March 18, 2012 --
Yesterday was the Inagural Rock'n'Roll USA Marathon and Half Marathon, and before I even begin sharing my experiences, I have to say a few thank-yous. Thank you to Competitor Group and the Rock and Roll Marathon Series for putting on an Amazing Event! From the Race Expo to the finish line the race was well organized, well put together, and very well run. Thank you to all of the race volunteers! You were all amazing and your enthusiasm and hard work was very appreciated. Thank you to all the performance groups along the course! You all make the race very entertaining and a lot of fun. And finally, Thank you to the city of Washington DC! I felt very welcomed, and it seemed as if the entire city was out and in full support of the runners yesterday. Absolutely amazing!!!
Also before I get started, let me share my 9.5 toenail story. During my 18 mile training run, I somehow developed a blister under half of my toenail on my left big toe. After a few days, the blister broke , leaving the nail detached from the toe. I went to a foot doctor to have him check it out, and he simply removed the part of the nail which was unattached to the toe. He said it will take some time, but should grow back normally. Without the nail, I actually felt better, and had less pain and discomfort than I did with the blister and detached nail.
Now for what you've all been waiting for: my race report...
5am Friday morning, Amy and I woke up on Long Island and began our journey to Washington DC. Five hours later, we arrived in DC and headed right to the race expo. This was one of the biggest race expos I have ever seen, and even being the biggest I feel it was definitely one of the most organized. You walked in and were directed right into packet pick-up. Amy and I picked up our packets, and were then directed into the merchandise and vendor booth area. We were both 'suckered' into buying jackets, which we actually both love! We visited every booth, learned a lot, and got a ton of free give aways!
After the expo we headed to our hotel and checked into our room, unpacked, and headed into DC to walk around and see some of the sights. We met one of Amy's former roommates and had a pretty low key evening. We struggled to find my lucky pre-race meal, penne ala vodka with grilled chicken, but were finally successful and chowed down on some delicious, extra spicy pasta!
Saturday morning we were both up at 6, got dressed and walked the 3 blocks to the metro in order to make it over to the start. The first train passed us by and was so packed that we couldn't even get onto the train. We waited for the second train to come by, hopped on and arrived at the Armory to check our bags in by 7:10...stopped in the rest room (so nice to have flushing toilets!) and headed toward the start to find our spots in our respective corrals.
The first wave went off at 8 AM, and I waited in wave 17 with the 4:25 pace team. I had planned to run with them for as much of the race as I could. Around 8:25, my wave had made their way to the start line and were on our way to 26.2 miles! The first half of the marathon went by great! The temperature was in the high 50s/low 60s and I was feeling great. The first half was incredible with great sights and views of the city. We ran by the capitol building, white house, Washington monument, and other major landmarks! My half marathon split was 2:12:50. The race went downhill from there.
After the half split, the course went into a more open area with much less shade from the sun, and the temperature had risen to about 80 degrees. This temperature was what I was not prepared for. All of my training runs in New York had been done in temperatures which never broke 45 or 50 degrees. All of them had been done in leggings and long sleeve thermals. I was taking in extra fluids because of the heat, which did not make my stomach very happy. I was cramping up bad in both the gut and the legs with the heat and excess sweating. I began to run/walk around mile 14 or 15, and I saw my goals of 4:25, 4:35 and even 4:50 slipping away; but I was determined to finish. Amy had told me afterward that she saw numerous people wearing marathon bibs, who had half marathon medals meaning they stopped at the half way point.
I just told myself to keep moving and never stopped. After mile 15, they began handing out cups of ice to cool the runners down at all of the aid stations, and even at random stops along the course. It was awesome that the race directors reacted to the heat as well as they did beginning to hand out ice and things of that nature.
Around mile 25, I realized that I had only 1.2 miles to go, and began running, and told myself not to stop until I had crossed the finish line. I saw Amy at the mile 26 marker wearing her half medal, and cheering me on. At that point, I turned on the jets and whatever fuel I still had in me propelled me to the finish line. My finish time was just shy of 5 hours and 19 minutes, i think 5:18:52. This was considerably slower than I had hoped for, but that just gives me tons of room for improvement for next time. I am extremely proud of myself for finishing the marathon and have no regrets about my time or my efforts during the race!
I do have some pictures and some stories to share in a later post, so check back for that in the coming days.