18 April 2015

2015 Rock 'n Roll DC Marathon

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Mile 13 Wet but still with a little energy- photo credit to Becky
After several half marathons I thought I was ready to run a full marathon. A few weeks into the training I found out that double the distance equaled way more than double the training. The first long run was as long as the longest run I did for many of the half marathons I trained for. Complicating things were my active social life and signing up for a Saturday afternoon flag football league. Oh and also one of the coldest Februarys in recent years. I also only had a 14 week training cycle, because I knew for the half I always started right after the new year and didn't think "oh you might need a few more weeks to run twice the distance".

I worked my way up to 18 miles before my left foot started hurting really bad. After my Valentine's Day run my foot hurt when I walked for the next three days so I made an appointment with a foot doctor. He said he didn't think it was a stress fracture, which was my biggest fear but to take a week off and to take three ibuprofen with breakfast and another three with dinner.

Luckily that worked, but that hick up meant my longest run was 19 miles and an off week right before taper.

Luckily marathons are easy right?

During taper instead of getting more nervous like I hear a lot of people getting. I got more confident, maybe unreasonably so.

My sister signed up to run and Kristen and my niece got in to town the Wednesday before the race. They did some touristing around while I worked and we all went to the expo together on Thursday. The expo moved to the convention center, which was super convenient but the set up was basically the same as the last two years.

The 10 day, then the 5 day, then the 3 day, then the 1 day forecast all called for rain. The temperature jumped around a bit, but the rain stayed constant. When we woke up at 5:30 that morning we heard rain.

I decided to wear a hat to keep the water out of my eyes and a rain resistant jacket with shorts. I think my outfit was the right call, but I was soaked by the time the race started.

Kristen and I got to the start line with about twenty minutes till gun time, but we had to walk about a half mile to the end of the alphabet for our bag check then I did a final porta potty stop. I got into my corral a little after the race started, but since I was 10 corrals back I still had plenty of time.

The first few miles felt fine, at first I was trying to avoid the biggest puddles, but soon it was obvious that my feet would be soaked and going straight through them was probably the least exhausting.

Running up rock creek felt pretty automatic, I've run the first half of the route so many times, but as we approached the Calvert hill I first started feeling a little tired. I've never been able to run very strongly up the hill, but this year was a little easier. They people holding American flags all the way up and the crowd support was great like always.

Next we ran cross town, this is one of my favorite parts of the race. People are on their balconies having mini parties and offering beer to the runners. Then there is the run down North Capitol. I saw several runners get splashed by cars going the opposite direction and felt good about my decision to run on the west side of the street.

Soon we were at the point where the half and full split apart. The past two years when I ran the half marathon I always felt really happy I wasn't running another 13 miles at this point. Well I could tell the half runners were feeling this way too. A few of them wished me luck and I got a boost of adrenaline thinking about how I was going to run the full this time.

The Rock 'n Roll DC is definitely a half marathon focused race. After we split off I felt pretty alone on the course, which was a downer. But then I saw my boyfriend Brian and one of my friends Becky, who had run the 5K, were cheering for me! That gave me a big boost, I didn't know they were going to be there, but as I was running off Becky yelled something like "you are halfway there" and the reality of it hit again.

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Mile 13- I kept having to wring my gloves out- photo credit to Becky

My first half was almost where I wanted it to be. I was planning on around 2 hours, but ended up at 2:10.

The second half of the race was colder, wetter, lonelier, and less scenic. At one point we ran three miles around an industrial area where they store the salt for DC streets. Then we ran across this terrible bridge that had huge grates on it, that I was certain I would fall over. The run in Anacostia would probably of been nice on a beautiful day. But in cold rain it was pretty miserable. I started walking through the water stations here, which was around mile 18. There was also serious flooding on the course here and we had to go off course in one area and through about six inches in another area.

Once we headed to Ft. Dupont park the rain started letting up a little. For the last 30 minutes of the race it pretty much stopped raining, but I was still soaking wet and was feeling pretty sore. My feet hurt the most and whenever I walked through a water station it hurt my bottom to start running again.

But soon there was only a mile left. But that mile seemed so hard. We crossed back over the Anacostia river towards the RFK stadium. The wind was blowing hard over the bridge. They had a nice loop away from the finish line, but soon I saw the finish and was able to kick it a tiny bit to the finish.

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Dead in the eyes, but happy to be finishing
My finish time was 4:39. My biggest goal was to finish, but I also had a goal for under 4:40, and a goal for some other things that were apparently way too ambitious.

So I was really happy to be done, but there was a lot more walking to do before getting home.
Kristen, Brian and Becky were at the finish to help me celebrate and help me function. Kristen had a much faster race, but was also miserably wet and cold.

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Kristen and me at the finish. Even though it stopped raining it was pretty cold and miserable still

I spent most of the rest of the day on the couch, eating, hydrating, and relaxing.

Throughout training and running the race I thought I never wanted to run another marathon. But now I feel like I could have a better race. I know what to expect now and would hopefully have a better weather day! So maybe....

For now I'm going to focus on some 5Ks...


  1. I've missed your blog! Congratulations on your first marathon!!! I'm sorry you had such a miserable day...I ran the Half that day and it was brutal. I've also run the full before on that course and you're right, it's definitely a better Half. The year I ran it, there were no water stops from Miles 17-21 and I actually had to stop and ask if I was still on the course at Mile 19 because I didn't see any other runners. It was about 80 degrees that day and awful. I really hope you do run another marathon. There are so many better courses out there and hey, if you were hoping to run a 4:40 and ran a 4:39, that's awesome!

  2. Nice race report! Try Trail or maybe a tri? Your running pics look great!


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