It's Bittersweet

As I sit down to try to recap the Rock N' Roll 1/2 marathon I just completed, it feels very bittersweet. A couple of years ago, I never in my life thought I'd run more than a 5k and now here I am...  someone who has done two half-marathons, both of them completely unique in every way. I have to say my overall feeling after this weekend's race? Disappointment. On many levels. This might get long, but let me try to explain.
Pre-race at 5:30am // Post-race, frozen to the bone. And yes, I rocked a runners belt aka- a fanny pack.

We knew rain was definitely going to happen for a good majority of the race, so Jared and I prepared accordingly. We had all our dri-fit gear and plenty of layers because we knew the morning would be a bit chilly but had hopes that things would warm up as D.C. was calling for temperatures in the low 60s eventually. That never happened, that's for sure. I think race day was the coldest I've ever been in my entire life. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

I'm a slooooow runner, so Jared and I were far back in the starting corrals. I felt good and warmed up when we lined up around 7:10, twenty minutes before the start time. What we didn't realize is that their would be a separate countdown for every.single.corral. A 3-2-1 and then a group was allowed. Then we waited... shuffled a little forward. Repeat. Over and over again. Staggering starts can help with crowding during the race but I felt this was excessive. It was after 8 by the time we finally started. Again, we were slow and in the back, but had I known we wouldn't have been starting until then, I definitely would have showed up later/warmed up later, etc. 

I was stiff and cold when we finally crossed the start line but I hoped my muscles would loosen up and I'd get warm soon. That never happened. I was cold from mile 1 to mile 13.1. Cold and soaked to the bone. My already chapped lips got chapped ten times over and bled through half the race. By those last few miles? My feet were so wet/heavy and I was so miserable I felt like I was practically shuffling to get to the finish line.

The weather of course could not be controlled, but I just felt like mentally I wasn't ready for it, even though I told myself I'd be wet and cold. Since it was windy and rainy I chose to leave my iPod behind, which was another mental block for me. I'm so used to running with music but I figured there would be TONS of music on the course of the Rock N' Roll race... another disappointment there. Only a few bands, super spaced out! 13.1 miles is a long time with no jams!

Post-race? Picture us crossing the finish line, thrilled out of our mind, just to find ourselves in a huge open parking lot, the rain and wind still beating down at us. We tried to huddle in the merch tent for a little bit and drink water and eat our protein bars... only to have employees tell us that if we weren't buying anything we had to get out! Did I mention all of us runners were shivering beyond belief?! There was really no place to recover, eat, stretch- nothing! Inclement weather is tough, but I felt like the RnR committee could have prepared better for it. I've heard all kinds of horror stories via the event's Facebook page in the past couple of days. It's not just me!!

I don't want to make the race sound entirely bad- because there were bright spots. The military tribute/memorial at mile 6 almost brought me to tears, it was very touching. The dance party around mile 9 made me laugh. Mr. and Mrs. Incredible gave out some awesome high-five's at mile 10. There were plenty of water stations and I loved the salted-caramel Gatorade Gu pack I was handed. But the best news? I finished. I never stopped pushing myself, despite all the things working against me. I shaved off about 20 minutes from my half-marathon last year, which still isn't enough for me, but it's something.
Military tribute was beautiful!
Each and every race will be different and I realize that now that I've done two half marathons. You'd think after an experience like this I might be done? But you're wrong. In 9 weeks I'm doing another one. I'm not satisfied with myself yet and I KNOW I can do better. 13.1, I'm coming for you. Again!

40 comments

  1. Ugh, I'm so sorry about the weather. Yes it's not something you can control but it can control situations and it sounds like the RnR committee really dropped the ball. That's such a shame :(!

    BUT, FREAKING WAY TO GO!!!! You completed the race, I'm so proud of you! WAY TO ROCK IT OUT! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's awesome that you improved your time so much despite terrible weather, but too bad that you still feel disappointed about the experience. You did so great finishing, and just think how much stronger this will make you for your next race!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I posted my recap today too and I think we talked about pretty much all the same things, good and bad ;) I'm glad to know it wasn't just me who thought the finish area was a disaster. I also heard a lot of people waited for close to an hour to get their gear bags. I didn't realize we were so lucky just to walk up and get ours right away! When we picked up our bibs I was shocked at the number of corrals! I have no idea how many people ran, but I've run big races like that before (okay maybe not THAT big, but still) and have never seen so many. Not just that, but the times for them were so strange...Kristen, Alyssa, and I put 2 hours for our time and we were in corral 9, but Becky put 2:15 for hers and was in corral 21. Really, a 15 minute difference translated to 12 corrals?!
    Anyway, a 20 minute PR is HUGE and you should be ridiculously proud of yourself. Even if it wasn't the day you planned on or hoped for (I know that mental struggle all too well), you worked for it and you went out and did it. Even a 20 second PR would have been impressive given the conditions that day. Oof. Hope you have clear skies and sunshine at your next one and that you rock it even more :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm bummed for you that there wasn't more music on the course. Seems like that's something Rock n' Roll could at least get right? I'm proud of you for your 2nd and wish you the best with your Spring training for your third coming up!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm SO proud you finished! That's what matters, but what a bummer there wasnt much of a post-race celebration/room to eat/warm up/etc! I hope this just means your next one will be AMAZING!!!! :) you're gonna kill this next one.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm so proud of you for finishing despite all the not so good things about the race! I know I couldn't have done it. Cold and wet? Count me out lol!

    ReplyDelete
  7. So many things. Okay, first, the fact that you pushed through and finished is something to be proud of, and it sounds like you are! You're a half marathoner x2! I'm so glad you're not giving up and are going to do another one. I've heard horrible race stories similar to yours (bad weather, bad organization, etc.), and it's SUCH a bummer considering how much you paid for it and how much you were looking forward to it. I am very surprised considering the RnR races are an "event," they should know how to plan things. I'm (pending my dr appt on Thursday) doing a RnR Dallas this weekend. I too am expecting lots of music. Maybe it was the weather that kept some of the bands away? Bad weather is the WORST. I thankfully have had really good luck with weather for most of my races. The half I ran in Tulsa in 2013 was a starting temp of 23 degrees and only got up to 30. I couldn't feel my feet for the first 5 miles, and after I was done I thought my hands would fall off. But at least it wasn't raining. Weather is something you just can't plan for, which does suck, and mentally it's hard to prepare even if you know it's going to be cold. (Sorry, longest comment ever. But I love race recaps in a freakish way.) Even if it wasn't the time you were hoping for, 20 minutes is a LONG time to cut off, and especially considering all the bad stuff! The starting corral situation sound terrible. I bet it will be like that in Dallas too... just too many runners! I'll prepare myself for that. They do have starting corrals at other races I've done, but it sounds like those have been much more organized than what you experienced. I know you don't like saying if/when you're traveling, but I'm just curious (if you want to share) what your next race is. Are you doing the Flying Pig? I've heard that one is pretty great.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh, man, that is so tough. The conditions sound just miserable so congrats to you for sticking with it and finishing a humongous 20 minutes faster than last time. Usually those big races are really well-organized, but this sounds like a mess. I can't wait to read an even better half marathon report in a few months. You've got this, girl!!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. It was definitely a nasty day—I'm in the area and was thinking about you guys given how ick it was.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh I'm so sorry about the weather!! That is ROUGH! But you and Jared are amazing for crossing that finish line and looking at the bright spots in this! I have no doubt that you will do another half marathon (because you are super woman) and the experience can only go up from this one, right?!
    CONGRATULATIONS for completing your second! You really are amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  11. You going to do the Indy Mini??? If so, let me know and I'll come down and cheer for you. Maybe even make a sign ;)

    ReplyDelete
  12. I definitely agree that the starting line corrals were way to spaced apart. That made for a really tough start to the race. It's interesting because I ran this race (the marathon) in 2012 and the high for the day was only supposed to be about 60...well, by the time I got to the half, it was already over 80 degrees! Rock 'n' Roll did a great job trying to accommodate for the unexpected heat wave. I wish someone had told you that the bands are spaced pretty far apart...that's unfortunately true of all of their races. I did think the spectator support was incredible, which was awesome, but I'm so so sorry you had a tough race! It was definitely tough out there but the important thing is that you did it! Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
  13. That sounds MISERABLE. I'm so impressed you kept at it! I can't imagine running a half marathon. Maybe someday, but right now just walking to the bathroom feels enough like a marathon ;)

    ReplyDelete
  14. My race recap is going up tomorrow, but yeah... agree completely about the RnR organization. I was shocked. Honestly shocked. All I wanted to do was sit down and stretch out for a few minutes, but nothing. We couldn't even find the food! It was a disaster. I've paid race fees a fraction of the cost and had better finish line amenities. I was surprised there wasn't more music on the course too. But it was a challenging day and to PR by 20 minutes? Good for you, lady! Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Kudos to you for doing it in that type of weather, etc - that was rough but you made it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. I ran a 5K in the pouring rain at the end of last summer and that was enough for me - my shoes were FILLED with water - I can't imagine doing a 1/2 in that kind of weather! The fact that you shaved 20 minutes off your last time considering the terrible weather is GREAT!

    My cousin and I are planning on doing the Rock N Roll 1/2 in Vegas in November so I hope its a little more organized!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Congrats on finishing in the rain and cold. Ugh...certainly the most non-ideal of circumstances :( On another note, I haven't ever heard good things about a rock and roll half marathon. Similar to your points on no/limited music and just overall poor organization. Sorry that it wasn't a better experience on the parts that could be controlled! But glad to hear you are determined and pushing forward!! Every race is a new adventure...good luck on your next one :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I can imagine that the dance party during the race was quite entertaining, but sorry the weather was so icky! You are a rockstar!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oh my gosh. First of all, CONGRATULATIONS! You beasted through it and I can't believe you shaved off 20 minutes, despite those awful conditions! Seriously, that can't be stated enough. I'm excited to hear more about your trip (hopefully good things!) and best of luck with training for your next one! Hopefully the staff and set up will be better.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm sorry that the race wasn't what you were hoping for. Congratulations on finishing though & 20 minutes is a lot! Especially in the rain. Props to you for getting ready for another one soon as well.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I would be so so upset with all of that. Congratulations on finishing! I'd be hailing a cab before it even started.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Way to hang in there. You definitely had some tough conditions to work with but the main thing is that 1) you finished (congrats!) and 2) you're getting back out there again. And that in itself is awesome. :) I saw a quote the other day that I love "celebrate finish lines, not finish times" and will be keeping this in mind on some of my next races. :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. All of that sounds not enjoyable. But you should be so proud of yourself for toughing it out and finishing it. That's the best accomplishment!! And hopefully your next one will be a better experience :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. You finished! In what sounds like absolutely miserable conditions...that is flipping awesome! I hate running in the rain, I am a big wuss when it comes to poor weather. So kudos to you for toughing it out. Even more for doing another half in a few weeks! Fingers crossed that it will be 100x better!

    ReplyDelete
  25. That sounds like absolute miserable conditions and I have mad respect for you for finishing that race! There is no way I would have been able to push through with all that rain and stuff and I would have been so upset at the end where there was no where to recover. Clearly they knew it was going to rain, they should have been prepared with shelter for the runners!!! You should feel so proud for toughing that out!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm sorry that you had such a bad experience. The one in AZ wasn't that good either. are you going to do a marathon?

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm so proud of you! 13.1 miles is a challenge, but to have to complete it in the rain and cold. Double medals for you! You. Are. Awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Girl.. I could have written this myself. I was so disappointed in RnR, I was disappointed in myself.. I thought I could deal with the rain but from 0 to 13.1 I was freezing, cold and just.. clunky feeling. I hated it. I like running to no music or a book, but even I was shocked at the lack of bands and whatnot. The finish area was just a joke. I mean, come on RnR, you act like this is your first event. So disappointing.
    Regardless, you should be so proud!! If this was my second I'd probably give up and never do another, lol. I just know now that I need to train better!

    ReplyDelete
  29. That is awesome that you finished race #2! But awful that the conditions were so poor. Don't they know people won't repeat that race if there are no provisions for the runners afterwards, especially if it was raining, they should have had plan B ready to go. Good for you for running another one. After my first and only half I thought, I am never doing this again, LOL! Mostly I don't have time to train...although just recently I was thinking that a full marathon would be cool to say you did, but 26 miles? Don't know if I am made for that. Have you ever considered it?

    ReplyDelete
  30. First and foremost CONGRATS ON FINISHING!! At the end of the day I think that's the biggest thing you should be proud of - heck even just lining up at the start line knowing the weather was going to be awful is amazing! When Erin and I got to RFK and started walking to the finish line, it was depressing seeing all the runners look so sad :( Dang mother nature! Each race experience is going to teach you something different and you're going to grow differently from it too and I'm so glad you're not done with half marathons :) I hope the one in May has much better weather and a better post race party!!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Rock n Roll is such a huge company I am surprised it wasn't better for you. What a bummer. I did an rnr a few years ago and it was great. But I do know how awful the rain can be. Good for you for pushing through. I hope the organizers hear the complaints and do something about it for the future!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Rock n Roll is such a huge company I am surprised it wasn't better for you. What a bummer. I did an rnr a few years ago and it was great. But I do know how awful the rain can be. Good for you for pushing through. I hope the organizers hear the complaints and do something about it for the future!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Rock n Roll is such a huge company I am surprised it wasn't better for you. What a bummer. I did an rnr a few years ago and it was great. But I do know how awful the rain can be. Good for you for pushing through. I hope the organizers hear the complaints and do something about it for the future!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Being cold is my least favorite thing in the world. My friends legitimately make fun of me because you have never in your life met someone who is so downright cranky and miserable when I'm cold (and wet!) The fact that you ran 13 miles in that shenanigans? PROPS.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Not so good races will make the next one that you do even better. I am so proud of you for fighting through the weather and finishing. That is the best part. You finished 13.1 miles!!!! WOOHOO! I know the next one will be better sweet friend.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Gaahh I have to run to music. If not it's so quiet and just... boring. I need something to occupy my mind. To distract me. and the weather? Sucky. Not something you can control and it sounds like you prepared as good as you could! I'm proud of you for finishing and 20 mins is an accomplishment! You should be proud of yourself!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hate that there were so many disappointments, but YOU DID IT! :) and that is awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  38. I'm sorry you were disappointed and that the weather wasn't nicer. BUT I am SUPER proud of both of you! Well done and keep it up.

    ReplyDelete
  39. But you did it!! Congrats on another, even if it wasn't the best. I've always heard mixed reviews of RnR races. Running in the rain is no fun at all!

    ReplyDelete
  40. I hate that the weather was yucky!! But so proud of y'all for finishing!!!!! Not going to lie, I probably would have stopped. I love that y'all did it together, too. So sweet and makes for great memories and stories to tell to y'all's children one day! :)

    ReplyDelete

Thanks SO much for taking the time to read and comment on my blog! I read each one and love to respond and chat with you! :)