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