A week and a half ago, I ran the United Rock n’ Roll DC half marathon, for the third time.
Three years ago, this race was my first ever half marathon. It rained the entire time and I remember being so nervous. Would I be able to finish? Would my phone get wet? Would I need to change my socks?
All my worrying was for naught, the race was great, and despite the rain I finished with a solid time of 2:25. I felt great afterwards, just a little sore.
Last year’s race was a different story. I was talked into doing it by a friend and hadn’t trained much. We had a lot of snow, I was bad about training, and I wasn’t very motivated. Race day was hard, the race felt incredibly long, and I had a terrible finishing time. My worst half marathon time to date.
So after an incredibly crappy race, I took advantage of a very low pre-sale price and signed up for the 2017 race. An entire year out! I knew it would keep me motivated to run during the winter. More importantly, I wanted a chance to redeem myself.
This winter was mild and my training went pretty well. I was religious about my long runs and made sure to get 2-3 short runs in during the week. It really helped that we had several days of 60 degree weather so I could run outside. (Still haven’t come to terms with running long distances on the treadmill.)
The race felt pretty hard, potentially because it was so cold and I got hot around mile 5, after constantly being in direct sunlight, but wasn’t able to easily lose any of my layers. My one true goal was to beat the hill at mile 6; I know from past years that it is really hard and last year I walked most of it. This year, I was going to run the whole thing! And I did and it was pretty brutal. It feels like it is never going to end. I brought my own water bottle, because I remembered wanting water when I got to the top and not having a water stop for at least another mile.
I was glad I did and enjoyed a quick water/walking break after making it all the way up! That mile is really incredible because it is the mile that honors fallen military service men and women. The entire hill is lined with military personnel and people holding American flags, all of them cheering for and supporting you. It’s really hard not to feel motivated by it.
I remembered a lot of the course from last year, so I knew what to expect for the rest of the race. It felt hard towards the end, but I maintained a pretty good pace. I knew the end was an uphill so I made sure to save some energy. The entire last mile, my personal running mantra was echoing in my head: running slow is faster than walking.
I ended in 2:21:02, my fastest time for this race! I had a 10:46 pace, which is a solid improvement for me. It ended up being a great race! Now I am super sore (darn that hill!) and taking some time to rest before getting back in shape for my races in April.