Sunday, September 24, 2006

Montgomery County Parks Half Marathon

I was feeling good. My runs leading up to this race were going well. I was confident. Well-rested. Happy. Things were looking up!

Plus, I had the most amazing house guests: Susie of Finally Running and her s.o. David came to spend the night (paaarttty like it's 1975!!) because they were also running the half on Sunday. We fell into conversation like we'd known each other our whole lives. Rock on RBF!

(If you just want the result, without all the contextual references I'm about to bestow, best skip to the end.)

In their honor, I threw a "dinner party." Which means I twisted off the tops of several very high-quality jars of tomato sauce, sought out the finest of linguini, and ripped the zip-lock tops from two kinds of frozen meatballs (meat and not meat). I know how to knock myself out at my candlelight suppers. My other guests, the Other Jen, and my highly unpaid coach Bex and her s.o., the highly entertaining E., brought other foodstuffs.
Dinner: Moi, David, Susie, Bex, The Other Jen

We were all running the next day. Susie, David, Jen, and I in the half. Bex in the National Capital 20 Miler. So no spirits of any sort were served or imbibed. Likewise, no dessert. (I cover all the bases at my soirées.) Everyone left early; I was in bed by 9 p.m. and had a great night's sleep.

Sidebar: You know what always amazes me? No one really cares what you make or don't make for dinner. No one really cares whether you have the latest from Crate and Barrel. I mean, it's nice to sit down to a homemade this or that, or a gourmet whatever, but all you really need is a bunch of fun people. Not one person commented on the fact that I do not own a complete set of dishes or that I have six mismatched glasses. So, listen up people: You do not have to have a perfect house, or matching china for 12, or even six chairs that match (one of my chairs at the table was an office chair) in order to throw a highly successful and entertaining Washington, D.C., official gala.

Take that, Martha.

Meanwhile, you are here to read about the half marathon! So let's get to it!

Woke up at 4:30, got to race start at 6, met Jen and Deanna (Naomi's friend). Two of us moaned and worried about bathroom issues. One of us was limping. One of us had never run a race before. One of us fiddled incessantly with her shuffle. One of us was champing at the bit like a race horse. One of us did not worry one bit about what he was wearing and how his hair looked.

After several days of crisp, cold fall-like weather, summer had returned. It was humid and slightly overcast at 6 a.m. And dark. We got to watch the sun rise. It was a beautiful morning. The field was small, about 2,000 people.

Jen and I started together. Deanna, Susie and David ran together, far far ahead of us.

This was a point-to-point race and ended near where I work, on trails that I run on every day. Familiar territory! Like falling off a log!

(Geeze, this is like a Hitchcock movie. I can barely stand the suspense and I know how it ends.)

Here is the course elevation:

The accompanying text:
While the course offers a net downhill finish it also offers a mix of flat and fast area and rolling hills. The height of the hills comes roughly at four miles where runners will be greeted with steep and turning 200 meter incline.
Now, does that description look like it goes with that elevation map? I think not! The height at four miles? Check out 11-13!

There were a lot of rolling hills and a lot of flats. I managed to pass a few people on some uphills. That felt good. Mostly we ran on a paved trail through beautiful woods that I'd never seen before. Jen flew ahead of me around mile 3. A light mist fell on and off. It was warm. The sun poked through occasionally. I kept up a fairly steady pace, until mile 11, where halfway up a hill, I started walking. And then continued to walk on and off til the 12.5 mark, my familiar home ground.

I had two goals in this race: a time goal of 2:30, and a second goal to not walk unless I was dying.

Final time, you ask? 2:38:15; 12:05 min./mile. With Jen about 45 seconds behind me. Woo hoo!

For the one of you still reading, here are my splits:
1&2: 23:26
3: 12:07
4: 11:19
5: 11:20
6: 11:40
7: 11:35
8: 11:54
9: 11:34
10: 11:37 (1:56--my fastest 10 miles yet!)
11: 14:30 (and here's where the wheels fell off)
12: 12:26
13: 13:38
.1: 1:04

So, what did I learn from this race? 1) Get up earlier and eat more fiber; 2) I can totally hit my goal in the marathon; 3) I can run up hills in races; 4) I can't wait to run another half; 5) I'm not sure why I started walking; 6) I really need a better running outfit.

You know how some races leave you feeling on top of the world? And in others, well you just know you could have done better. I felt like I could have done better. I was spent at the end, so it's not like I was cruising (despite pace evidence to the contrary). Overall, it was a great day and a great weekend and a beautiful way to spend a Sunday morning.

So you're not gonna catch me complaining. Not this time.

'Tis all good.

And that, my friends, finally, is all she wrote.
The Other Jen, Yours Truly, David, Deanna

Susie and David


LBTEPA said...

Your outfit is nice, but you always need another one, that's true.

Mark said...

I am SO jealous. And congrats on a terrific run!

Rhea said...

I like your shirt. Good color, too. What's wrong with it? Also, thanks so much again for dinner! It was delish, and I loved hanging out with you, Susie, Jen and David. So much fun.

And congrats on the race. Great effort, and you'll be even faster next time. Promise.

21st Century Mom said...

Excellent race report and don't let anyone (least of all the demon in your head) tell you otherwise. Good race! Looks like you picked up the wheel that came off and stuck it right back on. Good job!

I never know why I start walking and am trying harder and harder to just deny that urge. It happens, though. And it's okay because you got a great time.

BTW, if you forsake me for Susie I'll never forgive you. Can we just have a 3 way on the BFF? So what if I've never met her - it's just a detail.

Unknown said...

Way to go! Awesome timing!!

Anita said...

You. Are. Awesome! Fantastic time! You must feel so good about your finishing time and smokin' on the uphill. And your slowest mile....that's me walking at my best marathon pace so believe me, it's all perspective Babe!

The difference between you and Martha Stewart is the difference between hospitality and entertaining. Matching dish sets are highly over-rated.

Kudos, Congrats and Waaa-hooo!

Jack said...

Congrats on the race! Sounds like you had a really great time, what a way to spend a weekend.

susie said...

You were amazing! I loved watching you come around the last bend with a huge smile, looking so strong and confident. And thanks so much for a wonderful dinner and for letting us stay with you. We had a great, great much fun. See you at the MCM!!

brent said...

wow, good work jeanne!! sounded like a fun time! marathon here you come!

m said...

Great race. Glad you had such a wonderful time with everyone!

Anonymous said...

You fed me! You got me through my first race! You did the math on the splits! You introduced me to the awesome Susie and David! You RULE!

Nancy Toby said...

Sounds like a great race! I'll have to do it next year!!

And my glasses and plates are totally mismatched garage sale rejects. I knew you were a kindred spirit.

Sherri said...

yay jeanne! cool report! congratulations! i, too, love your outfit (love the color of the shirt). also, sounds to me like you are becoming a quasi fan of hills, too?!??!! congratulations again. you're gonna kill the marathon!

IronWaddler said...

Great race report! I love that you all got together for dinner and had a great time. After reading each others blogs- you do feel like you know people. Also way to pick it up again at the end of the race.

Irish Blue said...

Jeanne, that's awesome! It sounds like you had a great time too, which is even more awesome. Keep up the good work. I loved this race report.

Elizabeth said...

Excellent report! Great job, Jeanne! It's awesome to hear that you passed people on the uphills... that's huge! Get ready to rock the marathon!

Waterfall said...

Great job, and thanks for the report! Your blog has been very inspiring to me as I plan and train for my first half. Keep up the good work!

monicac2 said...

You know, you might grumble a little bit and express a little apprehension, but you always achieve your goals! You are a go-getter, and it is inspiring!

monicac2 said...

You know, you might grumble a little bit and express a little apprehension, but you always achieve your goals! You are a go-getter, and it is inspiring!

Pamalamadingdong said...

Great report!
Rolling hills?
You kicked ass.

Neese said...

yeeeaaaaah nice job jeanne! :) and i too am so jealous of the rbf get together, that sounds wonderful.

Danny said...


congratulations on another strong finish. it sounds like these are kind of getting easy for you!

Danny said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Thomas said...

I don't know why I'm so late. Congratulations on a great race. Now you know you can do it, and a slong as you keep up with the training, you will also be able to finish the marathon. Well Done.

Maybe you're born to run after all?

Jon (was) in Michigan said...

Nice job, Jeanne! Those splits are very tight really. You held that pace pretty well.

And doesn't a race with friends make it 100 times better? Being there along and knowing nobody can be such a lonely thing.

Lisa said...

Great race! You go girl... :)

Bolder said...

what if you have 6 matching parsons chairs and a setting for 8.

oh, never mind, i'm in Boulder.

great race, great report.


a.maria said...

nice consistency on those splits woman.. well done, i'm ver'ver' proud of'ya!! ;)

i'm thinking this should give you a nice little boost of confidence for an upcoming spectacular full marathon, i think you're right on track!

rock it woman. well done, and congrats!

Sherri said...

You HAVE to post your pictures! Come on Jeanne!

jeanne said...

no way, jose! of course if you are REALLY interested, you can always find them yourself. they're not, err, the most flattering!

A Deal Or No Deal said...

I guess I'm a little late, but congratulations on the race anyway. What's your goal in the marathon?

Black Knight said...

Very nice post with a good report and beautiful pictures. Congrats for the race and the final time. You have my same strategy: to pass the people on the uphills (Sir Giorgio calls me the mountain train) You learned to eat more fibers; I recently found a good energy bar useful before the long distance runs, it works very very well!

Dori said...

Great race, Jeanne. Congratulations. My first goal always is to cross the finish line and not hurt myself. I guess that's two goals. You sound ready for MCM.

Rae said...

Great job on the half!! It looks like you guys had so much fun!!