Hey Everyone! Sorry that I’ve gone MIA for the SECOND time in the last month. Things have been pretty tumultuous over the last month. Between traveling around China and Hawaii, coming back to the U.S. and moving, attending my sisters graduation in Boston, helping Ethan move from Ocean City, MD to Reston, VA (he got a new job!) and starting work I have really had NO TIME to breathe!
But… I’m back for good! I promise! I have a whole slew of posts written on my travels in Chengdu (back in March!), Hawaii, Emily’s graduation in Boston, my new abode, and of course… how the half marathon went! I’m going to do my best to keep posting on Sundays and Wednesdays, so keep checking back in, and I’ll have lots of new content and pictures to post.
And recipes! Oh recipes… I’ve been going crazy now that I actually have a kitchen!
This delicious blackberry, basil, grilled cheese SMASH from Jessica was dinner on Thursday AND Friday night this past week… that’s how good it was. I highly recommend it. It’s also super fast to make.
Annnnyways. The half marathon! Two Sundays ago, Ethan and I woke up bright and early at 5 a.m. to get some breakfast and hit the road so we had enough time to make it from Reston to Alexandria by 7. I forgot to take a picture of breakfast, but we had toast with peanut butter and banana. I remembered AFTER I had finished eating to take pictures… so I took a picture of our drinks. We had coffee (you can read about why here and here) and coconut water with some pineapple juice.
After breakfast we hopped into the car only to get 10 minutes away from the house and discover we had forgotten sunscreen! I’m really glad we turned back since the “shaded course” the race description promised was actually not as shaded as promised. It was a really hot and sunny, even with the race starting at 7:30 am.
After getting there and going to the bathroom we lined up behind the start line. Surprisingly, I wasn’t all the nervous, just excited and ready to get started.
The shoes are Mizuno and won best stability running shoe of the year from a bunch of different fitness magazines. The spibelt which held my camera, a Cliff shot block for Ethan and I to split part way through the run, and the car key, is breast cancer awareness themed to match my hat, which I bought for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.
The pink shirt was also the shirt I wore for the Avon walk. The pants are from Marshalls, where I buy all my exercise stuff. They’re my favorite because don’t chafe and make my legs itchy like other pants do. Does anyone else have that issue??
Unfortunately, once the race started I wasn’t able to take any pictures since we were pretty focused on running (go figure!) but we did get photographed a bunch of time by the race photographer. I’ll link to some of those pictures throughout the rest of the post.
The first couple miles were pretty easy – lots of adrenaline and excitement kept the energy high. Our plan for the race was to start a little slow so we could get warmed up and ease into a nice pace. After that the plan was to keep up a good pace, walking as infrequently as possible. We decided if we were getting tired we’d try slowing the pace a bit before resorting to walking. And at the advice of Runner’s World, if we did stop to walk, we’d walk for less than a minute.
I absolutely loved the atmosphere of the race. The whole course was really cool because it was a series of loops, so the people that were in the first couple places passed us a few times. Everyone was really supportive – as the leaders would sprint by people would scream out encouragement.
After discovering during our training runs that drinking mid-run almost ALWAYS gave me cramps, I had decided to only drink two or three times during the race. But May 27th was one of the hottest days of the summer up to that point and, as I said before, the race was not very shaded. We got hot FAST and believe me, I drank lots of water.
As we got into the middle of the race, around mile 7 and 8, we went around a long, very unshaded loop with no water station for about 2 miles. Ethan was determined to make it to the next water station without walking, but I was dying. We stopped to walk for 30 seconds twice during this first loop.
Even though it doesn’t look like it, as we came over the bridge we were ecstatic to see the water station. (See all the snot rubbed on my pants??? Attractive.)
Miles 9 through 11 were the second time through the dreaded, unshaded loop. I felt like it went faster the second time, though, because we knew what to expect.
I got a surge of adrenaline and started to get excited as we started down the road that lead to the finish line, but Ethan started to lose steam. While I was in China I had more training time than he did, so my stamina was a little higher. When I convinced him to train with me I promised him we’d run this from start to finish together, so I did my best to encourage him to hang in there and walk with him when he needed a quick break.
We somehow missed the mile 12 marker sign, so mile 11 felt suuuuper long. But as we started to near downtown I knew we were only a few blocks from the finish line. As we walk/ran through that last mile, the runners around us told us to keep at it, put the last of what we had into mile 12, and get ‘er done. It was really wonderful to be supported by strangers pushing themselves, just like us. As we passed mile marker 13, we decided to sprint to the finish line.
After getting some gatorade and our finisher’s medals we collapsed onto the grass.
All-in-all, I was really proud of how we did. We averaged around at 9:48 mile even with our walking breaks, none of which exceeded a minute. We hung in there, paced ourselves, stayed hydrated, and enjoyed the race-day setting.
We are looking for some 10ks and 15ks to run in July, August, and September so we can keep our running legs in shape. I’m trying to convince Ethan to sign up for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon in October. I think with some good stamina training this summer we can average closer to a 9:15 mile and get pretty close to the 2-hour mark.
If you made it this far, I thank you for reading such a long post! Is anyone running a race any time soon? Anyone interested in racing?