Monday, March 12, 2018

2018 Rock 'n' Roll DC Half Marathon Recap

Rock 'n' Roll DC is my favorite race. It is no secret. This was my fourth year running this course and this year was going to be different. The first time I ran this race, we like to call it the monsoon. Year two was the year of fun. Year three was COLD. Year four was going to be for me.

Rock 'n' Roll has made some changes since the last time I got to run one of their races, let's go through some of them. At the expo when you pick up your bib you confirm your information by swiping your bib on some magical machine. It was pretty cool. You emergency contact information is pre-printed on the back which is CLUTCH! Also, no more foot tags!!! All fantastic changes.

Also at the expo was some new official merch including some neat shirts with all of the participants names on it. I really like this (my name was in the 1), it is something super different.

I also got VIP for this race and let me tell you, it was awesome. The parking pass itself was worth the price of admission. I'll get in to the rest of it later on.

Well, we all had some pizza and some laughs and got to bed. I got my flat runner ready and was ready to give this course all I got!

Lauren, Kelsey and I got dropped off by hubs who made his way to RFK Stadium (VIP parking FTW). Since he was going to be there we could leave some layers on early and not need to use gear check. It was about 38 degrees and windy. I'm in short and a long sleeve and wished it was just a few degrees warmer.

I got in the corral and just relaxed. I went through the race a little in my head. I wanted a 1:55 so bad and knew I had it in me. It was time to show it.

3...2...1.... GO!

I finally remembered to stay on the right side of the road since the first turn is a right. I wanted to feel comfortable but quick in the first 5k. As I got closer to the mile one marker I saw Kristen and Rachel! Kristen and I have been internet friends for a while now and Rachel is a fellow PRO Compression ambassador. Just seeing them really made me smile. We said hello and I kinda kept them in my view for awhile.

Moving through the streets of DC I noticed I am getting the feeling back in my toes. It was taking longer for my left foot to get warm. It actually felt like there was something stuck on the bottom of my shoe. Shake it off and keep going.

I remember going under and overpass and letting out a WOOOOO! Now in Pittsburgh I would get a ton of them back. Nothing. Not a single peep. You guys are no fun! When I got to the three mile mark I grabbed my first gel and had to ditch my gloves. I was struggling hard to get my gel out of my bra. Not too long after I saw another PRO ambassador Rebecca. So much energy already. I love it!

5k Split: 26:02

Ouch, I'm going to regret that later....

I have never seen this part of the course in the sunlight. No lie. It's really pretty! I cut back a little bit in miles 4-6. The hill at miles six is stupid and I really wanted to run up the whole thing this year. I also really took in the course this year. I coasted and wanted to really feel what these paces feel like.

The blue mile came quickly and I silently said thank you to all of the signs of the fallen soldiers we ran pass. It was the least I could do. Alright, hill time!! Lean forward, open up your stride, deep breaths. LET'S GO! Guys, I "ran" up that whole hill and still saw a 12:00 on my watch. Woof, that was so rough!

10k Split: 53:28

I took my next gel once I got my breath back. It gave me some time for my legs to come back to me. The next few miles are a little rolling, but I was ready for it. After my gel went down I went for my salt pill. That didn't go. I threw it up and felt this awful pain in my diaphragm the rest of the race. It kinda felt like a bubble stuck in the middle of my torso.

The crowds were growing. The first part is all business but the second half is a party. I saw so many dogs, great signs and booze. LOTS OF BOOZE! There was a lady who was running near me wearing a winter coat and it was making me really warm. The sun was warm but the wind was still kicking up.

Once I hit mile eight and that awesome drum line, I knew I had it. I actually only looked at my watch a few times, but I did notice I was about .16 off at the eight mile marker. With a number of overpasses to go, I knew I was going to have to manually split my watch at some point. I also got my second wind around this time. I haven't had a second wind in a race in quite sometime. It was nice!

10 Mile Split: 1:27

Ummmm what? 1:27?! Holy crap I'm at least going to hit my B goal (1:57), can I actually get my A goal (1:55)? I manually split my watch so I could see how my last 5k would go. Miles 10 and 11 are the worst for me of this race. There aren't as many spectators and it is just a strange area. I tried to take another gel and it did not go. Great, I guess I'll be going over half of this race on only water. Keep going. I knew I would see the Oiselle girls near mile 12. Just get there and it's all downhill from there.

When I saw the Oiselle girls I threw my hands in the air. Courtney ran to me, just like the past three years and I told her we did it! I'm sure she had no idea what this meant, but I needed to tell someone. I was going to hit my A goal.

My husband was going to be on the left side of the final .1 in the home stretch. I didn't care if it added on more distance, I needed to share this with him. The past few months have been rough for me and I really needed this race. I just gave him a thumbs up. I did it.

Official Time: 1:55:47

That is good for a two minute course PR!!! I hit my A goal for the first time in a race in almost a year. Guys, it hurt but felt so good. I saw Kristen and the other ladies and just gave her a huge hug. She had a 30 second PR and she earned that. I am go proud of her and all of her hard work.

I headed over to the VIP section and signed up for a massage. I still had the strange feeling in my torso and really wanted something to eat. They had an awesome spread but all I could manage was a bagel and a mimosa. Because, duh!

The massage was amazing and I could have stayed in that area all day. Seriously, if you needed a reason to go VIP remember these five things: parking pass, private bathrooms, food, drinks and a massage. Totally worth it!

You better believe I will be back for year five next year. I just love this race so much. It is challenging, but rewarding. Plus, getting to spend the weekend with some amazing people makes it that much better.

Below are the course map, elevation chart and my splits.

See the hill.....

Disclaimer: I was provided entry in to this race and VIP as part of the Rock 'n' Blog program. All opinions are my own.