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:
10: 11:37 (1:56--my fastest 10 miles yet!)
11: 14:30 (and here's where the wheels fell off)
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