Back in November, I decided to run a half marathon. I never thought I would ever run more than 6 miles at a time. I had only ever really run 5K races until last spring when Brian and I ran the Cooper River Bridge Run, which was a 10K. I remember loving that race so much and feeling like I could definitely run a longer distance. A half marathon seemed almost impossible though. The decision to run this half was very impulsive... In November, Brian and I were on our way to Boone for a cabin trip. We were almost there when I got a text from Kristin saying, "Do you want to run the DC Rock 'n Roll half in March?" I thought she was joking at first because the girl HATES running. But she was serious. It was 11/11/11, and there was a discounted rate if we registered on that day! We were almost to the cabin, and I was about to lose cell phone reception! I had to decide quickly. I called Kristin to make sure she was indeed serious, and five minutes later, we had both registered... Really, we were more excited about a trip to DC! More details on that part of the trip later!
I followed Hal Higdon's training program and stuck to it loosely. As long as I got my long runs in on the weekends, I felt okay. I had 18 weeks to train, so I was able to stretch out the 12 week training program which worked out nicely. I even got to the point where I enjoyed the longer runs. I listened to The Hunger Games on audio while running, which helped pass the time. Toby was a great training buddy!
Here we are in our hotel bathroom before the race. It didn't start until 8 am, so we were able to sleep until 6 which was nice... We were out the door by 6:30 and headed to the metro which was ridiculously crowded. So many runners!
I started out strong. I felt great for the first 8 miles. It was a pretty day, crowds were cheering, people were decked out in green, dogs were on the sidelines watching (my favorite part).. I was in a good groove. After mile 8 there was pretty large hill which was tough! My goal going into this race was to run the whole time. If I could run an 11 min mile, I would be happy. I definitely wanted to make it under 2:45. I grabbed water at mile 9 and continued on... My hands started cramping up and going numb, and I got a little light headed, but I kept on going... It was sunny and warm! Miles 10 to 13 were my slowest and the most difficult. I didn't stop, but was running slooowly..
I'm pretty sure this picture was taken around mile 11. I was struuugling to keep going! It was HOT!!
But we finished!! I made it in 2:23:59! I was thrilled with my time for my first half. The greatest thing ever was the cold chocolate milk being handed out at the very end. It was the most refreshing thing ever. We got our medals and crashed under a tree. It was heavenly.
And then we took the metro to Chinatown for pizza at Matchbox. We didn't bother changing or showering before going. In fact, we didn't even take off our numbers or medals. We walked straight into the restaurant looking like this and each ate our own pizza. Well deserved.
Overall, the race was great. It was more hilly than I thought it would be, but it was good. I might very well do another! I don't think my poor joints are cut out for a full marathon, but another half wouldn't be so bad!