It is hard to write an awesome blog post about a race that bans cameras–and phones. I could have shown you how dark it was when I lined up at 6:15. I could have shown you the line of cute Army guys who made sure we stayed in our assigned corrals. I could have shown you how the sunrise gave way to a beautiful blue sky. I could have shown you the guy dressed as Captain America. But you’ll just have to imagine all that.
Here’s what I do have.
My husband left me this note before he left town to go camping with the guys.
I set my alarm for 4:45 so I would have time to walk the dog and
get to the race area plenty early to find parking.
I realized that I did not have to eat breakfast at 5:30 at home,
but could fix something to eat in the car.
(There’s a generous drizzle of maple syrup under those bananas!)
I was out the door by 5:45 and parked near the Pentagon by 6:00. I sat in the car until I was ready to go to the bathroom, made my way through the security checkpoint, and headed to the porta-pottys. You know you are too early when there are 30,000 runners and no lines!
I was in my corral almost 2 hours early, but the time passed quickly, even though I was alone and phone-less. (My friend had cancelled on Saturday, making this the 4th race I signed up to run with her, but ran alone!) At first I enjoyed the quiet of the morning. Then I enjoyed the building race chatter and energy. By the time the wounded warriors started at 7:55, it was a glorious morning–blue skies with temperatures in the 50s. I wasn’t able to do any sort of running warm-up–those cute Army guys wouldn’t let us run in the gap between corrals–but I did lots of stretching and some in-place exercises.
I was in the second wave, and our gun went off pretty close to our scheduled 8:05 start time.
I was near the front of my wave, so I was passed by a lot of people when we started, but I did my best to hold on to my own pace. I was pleased when I saw my first split time, and tried to hold on to that pace. I used my Garmin to keep my pace in the sub 8:45 range, and really tried to enjoy the day–the blue skies, the crisp fall air, the fun t-shirt slogans, the more somber “in memory of” tributes.
The course was familiar, although a bit different from previous years. The 14th street bridge came sooner than it has in past years, but it still sucked. It’s long (over a mile). It’s hot in the blazing sun with no shade. It’s paved with unforgiving concrete. While my legs might have been fresher when they started the bridge, they were not happy with having a full mile to go after they made it down the exit ramp. I knew the finish line was after one more overpass, but I didn’t know where it was, and it certainly didn’t come soon enough! I did my best to smile as I crossed the finish line–hopefully the photographers got a good picture. I was happy with my Garmin time: 1:26:05!
As usual, I found the crowds at the finish overwhelming. I really just wanted to get my finisher’s medal and get home. I found the shuttle bus back to the start area, and was at the Starbucks near my house by 10:00 am!
I had planned ahead for my ice bath, and had two 16 lbs. bags of ice ready in my freezer.
After my ice bath and a hot shower, I had to get ready for my next business trip.
I decided to wear my ATM shirt to the airport.
When I finally checked the mile splits on my Garmin, I was surprised at how even they were:
8:37, 8:36, 8:37, 8:24, 8:36, 8:35, 8:40, 8:19, 8:28, 8:29
My chip time was 1:26:02 — about 1 min 50 sec faster than last year!
Did you race this weekend?
Do any other races ban cameras/phones?