Thursday, March 21, 2013

Half Marathon Recap

This is probably going to be a really long post!

Our day started with a 5:30am wake up call.  We'd pretty much covered ourselves with KT tape and had all of our race gear out the night before, so we got ready quickly.  Our hotel (Marriot Metro Center) was just a few blocks from the race start.  (side note about the hotel:  this was a great choice!  It was close to the start, had a Starbucks inside, restaurants nearby, and they let us extend our check out until 2:00 on Saturday)

We dropped off our gear, which was sorted on school buses that were then driven to the finish.  Then we grabbed bagels to munch on while we waited for the start.  We each had a few friends running the race in different corrals, so we spent the wait time meeting up with them and snapping pre-race pictures.

The official start time was 7:30am, but we were in the second to last (aka SLOW) corral, so we actually crossed the start line at 8:20am.  The corrals moved right along, starting every minute or so, so the wait went by really quickly!

We ran past the Washington Monument (and the White House, but I totally missed that!) and Lincoln Memorial...

...then across the Arlington Memorial Bridge and back. 
(photo credit to Laura's family, who cheered us on at mile 2.5!)

Miles 4-6 went up the Rock Creek Parkway. 

Between mile 6 and 6.2 was this hill. 

I had no idea this hill was on the course, and I'm glad!  We all looked at each other and said "We're not walking" - so we just looked down and kept trudging up the hill!

Miles 7-9 were through some neighborhoods and around Howard University.  Around this point the sun actually came out for a little while! I am just in awe of God's provision in this.  There was a 70% chance of rain, and even in the forecast as we were leaving the hotel that morning they said "bring your umbrellas" - and we didn't feel a drop. 

After mile 10, I pretty much was miserable.  Lots of people had said I wouldn't need my headphones on the race, but miles 10-12 I was really wishing I'd brought them.  These were the hardest miles for me.  Every step I wanted to just stop running.  I couldn't even pinpoint an area that hurt, it was just everything from my waist down.  My legs were tired!!! 

The worst part of that was, we totally missed the mile 11 marker.  I was pretty sure we'd missed it, but I didn't want to get my hopes up.  I was SO happy when I saw "Mile 12"!   This mile was PAIN - but mentally, I was good.  I knew we were almost done, and I just had to keep moving.

Seeing mile 13 was such a beautiful feeling!!  I just remember all of us reaching out to grab hands.  We started this together, trained together, and darn it - we were finishing together!  We crossed the finish line with smiles on our faces and our hands held high! 

This was about 30 seconds after we corssed the finish line.

"Official Finisher Photo"
When I looked at Twitter later in the evening, I saw a few complaints from people about the race.  Here are my thoughts on those problems...

Gear Drop Off - I heard of people waiting in long lines to drop off their gear.  I didn't have that problem at all.  We got to gear drop off about 6:45, walked right up and dropped off our stuff.  Maybe later on it got crowded, but that's why we got there early!

Bathrooms - People complained of long lines.  I've never been to a race, even the small local ones, where there wasn't a long line for the bathroom.  They had tons of port-a-potties lined up along the corrals, and the lines moved along. 

Gear Pick Up - I wish I'd taken a picture of this!!  It was crazy.  They had 25 school buses where you dropped off your gear by last name, then each seat in the bus was labeled with bib numbers.  You went to the back of the bus, showed your bib, and they handed you your bag.  The problem was, the lines were REALLY long - like 30+ minutes of wating.  But, this turned out to be a good thing for me because I spent the entire time stretching.  I think that really helped my recovery.

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