It’s been a week (and a day) since I ran the furthest distance of my life. It’s taken me a while to really process the whole thing, to be honest. All those months of training culminated in less than 3 hours.
So we shall start from the beginning, I suppose.
The last few weeks, really since Aleesia spent that week in the hospital, of my training were just rough. Life was busy and complicated and it was really hard to get workouts in during the week and sometimes it was even hard to get long runs in on the weekends. But I did my best and that’s all that anyone can do, right?
We made the race weekend a family get away and I am SO GLAD!
The kids were fabulous road-trippers (as always, actually!) and we made it to DC Friday afternoon.
Our hotel was on the campus of George Washington University and race events were in Georgetown, which was about a 15 walk. I love visiting big cities so I loved just walking around and exploring even if I had no idea where I was going! Until it started pouring down rain and we were 15 minutes away from our hotel in a strange city. The Nike Georgetown store was awesome. The race pick-up packet location was well organized and it was easy to grab what I needed.
Saturday we spent exploring with the kids. We were up early, so early in fact the only place open for breakfast was McDonald’s! But the good news is that we were nearly the only people at the Whitehouse that early in the morning.
Strangers took this picture for us and totally cropped Aleesia out. #secondchildproblems
After the Whitehouse we checked out the race area and I felt much better about where I needed to go the next morning. And then we were on an official mission to find the ruby red slippers.
Gianna is happy to announce that her mission was accomplished!
She loved the American History museum, and so did Mike and I. The star spangled banner exhibit was pretty breathtaking. We stopped for a snack on the national mall and checked out the sculpture garden.
There was a great lunch at an awesome little sports bar and then we headed back to rest for a little bit. After that we went back to Georgetown (when it was not raining) to check out the Expotique.
We grabbed dinner (pasta, naturally!) and I tried to go to bed early. Which was a challenge since we were all in the same room and the kids were like PARTY! But when I woke up, it was RACE DAY!
I woke up on Sunday at 5:00 am, put on my race clothes and headed for the start area. I was NERVOUS! I cried a little on the way there but then I got it together. There was coffee, water, breakfast food, etc. available (I couldn’t eat it – NERVES!) which was nice. But I just kind of headed to my corral area and hung out, stretched, apparently drained the life out of my phone battery. There was a DJ. Tons of super nice people. It was comfortable and helped ease my nerves, actually.
The sun was shining. An awesome course was ahead of me.
They did a wave start, which with 15,000 people was still crowded but much better and more controlled than I expected. It was difficult to manage the crowds for the first few miles and while things thinned out a bit, it was always pretty crowded! One of the things that surprised me the most is how many people walked so soon and so frequently – I nearly plowed right into the back of more than one person who stopped in front of me.
The first 7 miles were good, I felt strong. There was great music along the route – the steel drums were my favorite! The orange slices were a welcome treat in the beginning and water was well placed throughout the race.
My phone died at about 5.5 miles, so that stunk. A lot once I ran face first into my own personal brick wall at mile 8. That long stretch of race down Ohio St was just that LONG. And slow. My legs felt okay but mentally I was really doubting myself. I found a girl with pink shoes ahead of me and just kept following her and telling myself do.not.walk. And I didn’t. I hit the 10 mile mark and cried.
I really wasn’t sure if I could do it anymore, but I hadn’t been able to see Mike and the girls the whole race and all I wanted to do was hug them. And the only way to do that was to keep running.
So I did.
I kept running even when I didn’t know how exactly I was still running until I got to the end. There were more steel drums (yay!) and I saw the finish line. I totally missed Mike and the most awesome cheerleading squad but they were there watching me at the end.
The first thing I thought of was – where’s the water? And second, where is my family!? In total, based on chip time, I ran 2:47 which was 17 minutes slower than I anticipated. But I’m okay with it. I did it. That’s all that matters.
They had the family area organized by last name so thankfully it was really easy to find them.
I didn’t get a picture with Mike, which I am sad about. He was the reason I could run this race. The only way I could have trained and stay motivated.
Once I found him I showed off my prize (probably the only time I’ll get one of those little blue boxes, and that’s okay), probably the coolest finishers medal ever!
They had a great finishers area – places to freshen up, stretch out, roll out, change, charge your phone, hydrate. It was really nice.
I wasn’t sure how I would feel at the end. I was tired. I was sore. I was accomplished. And thankful.
We went back to the hotel to rest a little, but we did spend the rest of the day exploring DC some more. We had lunch by the Lincoln Memorial, went to the Natural History Museum (loved!!) and I fell asleep by 8pm that night!
It was a really great time. The race was put together SO WELL, flawless actually. I still honestly can’t believe I ran that far at one time. Thanks to the Vaseline trick, NO BLISTERS although I do have a bruised toenail casualty. DC was a GREAT family weekend getaway.
But the thing is, I have never felt that strong or determined about anything athletic because well, I’m not athletic. But I like running. It makes me feel good. I want to keep doing it. I don’t know when I will run another half but I know I will run another one.
Thanks for cheering me along the way, I felt every ounce of support just when I needed it most.