first race of 2017 in the books. Guys! it went way better than I anticipated. I actually felt like I could sort of run again. Haven't felt this way since early 2015. HELLOOOO LEGS!
i was coming off a mini (and very much needed) break in Florida. I only ran once down there but did manage to drink my weight in mic ultra and top shelf margaritas and spend every night in the hot tub. Which - to my knowledge - is the same as actually swimming. i also floated around in the gorgeous ocean next to the boat while my friends made sure i didn't get eaten by sharks. it was pure heaven.
i worked an insanely full day friday but managed to leave just shortly after 7 (only leaving 2 hours of notes behind). drove to Holli's to eat dinner with her and Lori, who was in town to run the full (and play with us, duh). Lori made dinner - god bless her, shes amazing - and we sat and chatted for a couple hours until it was time to get to sleep.
it was a balmy 20 degrees when I woke up and walked jazz. for a second (just a second), i considered the alternative option of not running. damn it prochnow, i told myself, don't be an ass clown. i really wanted to wear my lulu capris so i paired that with obnoxious neon yellow compression socks. wore a thick thermal layer and lulu vest with snapple cycling jacket. the only issue was my hands - when they get cold, im miserable. that broken finger with the plate/screws gets totally numb and stays numb for hours which is actually a little painful. i brought my hincapie cycling gloves and hoped for the best.
i ate a couple of english muffins with peanut butter and honey for breakfast with half a cup of coffee. i also chugged a bottle of BASE rocket fuel just before walking out of the apartment. bryan and i metro'd over to smithsonian, checked our gear, and walked to the W to meet up with Holli at the VIP area. a glorious, lucky turn of events then occurred. not only did i get to use an actual bathroom - i found handwarmers.
thank you thank you, dear creator of handwarmers - i wish to bequeath to you my first born.
you can have monster too.
with less than 10 minutes to start, we jogged over to corral 2 and got ready to run. it was windy. i wasn't excited about that new meteorological addition but there was no turning back now. literally. i was stuck in corral 2. it was go forward or get trampled by thousands of runners. saw ellen, jan, and justin and we all took some pictures and i pretended to be excited about 13 miles of running. jan gave me a hug and i considered stealing her very warm purple puffy coat (sorry jan).
there was a countdown and a lot of forward motion and a minute later, ellen, holli and i crossed that line.
and so it begins!
the idea was to gradually build HR every 3 miles (145, 150, 155, 160, then haul ass for 1.1 miles). so, i gradually built to 150ish over 2 miles. whoops. my legs felt a little tight (not warmed up) but i was running what felt like a good, sustainable pace. i could see ellen ahead and i knew holli had to be right behind me. i kept between 150-155 for the next few miles, slowing down a bit on rock creek parkway. the first 5 miles are fairly flat so HR was easier to control. holli passed me at some point around mile 5 and i pulled up next to her. i yelled over - "good mornin!" - she looked strong and we ran the next mile near each other. i knew erin would be cheering around mile 6 and i was eager to shed the snapple windbreaker. the mile 6 horrible incline into georgetown began - which is also where the "wear blue: run to remember" group with american flags and pictures are. so awesome. i tried to look, but i couldn't - last year i got super choked up. luckily, erin was right there with her #blessed sign (love her) and she ripped my jacket off and i continued running.
holli had passed me again - she's so strong! i took the giant hill slowly and deliberately, imagining the strength i was saving in my legs (man, i am just not good at hills). finally at the top, i collected my legs and charged down the slight decline. i consciously tried to run fast on every downhill, using the momentum to keep the legs going and keep the HR up while holding back a little on the uphill portions. it was a fun strategy - i passed so many people on the declines and it was a good boost of energy. i then started to pretend that i was sonic the hedgehog in the bonus rounds (you know, when hes running through the swirling rainbow tunnels collecting rings and gems? get on my level guys.) that thought led to mariokart - like when you have the mushroom and you pass over the boost in the road and you are just going unreasonably fast and out of control? yea! that was me on the downhills. zoooooooooom!
i grew up with a dad that worked with video games. i can't help it.
i kept a good clip going into mile 9. at that point, i sped up again and was feeling really strong. i could see my average pace ticking down which made it easier to keep pace. around mile 11, i felt my legs start to tighten... nooooooo... but i kept at it. just 1 mile to 12. then only 1.1 to the finish! at mile 12, it was on. most of the last mile is on a decline (AWESOME) other than the very very end. so i cruised. i passed people. i smiled. i knew i wouldn't break 1:40, but hell - it was going to say 1:40 on my watch - not 1:41. i could see the time on the finish arch, 1:40:35 and i was still a little bit out.
this is what happened in my head for the next 23 seconds - i was ellie sattler in jurassic park. she's just busted out of the control house and the velociraptors are going to come after her and she just grunts out "run." as she hobbles to the fence.
yep. i went there.
crossed the timing mat - 1:40:58. boom. told you it would say 1:40.
collected medal and turned around just in time to see holli as she finished. courtney appeared out of nowhere (who also had an awesome run) and we accumulated all the food and drinks on our way to the gear trucks. i threw on some layers and let myself feel relaxed, happy... content. satisfied.
its been 2 years since i ran a solid half marathon. it was just shy of a PR - and I didn't really set out to even race this one (except for the last 4 miles, i was definitely racing those - the last mile was 7:06). i told myself i'd be "satisfied" with a 1:42 or 1:43 since i ran a horrendous 1:48 last year; i was coming off the flu and stress fracture and had been running really poorly in general. it didn't seem logical to set a time goal considering i haven't been training for a running race - but i have a hard time thinking about races without time. i also made the morning decision to run without music and enjoy the people, city, and race itself. it was a great choice. i had a really fun day out there, despite the weather. no GI issues, definitely not enough water, but awesome nonetheless.
following the race, a huge group of us headed to district taco in eastern market for post-race provisions. huevos rancheros - youcompletemeiloveyou. i sat back and took a couple pictures of the group and couldn't help but grin and be grateful to be surrounded by this group. two years ago - i was just stranger, a DC transplant that wanted friends that shared my passion. i found that - but also found so much more. without getting sappy (shit, was that a tear? nah, its probably sweat), i love this life. the ups, the downs - its all mine.
anyway. cheers to a great weekend. the season has begun!