March 17, 2015

Rock 'n' Roll DC Half Marathon Race Recap

For days leading up to the race, I stalked the weather forecast, willing it to change. We had warm, sunny days earlier in the week but alas a cool rain was inevitable on race day. I think I changed my race day outfit about a hundred times and ended up wearing compression shorts, calf sleeves, a short-sleeved top, half zip, and paper thin water-resistant jacket.
Don't let the smile fool you, my nerves were in full
force before heading to the starting line!
Race morning was a little chaotic as I was meeting Cyanne to pick-up my race bib since I wasn't able to get to DC in time for the expo on Friday. We met up at the hotel where her VIP breakfast was located and then Adam and I walked to the start. Thankfully, he had helped me fashion a poncho out of a trash bag so that helped keep me dry. Soon enough the national anthem was playing and I bid him goodbye to head into my corral. I noticed one girl was wearing the DC to MX bib so I was asking her about the race challenge and I found a few Hampton Roads runners and we chatted to pass the time. A few minutes before our corral started, I walked to the side to toss my garbage bag poncho and when I turned around, I saw Sue. What a coincidence! It was great to see her and chat for a minute before our corral started. I figured I would recap this post by section of the race (basically as my own log of the race and also because I don't have any on course photos!) so here we go...

Spotted the Washington Monument en route
to the starting line
Starting line: Full of energy and lots of American Flags everywhere. I couldn't figure out how many corrals started in each wave, but I'm guessing 2-3. I think there were about 2 minutes in between each group.

Miles 0-3: We ran along the mall and then over a bridge into Virginia where we looped back into DC. For some reason, I always like a short out-and-back stretch on the course because I simply love having other runners around me. It's motivating and I love feeling like I'm part of something bigger than just my race. I also love trying to see friends who are running but I didn't spot anyone.

Miles 4-6: During this stretch, we turned to run past the Kennedy Center (in the opposite direction of Marine Corps Marathon) and then out to Rock Creek Parkway. I knew we would start to encounter some rolling hills in this section, followed by the mac daddy hill at mile 6...and mac daddy hill it was! Sue told me that when she first ran this race, she cried when she saw the hill. I know why. It was very steep and long. There were volunteers holding American flags every few feet from Wear Blue to Remember and that kept me motivated. I kept telling myself to keep going...for all of those service members who fought the good fight but never came home. I also had the added incentive of Adam being somewhere along the course after the hill. I spotted him at the top of the hill and tossed my jacket to him. He ran with me for a moment and shared some encouraging words which made me feel good.

Miles 7-10: We headed out to Adams Morgan where there were more rolling hills. But thankfully the course was mostly flat for mile 7 which gave my legs a break after that miserable hill at mile 6. There were lots more spectators during this stretch and plenty of college students celebrating St. Patrick's Day. Most of them had great signs and were blasting some good tunes and made me smile. I regained my pace in this section and hoped to see Adam again at mile 9-ish. Unfortunately I didn't hear him as he called my name. The Clif shot stop was around mile 9 and was highly chaotic. There weren't any volunteers with gels when I ran by so I ran to a table and grabbed one myself (like lots of other runners around me).

Miles 11-12: The pain train begins. I'm soaking wet, my stomach is churning something fierce, and my pace slows. I gave myself a single walk break to settle my stomach and told myself to hang on and try to hit sub-2:00. My stomach never really settled. When I reached the turn off for the marathon around mile 12, I cheered to myself that I was nearing the finish and didn't have another soggy 14 miles ahead of me and I told myself to suck it up for one more mile. I realized that sub-2:00 was within reach but I was going to have to hoof it.

Mile 13: I picked up the pace to around 8:30. I could sense that the finish line was near as we made a turn onto an on-ramp (or at least it seemed like that at the time) and ran under the giant Rock 'n' Roll inflatable rocker man. I picked up my pace and was going as fast as my tired legs could go. I ignored the puddles and kept as straight of a path as possible to avoid extra time. I'm pretty sure I splashed some spectators or other runners around me but I really didn't care at this point. My sole focus was getting to the finish line as fast as possible.

Finish Line: In typical fashion, I smiled and threw my arms in my air as I crossed the finish line and then quickly clicked my Garmin to stop. 1:59.08. I did it! I finished under 2:00. My next order of business was to get through the finisher shoot quickly so I could find Adam and get some warm clothes. I found Sue again and we chatted about the race and our times. Soon enough, we were exiting the shoot and Adam was right there as I hoped he would be. I gave Sue a hug and we headed back to the metro, but not before a few finish line photos.
Happy Finisher!
As Adam and I were chatting about the race, he made a comment about 2:01 finish time and I looked at him with a confused look. He told me that was the time that came through on the runner tracking. I'm actively working with Rock 'n' Roll to have them review my final time and I know several others at the front of my corral have discrepancies as well. This was my second fastest half ever and it also eclipsed the first half of Richmond Marathon for that spot so this is an important one for me!

All in all, I enjoyed this race. The course had good support and was relatively scenic. The second half definitely takes you through a more residential area of DC that isn't as exciting as the mall and monuments. I'll be sharing some additional thoughts on racing in the rain in another post.
Taking my medal on a tour of DC
Disclaimer: As a Rock 'n' Blogger, I received my race entry into the DC half marathon as part of my complimentary tour pass. As always, all opinions are my own.

{Christine}

35 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Christine! Sounds like the weather was so less than desirable (reminds me a lot of how Wine and Dine was....so much mind over matter to get through). I am glad you were able to forge through and get a great finish time. Great determination! Proud of you!

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    1. Aw, thanks Maggie! You are the sweetest and I really appreciate all of your support!

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  2. Congrats girl! That's awesome you did so well in such yucky weather! I really hope they get your time correct! I'd be upset too!

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    1. Thanks, Mindy! It was a really nice confidence booster for me. Now I'm excited to see where I can go in my other races this year. :) Yea, a 2:01 and a 1:59 is a BIG difference!

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  3. Congrats on running a great race! I was volunteering at the finish line wrapping the mylar blankets around runners and I was so proud of every runner that stuck it out in that nasty weather! I was cold and my muscles were cramping just from standing in that rain, let alone running!

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    1. Thank you for volunteering! Those mylar blankets were a huge help. I had a dry shirt that I put on after the race but I was pretty cold walking back from the metro.

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  4. Congrats on that sub-2 finish! I hope you get it straightened out with the officials. Funny, my race on Sat, my Garmin calculated my min/mile pace differently than Team Ortho, even tho my finish time was the same. What ever....

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    1. Thanks Wendy! It was a really nice confidence booster for me. It's so funny to see race data discrepancies from various sources...as long as the finish time is accurate, I generally don't worry about it too much. ;)

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  5. Way to go with that sub-2 finish! Sorry to hear that there's timing issues with RnR though. Hopefully that gets worked out soon!

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    1. Thanks, Kathryn! I'm hoping it gets resolved quickly too! :)

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  6. A fabulous job in less than ideal conditions! I'd be upset about the time discrepancy for sure. You worked hard for that sub 2!

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    1. I did work hard! I think it was one of my best races in terms of staying composed even when I got tired so I want my time to reflect that! :)

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  7. Congrats on the great race in the horrible weather! It was really hard to push through given the rain.

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    1. Thanks, Chaitali! I think the rain helped me relax a bit and not stress about time goals too much.

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    1. Congrats to you too, Malinda! I was hoping I would see you out there at some point. It was a very soggy race!

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  9. Congrats on another race down. Wish the weather would have been nicer. I hope you get your time discrepancy taken care of. Adam is a good sport to be waiting there for you in the rain! -M

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  10. congrats on going sub 2 and hoping that pace issue will be fixed soon! and congrats to Adam too-what a trooper to be in the rain waiting for you!!

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    1. Thanks Juliana! Oh, I know - I felt guilty that he was out there in the cold rain...definitely a day where it was easier to be a runner than a spectator. I snagged a good one! :)

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  11. Steep hills, bad weather and still you managed a sub-2! Put one in the success colum for sure. Washington DC is one of the places I want to run the most. Congratualtions!

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    1. Thanks, Frank! I'm really proud of how I ran this race! :)

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  12. I hope you get your time fixed up. A sub 2 is a big deal.

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    1. Thanks Abby! Me too - they have been really responsive so I'm hopeful.

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  13. It was so great to run into you Christine!! Always a pleasure! You had a great race despite the conditions!

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    1. You too!! :) It was nice to see a familiar face at the start and finish. Same to you! I bet your time is off too - I think there's a minute issue from when we crossed that first mat to when we were held at the starting line. I'm doing some serious Garmin data analysis here! ;)

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  14. Awesome finish time....and in the rain, puddles, and wet roads at that! Way to go, Christine! (I really hope they fix your time!) This race is a must-do on my list! Hopefully one day soon! :)

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    1. Thanks, Karen! Although if you're looking for a scenic DC race, I'm not sure this would be at the top of my list to recommend.

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  15. Congratulations! Sounds like a beautiful race, despite the weather. I hope they sort out the issue with your finish time soon.

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  16. Congrats on an AWESOME race and finish time, and in some not-so-great weather conditions! Ugh, not cool about your finish time -- hope they get that sorted out for you!

    I ran the RnR full marathon last year, and it was fabulous...I loved the first half of the course! :)

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer! I have heard that full course is really tough.

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  17. still so bummed i missed you but GREAT job, friend!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Courtney. We'll be at the same race and actually meet each other soon! :)

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  18. Fabulous recap! I am glad you had a strong race despite the rain - excellent poncho making skills by the way. I hope RnR adjusted the time for you.

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