Race Recap: DC National Half Marathon

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!

80 Comments on Race Recap: DC National Half Marathon

  1. Katie Photiadis
    March 28, 2011 at 8:39 am (10 years ago)

    WOW, congrats on completing the half marathon, Beth!!! That is a HUGE accomplishment, and you kept a really impressive pace too. You should be so proud of yourself!!

  2. Katie
    March 28, 2011 at 8:40 am (10 years ago)

    AWESOME JOB!!! You are awesome 🙂 And you looked so great!

  3. Holly @ The Runny Egg
    March 28, 2011 at 8:45 am (10 years ago)

    Beth congrats on a great run!!!

    I don’t have a Garmin but I’m sure during races I run more than I need too — I try to cut corners but it isn’t always easy if there is a large crowd.

    Oh and I love your shirt!

  4. Christine @ Merf In Progress
    March 28, 2011 at 8:59 am (10 years ago)

    Great job, Beth! It must be such a great feeling to get a PR. Have you taken the medal off yet? I wouldn’t. 😉

  5. jen
    March 28, 2011 at 9:02 am (10 years ago)

    Congrats Beth – awesome job!! Hard work absolutely pays off. Nice work girl!

  6. greensandjeans
    March 28, 2011 at 9:03 am (10 years ago)

    You killed it girl! Next up… marathon training.

  7. katie
    March 28, 2011 at 9:04 am (10 years ago)

    congrats on a HUGE PR!!!!! you looked strong when i saw you near the end!!!

  8. Evan Thomas
    March 28, 2011 at 9:05 am (10 years ago)

    Great job on the half! A 5 minute PR is excellent. That pizza must have fueled you well 🙂

  9. Lizzy
    March 28, 2011 at 9:06 am (10 years ago)

    Congrats Beth- thats an awesome PR!!! You should be wicked proud : )

  10. Amanda
    March 28, 2011 at 9:09 am (10 years ago)

    Congrats on finishing the marathon. That is something amazing and most people can only dream of actually doing it.

  11. Jennifer
    March 28, 2011 at 9:23 am (10 years ago)

    Congrats, Beth! You are awesome!! I hope you got some good sleep afterwards.

    I have a question for you. My BF is running in a half at the end of April. I’m attending the race as a spectator and I’m not really sure what to expect or what to do, other than yell encouraging words LOL. Any advice (things to bring, best stupport, etc). Thanks!

    • Beth
      March 28, 2011 at 3:23 pm (10 years ago)

      Jennifer – That’s an awesome question! I’m going to do a whole post about being a great race spectator next week!

      • Jennifer
        March 28, 2011 at 6:00 pm (10 years ago)

        Awesome, thank you! I really appreciate it.

  12. Marci
    March 28, 2011 at 9:25 am (10 years ago)

    Congrats on a great race! Inspiring and fun to read!

  13. Katy
    March 28, 2011 at 9:30 am (10 years ago)

    You are *amazing!* And I love seeing the big smile on your face in the photos.

  14. Amy @ Second City Randomness
    March 28, 2011 at 9:36 am (10 years ago)

    Nice work! Taking off 5 minutes is huge! So proud of you!!! 🙂

    And on a side note, I feel like all expos I’ve been to recently are lackluster… is it because they’re way overhyped maybe? I’m thinking this could be it…

  15. One Is The Magic Number
    March 28, 2011 at 9:38 am (10 years ago)

    congratulations! man, running makes me emotional and reading about your race made me a little emotional. So inspiring!

  16. Shannon
    March 28, 2011 at 9:46 am (10 years ago)

    That’s awesome Beth! Congratulations!

    Your sucess makes me believe I’ll one day be able to do a half too.

    I have a question too. I’m looking for at home strength training DVDs that will help with my new found love of running. Have you got any suggestions?

  17. Gwen
    March 28, 2011 at 9:46 am (10 years ago)

    Way to go Beth! That hill on Connecticut is a BEAST! But you crushed it! Super excited for you!

  18. maryann zappulla
    March 28, 2011 at 9:57 am (10 years ago)

    Awesome Beth. I’m glad you finished. Next time you’ll break 2:10 for sure.

  19. Simon K
    March 28, 2011 at 9:57 am (10 years ago)

    Congratulations that was a great race, good choice of Garmin unit too 🙂

  20. Carrie Symes
    March 28, 2011 at 10:06 am (10 years ago)

    Congrats!!! That is an amazing accomplishment!

  21. Nicole
    March 28, 2011 at 10:20 am (10 years ago)

    Yayyyy!!! I was thinking about you alll weekend and waiting for your recap on the race. You did such an amazing job, Beth, congrats! I’m stoked to tell hubby all about your race and to start daydreaming about the day I run a half. So happy for you and your new PR!! Such inspiration! Have a beautiful and relaxing week, you deserve it!

  22. SMM
    March 28, 2011 at 10:34 am (10 years ago)

    Great job Beth!! I am in awe!! YAY YOU!!!!!!

  23. Dawn @ Dawn Wants To be Fit
    March 28, 2011 at 10:52 am (10 years ago)

    5 minutes shaved off is HUGE!! You were glowing in your pictures! Great Job, I crave the feeling of crossing the finish line again! May 1st, can’t wait!!!

  24. Emily (@healthyem)
    March 28, 2011 at 11:07 am (10 years ago)

    Congratulations! Another post that really inspires me to start running (once I recover from my injury). 🙂

  25. Amanda
    March 28, 2011 at 11:37 am (10 years ago)

    I have been following your blog for about a month now and you are absolutely the biggest inspiration in my life right now! I am 27, about 80 pounds overweight, and am training to attempt to start running! I look forward to reading about your journey daily and was in tears reading about you success in the half marathon! congrats and don’t stop blogging…ever!! I don’t know what I would do without you! 🙂

      • Beth
        March 28, 2011 at 11:53 am (10 years ago)

        Wow. That is seriously one of the most amazing and touching comment I’ve ever received. Thank you so much!

    • maryann zappulla
      March 28, 2011 at 12:40 pm (10 years ago)

      Good luck with your training Amanda.

      • Amanda
        March 28, 2011 at 8:03 pm (10 years ago)


  26. Jamie
    March 28, 2011 at 11:41 am (10 years ago)

    Congrats Beth! Great job 🙂

  27. Carly D. @ CarlyBananas
    March 28, 2011 at 11:44 am (10 years ago)

    Congrats on the PR Beth! Amazing job! 🙂

  28. Liz
    March 28, 2011 at 11:45 am (10 years ago)

    Great job Beth – I knew you were going to PR! And let me know what your next half is. I’m eying an Alexandria one at the end of May

  29. Brenda Lu
    March 28, 2011 at 11:48 am (10 years ago)

    You are such an inspiration!! Great pics, you did wonderfully!

  30. Lisa
    March 28, 2011 at 12:04 pm (10 years ago)

    What an AWESOME looking medal! Congratulations on your PR. Your photos are glowing. 😀

  31. Maria
    March 28, 2011 at 1:20 pm (10 years ago)


    Congratulations!!! I knew you could do it!!!!! You did an awesome job with the time…..

    Waterford, MI

  32. Amy @ Conquering Self
    March 28, 2011 at 1:49 pm (10 years ago)

    Way to go, Beth!! That is so awesome that you killed your old record! Since I started reading your blog about a month ago, you have totally become my running inspiration! I officially bit the bullet and signed up for my first half marathon this morning after reading your race recap. So proud of you!

  33. rc1001
    March 28, 2011 at 2:01 pm (10 years ago)

    You are sitting next to a girl I knew in high school! Small world! Does she have a blog?

  34. cindylu
    March 28, 2011 at 2:44 pm (10 years ago)

    Congrats on the PR and on adding another medal to your collection.

    I *hate* not being able to sleep the night before a race. I’ve seen others recommend getting a good night’s sleep Friday night (for Sunday races) because nerves will keep you up on Sunday. On the bright side, you didn’t have to rush in the morning.

  35. Jacqui Lewis-Lyons
    March 28, 2011 at 3:21 pm (10 years ago)

    Great job! A PR is always exciting! I have trouble sleeping the night before usually but I make up for it later. And, treat myself to a massage two days later.

  36. Kandi
    March 28, 2011 at 3:24 pm (10 years ago)

    congrats. so proud of you. and your friend Lianne looks like your twin!

    • Beth
      March 28, 2011 at 3:26 pm (10 years ago)

      What a compliment!! She actually has a twin and it’s not me, but thank you!!! =)

  37. Beth
    March 28, 2011 at 4:35 pm (10 years ago)

    Congrats on your huge PR! That is not an easy race!

    • Beth
      March 28, 2011 at 4:37 pm (10 years ago)

      Thanks Beth!! So nice to meet you on Sat!

  38. Ang
    March 28, 2011 at 5:05 pm (10 years ago)

    Terrific job! Congratulations! 🙂

  39. Stephanie @ The Cookie Battle
    March 28, 2011 at 5:18 pm (10 years ago)

    Shaving almost 6 minutes off your time is still something to be really proud of, you did awesome! Congratulations 🙂

  40. Lisa (bakebikeblog)
    March 28, 2011 at 5:30 pm (10 years ago)

    I am so very very happy for you!! What an awesome result!

  41. Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun
    March 28, 2011 at 6:02 pm (10 years ago)

    CONGRATS!!!! You did a GREAT job. A hilly course sounds super tough and you still rocked it. 🙂

  42. happywhennothungry
    March 28, 2011 at 6:13 pm (10 years ago)

    CONGRATS Beth!!!!! That’s awesome that you beat your old time! What a great friend you have as well 🙂

  43. Mandy
    March 28, 2011 at 6:20 pm (10 years ago)

    Congrats!!! I’m glad to see I’m not the only emotional runner – I did my first half yesterday and just burst into tears as I crossed the finish line. It’s crazy how racing can bring all your emotions to the surface!

  44. karenlovescardio
    March 28, 2011 at 7:16 pm (10 years ago)

    Great job! So nice to meet you and I will be keeping up with your blog for sure. What a fun course to PR on! Keep it up lady!

  45. fitandhealthymama
    March 28, 2011 at 8:14 pm (10 years ago)

    You are such an inspiration! I can’t wait to reach the level in running you’re at! Congratulations on such an amazing run!

  46. sarahsscrumptioussamplings
    March 28, 2011 at 10:00 pm (10 years ago)

    CONGRATULATIONS!! You look amazing and strong 🙂 Your PR is amazing! You should be incredibly proud of yourself!!

  47. Elizabeth@GenuineEfforts
    March 28, 2011 at 10:50 pm (10 years ago)

    You did such an awesome job- all of your hard work paid off!

    And you inspired me! I told my parents that I’d run the DC half next spring- thanks for showing that this goal is attainable.

  48. DefineDiana
    March 29, 2011 at 8:17 am (10 years ago)

    Congratulations Beth! That is such an awesome acomplishment!

  49. DefineDiana
    March 29, 2011 at 8:17 am (10 years ago)

    Congratulations Beth! That is such an awesome accomplishment!

  50. Nina
    March 29, 2011 at 3:58 pm (10 years ago)

    Congrats to you Beth! You did it! You are such a strong individual and I know you inspire so many of us out there by just reading your blog. Thanks for all you do for us.

  51. Heather C
    March 29, 2011 at 8:13 pm (10 years ago)

    Congrats, Beth!!! 5 minutes off is HUGE – you did so great!! 🙂 Those hills in the middle definitely weren’t easy, but what a boost to have a friend jump in with you 🙂 Way to finish strong and take it all in!

  52. Kalli
    March 29, 2011 at 9:28 pm (10 years ago)

    you are so darn cute in your race photos beth! way to go…..you rocked it 🙂

  53. DC Runographer
    March 31, 2011 at 2:20 pm (9 years ago)

    Congrats on the race PR! Great feeling. Aside from some minor bumps, I thought the race was great, really loved running it.

  54. Monica
    April 3, 2011 at 2:04 pm (9 years ago)

    Yay yay yay yay!!!!! Congrats!!!!! You did so amazing!!!!! I have been waiting to read this post all week and loved every second of it. You did so awesome!!!!!! I really hope to follow in your footsteps after the pregnancy and I am able to enter down a new path in life. 🙂


8Pingbacks & Trackbacks on Race Recap: DC National Half Marathon

Leave a Reply