Did you race and how did it go?