I will preface this by saying I am still in shock that I ran a half marathon yesterday. CRAZY.
So morning start: 3:30 am came really quick and Jason and I were not amused. I got up fed the dogs and decided to document how I looked:
Oh 3:30 am does not look good on me
I prepped my table of things: Race Bib, Water Belt, iPod and headphones. I had all of my clothes upstairs but this was the rest of the importance. Then I went upstairs, washed my face, attempted to go to the bathroom, and then I got dressed.
I decided to take a page out of BitchCakes book and wear makeup
Not too shabby (Not much better, but still better).
Then we were off, coffee in tow, we left for the race. Jason was dropping me off at Mount Vernon (Sup George!) where the start line was. Then he was driving to National Harbor in Maryland, where the finish line was. Yep, I’d be running from Virginia to Maryland – which doesn’t seem like a big deal, but at 5:30 am when we said goodbye, it was kind of blowing my mind.
I arrived at the start at 5:30 and was like “Okay, now what?” I stood around for a few moments, before realizing the generator that was powering the big lights on the field, was emitting heat through the fan in the back. Well, guess where I stood? YEP.
I quickly made friends. An older guy who was running his first half, a woman in her 30’s who was running this for the first time (but not her first half), two middle aged men who were running it, and very anxious and scared, and then a younger guy (most likely younger than me) who this was his first race period. He had volunteered last year for this race and then decided to train and run it. Kudos to him. We all hunkered down near the generator and waited the next hour and half. At this point I was cold, and hungry. The younger first timer kept my attention with random questions and anecdotes, until he left for the bathroom about 20 minutes before the start. I ended up walking with one of the middle aged men to the corral, and there was no consoling him. He was scared. I tried to assure him that all he had to do was get to point B, and that was it, but I think it fell on deaf ears.
After a horrible rendition on the National Anthem, we were off. The elite runners tore off like they were on fire, and we never saw them again.
Then it was me, running, alone. Yes there were people around me, but I find it easier to forget about them and just run. I got through the first mile (without knowing it, because there was no mile marker sign) and then hit mile 2. I was feeling awesome. Nothing hurt. Mile 3, 4, 5, nothing to comment on. I was still going on. I was talking to a couple of people around me at this point, and then 6, 7, 8 came and went. We were now on the Wilson Bridge path to the side of the road. It’s blocked by a massive wall, so there was no need to close down the lanes, and it was kind of awesome that we didn’t ruin 495’s day by having to do that. Then suddenly Mile 9 appeared. I looked at my garmin and it had only been 8.69 miles… I was calling bullcrap on that. But then it took forever to find mile 10. They had simply place the marker wrong. Which isn’t that big of a deal unless your entire well being and speed is relying on the mile markers, and my it was that point when I crashed. It was mentally damaging.
I look so happy… If I only I knew what would be coming.
I reached for a gu, that was not there. I had left them in the mug on the counter. I cursed outloud and then saw the damn hill I had to do next. The entire way up I am asking Jesus to not let my hamstrings shred like I am sure they were doing. I was in a lot of pain, I had no energy, and my pace had dropped from sub 10’00” miles to 11’12”. I was so mad. HOW HAD I LET THIS HAPPEN. At this point I just wanted to finish. Mile 11 came and I was crying. The girl next to me said “Read your shirt. Let that push you.” It was my TEAM 413 shirt. I fully threw everything I had at that point on God and said ‘Just get me across that finish line. Mile 12 – and there was a water stop. I didn’t grab water because I knew if I stopped running I would not start again. I waved at the kids and my face looked like a horror film villian, so children, I apologize if I scarred you for life. We were on loose gravel at this point, which is never fun, and frankly, dangerous when you have the balance of a weeble-wobble like I do. I made it back to the side walk and saw people cheering.
At this point I knew I was close. THEN BAM. The Mile 13 sign. just 0.10 left, right? THAT WAS THE LONGEST 0.10 OF MY LIFE. MY WHOLE LIFE.
I saw Jason, and he was the exact umph I needed. He snapped a bunch of – I’m sure – horrible pictures of me in pain, not smiling, and dying. At this point I was like “WHERE THE EFF IS THE FINISH LINE.” I came around the next turn and there is was. Normally I can sprint at this point, but my legs wouldn’t do it. They just couldn’t
From WWGHM Video
I’m shocked that I did it. I immediately began to weave and wobble, and until a nice Race Volunteer named Steve grabbed my shoulders from behind me and led me to the medals, water, gatorade, and bagels. He gave me a towel and told me I did great and then asked if I could walk. I blankly and I’m sure almost robotically said “Yes?” and he smiled and walked away. Thanks Steve!
I made my way over to the gate and found Jason. I was like “Wanna leave, I’m done.” He smiled and we began walking to the car. As I was walking away with him I said “I ran the first 9 miles without stopping.” and this woman turned around and said “You are my hero for that. Thank you so much. That is amazing.” I was floored. A complete stranger.
I saw the first timer walking with his family and thought about saying hi, but he was so excited, he was telling his mom he ran it in under 2 hours. Good for him. I decided to let our little conversations end on the route. Good luck with your next race, where ever you are!
We had to walk up stairs or a ramp – I decided to run up the stairs because I am annoying. Jason was not amused. We got into the elevator, and then into the car and it all hit me. “I just ran a half marathon” and Jason said “Yes you did.”
Although it is my fourth race, I felt like this was the most awesome. I had a blast, felt strong through most of it, and just really showed myself what I can do if I try. It reinforced my want to run outside and forget the treadmill for a while, and I am sure in doing so I’ll be able to crush my time from this race come March when I run the Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon.
Oh yeah, and I PR’d this time. I shaved 2 minutes and 44 seconds off of my best time which was at the Annapolis Half Marathon last December.
I’ve got the bug again, and I want to sign up for every race possible, but I am hanging tight. I have a 10K in a couple of weeks, and a 5K in December. I’m relaxing with races till March, and then we’ll see where the course map takes me.
Thank you for all the kind words, ‘likes’ and applause for me yesterday. It was truly an epic event.