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National Marathon - RunMarathon

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Total Time = 4h 20m 36s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

My husband drove my friend Amanda and me to the start since they didn't open Metro early this year. We ended up bailing out of the car about a mile from the stadium and walking to the start while the poor dude sat in traffic. Yuck.

Amanda and I split up so she could go check her bag and go up to one of the front corrals. I stood in the port-o-potty line and then headed back to corral #7. Took a 5 Hour Energy and a GU, then hopped around waiting for the gun to go off.
Event warmup:

Walking a mile to the start!
  • 4h 20m 36s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 57s  min/mile

I had a really great race -- missed my ultimate goal of breaking 4:20, but PR'd by 7 minutes. The weather was absolutely perfect for me -- 35 at the start, 40-45 at the finish, and sunny. I wore shorts, a long-sleeve shirt, running jacket and gloves.

I lined up with the 4:20 pacer in sight, and saw a co-worker who was running her first marathon nearby. Gave her a quick hug and didn't see her again the rest of the race. (I had worried that she had blown up, but she actually ran a 3:38 and qualified for Boston!) It was slightly congested at the start with all of the half runners, but not nearly as bad as say, MCM or the Cherry Blossom 10 mile.

I tried to keep each mile at or around 10 minutes, and I had to hold myself back a lot in the first 5 miles. I was feeling really good and wanting to go faster. Around mile 4 I stopped for a pee break, but the bathroom lines were really long, so I found a convenient tree. (What the hell, I grew up camping.) Miles 5-6 are in my neighborhood, and I saw my husband at Connecticut and N. Quick hello and threw my now unnecessary gloves at him. There's an uphill from Dupont Circle to Adams Morgan that I remember really got me when I ran the half two years ago. It wasn't nearly as bad this time.

Running through Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights and Howard U are always fun for me, and I had really settled into a rhythm by then. Walked through every water stop (some of which were super-disorganized, but I always got enough water). GU every 45 minutes. I heard a lot of people complaining about there not being GU on the course, but I always carry my own. As per usual, my watch was about .2 miles off from the mile markers.

At the 13-mile mark, the half runners split off. About 3/4 of the field were running the half, so it was very much less crowded from that point on. I was feeling really good still, and crossed the half point in 2:10:45 -- which was exactly what I ran in my first half marathon 4 years ago. :) A lot of people around me were fading off a bit, so I started focusing on just picking people off.

Miles 13-19 were pretty uneventful. Stopped briefly at a porto-potty at mile 16. I have heard a lot of people complaining about how deserted the back half of this course is, and I do agree, but the volunteers and spectators that were out were AWESOME. Called me by name, told me I was looking strong, and nobody told me I was "almost there!" at mile 19. :)

At mile 20, we passed the ballpark and then crossed the bridge into Anacostia. The bridge kind of sucked -- it wasn't pavement, but rather metal grates that hurt my feet. My toenails are already a disaster and I could just feel them hitting my shoes. At this point I had started feeling kind of meh-- not awful, but definitely not good. I just kept plugging along at a steady pace.

There are actually a lot of hills in the last 6.2 miles -- I don't know if they were that bad, or if they just took me by surprise, but I was not pleased. I crossed the mile 25 marker exactly as my watch flipped to 25.00 at 4:06, so in my silly marathon mental state, I thought I had plenty of time to get in under 4:20, rather than realizing every other mile marker had been at least .2 miles after my watch.

The last 1.2 miles seemed to last FOREVER. The stadium comes into sight but you basically have to run around it. So I thought that at the end of every curve, the finish line would be there, and it just never came. I finally crossed the finish line in 4:20:36, with my watch reading 26.53.
What would you do differently?:

Not much -- this is the best I've ever felt in a marathon. I think I could have gone out a bit more aggressively, but I just wanted to make sure I had enough in the tank for the end.

Had I not taken two pee breaks, I feel sure I could have broken 4:20. C'est la vie.
Post race
Warm down:

Grabbed my medal and space blanket and a bottle of water. Passed up all other food options in favor of COOKIES. Nom nom nom. Met my husband and Amanda, who ensured she could register early for Boston and qualified for NYC by running a 3:20. Took Metro home and thankfully got a seat.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I'm not very genetically gifted at running. Not sure which fall marathon I'm planning to run yet, but I'm going to try upping my mileage with the Pfitz 18/70 plan. (I've used Pfitz 18/55 for my last two marathons.) Losing 10 pounds couldn't hurt. I'll probably never qualify for Boston, but I'd love to run under 4 hours eventually.

I have a lot of really fast friends, and it gets me down a little bit. I need to focus on the developments I've made since I started running longer distances 4 years ago, and not compare myself to others.

Last updated: 2010-11-18 12:00 AM
04:20:36 | 26.2 miles | 09m 57s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2011-03-27 8:03 AM

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Washington, DC
Subject: National Marathon

2011-03-27 9:57 AM
in reply to: #3416245

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Dirt Road
Subject: RE: National Marathon
Congrats on the PR. Thanks for the RR. 26.53 miles is very impressive, never forget that.
2011-03-27 6:59 PM
in reply to: #3416345

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NOVA - Ironic for an Endurance Athlete
Subject: RE: National Marathon


We probably ran close to each other.  I started right in front of the 4:15 pace group, and finished right behind them.

Oh, but I ran 27.19 according to my Garmin.

2011-03-28 2:56 PM
in reply to: #3416245

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Subject: RE: National Marathon

Nice job!  I was probably one of those folks you picked off.  I haven't written my race report yet, but I went 4:26 (about a half hour slower than I was hoping).  I just didn't have enough miles in this time (went 4:09 at Twin Cities in the fall), but I had a lot of fun. 

I have to agree that the cookies were the best part of the food there!

2011-03-30 2:14 PM
in reply to: #3418381

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Fairfax, VA
Subject: RE: National Marathon
Great job!  I was similarly unprepared for the hilly-ness of the course after the 20 mile mark...
2011-04-02 8:48 AM
in reply to: #3416245

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Subject: RE: National Marathon
nice job, congrats on the PR.

I am doing the PFitzinger 70 program now. Kicking my @$$, you'll love it.

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