Monday, March 28, 2011
The National Half Marathon is on the books! I was battling a cold right up to and through race day, but the worst of it was over by then. Very thankful for that. My brother in law got up ridiculously early to drive me into DC for the race. We left in plenty of time but hit major traffic everywhere we tried to go. I am used to much smaller races so this was quite an experience. When I got there, the sun was up and there were no lines for the portapotties because the race was essentially underway. Since there were so many gazillions of people though, there were still thousands walking up from pace corrals to the start. I started to walk the opposite was to try to find my corral but after walking a while against the flow of people just turned around and walked toward the start.
I crossed the start line at about 7:15. I had extra layers to throw off and was glad I did. It was chilly but sunny... a really beautiful day. I kept one pair of gloves on for almost the entire race, tied one top layer around my waist (not gonna throw out the ones I like!) and kept my hat on for probably about a third of the race. It was easy to just keep it in my hand when I wasn't wearing it. There were lots of people dressed in a lot less than I was, but it was in the mid 30s and I was comfortable.
My Garmin lost signal in a couple of tunnels but my finish time matched my official time: 2:06:51. My pace was off on the Garmin, though, which I am guessing was due to the tunnels. My overall pace was 9:41. My goal was to be under 2:10 so I am pleased with my time. There were so many people that it was hard to get going. Water stops were tough too - I had to pretty much stop completely and at least once even wait for a drink. I think a 2:05 is doable for me next time - especially if it is at a smaller venue. I don't like to carry my own fluids in races but I think I might if I ever do a huge race like this again to avoid such a traffic jam at water stops.
The worst part of the race was at the very end. Of course I was digging in to finish as strong as I could but then we crossed the start and were stopped in a crowd of people as we all finished. Couldn't get to water or walk around to cool down. I felt a little woozy and legs were rubbery... normally I would just keep walking and drinking to get over the feeling (or avoid it in the first place) but there was no where to go because of the crowd. A friend of mine is doing the Marine Corps Marathon in the fall and I can't imagine that one - since there will be nearly twice the number of people as were in this race. I really enjoyed this one but think I will stick to smaller venues for the most part.
Ate tons of ice cream cake that night (it was also my birthday weekend) and crashed in the bed feeling like Templeton from Charlotte's Web after the Fair.