Rock N Roll Half Marathon DC 2021: My Best Race in a While

by - Thursday, November 18, 2021

If you follow me on Instagram, you already saw that I had a great race at the Rock N Roll Half Marathon on Saturday. A few days later, I'm happy to say my recovery is going just as well as the race did, and I'm still just as proud of my race today as I was on Saturday. 


When my friend Emily texted me over the summer and asked if I wanted to run this race with her, I was honestly a bit on the fence. I was still having a bunch of my hamstring issues, and I wasn't sure it was the best idea to commit to the race.

But registration was a super cheap price, and I was excited to run a race in-person again and I figured it was still far enough away that I'd have plenty of time to fix my hamstring and still train. 

Twelve weeks out from the race, my hamstring was feeling good, and I was really excited to try a new training plan that focused on training by heart rate

I 100% credit this plan for my strong performance on race morning. I finally did my easy runs easy and let myself properly recover and avoid overtraining. 

Going into race morning though, I was still really nervous because I had been dealing with a super tight hip flexor. My PT told me it was purely muscular and running wouldn't damage it further, but by the end of my training cycle it was not feeling the best. 


My plan was mainly just to see how things went during the race. I've run this race before and I'm really familiar with the course since I live in DC and run certain parts regularly. 

I hoped to ease into things the first few miles and see how I felt. My goal was to get through the first six miles at a comfortable pace, and then reassess from there how I was doing. 

I picked mile 6 because that is where the steepest and most miserable hill on the whole course is. I figured if I was feeling good through the early parts, and the hill wiped me out, I'd find a new strategy for the rest of the course. 


The first several miles flew by. I was so excited to be running a race again. I was soaking in every sign and every spectator and just really happy to be out running on such a gorgeous morning.

I saw Emily on the course somewhere between mile 3 and 4, which was fun. 

The spectators definitely thinned out between miles 4 and 6, and I was really glad I had my music at this point. We were running along Rock Creek Parkway, and the road just started to feel really long. I think I was also anticipating the stupid big hill because it's what you take from Rock Creek Parkway to the rest of the course. 

But despite the anticipation, I was still feeling good. Even when I got to the hill, mentally I'd been preparing myself to need to walk part of it. But I just slowed down a bit and kept running. It was a slow and brutal climb, but I eventually got to the top took the turn and looked forward to the course flattening for a bit. 

And when I say a bit, it was a pretty short bit. For the next several miles the course rolled. Lots of up and down through neighborhoods where there were a good amount of spectators. Miles 6-8ish are definitely some of the most fun on the course. 


I passed my best friend Emily around mile 7. She had come out to cheer for me and made me a sign! It was so great to see her and she definitely gave me a little extra burst of energy. 

When I hit mile 9, I could feel my energy fading a bit. I'd been doing a pretty good job with fuel throughout the race, but I could tell the miles were catching up to me. I knew I had a decent downhill stretch of course ahead of me, so I backed off a tiny bit and sort of let gravity do some of the work for me here. 

I kept this cruising pace through mile 10 and when I turned onto K St. I had to really start the motivational self talk. 

I took my final Gu a bit earlier than planned, hoping the extra calories would hit my bloodstream quickly. And then I basically just tried to hang on. 


H St. had some great crowd support, so I kept putting one foot in front of the other, trying to mentally count down the time until the next mile marker. Despite how tired I was, I passed the mile 11 marker a bit sooner than I expected to. The climb up to mile 12 though really killed me. It wasn't a steep climb, it was just a gentle long hill, but I was struggling. 

At some point, we made the final turn of the race with right around a mile to go, and it was a long and blissful downhill. Usually that's not the way I feel about downhills at the end of the race, but it was just what I needed on Saturday. I just let myself cruise, and it turned out the last mile was my fastest mile of the whole race. 


I passed my husband right at mile 13 and with my last bit of energy gave a final kick toward the finish line. 

My final time was 2:08:36. Definitely not a PR, but a time I am so happy with because of the strong race I ran.


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