48/53 F5054 2:36:09 2:31:57 11:36 Jeanne McCann 51 F 4800 Bethesda MD
(Yesterday I was 48th out of 68! What the hell happened to those other 15 people?!)
Ah, it's all good.
Yesterday I didn't hate running, but more importantly I never felt like giving up--a feeling which has plagued me recently on long runs.
What I did right:
Thursday and Friday, I drank a lot of water, ate right, and got enough sleep.
I did no workouts on Thursday and Friday.
Friday night I re-read this post on mental training, from Tammy's old blog which I have a printout of and read before each race. (I highly recommend it.)
Plus, I had just finished reading It's Not About the Bike (I know, late to the party, etc.) which was plenty inspirational.
And, I wore the exact right clothes for the weather. For once. (Tights, technical shirt, and my trusty Brooks vest. Oh and a Villanova crew cap.)
What I did wrong: Nothing!
Here's how it went down:
Before the race officials figured out they needed a guard there, I checked out a portapotty that was off to the side for VIPs. I can report that all was in order inside.
Around 6:30ish, I lined up at the waaaaaaaaay back, where I met my friend Nancy, who was looking good, despite having sore legs. It was cold.
We hopped from one foot to the other, trying to keep warm. Soon I was hopping for another reason. By now there were long lines at the portapotties, and the Armory was thoughtfully locked and guarded. D.C. can be fussy about things like peeing on government property, but I saw a bunch of guys off in a corner of greenery, on the D.C. Armory grounds, and I figured if it was good enough for them... Plus, they would have had to arrest all of us.
This was a well-organized race, I thought.
First a look at the official elevation map (top), and the one generated by Nancy's Garmin:
Holy hell, them's some hills!
Miles 1, 2 and 3: 34:04 Oops, I forgot to notice the mile markers. I think I forgot I was in a race.
Mile 4: 11:26 (I finally caught on.)
Mile 5: 11:33 Uneventful, running on Constitution Ave, past the Washington Monument and other famous stuff. We turned onto 18th St., NW, the start of the hills. Of course, I had to go again. I waited a few minutes in line at a portapotty, then gave up, figuring I'd hit a Starbucks.
Mile 6: 14:10 This is the biggest hill, up Connecticut Avenue through Dupont Circle. Just before the road passes under the circle, there's a Starbucks off to the last. BLESSED STARBUCKS! I ducked in, and spent four minutes waiting. So the race director should take that into consideration. Just sayin'.
This was a big hill. But I was NOT. GOING. TO. WALK. And I didn't. I just slowed down.
Mile 7: 11:56 This started the rolling hills through Adams Morgan, past D.C. Mayor Fenty's parents' running shoe store, Fleet Feet. His dad, Phil, was out to cheer us on.
There weren't tons of spectators but just enough to make it fun. Some homeless folks high-fived us as we ran past. Someone blasted the Beatles "Here Comes the Sun" from a boom box.
By now, I had really fallen behind. I was now behind the two guys running together with their heads stuck through the top of a box (I have no idea). When you're behind folks like that, you know you are at the BACK.
I fell in with a marathoner who was looking to break 5 hours and we chatted. Mostly we chatted about how annoying it was to have a 3-car procession RIGHT NEXT to us for several miles. There was the SAG wagon, followed by a police car, followed by an ambulance. Followed by lots of fumes.
Mile 8: 11:13 Near McMillan's reservoir, at the bottom of a hill. There was a high school marching band and cheerleaders, doing a great job cheering us on. A real high.
Mile 9: 11:26 My mantra in the race became "Just 11 more minutes." Cuz I can do anything for 11 minutes. I still felt strong, not flagging at all.
Mile 10: 10:52 (1:56) This was another hill. For some reason, the hills weren't bothering me. I just looked at the ground directly in front of me and figured it would be over soon.
Mile 11: 11:29 This took us through some old D.C. neighborhoods, where lots of folks cheered us on. One spectator was cleverly dressed as the Statue of Liberty holding a sign reading, "Income Tax," and pointing to a storefront tax prep center. I would have taken advantage but I was a little busy, so pressed on.
Mile 12: 11:54 Mile 12 flew by.
Mile 13.1: 11:54 I have learned not to get excited when I see the finish since it's so RARE that you get to run directly toward it. Usually you have to do some convoluted loop. But nope, this time the finish was the finish, with a short chute.
And viola (voila?), I was done.
My running group mates, K and E, were right there at the finish, handing out medals and giving out space blankets. The best seats in the house! I hugged them both, and I guess I thought I would hang out with them and, you know, chat, and tell them my long story, but they had other plans. Like, um, the marathon WINNERS were coming through so GET THE HELL OUTTA the way, jeanne!
There was tons of free food and not so many people so I don't know what came over me, I had to eat. I ate
2 granola bars
1 ice cream cup (I was still freezing)
1 freebie starbucks sample of something else cold
All this while wandering around looking for Peter (finished 10th in his age group, in case he's too modest to say so) and Nancy. Nancy and I had passed each other on and off and I knew she had to hang around for a while. But as usual, I couldn't find anyone.
Finally I realized I was COLD. So I hopped in my car (FREE PARKING!) and was home in 45 minutes, after stopping again at Starbucks for coffee and a scone (I should seriously own stock) cuz I guess I hadn't eaten enough! I was home by 11 a.m., and did absolutely nothing the rest of the day.
I felt fine. Nothing hurt.
Today I felt so good I rode for an hour and then did my 10-min run-off afterwards.
Cuz today? Triathlon training starts in earnest!