I have a serious problem with the apostrophe on either side of the “N”. Anyone else?
Yes, I ran a half marathon in our nation’s capital last weekend.
And yes, this is a race report.
And since I can’t really seem to remember what to do here (it’s been awhile), I’ll just start with splits.
Because those following me along the course (Thanks, Dad!) noticed I fell off the map.
So, let’s take a look at the data:
His Lordship and I used this as a training run for Paris—both of us were to run at our goal marathon pace, mine being 8:00, His Lordship being 6:25. (Overachiever: noun, one who achieves success over and above the standard or expected level especially at an early age.)
Because we like to live on the edge, we left for the start at almost 7:10, giving us 20 minutes to run 2.5 miles through the streets of D.C. During said warm-up, I felt some things go awry in my tummy. As this has a tendency to happen, I let it go.
We arrived to the start at 7:31.
Lucky for me, the start had waves. So instead of starting in Corral 3, I jumped into Corral 5 and got moving.
Though crowded and raining, I fell right into pace. My stomach still wasn’t doing great, but I quickly forgot as I spent a lot of time watching my footing with the puddles and potholes. I knew my comrade Katie was in the corral behind me, so I looked for her on the out-and-back at miles 2-3. Sure enough, I spotted her and shouted. (Spoiler alert: she PR’d! Congrats, Kate!)
Shortly after that, things started really moving. (If you know what I mean.)
I told myself to make it one more mile. And I did, right on pace.
And then I hit code red.
I started slowing to prevent horrendous things happening in my shorts, and found a porta-potty. I stood and waited. Then, a kind volunteer told me there were a bunch more around the corner. I got back to it, turned the corner, and saw a glorious row of stalls. I exited the course again, ran through the mud up a hill, and hit the first one.
I hit the toilet jackpot—no runner had the pleasure of christening it before myself.
Bathroom things happened, as they do.
I started to ponder. Do I keep running? How will I get to my friends? What if this happens again?
Then I reached for the toilet paper.
That pace you see in the split above—that 11:53—is all due to the toilet paper. The GD toilet paper.
Mind you, it was fully stocked. But due to the humidity (see: raining), all of the cheap, thin sheets were stuck together.
I spent the majority of that added 4:00 trying to get some semblance of a wad.
After several frustrations, I finally exited and ran back on the course, watching my pace so to not get over zealous at the fact there was a very noticeable spring in my step.
Then we hit the hill.
Or, as my comrade Susan says, “THE HILL.”
Susan told me the tale of her woes of which she could not recover from—”last year’s elevation chart was false; the hill was like climbing a mountain; I barfed at the finish.” I kept all of this on repeat as I approached.
It was a hill, indeed. A very sharp and steep incline all at once. I kept a low pace so not to disrupt my bowels.
The hill was lined with volunteers holding American flags. Between them were portraits of fallen officers and soldiers.
I kept shuffling, feeling motivated by them, and crawled to the top where I saw a huge crowd.
A much-needed, roaring crowd, congratulating runners for reaching the top of that bitch of a hill.
After that, the course was a series of rolling hills. I kept in mind that this was a training run and that I just needed to be smart and get through it without getting too tired.
The rain picked up, and my entire body was now soaking wet. The thigh chafing was also becoming an issue. (#soblessed)
When we reached the straight-away on North Capitol, I kept my eyes set on the dome of the Capitol building. I thought about how pretty the course would be had it not been so gloomy and if the cherry blossoms had been in full bloom.
I also knew I was about to see friends shortly after mile 11.
I saw Christin and her puppy-child Zoe at the intersection of K and 1st, and handed her my wadded up rain jacket, which I had now been carrying for the past 11 miles.
We hit a tunnel, and I realized that both my stomach and legs were completely void of aches and pains.
I picked up the pace.
My Garmin was now ahead of every mile marker by .15 of a mile. (Remember the zig-zagging bathroom stop?)
When it went off just short of mile 12, I started looking for my friends.
And there they were—rain boots, umbrellas, and a toddler in tow.
I’ve never felt so good at the last miles of a half marathon. Maybe it was the bathroom stop. Or maybe it was the abundance of training I’ve done this season to keep me pushing through. Either way, I’ve never dropped my pace at the final miles of anything over a 5K. It felt good. I felt good.
I cruised through the finish, fist pumping in the air.
Finish Time: 1:53:27.
A full 8:27 off of my goal time. While I’m discouraged with my stomach, I’m completely satisfied with the outcome of the race. Had I quit, I would never know how good I would have felt in the final stretch.
Next up: Paris.
My game face is on.
Special thanks to my best friends for supporting us out in the cold and rain. You are heroes and scholars, and I’m so proud to have your unconditional support and love. Bourbon for everyone.