Monday, March 28, 2011

Update on State 14/25 Washington, DC

Despite living in the DC area when I started my Half2run quest, I never did the Suntrust National Half-Marathon because it was said to be a train wreck, logistically.  I am VERY GRUMPY about poorly executed races.  I can always offer constructive criticism for every race I do, but if the cons outweigh the pros I refuse to shell over that much money to be annoyed.

Another thing I had going on was that I had signed up for the "Cupcake Marathon" a virtual race that could be done over the course of two weeks.  My race day was the final day of that time period and at the completion of the half I would have completed 33 miles.  I certainly do not NEED gormet cupcakes, but the idea of winning a prize from a virtual race seemed like fun.

The Suntrust half-marathon/marathon was a great experience for me.  I didn't accomplish all of the training goals I had set (weight loss) but had been experimenting with higher mileage instead of more lower miles at pace as I usually do.  I took my long runs up to 15 miles and did several 13 and 14 mile runs as well as back-to-back long runs.  The latter is something I've learned over the past year, i.e. that I benefit quite a bit by running on tired legs.

But, all of that said, one can only lug an overweight body but so fast.  The biggest hit to my finish time was my weight.

The second biggest hit was something that I caution against to those I coach and was surprised to succumb to after what was my 19th half-marathon.  Peer Pressure.

I've been chatting up this marathon runner/coach on Facebook for a while.  She inspires the crap out of me and she is on a streak of running a marathon every month.  I found out she was DC bound, and although I thought it would be great fun to meet her, knew it would be unlikily that would actually happen.  We stayed in touch the day before and as I walked into CORRAL 9 (!) to wait for the start she bounded up to me! There were 13 thousand runners in that race, so I have to give her props for making such an effort.  It was great to chat with her before the start.  I'm not sure she had planned to, but she decided to run with me for the first few miles.  I felt great at the start, the weather was perfect for me (33 and sunny), but I KNEW I was going too fast.  My Garmin pace cycles (annoyingly) but it was reading in the 9:xx's FAR too frequently when I looked down.  Yet, did I slow?  No.  I kept running with her.  She looked like she was warming up with an easy trot, and something inside of me just kept saying, "keep this up for a while, you'll be fine".

I have a crazy sleep schedule.  Usual bedtime is 3:00am and I wake about 10:30-11:00am.  Since I had gone to DC a few days early to work I had not slept more than 6 hours in 5 days before the race.  The night before the race I slept 5 hours.  This is NOT GOOD.  Between the quick start and the lack of sleep I started to TANK at about mile 4.75.  I had a strategy for this race based on the course: Take the first 5 miles fast, (10:15 pace), then slow down and calm down on the hills (10:45-11:00) then pick it up as much as possible the last mile.  Based on my weight I knew I could do a 2:25, but was hoping to get as close to 2:20 as possible.

9:xx min miles were NO WHERE in that plan...

So, I get to the mile 5 waterstop (after slowing considerably) and my running buddy bids me farewell.  I loved running with her, but I knew I had to slow down or I was doomed to walk (which I had NO intention of doing).  Luckily the mile 5 stop was staffed with the DC Front Runners, the local gay and lesbian club and I knew I'd perk up when I saw them.  But, unluckily that's when the hills start.  Right north of Dupont Circle is one of the longest uphills that takes you into Adams Morgan/Columbia Heights.  I KNEW I had to get centered, or I'd feel like crap.  Again, another stroke of luck in that they were LOUD as hell, blasting music and cheering.  I got my shit together and although I wasn't running fast (still in the 11:00s) I started really enjoying myself and clapped and smiled all through that section.  By Howard University I "YMCA'd" with the best of them (Thank you HU for Rick James and The Village People)!

The course is great - perfect mix of flat and hills through many of the neighborhoods I love in the city.  Race day was the first day of the Cherry Blossom Festival, and the trees were gorgeous.

I finished in a dissapointing, but not devastating 2:24, but had a great race and recommend everyone give it a go.

Big, heavy medal!

State Charm for my 14th State


  1. Awesome race report! I think you did a great job! 9's!!!! Look at you go! I'm super duper impressed! Hey we all go out too fast sometimes but at least you realized to reel it in a little. Nice looking medal too!

  2. Just stopping by to let you know that you won one of the Sony Walkman MP3 Players!