The four hour ride to DC ended up taking close to seven. We made it to the expo with a half hour to spare. They turned the lights out on us.
Chelsea almost took out a cyclist with a car door. We ate an awesome dinner that I couldn't enjoy because I was so nervous and to cap it all off, we welcomed Barack home from his trip to LA.
Okay, now that that's out of the way. It was time for a soggy half marathon.
This is my first real race back from injury and I was so scared. I was hoping I could hit a sub 2 so bad, plus knowing it was going to rain the whole time made it quite an adventure. I also did something else for the first time, I used bag check!
Chelsea, Kelsey and I left our hotel and made our way to bag check right around 7am. We knew we were cutting it close and my bag check was crazy far from them so we said our good lucks and I dropped my bag.
I had no idea how to get to the start line and this really nice guy noticed and we trotted together to the start. I got in corral four and started the GPS on my watch. I had no problems connecting this time. All of a sudden it was time for the anthem. THIS IS ALL HAPPENING SO FAST!
It did not take long at all to get to the start. Less than five minutes. The nice part about being up so close to the front is people know what they are doing. It was awesome. The start is on this very wide road which was awesome. It's a downpour at this point and I didn't want to look at my watch. I wanted to see what I could do.
|This was the street, the next day of course|
It was around mile two that I could really feel the wetness of my socks. Luckily it was about 50 degrees so nothing felt freezing, just squishy. We passed by the Lincoln Memorial and I saw a running in front of me with a sign on his back that said BLIND. He was running with another man and I made sure I gave them both some much needed encouragement and moved along.
We then went across a really cool bridge. It was an out and back so I made sure to look for my friends on the other side. Too bad the majority of the bibs had a 9 on them, and they were starting in 20. Guess I am going at it alone.
Around the four mile mark I felt a horrible stinging in my toes on both feet. I thought I had felt blisters form earlier in the race, and I think they just popped. Great, something to keep my mind off how badly it's raining.
Somewhere in mile five in this beautiful park I noticed a whole bunch of yard signs lining the street. Once I got closer I noticed that they were photos of fallen soldiers. I noticed a woman next to one of the signs and take a picture. I'm now in tears. Messy ugly tears.
As I composed myself I realize I am in the hill. The hill I have been warned about. HOLY HILL! To make matters worse, the hill is lined with people holding Americans flags the whole way up cheering us on. ALL THE TEARS! I couldn't catch my breath, I walked for a little up the rest of the hill. I just couldn't do it.
Out of the hill, the rest of the race was a little rolling. I did see a fire truck cross the road right in front of me which made me actually laugh out loud.
Around mile eight is when the party started. This neighborhood was filled with people drinking, handing out food and eventually led to a woman telling me I needed a shot. I politely declined. The Washington Nationals running Presidents were out cheering us on! Even in these awful conditions, this race is 100xs better than NOLA.
Around mile 10 I looked at the clock and if I did my math correctly I was sub 1:30, which meant barring any sort of disaster I was going to go sub 2!!! Please hold it together, there is still a 5k to go and I have no idea what can happen.
When I saw the half/full split I made sure I was staying to the left. This girl did not want to run a full marathon today! It was then around mile 11.5 I saw Courtney! I was super excited to see a smiling face! We screamed, she said I looked great. I thanked her and kept going. That was exactly what I needed to finish strong.
I could see RFK stadium to my right and I knew the finish line was close. Just like in Pittsburgh, my right foot started to cramp really bad. I am a forefoot striker so changing my stride this close to the finish really sucked. I have my watch within eye shot by this point and I see the mile 26 sign.
I didn't care how bad I was cramping, I was sprinting. This was also the first time I saw a camera man, and there were some pretty epic photos of me!
I crossed that finish line, stopped my watch and gave myself a little fist bump. I accomplished my goal!
Despite the weather, I really liked this race. The course was very similar to Philly and the crowd support was incredible! I liked the rolling hills and if it wasn't raining, I bet the stadium parking lot would have been an awesome place for a concert. I really recommend running this race! Make sure you register early though, it does get a little pricey.
Have you ever raced in a downpour? Did you adjust your goals or go with the flow?