WOW! What an awesome experience! I dealt the good, the bad, and the ugly all in one race. This was my first destination race. I thought it would be perfect since my parents live about an hour or so outside of DC. I didn't plan to race this early in the year. I usually wait until late April or so to start my racing season...BUT, peer pressure was a factor here!
Back in December, Amanda posted something on Moms Run This Town (MRTT) about wanting someone to join her in DC for the half marathon. In a matter of 3 or 4 hours, I was registered! I revealed the news to Jackie and, in a matter of a few more hours, she was registered! HA! If that's not peer pressure, I don't know what is.
Just two months prior, I ran my PR half marathon (1:50:13) at the Run Like a Girl Half in Columbus. When I registered for DC, I had no idea what my goal would be. My running had changed tremendously in the recent months so I had no idea what I was capable of running. A few days after Christmas, I did a 12.05 mile test run with Jackie and Amanda (we averaged 8:02). If we had run another 1.05 miles, I would have done a sub 1:45 half! Amanda, being the friend that pushes me to the edge (in a good way), convinced me that I was capable of a 1:40. With much doubt, that became my goal. Training for this couldn't have gone better. Of course, I had some bad days but, overall, I was on course to run a 1:40...or at least REALLY close to it.
We drove to my parents' house Thursday evening, and they took me to the metro station outside of DC on Friday. An hour later, I was at the airport to pick up Amanda. I was pretty proud of myself for only messing up on one metro transition! We checked into the hotel where we sized up our competition (I kid, I kid..I'm the least competitive person ever!) and met up with Jackie and her hubby.
First order of business: checking out "the hill" we kept hearing about (hence, the ugly). There is no picture that can give you the slightest idea of this incline. It was crazy to look at but even crazier to run. The worst part of the hill was about a quarter mile but there was a slight incline leading up to it. When we saw it, all we could do is laugh:
Literally, you can see us laughing ;)
We followed this up with the expo where we learned there were more than 30 corrals in this race! Holy Moly! I'm glad we were in 6 (superstar Amanda in 1).
The highlight of the expo had to be the big boobed blonde at the chocolate milk station (I'm blonde so I can make fun, right?). She asked if I knew how chocolate milk could help me post run. I was going to let her tell me her spiel but all she said was " Omg. It really helps you when you finish." So I thanked her and took the flyer. I really wanted to hear a physiological explanation! I looked over to Amanda and said "I'm pretty sure that girl's not a scientist."
After returning to our rooms that evening, we checked the weather and debated what to wear in the rain. It's SO hard to decided what to wear when you're racing in rain! If it's a light rain, no big deal; a heavy rain, ugh! It wasn't until the next morning that we made our final decisions based on how fast the windshield wipers were moving on the cars in the street!
The morning of a race is always so weird! I could not eat (only ate a Kind bar) and I used the bathroom a bazillion times. Jackie met Amanda and me in our room before the race. I checked out for a moment because I needed my belly to calm down. I listened to Carrie Underwood singing "How Great Thou Art" and T-Pain's "Booty Wurk." Quite the variety, I know!
We headed out to the gear check area. We wanted to check some dry clothes in case we were freezing when we finished. The area was poorly organized. It was hard to see the signs to know which names went with each line. I stood in the wrong line twice and it was only 5 or 10 minutes from the start time! I panicked and threw my bag in the appropriate truck rather than wait in line! We jogged to the start and made it just in time.There was only one minute or so between each corral so we didn't have to wait very long. The rain was light at the start and it didn't feel too cold. I was hopeful.
Then it was our corral's time to start...