After I reported my race time, a friend quickly informed me that I had sandbagged on my goal of this race. I REALLY did but it was completely unintentional! Saturday was a magical day for me and all of the stars aligned perfectly. It was one of those races that you dream of having. Although it wasn’t the best race time of my life, it is definitely on the top.
I flew into DCA on Friday, and after a really fun road trip to Rehoboth Beach, I had volunteered to make lasagnas for the 15+ running friends I had waiting at the house we’d all rented! I’d never cooked for that many people and was in a hurry to get them all cooked at a decent hour, as we were some of the last to arrive. I was hoping I’d make enough and that it would all settle well with everyone. It wound up being a success which I’m really thankful for!
After chatting with everyone, most of us settled into bed around 10pm. I was sharing a king-sized bed with two other chicas. I wound up only sleeping for 3 hours that night! It wasn’t because I was sharing a bed, because it was huge, but I have the habit of sleeping with background noise (a fan) at home. It was crickets quiet in there and I just couldn’t fall asleep. I finally grabbed my music around 2am which gave me the few hours that I got.
I felt like a zombie when I woke up and didn’t want anything to eat. I sipped on a little water and finally had a Nature's Bakery fig bar right before we headed to the start. Those fig bars are amazing, by the way! Sam’s club has them by the case and that’s what I’ve been getting. The case is half blueberry and half raspberry.
Our house was perfectly located really close to the start and finish. We left about 15 minutes before the race start so we didn’t have to stand out in the cold for too long. I had on: capris, my Team RWB tee, arm warmers, head-band, thin gloves, and calf-length socks (Stance). I was pretty comfy actually.
At the start line
I was using my phone and Strava app (follow me here!) to track the run and for some reason, I started it as soon as I heard them start the race. I didn’t even start running for some time after. I didn’t look at my phone one single time during the race, so it didn’t matter anyway. I’ve written it in another post, but I love running “blind” and feel that it has actually helped me run faster in races.
I started off fast which I hadn’t intended to do but just kept going with it. I felt like I had slowed it down a little bit after the first couple of miles, but I hadn’t. We went around a round-about at mile 3 and right after, the half and the full split up. I did not feel that I was running that pace! I had heard someone behind me at one point saying they were running 8:20 and I was shocked! I can’t remember exactly, but I think I passed the 1:50 pacer around mile 4 and never saw them again!
Miles 1-3: 10:05 (early app start), 8:18, 8:17
Around mile 7, we got on a packed(-ish) gravel trail that most people said they hated. I am a trail girl at heart so I LOVED that part. I think around mile 8, there were flags hanging over the trail. I’m guessing it was flags representing all the states/countriesImage result for thin blue line flag race runners were from. There was also a Thin Blue Line flag hanging, which supports police officers. I raised my hand and brushed it as I went under. I think one of the photographers got a picture of me doing it so I hope to see that later! I also brushed the NC flag as I went under too!
Miles 4-8: 7:54, 8:07, 8:12, 7:58, 8:01. WOW!!!
At mile 9, we turned around on the trail and headed back. I knew I had been running fast and I was actually waiting to hit the wall. I was certain that it was going to happen, but was doing my best to prevent it. I had decided not to carry a water bottle because I figured I could just use the aid stations. This turned out to be a great idea because they had ice cold Gatorade at each aid station which tasted PERFECT. I had brought one Cliff Shot Blok (citrus) and slowly started eating that around mile 7. I only had one blok each mile until about mile 11. So the only fuel I had the whole race was one packet of Shot Bloks, and a few cups of Gatorade. I did have one cup of water somewhere in there.
About mile 11, I was starting to feel the speed I’d been running. It’s kind of a slight uphill from the turnaround until you get out of the trail around mile 12. When I saw the 12 mile marker, I was already proud of what I’d done all race and knew that I wouldn’t be hitting the wall after all! I could feel emotions coming but I didn’t cry. I felt like I did in 2011 and 2012 when I was getting all of my PRs. Even though I knew I wasn’t getting a PR (1:42:xx), because the 1:40 pacer was no where in site, I was overwhelmed with how good this race was going. I still had no clue where I was going to finish but wanted to keep pushing it until the end.
Shortly after the 12 mile marker, I hear someone behind me say, “Chris!” I turned around and it was John P! I hadn’t seen him when I went by but he spotted the red, white, and blue I was wearing. I waved for him to come run with me and came right up beside me. I said, “Come on! Let’s go!” So I kicked it a little, which turned out to be a bit early. We still had about 3/4 of a mile to go and I thought I was going to pass out. I started to slow a bit but John kept yelling, “Let’s go! Don’t you slow down on me! Come on!” These are the moments I freaking LOVE. Just when you think you don’t have any more in the tank, someone else motivates you and you just burn everything you can. If it hadn’t been for John, I wouldn’t have finished it quite as hard.
Miles 9-13: 8:08, 8:02, 8:02, 7:45, 7:31. Look at those negative splits, BABY!!! Hell yes!
Finish time: 1:47:10 / 8:11 pace
I gotta tell ya. I really didn’t think I had that in me. I honestly thought my 1:55 goal was a stretch because I just haven’t been doing much speed work in the last month. You can look back at my training on Strava and see that. Maybe the altitude training does help at sea level. Maybe the extended taper I did helped. Or maybe I’m just fucking bad ass. I felt like I was running in someone else’s body again, because I just haven’t had that powerful feeling in so long. I needed this race and that feeling. Man, I needed it so bad. And I got it. I hope to prolong this high as long as possible.
I’m 36 years old and I’m still a bad ass bitch.
We partied in the beer tent until it shut down, then hung out at a karaoke bar for a while (Randy sang Genie in a Bottle!!), then went to Conch Island and danced until it shut down!
It looked so sad when we left yesterday morning…
That was the best weekend I’ve had in a while. Great times with great people. Can’t wait to do it again.
Thanks for reading,
I borrowed this pic… Awesome medal!