As you, my frequent visitor well know, I am semi-obsessed about the weather. Particularly as it relates to any outdoor activity. A week out, Dave saw rain in the forecast. By Tuesday it was gone, but in it's place, the temps were getting lower and lower, well down into the thirties by week's end.
Dave and I headed to the expo on Friday. I didn't have much of an expectation as Dave had warned me that last year's expo was no great shakes. This year was equally unimpressive. Maybe 20 booths selling their wares. We did meet Runner's World Chief Running OfficerBart Yasso. (I couldn't resist an autographed copy of his current book, of course.) Then it was back home to continue the carb load.
Friday night was a pasta dinner at home followed by the usual prep and a slight build up in stress that always accompanies race day. All the attire decisions were set and everything was laid out for a quick getaway in the morning.
The run was scheduled for 7 on Saturday. 4:30 came way too soon, but I was up and at 'em to meet Dave and be on site at about 6.
The Pre -Run Happies -- Was It Really 34 Degrees Warm?
After a couple of bathroom breaks and even a late wardrobe change by one of us (hint: not me!), we were off to the start line as the sun finally arrived. Dave took his place in his corral and I went to mine. A few minutes later, Bart Yasso started the race and we were off. Well, some of us were off. Took more than seven minutes to cross the start line.
Finally, I was really off. Unfortunately, the pace was very slow at the start, trying to bob and weave through the crowd, especially for the first half mile or so.
As we turned the first corner, there was the Capital straight ahead. What a view to see a few thousand runners ahead, popping up and down with the US Capital right ahead. As I got moving, I could really feel the cold, dry air burning through my lungs.
The view at the 2 mile marker, Capital behind.
The course was fairly flat for the first six miles or so and I was keeping time at or below 10 minutes each. It was a comfortable pace, but was it too fast? Probably, but I was enjoying the run. At mile six, the lone hill of significance had arrived and it took it's toll. Between the just a bit too fast of a pace and the cold air, I slowed significantly getting up that hill.
Once the hill was past, I couldn't get back to the 10 minute pace. It was time to enjoy what little there was on the course once we left the historic stuff.
At the mile 6 water stop, something was missing: cups. Okay, somebody screwed up. I can get to the next one, no problem. At the next one, more of the same. "We ran out of cups, but feel free to drink from the bottle, just don't lip it." Gee thanks. Is it too much to ask for water and Gatorade IN A FRIGGIN CUP? Apparently so!
Along the way, there were some very nice folks that set up their own little water stop. I think it had nothing to do with the lack of cups, just some folks being neighborly. First table said "G2 Only", next was "Water". Finally, "Beer -- Really!" I took from the first only. Really! The rest of the way was more cupless water stops. You've got to be kidding me? How does this happen? Oh yeah, and there's still 2000 thirsty people behind me!
Along the way, there was a live band at DuPont Circle around mile 7 and a big group of high- fiving Howard U kids -- that was great. I even saw one of the Baltimore Team In Training Mentors on the course. Beth and I talked for a half mile or so and then I turned and had inadvertently dropper her. (Sorry, Beth, hope you had a great finish!)
As for the run, I was holding my own, running all the way, maintaining mostly 11 minute mile paces. At 11 miles, I started talking to myself -- just two to go. I've never made it that far without walking (other than water stops.) Today I was going to do it. I kept talking to myself and it was working.
Finally, the finish was in sight. The marathoners went left and the halfers went right. A decent crowd at the finish and it was done.
Official time: 2:18:04, bettering my Tampa personal best just three weeks ago by 4:43. Running all the way!
Next up, the hour wait for Dave. In the cold. Suddenly, the couple of hours worth of schvitz was now working against me as I hung out. In the mean time, it was great to watch the speedy marathon finishers and the back end of the half. It was great to watch the joy of those running their first marathon cross the finish line. Dave came in at 3:23, a personal best for this event. Way to go, buddy!
Dave and I, marathon #15 and half #5 in the books!
I feel great about the day, but what I feel best about is that I know I could do better. Now, time to concentrate on the next event -- the American Odyssey Relay. Much more on that to come.
So much for this race report. Thanks for hanging in with me.