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!