I woke up at 5am on saturday morning and the only thing I could think of was “Man, I could sure go for something to eat”.  Yes, this is me, always thinking with me stomach.  But the pre-race meal is something I hold very sacred and I think it’s vital to having a good race.    This day would be no exception.

45 minutes later me and the fiance were finishing the rest of our bacon and eggs and savoring the last sips of our coffee when my friend Dave, who was running with me, showed up.  I did one final check of all the stuff I had packed in my bag the night before:

  • iPod (fully charged with new playlist)
  • headphones
  • ear muffs
  • hat
  • sunglasses
  • running gloves
  • full naglene bottle
  • Garmin  GPS
  • Race bibs

As I verbally went through the list my friend Dave stopped me.  “Where did you get your race bib from?”
“You didn’t pick yours up yesterday?”  I replied.

“No, were we supposed to?”

“Yah dude, didn’t you read the emails that went out this week?”

“I thought those were all spam….”

 

Doh!   I told him it probably wasn’t a big deal.  People “race jump” (ie, run races they didn’t pay for without a bib) all the time.  My buddy is a notorious race jumper and he’s yet to have someone call him out on it.  He’d just have to time himself to figure out how fast he went.

 

So without any further ado, we loaded up in the truck and we were off, the fiance and I in the front, Dave and Dan the Dog in the back.  We drove to RFK stadium and arrived just a few minutes before start time, just as the sun was beginning to light up the sky.

 

Now, I don’t believe in doing a whole lot stretching before a run.  I just like to get a 5-10 minute light jog in, to warm up the system right before I start running.    Then I just sort of crouch down and give my legs a quick pull right before I get going.

So it was perfect that we arrived about 5 minutes before the race was scheduled to start.  We made a  bathroom stop and jogged up to the starting corals just as our pace group was getting ready to take off.

Now, it was pretty cold when we started off.  About 35 degrees or so.  But within the first 5 minutes or so, it was perfect.  I had just the right amount of clothes on (long sleeve half zip, shorts, gloves, hat, ear muffs) so that I was feeling too terribly chilly at the beginning. And once I got going and started to heat up, I was able to stash the gloves and ear muffs in my pockets and unzip my shirt for a little ventilation.

But I think I my apathy about the weather had less to do with my clothing and more to do with the course.  Running around the Capitol and past the mall at sunrise is pretty much breathtaking.  I was so busy soaking in all the sights that I actually passed the first water station without even noticing.

When I turned the corner onto Connecticut Ave around mile 4, I was feeling strong.  I mean, really strong.  I was just starting to really hit my stride and my legs felt tremendously strong.  But I held back the temptation to up my pace too much.  I knew that I still had 9 miles to go and I might need to have some reserves of strength for the final push at the end.

And after the hill at mile 6, I was glad I did.  My legs were definitely starting to feel the strain of powering up that hill but I still felt strong and full energy, even with a little bit of soreness that was starting to develop.

Somewhere around mile 11 my body started talking to me.  My breathing was getting more labored and my legs were feeling tight.  My body was telling to hurry up and finish the race!

At mile 13 I rounded the bend towards the finish line with RFK complete filling my view.  I tried to turn up the pace and sprint across for a strong finish, but I really didn’t have much else left in the tank and so I crossed at only a slightly faster pace than what I ran whole race at.    Finish time?  2 hours and 2 minutes (9:20 pace)  Not too shabby for a 245lb guy.

I spent the next 45 minutes cooling off, drinking water and trying to find the fiance and Dan.  Note to self, next time have a designated place to meet up after the race.  🙂

 

Overall impressions?  I felt really good and I feel like my training plan served me well.  I built up slowly to the distance, took a really nice rest the two weeks before the race and I felt fresh and really strong the whole race.   I hit my rough goal and I feel like I ran at a good steady pace for the entire race.

The race itself is really great.  The views are spectacular, the runners are friendly and the crowd was lively and well represented.  There were few places where there weren’t people on the side of the course cheering. I would definitely run it again.

And now to take a few weeks off of serious training, enjoy a brief recovery (which will include a trip to Key West next weekend) and then begin training for my next challenge; The Marine Corps Marathon in October.

 

 

 

 

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