I went down to DC on Friday afternoon. I hadn't really realized two HUGE problems with the race when I signed up: 1) I was going to be out of town the two weekends before the race, in Saba. I wouldn't be able to run those two weekends at all. and 2) The race took place on Saturday, so the Expo and packet pickup were on Friday evening, making it difficult for me to get down there from northern Baltimore where I work. I had originally planned to have a friend get my packet (only after Competitor allowed this, at first it was not allowed), but they extended the expo hours to 8pm, so I ended up being able to get there myself.
|A view of RFK Stadium from the starting line|
I took the train down from Baltimore in order to save myself a traffic headache, and I was oh so happy about it. I relaxed on the train while watching the traffic outside the window. The expo was just ok. I was very annoyed by the fact that they did not have a shirt in my size. I realize that I was at the expo during the last 2 hours that it was open. But - I ordered a Women's Large. Shouldn't I get a Women's Large? Even if someone else comes along before me and wants a Women's Large even though she hadn't ordered one - shouldn't they still keep MY women's large waiting for me?
So, I got my boxy men's shirt, and met my friend Steve. I checked into my hotel and then Steve and I had dinner in the restaurant in the hotel. Meanwhile, a whole ton of people that were also running the race came by - Misty and Rachel and Misty's large group that's she's training (16 ladies!), as well as Ming, who was sharing my room with me. Then, it was bedtime.
Ming and I were up bright and early and we met Misty and her group in the lobby of the hotel. We were very close to the metro station, and the metro was running slow and late and was packed (all of which we expected). We made it to the starting area with plenty of time, though. We checked our bags and then stood in line for 45 minutes for the potties. I was in a different corral from everyone else, so I headed off alone to the starting line. It was about 40 minutes between the start of the race and the time that I actually crossed the starting line. In all, it was about 2 1/2 hours or more of standing before I started the race, which is why I HATE large races.
The beginning of the race seemed like a slight uphill grade. There were spectators, and it was ok. I just wasn't feeling it. in fact, what I was feeling was tired. Tired, sore legs right from the start. Mile 1 was slow and miserable, and I felt like that didn't bode well for the rest of the race.
The course took us through some major sites in DC - we got up close and personal with (or at least got glimpses of) the Capitol, the White House, the Washington Memorial, the Supreme Court, the National Archives and the various museums of the Smithsonian. It was quite a scenic course, and one that I frankly preferred over the Marine Corps Marathon, my only other DC race. There was quite a hill around mile 6, which was quite brutal, but I cannot really complain about the course at all. My issues were really with my own body, which did not feel like running a race that day.
I had to stop for a potty break just before that hill. I absolutely hate potty breaks during races, but it couldn't be helped - I had been working too hard on hydrating. The weird thing was that the potties were often WAY off the course, and I ended up walking right into one (no line), but it was about a half a block away from the course. What was that about? At that point, I just felt like I didn't care anymore. I knew I'd blown any possibility of a fast time, and I was hot (it was a warm day) and unhappy. When you run races in March in the mid-Atlantic, you shouldn't be worried about heat. I was worried about heat.
There were times when I just wanted to quit running but I did not. My high school friends were meeting after the race and I couldn't think of meeting up with them with no medal. So, on I went. I finished in 2:49:36, not my best time, not my worst, but frighteningly close to the time that I did in January when I stopped to ride a roller coaster mid-race.
|Macarons on display at The Sweet Lobby|
|South River Alums|
Finally, it was time to head home, so I headed back to Baltimore via Union Station on the train.
I was not happy with this race, but I think it was more about the fact that this race wasn't one I wanted to do in the first place. It's just not my style, not to my taste. To each his own, but I'm looking forward to my race at the end of April that will be much smaller.
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