Danny and I didn’t really plan on “racing” this race since Marine Corps Marathon is next week. On the metro ride over, our conversation seemed to have settled on an 8:45-9 min/mile pace. We are so close to MCM and I know we are both getting super wary of injuries, so we were conservative in our goals. That’s not really how it happened, but that’s okay! Today’s run felt GREAT.
Let me tell you, though – this morning was COLD, and we had a long time to wait outside the Pentagon (where it started & finished). I am so happy I had a throwaway hoodie, or else it would have been truly unbearable. There were 6 waves, and I was pretty excited to be close to the front of the 35,000 total runners by being assigned to Wave 2 – that meant we didn’t have to wait up to 30 minutes to start! We got to see all of the wounded warriors pass by our wave and line up for their race, too – so inspiring! The leader of Wave 2 was General Ray Odierno! It was cool to hear the cannons fire for the start of each wave, and everything (in true military fashion) was so well-organized. Even the water stops were executed flawlessly…although, no one was allowed to walk through them or you were scolded by soldiers. That meant lots of spilling and people running into each other – all part of the experience!
What Danny and I “struggled” with this race (but I think eventually just gave into) was going too fast (or what we thought was too fast) and needing to slow down. Every time I looked at my Garmin, it was a much faster pace than I thought! It was amazing to me because I felt like we were running easy, but in reality we were running at my 10-miler PR pace from last spring. I’d think we were for sure running a 9 min/mile, and I’d look down and it’d be an 8:30-8:35 minute/mile. It’s so fun to contrast that to my 10-milers last spring where, yes, I was running that pace, but it felt hard, and I was giving so much effort. Those races usually involved me going out too fast, feeling like I was going to die, and going way slower towards the end. It makes me wonder what my time would have been if I had really set out to RACE this one! Runs like this make me feel like my training has actually paid off. Another time I felt training pay off was the hills. We maintained an 8:30 pace up just about all of them – no slowing down for hills! – and they didn’t seem impossible. I wouldn’t say they were easy, but they weren’t hard.
According to unofficial results, I missed my PR time of 1:26:36 by around 30 seconds. According to my watch, we did 10.15 miles in 1:27:09, so approaching the finish, I thought I might have had it once all of the extra stuff was taken into account. Of course it’s a little bit of a bummer that I missed it but I can’t be too upset since that wasn’t the point of this race. Plus, if you want to get technical, I stopped at every water stop this time (stopped at none last spring), felt way stronger and more steady this time around (it felt so easy!), and wasn’t even trying to go this fast – overall, today was a win! One thing that I was really proud of was that we still had enough energy to keep our pace steady and to even give it our all in the last half mile or so. Once we hit mile 9.5, I looked at my watch and realized that maaaaaaybe I could PR this race without having tried to, and how fun would that be?! Once I realized that, I just took off! Obviously I missed it by a few seconds, but the fact that I had enough juice left in me for that 7:05-ish half mile makes me happy! I also felt like I could have kept going for a while, and that is encouraging going into a 26.2 on Sunday.
The atmosphere was amazing! I love big races and I love the crowd support (and usually bands) that comes with them. Fisher House had a team for this race as well, and even though I didn’t fundraise for ATM, I wore my jersey to test it out for next weekend (can’t wear a shirt that bothers you for 26.2!). I felt like a superstar – the FH support was SO great! I can’t wait to feel it next weekend!
Here are standings:
7165 out of 26,025 total (27%)
1691 out of 12,070 women (14%)
354 out of 2013 division (17%)
And wow, can’t believe the day I’ve been training for is so close…