I had very very loose time goals â€” to PR my Army Ten Miler time â€” but I knew I was going into this exhausted (I havenâ€™t been sleeping very well lately) and undertrained.
On Friday morning when I was packing, I checked the weather. It looked like it would be low 40s at race start and 50ish by race end. I was feeling optimistic and packed a skirt, capris, and a long-sleeved top plus a few sweatshirts. If worst came to worst, I told myself, I could wear one of the sweatshirts Iâ€™d intended for wearing around the hotel room or on the bus.
Saturday night, I chose to stay out until about 11:30 with friends, including an old DC friend I hadnâ€™t seen in a while. I alternated every drink for water and went to sleep happy and tired and blissfully ignorant/ignoring the forecast â€” realfeel of 19 and 50mph wind gusts.
I was woefully underprepared for the actual weather, but thankfully Megâ€™s planning to look sporty while spectating worked in my favor and my entire race outfit was actually hers â€” fleece-lined tights, turtleneck + silver vest. God bless my sparkly friend.
I woke up before 6 and headed to Ashleyâ€™s room (we both stayed at The Mayflower, thanks to some awesome last-minute deals!) to get ready and leave around 6:30ish to target a 6:45ish arrival at the start for a 7:30 race start time. It was eerily quiet as we walked down to the Mall from Dupont. Most of the race announcements and signage were canceled due to the weather.
SHIT, what was I getting myself into? We hopped into Port-a-Potty lines and got into â€œcorrals.â€ Without signage, we had no idea which corral was which and seeded ourselves somewhere in the middle.
Iâ€™d sort of wanted to PR but by the time I hopped in the corrals, I didnâ€™t care any more. I was cold, and I just didn’t want to run alone. Running with a friend sounded more fun when I was already woefully undertrained.
I start every race in a negative place, and I tried not to do this in this race, despite …oh, everything. The beginning of the race was really tight because of the corral situation, and I became glad I *wasn’t* trying to PR, as I would have gotten really frustrating.
But though I never felt great, I started to get into a decent groove of pointing out DC landmarks, telling Ashley my DC stories and just general sight-seeing. The course is pretty awesome â€” goes down the Mall, across the Memorial Bridge and back (less awesome), up Rock Creek and under the Kennedy Center (I have a super weird love of running under it), around the Tidal Basin, and then spends three boring miles atÂ Hains Point before heading back towards the Washington Monument. I think I still have a lil PTSD from running Marine Corps the day before Hurricane Sandy in 2012 in equally intense winds.
Though I could appreciate the scenery and the company, I never felt awesome. I tried to wait until after mile 5 to fuel/take walking breaks if I had to. From about mile 5 on, I felt like I was at mile 20 of the marathon. My legs and my lungs just weren’t feeling it. Temperature wise, I never got it right. Vest zipped, I was too hot â€” vest open, too cold.
It was really frustrating to me but a good reminder to be thankful for all the days IÂ do feel strong and a way to see where my base level is right now.
Edited to add: forgot to add my finish time for future reference: 1:34 / 9:24 pace
Thanks again to Anne and the cheese people for hooking me up! Even though I had a crappy experience both times I’ve run this race, I’d still do it again. It’s not you, it’s me.