My first fall 2016 race was the Navy-Air Force Half Marathon on September 18, 2016! Inspired by my friend Courtney at EatPrayRunDC, race recaps will be a regular part of my blog. Races keep me running, and keep me challenging myself. I’m going to be honest and accountable about how my training is going along the way, so I’ll also share how the actual race went.
The Navy-Air Force Half Marathon is actually one of the few DC area races of more than 10 miles that I hadn’t run before. And, I didn’t race it in a typical fashion. I signed up for this race because a few of my other running friends had- we wanted to race together at least once this fall. I’m running a different marathon than they are, so it was a good chance to tune-up before later races. I was also scheduled for a 20 mile run the day before. Hmmm, how do you race and get a long training run in?
For me, I ran 12 miles the day before, and then was going to run the race on Sunday at a slower pace- same or slower pace than a normal long training run. This would give me more miles than I was scheduled for, but over 2 days. Kind of a balance between racing, training, and trying not to over-aggravate my hip.
That said, I had a game plan. Being a local race, I didn’t really think much until the week before about prep. And then it was announced that the metro wouldn’t be open before the race. Hmmm. I decided to drive and find a street spot, anywhere within 1.5 miles of the start. What’s an extra 1.5 mile warm-up jog? But I lucked out and found a spot just 3 blocks from the start line!
Race morning was cooler but very humid. I found my friends, though one had to drop out that morning due to tummy troubles. I parked so close that I didn’t need to check a bag, so it was a super relaxed start. We did some stretching, took some pictures, found out corral, and then it was race time!
Miles 1-3: The beginning of a race is always tricky. We started pretty far back in the pack, knowing we wanted to go slow. But it’s still hard to maintain a slow pace when everything in and around you is saying to go faster. We saw our friend Courtney in the first .1 of the race- and had to stop for hugs and hellos, of course! Then we went down by the MLK Memorial and back to the Tidal Basin towards Haines Point. And to be honest, Haines Point is boring. So we ran a little faster. Average paces: 10:46/10:59/10:38
Miles 4-7: Between miles 3 and 4, Rebecca, a grad student I know at my previous job, ran up behind us. It was great to chat with her for about a mile. We crossed back over the bridge by the Tidal Basin and headed towards the Kennedy Center. Jess and I took a long walk break in mile between miles 5-6, good to catch breath, stretch a little, reset. And then we headed into Rock Creek. Average paces: 11:59/11:13/14:01/11:42
Miles 8-9: Rock Creek Park. Hills. Ugh. But Jess and I had a good conversation about work and looking at professional development and career investment from a different perspective. And, we took a much-needed stretch break. Spirits were feeling better after that! Average paces: 11:56/12:02. I did stop my watch during the stretch break. It’s a training run- remember!
Miles 10-13.1: I was feeling good, and Jess was talking to some new people, so I decided how I would feel if I wasn’t holding back on pace. I sped up a little, felt pretty good. Little twinges here and there, so I walked the water stops, but overall, the last three miles were great! I even sped up for the last .2 miles! Average paces: 11:20/11:20/10:49/8:38 (for the last .1)
Chip net: 2:34:21 with 11:46 min/mile average.
Watch net: 2:31:45 with an 11:27 min/mile average.
Feeling: I felt pretty good the whole race and during recovery. So I would call it a success! I didn’t like the on-course electrolyte drink, but eh, oh well. I also ran with Nuun in my water bottle and a gel.
One fall race down, two to go! Next up, Baltimore Half Marathon in October!