As I was walking into the school before the race a woman came up to me and asked if I run on XX road. And I said yes I do ….is the skirt or the socks? She said she recognized both the skirt and the socks. And then insisted on hugging me. She said she loved my skirts and asked where I get them. I directed her to runningskirts.com (wish they would pay me for that but they don’t). It was an odd and almost creepy moment but I know I pass a lot of the same runners each weekend and this winter I have run that road a lot because it’s in the sun in the mornings and I’ve been going for all of the warmth I can get. In the summer I run that road less because I’m always in search of shade.
It’s been a tough winter with snow, ice, rain, and temperatures well below normal. But I kept up with my training and missed very few runs. I ran a lot at the hospital where the roads are almost always clear. And I did a lot of runs that were just in my neighborhood….in and out of the different streets and stringing together lots of small segments to get a decent distance. I was glad to finally be running the first of the two races that I have been training for.
The weather yesterday was actually pretty decent. It was about 33°F at the start of the race and the temperature was quickly rising. There was some leftover snow and ice on the side of the road but the roads were dry. There was quite a bit of sand in the shoulders where much of the race was.
The race started just a couple of minutes late with no real announcement….at least not that I could hear. I looked up and saw that the people in front of me were moving. The start was fast but then I forced myself to slow down. Fairly early in the race I kicked a huge rock….think softball size. Luckily it didn’t hit anyone else….it landed in a storm drain. I dropped my pace and made it through the first few miles before walking through the water stop and then up a big hill. At that point I had already pushed my sleeves up and removed my gloves. As I passed my buddy I dropped my gloves.
The next few miles were mentally tough. There were some rolling hills and then a nice downhill before heading into another uphill. I did the best I could to just keep moving and to keep my pace up. Around mile 6 I saw someone getting medical assistance and it really bothered me and made me sad. It was a bit of a fight to keep going after that.
I saw my buddy and had a brief conversation with him before continuing on what felt like the longest section of the race. It was slightly uphill and at that point racers were very spread out. There weren’t any fans on the sidewalks and it just drug on forever it seemed like.
After a few turns I was heading into the final stretches and was starting to feel better mentally but my foot was hurting. I just came pressing on and tried to ignore my foot. There were some nice down hills and a few flat areas. Around mile 9 I was expecting to see my buddy but he wasn’t there. I kept looking until I realized it just wasn’t going to happen. I was certain I hadn’t missed him….and I was hoping he hadn’t missed me and was just waiting at the finish. The last part was tough because we had to run down past the finish area and loop back around. There was one really small hill at the end prior to heading to the stadium.
There were a ton of volunteers at this point and I appreciated every single one of them who was cheering us on. I needed all of that encouragement to not stop before the end. Especially after my watch recorded 10 miles. I had to run just a little bit further and I just kept pressing. As I ran into the stadium and on to the track I knew I was a l m o s t there….so I sprinted to the finish.
As soon as I crossed someone reached out and handed me a medal. I was really hoping for a bottle of water but I had to walk across the football field to the other side of the stadium to get a bottle of water. That was my only complaint about the entire race.
As always =PR= was well organized. The course was well marked and very well staffed. The water stops had plenty of volunteers and there was absolutely no waiting to get water.
The shirt is awesome and the medal is beautiful. I’ve already hung it with my others….although I need to add a separate hook for it. I’ve added the pin to my lanyard and hung my bib with my growing collection.
Overall it was a really good training run which is what I was hoping for. I feel pretty good about the half marathon that is coming up at the end of the month. Some of the course is the same …although most is different but I was able to practice on those hills so I feel better prepared for that. My foot was bothering me after the race and I could barely walk but we decided to tackle a couple of miles around our neighborhood and by the end I was actually feeling much better.
I can’t take much of break now. I have to keep training for the half. In my head this was only a training run and I know I have to treat it that way. After that the half I’m going to take some time off and then focus on shorter races. Last night since I was still excited about racing I signed up for a 5k in April. After the half I will need to do some speed training.
All photos are courtesy of Potomac River Running.