I am now the proud owner of not one, but TWO half marathon completion medals!
Saturdays race was both physically and mentally challenging, but I came out a finisher and with a new PR!
But first, let’s rewind a bit.
Friday during the day, I headed over to the expo to pick up my race packet. I headed over there with Liz, and we ran into Mindy on the train. Small world. Even though we got to the expo right when it opened, there was a line out the door! Perfect for asking random strangers to take our photo…
Once we finally got inside, I started getting really excited that the race was finally almost here!
The expo itself was not that impressive – relatively small, not that great of giveaways, and pretty pathetic race swag. You know I love free stuff so I was quite sad about that, but at least I got my photo with Abe!
We picked up our race packets, wandered around a bit, and then got on the train to finish up my work day.
I went to Pizza Paradiso for dinner afterwards for the obligatory prerace carbo loading with a bunch of other bloggers. It was awesome food, even better company, and fun to be around a bunch of others who love health and fitness (and pizza!).
I got home pretty early (before 9:30) and set out all my gear for the morning – something that always makes the race feel imminent!
Camelbak, gloves, knee band, GU, Spibelt, Garmin, my bib, socks, shoes, t-shirt, running jacket, pants.
I had the pre-race jitters like woah and could not get to sleep until 11:30pm. I set two alarms – one for 5:00am and one for 5:03am – and I woke up before either of them went off feeling pretty well rested. As I waited for the alarm to go off (assuming it was just before 5am), I tossed and turned a bit but was wide awake. I finally got out of bed to check the time, and it was only 2:30am! I tried so hard to go back to sleep for another hour+, but couldn’t. I finally got out of bed around 3:45, turned on the coffee, and took my time getting ready. It was pretty surreal to be awake and in motion before 4am, but I actually felt more awake than you’d expect.
I geared up in my Beth’s Journey t-shirt and put my hair in braids for the run.
And then made my pre-race breakfast – two slices of toast with pecan butter and sliced banana.
I also had coffee and water, and then before I knew it it was 5:30 and I was heading out the door. I picked up two friends – Stepfanie and Laura, who were both running in the same race and were staying right near me – and we drove to the race site. I was glad we got there right around 6am (gun time was 7am) and got a parking spot no problem. It was also reallllllly cold out, so I was thrilled they let us inside the armory to stay warm before it was time to get into our corrals.
The morning honestly flew by and before I knew it, I was approaching the start line and beginning my second half marathon! The course was a lot hillier than I was expecting/used to, but luckily most of the hills were rolling so there was as much downhill as uphill. That didn’t make the uphill portions any easier though!
The race was also really crowded throughout. I was expecting it to thin out a lot more than it did after the first few miles, but it stayed pretty packed until the end. I took a GU right before crossing the start line, and then again at 4, 7.5, and 10.5 miles (so 4 total). Miles 1-5.5 were pretty uneventful, and I was really glad to have my Camelbak with me so I didn’t have to stop at any of the water stops!
- Mile 1: 10:08 (SO crowded!)
- Mile 2: 9:35
- Mile 3: 9:28
- Mile 4: 9:17 (took a GU after this)
- Mile 5: 9:55
Around mile 5.5, there was a HUGE hill that took everything I had not to start walking. It was once we turned onto 18th street and Connecticut Avenue, and then went under Dupont Circle.
Coming out of the circle all the way up to Columbia was one of the hardest parts of the course for me, but then I spotted my friend Lianne who came to run part of the race with me. She took the above photo right before I screamed her name and she ran in and came by my side with Gatorade and support. I was SO happy when I saw her that I almost started crying. It’s crazy how emotional racing makes me.
It was around mile 6.2 and she kept telling me random stories that helped me focus on what she was saying rather than the fact that I was running a half.
- Mile 6: 9:37
- Mile 7: 10:28 (worst part of the hill – took a GU after)
- Mile 8: 10:01
- Mile 9: 10:03
- Mile 10: 9:43
Lianne wasn’t sure how many miles she was going to run with me, and decided she would run the whole rest of the race midway with me! I was SO happy to hear that she wanted to finish with me because her support was really helping me keep going. I think the fact that I slept 3 hours was really starting to kick in and the hills were just really getting to me. (Plus the fact that I was running 13.1 miles…)
The last three miles were HARD. There were only a few hills, but I was just exhausted at this point. I kept repeating “Quitting is forever” over and over so I wouldn’t stop (in my head, don’t worry). Lianne kept asking me if I was ready to pick up the pace and I kept confidently responding “Nope!” Slow and steady…
- Mile 11: 9:37 (took another GU)
- Mile 12: 10:14
- Mile 13: 10:00
- Last .3: 2:45 (9:13 pace)
I was able to sprint the last little bit to end the race quickly, and while I was so proud of myself for finishing, I was also SO ready for the race to be over.
My best friend/saving grace Lianne and I:
I knew I had PRed but wasn’t sure of my official time. I ended up running an extra .2, even though I tried to stick to the inside of the curves as much as I could!
It’s kind of crazy I ended up running an extra 2/10th of a mile even though I was conscious of sticking to the inside of curves. Imagine how much extra I would have run if I wasn’t paying any attention!
I found the results tent and got my official time…
My first half was 2h16min18sec, so I shaved 5:32 off my time from my first!!!
I was honestly a little mad I finished above 2:10 because I really wanted to break it, and it’s annoying that I ran an extra two tenths of a mile because taking that would have put me under 2:10, but I AM happy that I finished and PRed! You can guess what my goal will be for my next half marathon… yes, I said next.
Thank you to everyone who left a supportive comment, tweet, or email encouraging me for this race! I appreciated every single one and felt so lucky for all the support I received!