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More | Fitness Half Marathon 2014 Race Recap

Well, another half in the books! 

This makes something like 23 or 24 (at least according to my race recaps page.)

Six years ago, I could barely run a mile or two; today I ran a half just for funsies, chatting the entire time.

I was actually really nervous, though. I just haven’t been running much in the past few months, and the ten-miler last week wasn’t easy. So, I decided that distracting myself by meeting Anne for a drink and then going to another bar for a friend’s birthday was a good strategy.

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I tried to eat as plainly as possible last night to be nice to my total jerk of a stomach. 

I woke up this morning filled with panic and dread. What if my stomach was a jerk again? What if my legs were too exhausted from ___ (I don’t even know what, but I haven’t felt fresh legs in a long time)? Just why was I running this race that would be so far from a PR? Did I really want to notch another slow-for-me finish on Athlinks? I won’t lie – I love being able to say I’ve finished another half, but I’m also pretty competitive with myself. I really contemplated staying in bed, but

My stomach was a jerk before leaving this morning and I was lucky enough to wake up with my period, so I was really dreading things. I took a cab to the start to meet with my Junior League friends, almost started tearing up walking to meet them (yay hormones), and finally pulled it together in time to get in the corrals.

Two loops of the park. How many times have I done that?? 

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Mad props to my friend Pamela for giving me this Rockstar 26.2 headband at the expo.

It was my friend Karen’s first half, so I took one for the team and abandoned my second-corral start to hop back to her corral so I could start with her, and our friend Alison. Karen was cool as a freaking cucumber, and I was really surprised, especially since even 20-something races in, I was still nervous. For a race I’d already run three times. (2011 | 2012 | 2013)

This is not an easy race. You run two laps of the park and then a little bit of the bottom part for a third time. Hoda Kotb was announcing at the beginning of the race, and I yelled HODA!!!! at her, and pretty sure we made eye contact. Yeah, cause I was the crazy who had just screamed her name.

For the first six miles, Alison, Karen and I stuck together, no easy feat in such a big crowd. We got separated from Karen at the mile-6 water stop, and I prayed I wouldn’t lose Alison. Right around here is where they told us to get to the side so Deena Kastor could get through, and win.

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I’d just interviewed her on Friday, for work, so I was so excited to see her come through. I KNOW HER!

We were coming up on 7, and I told Alison my mom would probably be there at the end, and that I’d wished she’d be there at 7, but I didn’t want to push her, since it was so early to get into the city…and there she was! I ran over to her and gave her a big hug.  GB was standing right by Columbus Circle, and my goals just became to get to GB and to get to my mom.

Before I knew it, we were at mile 9. Okay, I can do this, I thought. I thought of every time I had a long run and broke it up into pieces to get in a race or run with a friend. That’s all 4 miles was. And really, how many times had I run a freaking half? I should also note that I’d completely run out of any kind of gels or chews and realized this just before the race, so I bought Swedish Fish, and they worked out just fine as fuel! 

My only real goal was not to make a bathroom stop. At several points in the race, I thought I might have to, but I tried really hard to breathe through/into the stomach cramps, and it helped. My Garmin died in the first mile, which was a huge blessing. I didn’t need to obsess over my time!

Just before the finish, I saw Erica, and then my mom, and then we were done. 2:11: more than 20 minutes than my PR, but I had a good time out in the sun with thoustands of other ladies happy to be running through the park.

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Karen finished her first, and Mary PR-ed!

And my mom was at the finish line to give me a big hug. Perfect.

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Do you ever run races just for fun? Are you a little obsessed with your Athlinks account too? 

Thanks to More | Fitness for providing me with a free race bib!

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Cherry Blossom Ten Miler Race Recap

Since I started running, I’ve always wanted to run the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler. I love running races in D.C., and I especially like the 10-mile distance.

Back in the fall, some friends and I signed up for the lottery together as a team. We’d heard it was easier to get in that way, so we decided it worth a try…and we got in!

I’ve been a total fair-weather runner through this crappy winter, so I really haven’t run much. I definitely hadn’t run double digits since the marathon, so I had no idea what would happen today.

Yesterday, we took the Bolt Bus down and were starving upon getting off so immediately went to the Dubliner for lunch, since it was across from Union Station and I had many fond memories there. (Side note: I tried to bring my friends to Cap City Brewing Company, and it had CLOSED. I was sad.) I tried to eat as plainly as possible in anticipation of the race, having a chicken sandwich and a beer.

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We went over to the expo at the National Building Museum, across from my old apartment, to pick up our bibs, and then I headed back to the hotel to charge my literal and figurative batteries.

After a bit, I headed out to see a former boss turned friend of mine and her precious daughter. Morgan is brilliant, and I learned a lot from her at a young age about both working hard and giving back. She always inspired me by example to work harder and be a better person.

I then hopped on the metro to go meet my friend Amy at Station 4 on the Southwest Waterfront. Amy was there for me when I had a slight meltdown on my 25th birthday, and I will forever be indebted to her for that. She’s working on building a corporate yoga program, which sounds amazing. At dinner, my stomach was already feeling kind of upset, so I had risotto, which seemed to be the most simple item on the menu. HA!

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Totally winning photography awards for this one.

I slipped back to the hotel and into bed, to wake up around 6 for the race. I’m documenting everything I had in the 24 hours before the race in case looking back on this at another time helps me. (Foreshadowing!) I had a banana and a banana bread-flavored Larabar and hoped for the best with my stomach, which was still upset.

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We walked down to the start on the mall. Those snazzy arm warmers? I totally forgot any kind of long sleeve action, and it was in the low 40s at the start, so I picked those babies up at the expo yesterday. They chafed me…but they looked good?

I was in the red corral, which was one of the first few, but we were walking up as the corrals were moving up, so I somehow ended back a corral. Whatever, I didn’t have any huge ambitions.

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Except to not die, and maybe see a few cherry blossoms.

My 10-miler PR is from the Army-Ten Miler in 2012, and I remembered it being around 1:29 and the week before Marine Corps, so I hoped I’d be able to get pretty close, if not PR. (Just looked it up: 1:29:44, just under 9:00 miles.)

I thought I’d try to stay around 8:50-8:55 miles to be able to PR. I mean, I ran an entire marathon in 9:02 miles a few months ago and a half in 8:24 miles last year. For the first 3.5 miles, I did just that. But then, just as I came up on the mile 4 marker and the water stop, I needed a bathroom. Like immediately. So I got in the long bathroom line, and then had to spend a few minutes in the Port-a-Potty myself. I had no idea how much time I’d lost at this point, and decided to ignore my watch from here on out. I’d obviously lost a lot of time, and didn’t want to beat myself up about it since I couldn’t do anything about it.

I focused on just enjoying the weather and the crowds – and trying not to miss running with Tina and Anne too much.

The course was a little different than the Army Ten-Miler and the DC Half. It starts on the Mall – goes over the Memorial Bridge and back (like every other DC race), goes up Rock Creek Parkway a bit under the Kennedy Center (yay!), back down by the Tidal Basin and (booooooo) Hains Point, coming back to finish pretty close to the start. Hains Point is long and boring to me and reminds me of a rough patch during Marine Corps BUT I was happy to run into Kim and Allison here and have friends to finish the rest of the race with.

We chatted and enjoyed the end of the race, and I finished in 1:45:22. My PR for a half, so, you know, 3 miles more, is 1:50:22. That bathroom break added a ton of time to my race. Sure, it would have been fun to PR, but I wasn’t trying to and am not focusing on that this year after driving myself hard for PRs all of last year. I didn’t even look up my results until this afternoon, because I didn’t care/want to know. But bathroom break aside, I had a great weekend a fun long run in the nation’s capital. But I do need to work some on the fueling, because I never want to have to stop for a bathroom during a race again.

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YAY NYC in DC!

Did you race this weekend? What’s your favorite race distance?

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