Thursday, March 21, 2013

2013 RnR USA Nation’s Capital Marathon & Half-Marathon

March 16, 2013 7:30 AM
Washington, D.C.

Time Pace
Bib #
8:35 M35-39 94/324 556/2,059 723/3,552 3003
3:00:19 13:45 F30-34 2,239/2,439 11,403/12,525 18,545/19,945 25015
3:00:19 13:45 F45-49 642/746 11,404/12,525 18,546/19,945 34726
*Marathon    **Half-Marathon

This part written by Owen:

We had a great trip to Virginia/Washington D.C. to run this race.  It started Thursday night when we drove to my mom's house in Stafford, Virginia. We left after Michael got out of school, made great time, and arrived around 10pm.

We always have a ton of fun and great visits every time we go to my moms, so we decided to save some money and commute from Stafford on race morning.  Race morning commuting went smoothly, the problem was Friday afternoon getting our bibs.

I had to work Friday until noon, so we knew we were going to hit Friday Washington, D.C. traffic.  We hit some mild traffic on the way to the train station in Springfield, VA, but still got there in 40 minutes or so (it's about 25 miles away.)  We took the train to the station near the armory where the expo was in DC.  That took another 40 minutes.

On the way to the expo on the Metro

The expo was really nice, really big, and surprisingly not as crowded as I thought it would be.  We didn't spend much time there because we knew traffic was going to get worse and worse.

Malissa in front of the Armory

We took the train back to Springfield and got on the freeway for the 25 mile drive back to my mom's house.  My mom had let me drive her Mini Cooper to save on gas since just Malissa and I were going. The entire 25 miles was bumper to bumper traffic and took over two hours.  Because I was in the Mini, which has a manual transmission, my left leg was very tired from all the traffic.  Not what you want the day before a marathon.

Friday night my mom made a wonderful spaghetti dinner.  We talked and ate, then spent the rest of the night making our plans for the next day.  We worked out a strategy for Grandma and Gramps and my kids to hop on and off the Metro to see me at four points (counting the finish line). Malissa and I would leave early to get to the start, everybody else would leave a little later to get to mile 3 to cheer us on from there.

Malissa and I woke up and everything went as planned until we arrived at the start line.

The pack of runners at the station nearest the starting line.
Malissa and I said our goodbyes and she headed for her corral.  I headed to the gear check area.  I almost never use those, but the weather called for rain and we were going to go to lunch before going home, and I didn't want my supporters to have to carry around our clothes all day.  I found the gear check area, and couldn't believe what I saw.  The line to check my bag was at least the length of a football field.  I couldn't believe they made you stand in line to hand them your bag.  After each person they went and put the bag in the school bus in some organized fashion, then came back for the next bag. It was the most stupid thing I've ever seen.  The bags have our names on them, let us just throw the bag in a bin, you can organize them on your own time.

While waiting in line at bag check, I heard the start of the marathon.  I still was planning on standing in line for the bathrooms, which was also ridiculously long.  I finally got my bag checked, and ran to the start just in time to start with corral four.  I was supposed to be in corral three.  My bladder was full, and I hadn't done my normal pre-race stretching ritual.

I put all that behind me and enjoyed the amazing course. I realized after we started that I hadn't even noticed the Washington Monument that was right next to the start.  I made a point to enjoy the amazing scenery from that point forward.

I knew I'd have to find an early place to relieve myself, but there were so few port-o-potties.  25,000 runners and almost no port-o-potties.  There were never any that didn't have a line.  I absolutely can not accept standing in a line during a race.  I'll pee on the course before I do that.  So I found a tree on the side of the road at mile 6.

Water stops were another issue RnR failed on.  Gatorade was only at every other stop, which meant 4 miles in between Gatorade.  That is definitely too long for me. Also, several of the stops had nobody handing out the water, you had to serve yourself.  I couldn't believe it.

I had decided on a pace for a 3:40 finishing time.  I stuck to my pace tattoo through the hills, not bad hills, but they were there.  I was within 10 seconds of my goal at every mile marker until mile 23 when the dreaded wall hit.  I was determined not to walk at all during this marathon, and pushed through it, but about a minute per mile slower until mile 24.5.  On the last mile and a half, I walked for about 15 seconds a few times and finished at 3:45.

The course was amazing.  I loved the fact that we had the entire road even after the half-marathoners split off.  That was one thing this race did right.

Before the race I had seen signs advertising the free chocolate milk at the finish line.  I was SO looking forward to that.  I saw the people handing out the cartons of milk and grabbed two of them.  They were frozen solid!  I was so disappointed.  After the race it was amazing how many people were complaining about that.

It never did rain during the race, the weather was absolutely perfect, if not for a headwind during the last couple of miles.  But, I still had to pick up my gear bag with our clothes in it.  The line was even longer to pick it up as it was to drop it off.  So instead of enjoying the post-race festivities with my family, I stood in line for 30 minutes separated from them.

Overall this race was wonderful, I enjoyed it, and have fond memories.  But Rock 'n' Roll failed miserably.  My next race happens to also be an RnR marathon (Nashville), but I will stay away from them in the future.  I understand why they have such a bad reputation now.

Alicia and I on the train ride back to Grandma's
We had a wonder post-race lunch at "On the Border", and relaxed the rest of the day at Grandma's house.

Here's my Garmin data:

This part written by Malissa:

I was so excited for this race. I could not wait to share this experience with Lynne. Our goal was to finish strong and have some fun along the way.

After saying goodbye to Owen I met Lynne in corral 34. Lynne and I chatted while we waited for our turn to cross the start line. It took us 50 minutes to cross the start line so looking back on the race it would have been smarter if I took the drop off bag instead of Owen.

Right as we crossed the start line, bam there was the Washington monument. I was reminded of my first time to Washington DC in 2010. I was much heavier and I remembered how hard it was to walk so much that day. It really is amazing what a little training can do.

Owen and I 2010
Around mile three I started getting a huge headache and I was nauseous. I didn't mention anything to Lynne because I knew she would have offered to slow down and I didn't want to ruin the race for her. Mile four rolled around and I was getting worried because I was feeling worse. I decided to take my hat off to see if that would help, instant relief. Two days before the race I hit my head really hard on the corner of our kitchen counter, I guess the hat was squeezing my big head too tight.

I really wanted this race to be fun for Lynne so I made her make crazy faces at the photographers. This picture is going in a frame for sure!

When we got to mile five we were still feeling fresh and joking around. We thought there was suppose to be a huge hill at the beginning of five and we were excited when there wasn't. I just figured Owen's map was wrong, well that is until we got to 5.8 and saw the massive hill. I don't know what race Owen was talking about in his recap when he said the hills weren't bad because the hill that started at 5.8 and leveled off at 7 killed us. Thankfully Lynne's husband and daughter surprised us at mile seven. It was just what we needed. I know I looked like a crazy woman when I saw Katie cheering for us. It was so unexpected and I ran over to her screaming and yelling, Phoebe style with my hands waving over my head.

There were a few funny signs a long the course and guy dressed up as one of the Incredibles singing Call Me Maybe. I enjoyed mile nine to ten, it was a long gradual downhill and you could see the capital the whole time.

There was a slight uphill around eleven/twelve, I turned to Lynne told her this where you dig deep and remember all the hours we spent training and told her to push hard. By this time the miles seemed to get longer and longer and I remember thinking when is that finish line going to get here. We finished strong at 3:00:19, Lynne beat my first half marathon time by three minutes! I couldn't have scripted a better race, well I guess I would have taken out the hills, and I'm so thankful I was able to share this experience with Lynne. Now on to finding a marathon for us to run together!

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