Seemed like lots of folks were signed up to do the National Rock’n’Roll marathon. Not so many posts on here so I thought I’d add my national marathon experience. I’ve never really written a race report either, so I’m just gonna wing it with whatever details I think of.
I woke up Saturday morning and it was a great day for running. Sunny, with a slight morning chill. I decided on a t-shirt only, rather than long sleeve, because I knew I would warm up near noon. Grabbed water bottle and off I went. I started off slow, b/c I hadn’t really ran since Thanksgiving. But I was hoping my aerobic fitness from going to spinning class was gonna make up for it.
My run starts off with a giant hill, b/c it’s right behind the Masonic temple. Great way to warm up into the run. Then off along Commonwealth ave, and up the Mt. Vernon trail. As I cross the 14th St bridge, I’m wondering if I would see any marathoners from Rock’n’Roll. Fought through the crowds of people taking Cherry Blossom photos, and went over to the Lincoln Memorial for a bathroom break.
From DC, I head over to Arlington via Custis. Dang that trail. Hill after hill. I’m never any good at hills. Now it is also getting hot. And I had neglected to get water at the Lincoln Memorial b/c I figured I’d make it. Need to remember to always get water whenever possible. Anyway, made it through the short section of Custis ending at Wash-Lee HS and headed into Ballston. It feels so good to run through civilization again. The trail can be so mind-numbing sometimes. Plus I am looking forward to the 7-Eleven on Fairfax Dr. I stop there, get a hot dog, load it up with the free cheese and chili. Not a healthy meal, but I know my body is gonna need it if I want to make it home. Down a gallon of gatorade and I’m feeling just great about running another 12 miles. Tons of people wearing green. Many scantily clad, and it’s what, 11am. I realize today is the one day I am not wearing my green shorts. Oh well.
Check my watch, and realize I am already behind schedule, and I am not feeling like I can really go faster for the negative split that Colleen (and many others) advocate. My hot dog break had already gone over 15 mins, so I make a mental note to subtract Hot Dog Time from Total Run Time when I finish later. Onward! Running through Ballston and Clarendon is pretty great. I like dodging people and running along stores. Not that I don’t like running through trees, but there is a time for everything.
As I cut through Rosslyn, I start seeing people coming back from the metro with race bibs. I wondered if I would see anybody I knew. Nope. From there, it’s back to the Mt. Vernon trail, straight to Crystal City. This is by far the most mentally grueling part of the run. I have no idea what mileage that I’m at (somewhere between 15 and 20), there’s not much to keep my mind distracted from the aches in my legs, and I’ve slowed down, so everyone else on the trail is passing me. And ideally, I should have eaten something within the first hour of the run, but I had waited until I got to 7-Eleven to refuel, so my body didn’t have the energy it needed.
Finally make it to Crystal City. I arrive at the Chipotle and run up to get some water. Side door is closed. Must go further down to the main door. Argh. I do a quick calculation in my head and figure I am about 4 to 4.5 miles from the finish. I fill my bottle 3/4 of the way and figure that should be enough. At this point my entire mental faculty is dedicated to telling myself that the finish is not far off, that I must keep going, and I am going to make it. So I head off and retrace the route back along Commonwealth.
About two miles from home, I run out of water. Damn! Should have filled up all the way at Chipotle. Why do I keep doing this. It’s hot now, around 1 or 2pm, and I tell myself I will have all the water I need when I make it back. My mind focuses on just making it to the next intersection, and the next, and so on. This is convenient about running a familiar route–we know exactly how far we need to go. But I also know that Walnut Hill lies between me and the finish.
Anyway, finally make it back. Time after Hot Dog subtraction is still around 4:30, not any better than last year. I wrap wet towels around my legs to cool off. Roommate’s gf asks me where I’ve been the last 5 hours. Haha.