Earlier this week I posted Part 1 of my Rock ‘n’ Rock DC Half Marathon recap. It was all about the crazy trip down to DC and the craziness of picking up our bibs. I decided to split up the race recap as there was just too much crazy and awesome to put into one post. Part 2 is all about the race itself.
Saturday morning the alarms started going off around 6:00am. I think we all started stirring, but I didn’t roll out of bed until about 6:15am. Nothing about the idea of getting on clothes and being outside in the rain for 3+ hours sounded fun. The night before I had thought long and hard about what to wear and I ended up picking my capris, shamrock ProCompression socks & a long sleeve tech shirt. In the end, it was probably the right thing for me to wear. I never ended up getting cold and the tech shirt and capris did well in the rain.
Lauren left first as she was meeting Mel to head over to the 5k start line and about five minute to 7am, Steff, Kelsey and I headed downstairs. We looked outside, saw it was only a light rain, looked again and saw it quickly turned into more than a light rain. I walked up to the bell hop station and asked for 3 large trash bags. This was the best thing any one could have given us all weekend. We tore open a hole for our heads, put on our trash bags and slowly made it over to bag check. Not even 2 blocks from the hotel and my shoes and feet were already soaked and starting to get cold. (Note about my pictures – I put my phone in a bag, so ignore the blurriness)
We headed to bag check area and once we saw the UPS trucks, Steff gave us hugs and said see y’all later. She was starting in corral 4, so she really wanted to get there and be prepared. Kelsey was able to locate her bag truck pretty easily, but I had to walk almost all the way to the end and then there was a nice long line. Finally, I handed off my bag to the amazing UPS volunteer and Kelsey and I headed to the corral area. I was technically suppose to start in corral 22 and she was in 20, but we ended up sneaking up to corral 19 and started there. It took almost 30 minutes to actually get up to the start line and then once we did… it was GO TIME!
Just after we started, Kelsey and I split off and I soon shed my trash bag (I later learned that Kelsey wore hers for the entire race!). The start of the race you actually started out over 4 lanes of the road and there was plenty of room to spread out, then all of a sudden we turned a corner and there seemed to be no more space. What also sucked is that right before mile 2, there was a water stop right on a turn! Say what? Who does that?
So, as I weaved in and out of runners who apparently forgot the “runners code”, I finally made it to the Arlington Memorial Bridge. I felt during this mile I actually had some space to breathe. So many people were trying to avoid the puddles, but since I was soaked already, I just found it easier to runt rhough them. This also gave me some space to myself at times. As I was nearing the mile 3 marker I heard “Chelsea” being screamed in the crowd and there was Kelsey in her trash bag! She was rocking it! After we waved, I took my first shot block and my first walk break. I wanted to treat this race as much as a training run as possible, so I wanted to walk at the same times I have been walking on the long runs.
As mile 3 turned into 4, we headed onto Rock Creek & Potomac Parkway and into a pretty wooded area. It was actually quite beautiful and unlike your typical look of DC. I enjoyed these miles. We came up to the second water stop and I decided to grab a cup and walk through the stop. I always take water, but I typically try and reserve those for the times I am not near a water stop or for later in the race. As soon as I had throw out my cup, I was back to the running and weaving in and out of people. I got to mile 5 in exactly 53:00. I was feeling pretty good so far.
I kept telling myself “the hill” was coming up at mile 6.5, but that was not the case. Since I took my minute walk break back around mile 3, I wanted to wait until the hill to take my next one, because I knew I couldn’t run up the whole thing. Well, I totally miscalculated that. I ended up saying screw it and went for a walk break around mile 5.5 or so. I chatted with another runner and then we both looked to our left, saw the hill and laughed that we both took our walk breaks a little too early.
I ended up starting back up as I wanted to run as much up the hill as I could. As I started toward the hill, I saw on the left side of the course a bunch of pictures of fallen solders and then I saw a ton of people lining the hill holding American Flags. CUE THE TEARS! People might have thought I was crying because the hill was so hard, but no, it was quite the opposite. I was so moved by this that I just started crying. This was such an emotional and inspirational thing for me. A guy behind me just kept screaming “thank you, thank you, thank you all” and this was not helping the emotions. I just felt everything he was saying and it was very overwhelming.
Finally at the top of the hill everyone just started screaming that we made it, that we were awesome and that was a huge kick to pick the pace back up. I felt the rest of the miles up to mile 10 were some gently rolling hills. Nothing crazy, but after that first hill my legs just were having it. I will admit here, I pretty much would run up each hill, small or not, as much as I could and then would walk what I needed. I didn’t feel weaker, but I knew I shouldn’t push it too much when my legs were already feeling like crap. The walk breaks were a nice kick start.
As we ran through Howard Univeristy, the President Heads from the Nationals were hanging out. Somewhere during mile 9, is where I saw people giving away brisket, beer and jungle juice. I had to say, giving away jungle juice was a first for me at a race.
Finally I saw the mile 10 sign and I was so happy. My legs were burning by now and just never seemed to recover from that hill. They were just tired and dragging. Mile 10 was just a fog. I remember going under a few underpasses, but otherwise it seemed to just go right on by.
Then we got to mile 11. It started with a water stop and I was craving gatorade so I slowed through the water station to grab a cup. After taking down the really crappy lemon-line gatorade, I walked right on through to the water table and grabbed water to wash out the nasty lemon-lime flavor. After this, I picked it back and continued on. This mile felt like it went on forever. I started talking to a fellow runner about the people holding flags on the hill and why she was running, etc. It was so touching to hear her story.
Then I saw mile 12! YES!!! Almost there. This was a very good feeling to get to this point. I was so excited to get there that this ended up being my fastest mile! Go figure! Just as we were coming into the finish line area, there was a huge blow up arch and so many runners thought that was the finish line. So many runners took off sprinting. Doh. Finally I got to the overpass, saw the 13 mile marker sign and probably smiled the biggest smile ever. I was so happy to get across that finish line!
After crossing the finish line, I actually came across Spiderman aka Michael Wardian. He was so sweet and stopped to take a picture with me. I can’t even imagine running 26.2 miles in that costume.
I somehow found Steff and made my way to the gear check truck. After getting my bag, all we wanted to do was get to the metro and get out of the rain. I swear just as I finished the race the rain started picking up more. We litereally stood there like lost dogs because we had no idea of where to go. Some nice medic pointed us in the right direction and my only thought was OMG! I think we had to walk another 13.1 miles to even get to the metro. It was horrible. Once we got there the line was backed up almost a whole block. I told Steff to keep walking and we basically snuck in front. Oops. No regrets there though.
Somehow we actually made it back to the hotel on the metro. I am not sure how, but we did. Once we got back to the hotel, we got out of the wet clothes, took a nice hot shower and relaxed a bit before Lauren B and Mandy popped over. Since we were all starting to get hungry, we headed over to The Hamilton to get some brunch. After we enjoyed some mimosas and great food, we headed back to try and relax and sleep. I don’t think anyone actually slept.
This was my 10th half marathon and probably rated the 2nd in the misery column. The rain was just horrible. The best part is that the whole rest of the day and the next day it was nice. Of course!! This was my first long distance race in the rain, so I was happy to get to the finish line. Overall, even with the rain, it was a fun day and an even better weekend. I loved traveling with the ladies and just having a fun weekend away!
Official finish time:
1013/1937, 30-34 Females
Saturday night we actually got a little dressed up and had some drinks and dinner out on the town. Then Kelsey made us do a tequila shot. Oh my.
Sunday morning the girls and I walked around DC to check out some of the monuments. Oh, and we stopped at Astro Donuts to get ALL OF THE DONUTS!