Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon Race Recap

by - Monday, October 03, 2011

Bear with me everyone, this race recap is just a bit lengthy!

The race this weekend was a huge success!

I went in planning to treat it like a long run taking it nice and easy and I finished with a 6 minute PR!

Let's start at the beginning:

When my alarm went off at 4:30 a.m. I could hear rain outside. Not good.

It was already supposed to be a chilly day, I didn't need cold rain on top of it, especially since I had been battling a fever since Friday night.

For about two seconds I contemplated just going back to sleep, but I eventually dragged myself out of bed and went through the normal pre-race routine:

  • Get dressed
  • Force contacts into tired eyes
  • Make PBJ for the road
When I got to the race site I had to sit in quite a long line of traffic before I got a parking space, but the line moved and the traffic directors did a good job of keeping things organized.

Since the race was a point to point race, my plan was to meet up with my co-worker Emily in the parking lot and take the shuttle to the start line together.

On the shuttle
Sorry for the bad coloring...Blackberry pic

The shuttle dropped us off at Mt. Vernon where the race was going to start.

Mount Vernon-20111002-00041

We met up with Zach and hung out for a while before heading to the start line.

At start

Katie spotted me as I was walking to my corral, so I stopped and wished her lots of luck. (She ended up kicking some major booty in this race!)

Once the race started I was telling myself to take it nice and easy. I had no idea what my pace was since Garmin was having technical difficulties and wouldn't turn on even though it had a full battery. Talk about frustrating.

For someone who obsessively checks her pace to make sure she's not starting to fast, this was a major issues for me.

I tried to forget about it and focus on the course, which was absolutely beautiful. I kept repeating the phrase "Relax and roll."

The first half of the course was full of rolling hills, but all my hill training seemed to pay off because none of them were that bad.

Mile 5 was the first mile that had a clock and when I passed in 47 minutes and change, I was really surprised because I felt like I was moving so slowly.

Somewhere past mile 7 my left hip and IT band started to tighten badly, so I stopped to stretch it out. Best. decision. ever.

I felt a million times better after that and could tell I was starting to pick up speed.

By the time I got to the incline on the bridge around mile 9, I was feel awesome. I was in the zone and everything felt great. The hill on the bridge didn't bother me at all.

The view from the bridge was breathtaking. I wanted to pull out my phone and take pictures, but I didn't want to stop running, so I just kept looking from side to side and took it all in.

I saw planes landing at National airport. I saw the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building in the distance.

And I saw the state line markers on the bridge. I crossed from Virginia, into D.C. and then into Maryland. This was the first race I've done that spanned two states and the District.

I enjoyed the nice downhill coming off the bridge and saw another clock at the mile 10 marker: 1:34 and change.

I was feeling amazing. I couldn't believe how quickly I was running and how well my legs were holding up.

There was a steep uphill near mile 11, but even that didn't bother me. At this point I was in familiar territory. I recognized the last two miles from the 5K I did at National Harbor last year and I knew the finish line wasn't too far away.

I let myself fly down the last big hill and knew exactly where I'd hit the gravel path that I hated so much in the 5K, but at least I was expecting it this time.

I smiled at the photographers, soaked in the cheers from the spectators and gave a final hard push around the last corner to the finish line.

When I saw the clock said 2:02, I almost cried.

I have been chasing a sub-2 hour half for more than a year now, and the closest I had ever gotten was 2:07:45. And here I come in to a race, expecting to treat it like a long run and I finish with an official time of 2:01:53.

A 6 minute PR!

I have never experienced such an incredible runner's high.

Zach tracked me down pretty quickly after I crossed the finish line and we found Emily not long afterward.

Turns out it was a stellar day for PRs.

Emily smashed her previous PR and finished in 1:49 and Zach killed his too and finished in 1:38.

Finish line

Seriously I have fast friends.

I was on cloud 9 all day yesterday. I took advantage of my awesome runners high and played a pretty stellar game of football after the race too. Unfortunately my team lost, but I made a nice catch and sacked the QB, all on legs that had just run 13.1 miles.

The only thing that could have made yesterday any better was if the Eagles and the Phillies had not both choked.

I couldn't be happier with the way this race went. I wasn't trained for it. I planned to treat it like a long run and somehow my legs were ready to PR.

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