Rock n Roll USA Half recap

There are some races where despite how well training goes, things just don’t come together on race day…this was one of those races for me.

Off to race

I was awake by 4:30 but forced myself to lay in bed until 5:30. I went through my usual routine and was off to catch the Metro by 6:30.  I then spent almost 1 1/2 hours trying to get to the race! I caught the first train fine, but when I got to Metro Center to change train lines, there were already too many runners standing on the platform…not a good sign. As we waited and waited the crowd grew, we were easily 8 deep. I chatted with others as the time continued to pass. Finally a train pulled in and it was fairly crowded but I and my newly formed crew made our way on. A mere 2 stops later the train had door issues and the next thing I knew they announced the train was going “out of service” and everyone had to get off – You’ve got to be kidding me! Back to waiting and trying not to freak out…a few of us started debating the likelihood of finding a cab when another train slowly rumbled towards us. Yep it was packed. But after 7+ years of living in NYC, I know how to work my way on to a crowded train! The group I was with made it on and the train lurched and sputtered its way through the next 5 stops. When we finally reached the Armory stop, it was this crazy scene of runners scaling the escalators and stairs to get to the street, then to the Armory for gear check.

I got my gear checked, opted for the indoor bathrooms and then headed for the corrals. We quickly shuffled to the start and were off. I was feeling pretty good as we crossed the 5k mat but unfortunately that didn’t last long. As I reached the 4 mile marker I was feeling overheated and a little light-headed…a headache was forming. I took a GU and more water and kept going. I spotted J & the boys around 5 and loved getting a high-five from my guys (unfortunately thanks to the efficiency of the Metro this was the only time I saw them). The next few miles are a bit of a blur, I just tried to focus on the sights, the crazy race outfits, the crowds, my  tunes and the occasional band along the route – anything to ignore the growing headache. By the time I crossed the 10k mat I knew I was a couple of minutes behind where I wanted to be. By mile 8 I had a brief moment where I wondered if I was going to have my first DNF – it was so frustrating because my legs were feeling pretty good!

But just then I spotted the 2:30 pacers. “Nope not stopping so pull it together girl!” I ignored my Garmin and just did what I could to stalk the pacers for as long as I could. The crowds really picked up in the final couple of miles and they were into it – a great boost! As I reached the final stretch I just started to smile – no there would be no PR today, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed….but I was about to cross the line of my 4th half marathon in less than a year and I hadn’t let a crappy headache or some moments of self-doubt from keeping me from pushing forward.

I happily collected my medal, posed for a Finisher’s photo and grabbed some much needed food and chocolate milk. I found my guys and took a little time to stretch out on the lawn before heading back on the lovely Metro to the hotel.

All-in-all I think the race was well-organized, from the expo to finishers area. And, the family had a great time in DC – in fact the kids asked me where we are going to race next 🙂



  1. Who would have thought you would have this weather in March! Great attitude powering through the headache!

  2. Wow! You did great pushing through that headache and finishing strong — and smiling! I’m so sorry Metro had issues — you of course aren’t the only one who mentioned it.

  3. Super impressive that you were able to power through with a headache…as a headache-sufferer, I totally get what an accomplishment that is! But hey, you have the best attitude 🙂 4 half marathons in less than a year is awesome!

  4. Good for you for pushing forward MIchelle! This is hard to do and you did it! Sometimes these moments are better than a PR because we gain strength from them.

  5. 4th half in a year is huge!! Great job! It’s awesome that the kids are looking forward to the next race.

  6. good job powering through…….having had my own difficulties with a half yesterday, sometimes the true victory is in the finishing……not giving in to the doubts and insecurities that creep in from time to time. Well done!

  7. Great job at pushing through when the going got tough. It was such a hot day out there–I was really feeling bad for you all. I’m glad the trip was an overall success, though.

    Yikes on the metro situation!!

  8. I had a race like that too this weekend, but I still count it a good one bec the experience was good. you sound to be doing the same and I love it! Hope you’re rested up and feeling better by now.

  9. Way to put the challenges behind you and finish Michelle! I love your attitude. Way to rock the green TC top–so cute!

  10. Glad to hear you made it to the race…I would have been freaking out! Congrats on a great finish. Love to hear about the family support 😉

  11. Way to push through all of those challenges and finish your 4th!!! Impressive girl!! I would have left the Metro when it started to get crowded…I guess not enough time spent in Boston on the T!

  12. Wow! I don’t know if I could have handled the crowded metro..I probably would have quit right then. AND, you finished with a headache!! I know what that feels like, and it’s not fun. Way to stay strong. Congratulations on a great race!

  13. Oh, how I KNOW those mid race miseries – great job pushing through!

  14. Congrats on your 4th! Sounds like fun – well, the running part at least. Not sure about that crowd.

  15. Congrats on your fourth half! It takes serious mental strength to push through on those tough runs, you’ll be a stronger runner for it! Glad the family had such a good time, too. 🙂

  16. sorry about the headache, but Way To Go to push through to the end! So…when is #5? : )

  17. Great job fighting through it and getting another race under your belt. I’m sure you’ll take a lot from this experience and make the next one even better. Maybe next year consider Shamrock in Virginia Beach. It’s a simple walk to the start line from your hotel. No Metro issues guaranteed! 🙂

  18. Glad you made it to the race! Sadly your experience is pretty typical with metro around here.

    Way to stick with the race!

  19. Congrats Michelle! Great job on the race!

  20. Sorry to hear it didn’t go as well as you were hoping for. But you still finished a half marathon and that by itself is a great accomplishment!!!! Congrats Michelle!

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