Rock ‘n’ Roll DC:
Brina and I went down to the race expo to pick up my race packet and to spend my $20 expo cashed I had earned. I had a list (literally a list) that I needed to make sure to do while I was there.
1. Pick up bib.
2. See if I can get my corral changed. I had signed up so long ago that my half time that I registered with was a bit slower than I was wanting to finish on race day.
3. Sign up for the 2:15 pace group. Although I did not want to finish in 2:15, I figured if I was in sight of the 2:15 group, I would be able to meet my goal of 2:19.
4. Pick up my expo cash.
5. Pick up my Black Girls Run (BGR) swag bag and find out about their gear check.
Staying focused, I was able to do everything on my list.
After completing my list, i was focused on taking in the expo and seeing what it had to offer. Being the supporter he is, Brina indulged me and we wandered the expo seeing all the new gear, gadgets and enjoyed the freebies of snacks and such.Little did I know that she was going to be my #1 race blocker too. The expo was full of upcoming races with huge discounts all making them so tempting. She talked me out of signing up for any!!!! #raceblocker In all fairness, she is always looking out for best interest and since having knee undiagnosised recurring knee issues, she persuaded me to wait to sign up any more races. In hindsight……she was right (don’t tell her I said that!) but at the time I was pouting.
All in all, the expo was what you would expect it to be with many deals, promos and ways for you to spend all of your money-lol! Since being persuaded to not sign up for races, there wasn’t much else to do but spend my $20 expo cash-which I fond out could only be spent on RnR items (bummer). I got a shot glass and a frame. Both of which I will use for sure :).
Heading out, we bumped into my sister who was picking up her and Dori’s bib. We chit-chatted and hung out at the Brooks Run Happy Island where she ended up beating Brina and I in some kind of gazelle race or something. She only one because I slipped off my foot prints!!! That’s my story and I am sticking to it! I had wanted to do the run simulator, but I was getting tired, hungry and cranky so we left. On the way out, we ran into one of my female footballers-wished each other good luck and left.
Overall the expo helped to build my excitement for race day.
From the week before the race, I was watching the weather like a hawk. Not only just to know the weather but more importantly to have a cute race day outfit picked out! From the week before, the weather was showing rain..rain….did I mention rain!!! As the week went on, it changed to showers occasionally, then rain in the afternoon, then 60s with some rain. The only constant between the week before the race and race day was….you guess it RAIN!!!! Of course the days leading up to race day we hard fairly warm and sunny days, but rain and cold on race day was Mother Nature’s cruel cruel joke!! Still not laughing!!! The amount of race day outfits that I went through would take up 2 blog entries-at the end I ended up in compression capris, 2 log sleeve shirts and a water resistant jacket with a hood (Note to self:clearly more decorative than functional!!) The water resistant jacket would have been perfect if it wasn’t raining buckets throughout the race…..still not laughing Mother Nature!!!! I had my gloves packed but forgot to bring them :(.
The bummer of race day was that due to the cold and rain, my parents,my husband and kids were not going to be able to come down and cheer me on of meet me at the finish line. My kids were so bummed and so was I .
Since I live in the DC area, I took the train into DC. I have such race anxiety about driving in, finding parking and missing the start time, that the train (well planned the night before to avoid delays) is the best way for me to get to any DC race. Well it felt like all 20,000 racers decided to take the train in because it was CROWDED on the trains. Everyone also had the same ides to get off at the stop that was .1 miles from the start-line. This caused for a very congested and slow moving group from out of the train station to the streets and later the gear check line. I had timed it, so that I would get to Federal Triangle in time to gear check my dry clothes, find my corral and the 2:15 pace group. Little did I know the crowd in the metro would move like molasses and my well planned and timed plan was out the window.
Gear-Check and Start Line:
Instead, I am hi-tailing it to the gear check that wass supposed to close at 7:20 (it is now 7:15).!! I find the UPS trucks and they are in alphabetical order (of course they are) and my last name starts with a T, so here I am running like crazy to get to what I thought would be the T-Th maybe U truck. In stead I come to a T-Z truck! WTF!!! Who does that? anyhow, I get my stuff checked and I am now looking for Brina, my sister and Dori. Dee-Dee and Dori’s aren’t answering their phones but I was able to find Brina and so we began to make our way to the start line when I instantly have to go to the bathroom (along with 20,000 other runners!). After finding the shortest line, I was clear and ready to head to the start line. I still had not heard from or seem Dee-Dee and Dorian and was getting worried, then they called. They were waiting on the trains for forever but were here now and high tailing it to the gear check. Brina and I headed down to the start line to find my corral and thankfully we were able to find Dee-Dee and Dori before the start. We got some quick pictures in and then they went to find their corrals. It was hard to find the actual corrals so I jumped in and ended up somewhere between corral 20 and 23.
Since my phone/camera was in my hydration pack pocket, I wasn’t able to take any picture during the race without a hassle so I am jotting down what I remember from my rain-soaked cold memory……
Miles 0-5: We started along the mall in DC. The mall is such a nice scenic run. We went over and back on a bridge and back, I am not sure exactly the name of the bridge. Since it was out and back over the bridge, I thought I would use some of my energy to look for Dee-Dee and Dori on my way back over the bridge. I spotted Dori and gave her a shout out and a wave but I never saw Dee-Dee. The miles after this took us toward the Kennedy Center. Here I found a girl who I thought I would use as a pacer throughout the run but I lost her in the crowd and was not able to find her again. As we came out from the Kennedy Center we headed towards Rock Creek Parkway. As we were coming up to mile 5, I had two things on my mond….look for Brina (she said she would take the train to get pictures around there) and stop thinking about the hill at mile 6!!!!! There were some rolling hills here but nothing comparing to what was up ahead at mile 6!! At mile 5, I spotted Brina on the bridge-this gave me a boost of happiness and encouragement. We waved and she cheered and I kept running.
MILE 6 …..THE HILL
I had nightmares about this hill. I had heard nothing but awful things about it and was not looking forward to it AT ALL!!!!The stories I had heard about the hill did no justice for the hill…..it was steep and long. As we approached, there were military pictures of soldiers who had lost their lives in service and military volunteers from Wear Blue to Remember holding American flags. I am sure their purpose was to motivate me to stay strong and push through but as much as I tried, the hill defeated me. As I was slowing down, another runner came up from behind and too tried to motivate me, it worked for about 2 minutes. I ended up walking up half of the hill. At the top there were many supporters cheering and encouraging us up the hill. After getting my bearings, I realize that we are heading towards Adams Morgan.
Miles 7-10: Although there were some hills in Adams Morgan, the course was relatively flat for about a mile or so. The row houses had many college students out encouraging and cheering, enjoying morning cocktails (what time is it anyway?) and some had good music booming! That was a nice pick me up even as I eyes the hill coming up, but I knew that running up that hill would lead me to my old stomping grounds at Howard University!! Proudest moment of the race for sure was running through Howard University. This surely gave me a pick me up! Around mile 8ish my knee started really hurting. It had been nagging since about mile 7 but now it was full-blown hurting! I stopped a few times to rest and massage it.
I have to mention since I had on a hydration pack, I did not stop for water, instead drank from my hydration pack at the same mileage as the water tables.
Between miles 9.5 and 11, I just follow the pack of runners, I have no idea where I am as I am cold, wet and my knee pain in REAL and unable to really focus on the scenery. I know at one point we are on H st NE as I see & Pizza.
Side Note: & Pizza by far the best pizza I have had in a long time!!!!
Miles 11-12: When I reached the sign that says half to the left and full to the right, I make sure to stay as far to the left as possible! At this point I know that I am a little over a mile from the finish line and talk myself into sucking it up and finishing strong. At this point, I know my hoped of finishing under 2:20 were shot, so finishing strong was my goal.
Mile 13: Here is where I kicked it in while looking for Brina for finish pictures and well as the race photographers so I could have a nice finish picture for the frame I bought! As we approached the giant Rock ‘n’ Roll inflatable rocker man, I turned off all the pain in my knee and pushed as hard as I could to the finish. I saw Brina, gave a yell and wave and ran with my hands in the air for all the finisher photographers to get a good pic of me.
Finish Line: I mentioned that I was running with my hands in the air so I continued to run and smile as I crossed the finish line. Shortly after I stopped my Garmin-2:27….wait does that say 13.66 miles- WTH!!! I didn’t get the time, I wanted but I did finish under 2:30 and was proud of that. The medals were being handed out by soldiers (nice touch) and I headed to get my warmer, my finisher picture and headed to the gear truck to get my dry clothes. I stopped by the BGR tent to get my RnR BGR medal.
The debacle at the gear truck is not worth remembering and sharing. I got my stuff, changed my clothes and set out to find Dori, Dee-Dee and Brina. I found Dori and Brina but never found Dee-Dee. We wouldn’t get our finisher picture together as everyone’s goal was getting out of the rain. The debacle at the train station in not worth remembering and sharing either.
After showering and warming up, Brina and I headed to Lauriol Plaza for a celebratory swirl sangrita and fajitas!
I am actually considering doing this race again as I felt the weather greatly affected my run, my mood and my overall experience of the race.
We will see……
1st half of the year complete! Up next Cherry Blossom 10 miler!! Can’t wait!