National Half-Marathon Recap

Yesterday morning, I finished my fifth half-marathon. (Recaps of the first four.)

I think that officially makes me hard-core. Or crazy. Or both.

This morning, Tamsin and I woke up at 5am so that we could get to the race with time to use the port-a-potties. When we woke up, I was NOT feeling the race. It was a little chilly in her room, and I was questioning my sanity for waking up ridiculously early two weekends in a row, but Tamsin reminded me that we’d spent a lot of money on our race entries, and I got up and got moving, begrudgingly.

Apparently not everyone got up to run.

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She lives about a mile from the start, so we jogged over slowly. I felt plenty warm by the time we got there, so I was glad we jogged.

[Moral of the morning: listen to Tamsin.]

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Crappy photos brought to you by the street lamps and my iPhone.

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I said goodbye to Tamsin and got into my corral with Tina, where we talked about how crazy we were for doing three half-marathons in a row and how we weren’t sure if we were going to go for time or just run.

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As we started running, I started feeling a little cocky. “I’ve run a marathon. I ran a half last week. NO BIGGIE.”

Big mistake. A half-marathon is still a really freakin’ long distance. LIke, half of a marathon.

My cocky attitude also made me start out much faster than I should have. I was starting out around 9:05 miles. “I got this,” I kept thinking. And I did, for the first 3-4 miles. I felt a little sore around the edges, but hoped that I had built up strength from last week’s race that would get me through. I ate half of my Gu around 4.5–a little earlier than I usually start Gu-ing, but I was feeling hungry. As the race went uphill around mile 6 leaving Dupont Circle, I went downhill. That long, gradual hill, and the smaller rolling hills I’d encountered earlier in the course were starting to do me in.

Around mile 7, my stomach started feeling really rumbly, and I worried I might need a port-a-potty. I slowed down and eventually walked through the mile 8 water stop. At this point, I saw that a sub-2:00 half was definitely beyond my reach, and I decided to not run too hard and just enjoy the course. After living in D.C. for seven years, I was very familiar with about 90% of where the course went–around mile 3, where Caitlin and Emily were standing, was only a few blocks from my old apartment here!

I chugged along from miles 8-10ish, until I saw Becky!!! She was doing the full, and I was so excited to see her. We ran together for about a mile or a mile and a half. We eventually split up when she stopped at a water stop.

My Garmin lost signal as we ran under a few overpasses, and so I wasn’t sure how accurate it was. There were very few mile markers, so I just decided to trust my watch. I usually pick up my pace dramatically around mile 12, but I just didn’t have it in me yesterday and waited until mile 12.75 to do so. Good thing, because the course was long. My Garmin said 13.33 miles when I was done–and I don’t think I did that much weaving in and out of people. My official time ended up being 2:05:11. Not a PR, but still pretty damn good having PR-ed last week.

I realized how well-organized NYRR races are at this race. The first two miles were incredibly tight and it was hard to pass anyone. I had my Camelbak, so I didn’t have to stop at water stops, but around mile 8, I decided I needed an energy drink, and I tried to stop for the red Powerade (which, ew?), but there was only one table left of the Powerade–and I’m not that slow. Also, the mile markers were few and far between, and there were certainly no signs in the last mile counting down the increments of the last mile. Once I crossed the finish line, we ground to a dead stop, instead of walking through to get our medals and post-race food. Also, NYRR races post results almost immediately–yesterday’s results weren’t posted until late afternoon.

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After the race, I went to Tunnicliff’s, which I was positive I’d been to before, but I didn’t remember once I walked in. (Which doesn’t mean I haven’t been there ;)) I had two wonderful Goose Island Honkers Ales and two eggs, bacon, toast and home fries.

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Me, Tina, and her friends.

Running races in D.C. (I also ran the Army Ten-Miler in 2009, just a few months after I started running) makes me feel like I’ve come full circle. When I used to live here, I was the antithesis of active. Yesterday, we went into a Dunkin’ Donuts near Eastern Market and I told Tina how I used to drive to that one, despite the Chinatown Dunkin’ Donuts only being three blocks from me. The race course yesterday took us through Adams Morgan (a place I certainly had seen very little of sober) and Dupont Circle, and it brought back hazy memories of bars in those areas.

D.C. also reminds me of how passively I lived my life then. I wasn’t very happy living here, but it took me a long time to do anything about it. I can’t blame it on the city, but getting out of here and getting a fresh start was certainly the right thing for me to do. I look at that picture above and see genuine happiness in my eyes and smile, rather than the slightly empty, forced smiles from when I lived here. I would never move back here, but I do really appreciate this city when I’m here, and wished I hadn’t taken it for granted when I did live here.

But I’m definitely a New Yorker. The competition in NYC can get tough, but it keeps me going and keeps pushing me to be the best me I can be.

27 comments on “National Half-Marathon Recap

  1. Katy

    Ooooh, I was waiting for this!

    What a great time…both your actual finishing time, and the experience. I loved living through you all via Twitter and blogs. It really got me hyped for the 10K I ran yesterday, and the half I have coming up in 2 weeks!

  2. Dori

    You did amazing for someone who ran a half next week! Faster than I am not having done that. Totally agree on the organization of nyrr races.

  3. Meg G

    Congrats!! That is a great time coming off of a PR last week. I feel the exact same way about DC. I like to go back and be nostalgic but there was a lot of unhappiness for me there. It’s great that you can appreciate how far you’ve come since, I know that it makes me get that “you’ve come a long way, baby” feeling. Good luck on your next half!!

  4. Heather (Healthier Heather)

    Funny, I lived in DC for years too. I have to say, I felt the same way you did. I loved living there, I discovered alot about myself, had a blast, drank alot and in the end realized that my true self wasn’t going to be found there. I’m happier, more balanced and love my life now. I find your blog very motivating as I am in the process of losing weight and finding my healthy self. Thanks for sharing and congrats on another successful half.

  5. Caitlin

    Congrats! You should be proud not only of this weekend but of how far you’ve come since living in D.C.! What a cool thing to be able to observe 🙂

  6. Camels & Chocolate

    Congrats, my friend! 2:05 is still excellent! And I absolutely hate and dread the tummy rumbles during every race–happened to me on an 8-miler in Golden Gate Park last week; it was just a good thing we happened to be running by a bathroom! (TMI?) But having to take a bathroom stop during a race is the pits. I got my worst time ever on a half in the Birmingham last year because the porta-potty stop took about 8 minutes! Ridiculous.

  7. Lizzy

    You are such an inspiring have totally come full circle and I am so so proud of you. You have become such a fantastic runner and a sub 2 is definitely in your near future!! it great to run in dc. It’s a beautiful city but like you I’m much happier with where and who I an now. Xo

  8. Sarah Jayne

    You are amazing. 2:05 is a WONDERFUL time!! Not only should you be so proud of that, but also of the way you took back control of your life and have been able to make it such a good one. Not many people can do that! Youre an inspiration and role model to many. including moi. xo

  9. Anne P

    I’m so proud of you for how far you’ve come. Great seeing you this weekend and, for the record, I think that was the first time I’ve ever been in Adams Morgan sober, too 😉

  10. Kim

    WOW! Great work, sounds like you have had a pretty aggressive race schedule lately! It’s always so amazing to look back at how far we’ve come from unhealthy periods in our lives. Great work and I hope you enjoyed celebrating in DC! 🙂

  11. Emily

    congrats on the half! five halfs is no joke.

    So great to meet you on Saturday night! I definitely want to make an NYC trip sometime soon to hang with all you awesome new york girls.

  12. Sarah

    Congrats on a great race. Your reflections on your time in DC were a great wake up call to me as I’m currently struggling with the same issues in DC and know that I just need to make a decision and move on towards more happiness.

  13. Becky

    You are hardcore. Three half-marathons in three weeks. No joke. Congrats!

    I am so glad that we had the chance to run together Saturday, but even more glad that we got to hang out later. Fun times!


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