Race Report: Rock n Roll DC 2015

This describes the race perfectly, including the point-to-point course!
This describes the race perfectly, including the point-to-point course!

Well, if you have been watching the weather, you know that there were a lot of tough races this weekend.  While they were battling high temps in LA, we were completely soaked and freezing in DC!

Oh, where to start.  You may want to get a snack first because this will probably be loooong.


The race expo was moved to the Washington Convention Center from its previous home at the DC Armory.  This annoyed me because I had to switch Metro trains to get there but the metro stop is literally outside of the convention center.  I decided to attend the first day, right when it opened.  It was deserted!  There were no lines, no crowds, and some of the vendors weren’t ready yet.  I moved quickly through bib pick up and then retrieved my drawstring bag (to be used at gear check – a bit confusing since everyone is now used to clear bags and this was a black woven one) and my race shirt.  The shirt is nice and it was a true, gender specific cut.  I also grabbed a Brooks race shirt, a magnet, and a package of Race Dots.  I was in and out in less than an hour.

11000193_10152572309237470_946287432_oRace Morning

Of course, everyone was watching the weather closely.  The days before and after the race were forecast to be decent.  Race day, not so much.  We woke to drizzle and low temps.

Not pictured: throw away sweatshirt, plastic bags for my feet, CamelBak
Not pictured: throw away sweatshirt, plastic bags for my feet, CamelBak

I was hoping that it would taper off but I Body Glided the heck out of myself (plus my KT Tape anti-chafing trick) and headed off to meet my friends at the metro station.  We arrived by about 6:15.  The race didn’t start until 7:30 but by the time we stopped by bag check (which I did not use but I guess some of the higher alphabet names had problems retrieving their bags at the finish) and the port-a-potties, there wasn’t a ton of time to spare.  My wave began at 7:55.

The First Half

The first half of the race was great!  The rain was lessening and there was decent crowd support.  I’ll admit, I didn’t take in too many sights because I was trying to avoid as many puddles, and people, as possible. Many were running with ponchos or plastic bags on and would douse you with run-off water if they bumped in to you.  Not fun!

This race has a notoriously tough hill just before mile 7 that almost did me in last year.  This year, the Blue Mile volunteers were lining it (The Blue Mile is organized by Run Blue to Remember. They post pictures of service men and women who were killed in action and then volunteers hold American flags that are dedicated to additional service members).  I was a little worried about trying to climb that hill while being super emotional.  As it turns out, a lot of my friends were volunteer flag holders so it turned into a hell of a boost for me.

My family was waiting for me at the top of the hill but it was packed and they didn’t see me coming.  I surprised the heck out of them and Little Runner almost spilled his hot chocolate 🙂

By this time, I was still feeling great but I had to go to pee (it wasn’t hot enough for me to sweat it out, as usual) and my stomach was starting to feel… ominous.  There were a lot of people in the neighborhoods offering free beer and tequila shots.  I didn’t see the sausage guys from last year but I could smell them!  Ugh!

Several of my running friends who were doing the half passed me and cheered me on.  It was great seeing them on the course!

Half Marathon splits - hitting it just right
Half Marathon splits – hitting it just right

The closer we got to the course split, the more dire my stomach situation was becoming.  I knew that there was a bathroom stop after the split so I just had to hang on a bit longer but I was really starting to hurt. The rain was also increasing so I was nice and wet and the wind was picking up.

When we hit the split, it was all I could do to turn right for the 2nd half.  Tons of runners were streaming left but only a small handful took the other lane.  To make matters worse, the volunteers after we diverged weren’t terribly attentive and some runners took the wrong merge and almost ended up back on the half course!  I made it through that section and luckily found the bathrooms, just in time.  This was the first time that I stopped and the first time I really realized how absolutely miserable I already was.  Everything was freezing, my hands were starting to swell, I was soaked through and just tired.  I knew my family was waiting for me just before mile 14 so I got my act together and kept going.  The crowds were much thinner now so I was able to talk to them for a few minutes before going on.  I told my husband I wanted to quit but I knew I had to finish.  By this time, I knew that my time goal was not going to happen.  Now my only goal was to finish.

I won't hit my time goal, but I will have  good picture!
I won’t hit my time goal, but I will have good picture!

Miles 15-17 had us though an industrial complex and around a big power plant.  It was extremely bleak and the speakers that RnR had set up on the course kept shorting out so it was mostly static.  This is when I started to slow considerable and utter a few choice expletives.  After that, it was over the the bridge across the Anacostia River (with open grating, more choice expletives) and a long stretch by the river.  The wind was really strong and we had to run through several really deep and wide puddles of freezing water.  My feet totally cramped when they hit the ice water.

Sad Panda.  Absolutely zero fucks were being given at this point.
Sad Panda. Absolutely zero fucks were being given at this point.

I can’t describe how horrible I was feeling at this point.  I had blisters under three toe nails (that has never happened before) and I feel nauseous and couldn’t bend my fingers.  I passed all of the course cut-off points but one loop had me finishing a section as later runners were being diverted before entering it and I was insanely jealous. I knew my family was waiting for me just before mile 25 so it became a death march to see them.

Mile 24.75

I could see them waiting for me at the bottom of the hill.  Did they see me?  I’m not sure! My eyes are playing tricks.  I try waving but I can barely get my arms up.  I’m moving as fast as I can and I can feel the tears building.  As soon as I can clearly see them, the water works start.  I can’t believe that they stood out in the rain for five hours for me!  1510584_10152577154387470_4490137913792931366_n

"I can't do this!"
“I can’t do this!”

I try to get my act together but it just isn’t happening. I want to stop. I want to go home.  Little Runner hugs me and tells me he loves me and that I’m doing great! Okay, I can do this.

13412_10152577154527470_1700636773585639384_nThe officer at the medical station sees all of this and comes over to check on me.

“Are you okay? Do you need anything”

“No, I just need to be done. This is really hard” (while wiping my tears) <– may be the understatement of the century

10343494_10152577154612470_4341568149536681251_n“Well, I have to tell you, your son is SO proud of you!  He’s telling everyone ‘my Momma’s running a MARATHON!’

You’re doing great!  You just keep going.  But stop crying!  You’re going to make me cry!”

So, I stopped crying.  And I finished strong.second half

No death shuffle here!
No death shuffle here!
Official Time 5:37 - 17 minute PR
Official Time 5:37 – 17 minute PR

I’m crying again so  that’s enough for now.  Tomorrow I will discuss my overall review of the race and some of the things I did well (and not so well!)

RnR DC Training: Week 18

This is it! The last week of training!

Sunday: The weather finally cooperated for a last outdoor run on Sunday.  One of my favorite hill friends and I tackled 8 miles.  We had planned on a 10:30 pace but wound up closer to 10, even with having to mince our way through some icy spots and taking a few detours.

Monday: Rest. Total rest, not even taekwondo (don’t want to break a toe again!)

Tuesday: The Muffin Run rides again!  Over 30 ladies gathered at 5 AM to run through the neighborhood.  I did my 3 and actually stuck around to partake of some treats at the end.

What a bunch a lunatics! We were booted from the school parking lot so we have to hang out on the sidewalk (surrounded by mud pits) instead. It’s an absolute riot!

Wednesday: After much deliberation, I decided to go to swim class but the coach was like “what are you even doing here??” and greatly modified my workout.  I basically just swam laps for an hour.  In the evening, I skipped TKD again but had to drop off LR for his competition team practice.  I knew some ladies were meeting at the nearby high school for track so I decided to head there for some laps but we were foiled by soccer and band.  I finally wound up back in my ‘hood for a quick 3 miles.  The first one clocked in at 8:50!  And I kept running! At a much slower pace but I didn’t immediately stop and puke in the bushes 🙂 #progress

Thursday: Rest again.  I also hit the expo and picked up my bib and a few other goodies.

1891586_427903690690564_1135116906600308497_oFriday: Rest again. Plan called for 2 easy miles but I decided my sleep was more important.  We also have a “fun fair” at LR’s school tonight so there will be more time on my feet than I would like.

And, that’s all!  Tomorrow is the big day!  They are calling for rain but that’s okay, I’m not that sweet 😉  Check in on my Facebook page if you want to follow the race-day fun!

IMG_3883Total miles for the week: 14

Total training miles: 488.6

Miles for the year: 291.7

RnR DC Training: Week 17

Sunday – I had an awesome 10 mile race on Sunday!  I will definitely write up the race report later this week but I went from being forcibly removed from the house by my husband to setting a 7 minute PR!  In snow!  That was just the mental boost I needed going into the last two weeks of training!

10 miles, in the snow, with a smile on my face the entire time!

Monday – Taekwondo

Tuesday – 4 treadmill miles.

Wednesday – Swim!  We were supposed to start long-course training (50 m lengths instead of 25 yds) but they haven’t reset the pool yet so we did 100 sprint repeats. It was tough!  I then attended taewkondo in the evening (still trying to pass my mastery for my form) and could hardly do my push ups!

Thursday – 5 treadmill miles plus a ton of shoveling.  Go away, winter!

Friday – 4 treadmill miles.  The weather was nice but there was too much snow to navigate.

Saturday – 3 early treadmill miles plus a day spent at LR’s taekwondo tournament.  He placed first for his form, third in board breaking, and first in sparring!

He worked hard for this spot!

One more week to go before race day!! I’m so excited!!

Total miles for the week: 26

Total training miles: 474.6

Miles for the year: 277.7

Race Giveaway: Prison Break Dash

The contest is now closed


Hey, today is my 3 year Runnerversary and what better way to celebrate than give away a race entry?

Last year, Little Runner and I participated in the Prison Break Dash.

Lorton Prison FinishOverall, we had a very good time! This is a family-friendly, trail-ish, 5K or 10K run on the old Lorton Prison grounds in northern Virginia. It’s now an arts center but you can still see many of the old prison buildings and the guard towers on the course.

The race director invited me to run again this year but, unfortunately, we are moving that day and I think trying to run a race and move at the same time would be a little nutty, even for me.  But, my loss is your gain as he cheerfully agreed to pass on the entry to one of my followers!

In addition to a fun race, there is a costume contest, post-race treats (there was an ice cream truck last year!), free massages, free race pictures, and other goodies that you usually only see at larger events.

To enter:

– Like Prison Break Dash on Facebook

– Like Unexpected Runner on Facebook

– Tell me if you’d dress as a cop or a criminal

The race is on April 19, starting at 9:00, in Lorton, VA. If you win, you must complete a post-race survey and, while it’s not required, it would be great if you would do a guest review for my blog!

If you don’t win, the 5K is $35 and the 10K is $50 until the price jump a the end of the month.  There is also a 1K for the Littles for $15.

I will draw a name on Friday evening, so don’t delay!

RnR DC Training: Week 16

Sunday – 12 miles on the treadmill.  Will this winter ever end??  I was slogging through my first 9 and then I just couldn’t deal with it any longer so I took a break and went to help my husband at the new house.  Later that afternoon I was feeling better so I busted out a fairly fast 5K to finish it off.

Run, part 2 . Fun fact: according to my Irish friend, this is the same thing as using the middle finger in Ireland.  Next time you are ticked off at someone but are in polite company, just flash the peace sign ;) You're welcome
Run, part 2 . Fun fact: according to my Irish friend, this is the same thing as using the middle finger in Ireland. Next time you are ticked off at someone but are in polite company, just flash the peace sign 😉 You’re welcome

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – 4.2 miles on the treadmill.  I had to get in to work early so I couldn’t squeeze in a full 5 by 5.

Wednesday – Unexpected rest day.

Thursday – 6 miles, split in two runs.  I don’t like splitting runs but it’s better than coming up short, I think.

Friday – Swim with sprint relays, a long-ass board meeting in Baltimore, and then 5 miles when I got home.  Super fun day!  Oh, and I found a new favorite for shorter runs – Falling Skies on Netflix.  Aliens have taken over the world and it’s up to Dr. Carter/The Librarian (AKA Noah Wyle) to save us 🙂

Saturday – Finally!  I got to run outside! Our Moms Run This Town held our rescheduled February group run so I was able to run 4 miles with some friends and it was DELIGHTFUL!


And with that, four months of training is done!  One last double digit run to go! (spoiler: it was fantastic!)

Total miles for the week: 31.2

Total training miles: 448.6

Miles for the year: 251.7