13.1 Miles Through DC

It’s been almost three weeks since I crossed the finish line of my 13th half marathon at the Rock n Roll DC Half Marathon. I’ll admit, I was in a little state of disbelief for a few days after I finished. I went sub-two hours and finished injury free. For several days after I was waiting for something to pop up–my IT band, my shins, my hips, anything–but aside from a little soreness I was fine. So now that I’ve collected my thoughts and the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler is on the horizon (how is it already this Sunday!!), I thought it was time to write my recap.

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I didn’t go to packet pickup because I had to work, but Tyler went for me, so I can’t really say much about the expo. The t-shirt is nice-women’s specific with a cool graphic. I may actually wear this one during training!

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I woke up on Saturday feeling really relaxed and did my race day ritual, the Jasyoga Race Day Meditation. Then I did all the regular things–get dressed, coffee, breakfast, etc and was out the door by 6:15am. The morning went by really quickly–Tyler and I took the Metro in and arrived at the start line with about 30 minutes till go time. Of course I had to use the bathroom, so we waited in line at the porta-pots while drinking hot cocoa provided by Dunkin Donuts (thank goodness-it was COLD!)

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pre-race layers

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Gear:
Speaking of the cold (it was hovering around 32 degrees + wind at the start), here’s what I wore from head to toe, and found it to be perfect for the entire race even as it warmed up:
Oiselle Powerstretch Earband
Coeur Boco Gear Team Visor
Smith Optics Pivlock Asana sunglasses
Oiselle Tripoli Long Sleeve (on sale now!)
Oiselle Gilman Vest (past season)
Brooks Rebound Racer sports bra
Oiselle Lux Gloves (on sale now!)
Oiselle Lesley Moto Tights
Balega Blister Resist Socks
Hoka One One Clifton 2

Okay, back to the race. When I signed up I put myself in the 2:00 pace group, but since I was now targeting a 2:10-15 race time I decide to start in the 8th corral instead of the 7th. The race start was so smooth. There was adequate time between each corral start so it really never felt crowded, which was impressive given the number of runners.  When it was time for our corral to take off, I suddenly got nervous. I was nervous that my longest training run was only 10 miles, that I would end up getting injured and about the hilly course. As soon as we took off, I turned on my race day playlist and just focused on running my race. I was able to settle into a comfortably hard pace and I quickly caught up to the 2:00 pacer. I felt really good/relaxed running at their pace so I stuck with that group for a while.

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We ran by some of the monuments (always a favorite) then along the Potomac toward Georgetown where it got a bit windy. Luckily the wind didn’t last and the sun came out. It was truly a beautiful morning. I really enjoyed this course because it took me thought parts of the city that I don’t typically go through, so the scenery kept my mind off of the hilly route. Most of the course was lined with spectators and of course, being a Rock n Roll race there were bands within every mile.

The one super-challenging part of the race comes within mile six (I think). It’s called Calvert Hill, which leads into the Adams Morgan neighborhood. I love that that’s where the Blue Mile is stationed, as you are fighting to go up the toughest part of the course you are remembering those who fought for the country-it’s moving and before ya know it you’ve reached the top of the hill! You can find out more about it here.

After mile six the course is pretty fast moving-I was seriously hitting 8:40 miles which shocked the hell out of me, but just went with it because it felt good (see Garmin stats below). I realized I had passed the 2:00 pacer and remember thinking “OMG can I really go sub-2?!?!” I carried on but started to slow down a little bit at mile 12 and the 2:00 group passed me. Instead of feeling discouraged, I pushed on and stuck with the group. I already knew I was going to crush my original time goal I had set at the start line, so slowing down a little bit didn’t bother me at all.

I was within the last couple miles (maybe last mile?!) when I saw the Oiselle cowbell corner out cheering the runners on and heard someone (Jennifer maybe?!) yell “GO STACEY!” Sadly, I missed my Coeur teammates, but Megan pointed out later–it was probably easy to miss them with everyone bundled up! I also passed a group of guys that were in a line dancing on the course and had to high-five them all, because on course high fives are the ultimate boost. I knew I was close because my Garmin was close to mile 13 (it was a little off but hey, I don’t run the tangents well). I could hear the finish line cheers. I was going to do it-get a sub-two hour half marathon. Tears filled my eyes because when I started training for this race, sub-two just wasn’t a reality.

Unofficially, I crossed the finish line with a HUGE smile on my face, running 13.27 miles in 1:59:06.

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I collected my medal, thanked every volunteer I passed and met back up with Tyler. It was over and I was in total disbelief. I wanted to stick around at the finish line but I was suddenly freezing so I bundled up and we walked about one mile to the Bayou Bakery where I enjoyed a latte and beignets.

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I’ve now run four Rock n Roll races (New Orleans, VA Beach, Philly and DC), this one is by far my favorite. Everything from the course to the spectators to the medal-I loved everything about it.  Would I run it again? That is a huge hell yes.

Stats:

Official

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turns out I predicted my finish time correctly all along 🙂

Per my Garmin, mile by mile

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8:34 at mile 9?! I surprised myself with that one!

Many thanks to my Coeur and Oiselle teammates who inspire me daily to push beyond what I think I can do and to Jasyoga-more thoughts on this coming Friday, but I don’t think I would be injury free without my daily practice. And that 2:00 pacer gal who unknowingly helped me run my best-executed race ever. Thank you ❤

 

 

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