Sunday, March 15, 2015

Rock N' Roll DC Half Marathon

I signed up for the Rock N' Roll DC Half Marathon about a week after I ran the Disney Marathon.  I had the momentum of my first marathon driving me forward and the endorphins blinding me to reality.  One unleart lession from the Richmond Half Marathon that I do not recover well.  It takes a lot of effort for me to get back into training.  That and I spent the entire month of February traveling in the Caribbean.  So heading into yesterday's half I had only trained three times: the Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday before the race.

Yesterday morning it was cold and raining.  What drives thousands of people to get up early in the morning only to experience the agony of physical exertion?  I set my alarm for six, but adrenaline woke me before my phone went off.  I showered, stretched, and dressed before jogging out into the dark to find the start line.

Runners huddled under whatever cover they could find.  I stayed dry in a Washington Nationals poncho.

My time from Richmond earned me a spot in corral 7 (out of about 30).  I knew I wasn't in 1:50 shape any more, so I found a spot near the back and hopped about to keep warm.

Disappointingly, the Rock N' Roll in the half included a lot of Ariana Grande.  She and Jesse J announced the start of my race.

What had started as a drizzle was now full on rain.  I didn't want to run in a plastic bag, so I discarded my poncho (like many of the runners).

My three training runs for this race were not great.  I was stiff and slow.  And that's how I felt right from the start.  Even so, the first mile was a breeze.  The second mile was a chore.  I stepped in my first puddle at mile three, soaking my right shoe right through.

The next three miles along a traffic free Rock Creek Parkway were my favorite part of the race.  I knew I wasn't going to earn a PR, but I was keeping a good pace and actually having a good time.

And then I came to the hill.

Just past mile 6 is a hill that takes the runners from the scenic Rock Creek Parkway up into the city.  Other runners started to blow by me as my heart pounded in the attempt to get my fat ass up that hill (did I mention I'd put 10 lbs back on since the marathon?).

At the top of the hill I fought back the urge to barf in front of the spectators and chugged down the road towards Colombia Heights.  From that point on, my goal was to finish.  Screw my pace.

The Washington Nationals mascots were giving out free flags just past mile 8.  I grabbed one and carried it for the remainder of the race.

A group of spectators were giving out free beer at mile 9.  I drank one.

Agony set in at mile 10.

A group of spectators were giving out free jello shots at mile 12. I ate one.  

I cruised over the finish line at 2:09:23.  It was 19 minutes off my PR, but I didn't care.  The conditions sucked and I didn't train.  I was under a 10 minute per mile pace.  I was happy.

In the finishers chute I collected my medal, tin foil blanket, banana, gatorade, and Power Bar, and then walked back towards the course to see if I could see any of my friends finish.  I saw Isabel cross the finish line and then realized I was freezing.

I could have gone straight for the Metro, but that would have meant wasting my free beer coupon.  So I drank my free Michelob Ultra and then stumbled towards the Metro.

The line was long and unmoving, so I decided to walk home.

About two blocks into my walk I called Edz to come pick me up.  She couldn't navigate the street closures, so I walked 16 blocks to just past where the police had closed the roads for the marathon (oh, bitter irony!).  Edz was parked on the side of the road.  I crawled into the car and she drove me home.

My clothes were completely soaked.  I undressed as soon as I got inside the apartment and defrosted my cold body in the bathtub.

And thus ended my second half marathon.  While slower, this one wasn't as daunting as the first.  I think I like this distance.  It's a lot more manageable than the marathon and I learned that you can run one with only three days of training.

Not sure what my next race will be.  I think I'd like to try a 10K.

For those of you that are interested (none of you, I assume?), here are my mile splits:

Mile Split Overall
1 9:01 9:01
2 8:30 17:31
3 8:47 26:19
4 8:53 35:12
5 9:01 44:13
6 9:22 53:36
7 10:48 1:04:25
8 9:54 1:14:20
9 10:15 1:24:35
10 11:40 1:36:15
11 10:57 1:47:12
12 11:32 1:58:45
13 9:46 2:08:31
Stretch 0:51 2:09:23

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