Saturday was the big day. I unintentionally woke up at 2:30 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. and gave up at 4:00 a.m. and got up and made some oatmeal with bananas and peaches for breakfast. I crawled back into bed until 5:10, when I got up and got ready.
Can you just feel the running excitement emanating from my face?
Jason dropped me off at one of our ward member’s houses. She drove four of us in, which was so much better than taking the metro all alone as I did last year. We parked basically at the start line and were able to use the building’s very nice bathrooms instead of the race port-a-potties.
Dani and I were in corrals 3 and 6 respectively, but we split the difference and started with corral 5.
We run down Constitution just as the sun was coming up and it was lovely. I crossed my heart as we passed the Department of the Interior. At mile 2 I drop my throwaway gloves and had some much needed water. I realized at this point that I hadn’t had anything to drink since leaving the house at 5:45, which was probably unwise. We head over the bridge and back, turning down onto Rock Creek Parkway.
The pace we’re keeping seems fast. I just don’t feel like I’m getting into a good rhythm. Dani is talkative, though, and seems to be having a great race. We separate at the water station at mile 5, or rather I fall a little behind and don’t try to catch up. I immediately feel better.
Mile 6 a.k.a. The Hill
I remember the big Adams Morgan hill from last year, but this year it is so. Much. Worse. I slow down significantly and am still huffing and puffing. I promise myself I can have a jelly bean when I get to the top (and I do).
Feeling much better. I cruise along and try to calculate my pace based on the mile time clocks with little success. This is why I should actually wear my GPS watch when I run races. Around mile 9 the volunteers hand out GU, which smells and looks totally gross. I’m just wishing I could get the jelly bean taste out of my mouth.
I’m looking forward to the mile clock at 10, because I can extrapolate from there when I will finish (though I forgot to check the time when we started, so I will just be approximating). What do you know: there’s no clock at mile 10. The only mile marker without a clock. I’m disappointed. I comfort myself with the beautiful view of the Capitol. The sun comes up and I wonder if capris were a bad idea.
I’m legitimately exhausted. My legs are dead. I don’t think I have ever felt this terrible during a race before.
This is it. I know I can do one mile. The marathoners separate and the idea of running 13.1 more miles sounds just terrible. As I head down the chute I notice that the guy next to me is running barefoot, which also seems really terrible. I’m tired, but I pump my arms and think of Deena Kastor in The Spirit of the Marathon as I push toward the finish. Then it’s over. Someone puts a medal around my neck and hands me a water bottle (I never take a space blanket. I’m not a wilderness victim!) and some pretzels. The clock time is 1:52:09. I am still not sure when I started, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be under my goal of 1:50.
I found Dani at the Family Reuniting Zone and used her phone to call Jason. He was at the finish, but missed me thanks to the crowds and not really knowing when I would finish.
Jason also brought me clean clothes, which was awesome. I checked my chip time online and was very happy with a new personal best of 1:47:02!
We walked the Lloyds back to the metro before heading back to the fairground. While reading the event materials on Friday, I realized that The Head and the Heart (who we love very much) would be the post-race entertainment. We have seen them twice: in Nashville for Jason’s 25th birthday and when they opened for Dave Matthews Band last summer. While both of those were memorable experiences (first time seeing them and hurricane, respectively), we couldn’t pass up another chance to see them.
In that way that music does, the songs on their first CD take me back to Kentucky in the winter of 2010. Those were good days and maybe that’s part of why I like them so much.
The band played a good mix of old and new stuff, including all the songs I wanted to hear. They were funny and engaged the audience. Plus, we were right up at the front and–because our fellow audience members were exhausted runners and not wild concert-goers–we didn’t have to fight for our real estate.
The Head and the Heart played for a solid hour and twenty minutes, after which Jason and I walked to the metro and headed home. Since finishing, I’d only had a bottle of water, two clementines and a bag of pretzels, so I was positively starving but couldn’t decide what food I wanted.
In the end, Jason and I tried out Turmeric, an Indian restaurant in Vienna that turned out to be just what we were looking for. After lunch, we decided we were in the area and might as well stop by Nielsen’s for some frozen custard. We got home just in time for Jason to jet off to the Priesthood Leadership meeting in conjunction with stake conference. I planned to do the dishes and vacuum and do laundry, but instead I laid down on the couch and didn’t wake up until Jason got home. We went to the (quite excellent) adult session of stake conference, after which we (and everyone else in the stake, apparently) stopped at Safeway to do our week’s grocery shopping. We had pizza and Good Humor bars for supper and went to sleep. It was literally a perfect day.