Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon
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Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon - RunMarathon
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I'm really happy with how I executed this race. I knew going into it that I needed not to push the pace at all -- I run best in 35-45 degree weather, and yesterday was about 55 at the start, 75 at the finish, and very sunny. My original goal for this race was a 3:55, and I scaled that goal back to getting a PR. My previous PR was a 4:12, which I got last fall in Philly on a warm-ish day where I walked a lot of the last few miles -- so I knew that was low-hanging fruit.
I started out at the easiest pace that felt comfortable and let the crowds hold me back. This race was about 20k runners, and only 3k finished the full, so it was fairly crowded on the front half. I saw my best friends at mile 1 holding signs: one said, "You're so smart and pretty!" and the other said, "Megan: later you shall have pie." Mile 6 runs through my neighborhood, and I saw my husband and parents right before the big hill.
My goal pace-wise was to hit mile 10 without feeling like I had run at all, and pick it up then if I still felt good. This ended up being a really smart strategy for me. I seriously felt like a million bucks for the first half of the race. I was warm, but I didn't feel like I was working hard at all. The course is rolling hills, so I ran based on effort, taking it easy on the uphills and letting gravity do its thing on the downhills. I saw a coworker at mile 11 and ran with her for a little bit, but she was pushing it harder than I wanted to.
We split from the half runners and that was a relief, I felt like I finally had some space to breathe. I was feeling really good at this point and stopped paying as much attention to holding my pace back. The back half of the course follows the first few miles, then runs down the SW waterfront, past the ballpark, into Anacostia, up Minnesota Ave. and back to RFK Stadium. I ran this race last year so I knew once we ran along the waterfront there would be no more shade on the course. I don't remember much about miles 13-19, other than I felt fine and was passing tons of people. At every water stop, I drank a cup and dumped a cup on my head. There were also volunteers handing out ice, so I stuffed some down my bra at every opportunity. It was hot, no joke, but I think I managed it as well as I could have.
At mile 20, I was like, "let the race begin!" This point was a little scary because it was very warm and very sunny, and it felt like everybody around me was walking or barely running. I saw lots of people down and being attended to by medics. It seemed like the race had a really good medical presence on the back half. I actually felt completely fine for the last 6.2 -- ready to stop running, for sure, but I was passing people right and left and I knew at this point that I was definitely going to PR.
I saw my family near the finish line and finished strong. The finish line area was nice and not too crowded. I got my medal, some water, a bagel and a Gatorade, and inhaled the bagel while walking. They had icy cold towels at the finish area, which was glorious. Met up with my crew and found out that my sister had a) PR'd the half with a 2:06, and b) thrown up on the finish line. I can't wait for the professional picture of THAT.
I negative split this race -- finished the first half around 2:03 and my final time was a 4:04:48. About eight minutes off my PR and 16 minutes faster than I ran this race last year. I'm really ecstatic.
What would you do differently?:
I'm not sure I would do anything differently. The fact that I felt so good throughout the whole race and afterward, and that I feel sore but fine today, indicates to me that I could have run a hair faster and still have been OK. But I actually feel that, knowing how I respond to heat, I executed this race about as perfectly as I could have. With any luck, it will be cold for Flying Pig in May and I can push the pace more then.
I ate some food and sat on a curb for about five minutes until my dad got antsy and demanded we go to the Metro.
What limited your ability to perform faster:
Heat. SO MUCH with the heat.
Last updated: 2011-11-10 12:00 AM
2012-03-18 7:17 AM
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I took the Metro to the race with my sister, who ran the half. It was crowded, but we left really early and made it to the race around 7am. We stood in the port-a-potty lines several times since we had plenty of time. I took a Five Hour Energy 30 minutes before and a Gu 15 minutes before, then hugged my sister and we split off into our respective corrals.
Uh...the first half of the marathon? :)