Alright, let's get right down to Race Day.
The morning actually started pretty smoothly. Showers were had. Breakfast was eaten. And we left for the metro at 6:15 am. It was still dark and I was trying to wake myself up...so that meant dancing and skipping from the car to the metro station. I don't know why my peeps kept moving further and further away from me...maybe it was the tutu...
We were cold and we were a little nutty...so we took some pictures (theme of the day I think). But, we were having fun.
The ride in was funny. Aunt Kathy and I have two totally different modes to prepare. She was resting up and I was pumping myself up with my music...and I might have danced a little on the train...I hope there's no video of that.
The ride was only 30 minutes and the closer we got the more RNRs there were...at one point I was giggling thinking about how much spandex was on that train. haha.
We arrived a little after the start of the race, but there's no worries. It's going to take a while to get 30,000 people across the start line. The funny thing is that when we came out of the metro stop it was disorienting coming outside into a courtyard that was not there back when I worked there and we had to quickly figure out if we needed to head to the left or the right. It was easy. Close your eyes and listen for the music. We were one block away and headed left.
CHILLS! That's all I have to say when we walked out to Constitution Ave and saw the masses of people moving in front of us. Off to the right just in front of the Start Line was the Washington Monument...this is gonna be a cool day. OH and speaking of...at this point there is no rain.
We walked down a couple of blocks then started to get in line.
And then came the call "I think I should try to use the bathroom before we go." Oh you know that was not me. I refuse to use a port-a-potty after the last race...and Lord knows it AIN'T happening in a tutu. So we waited. And waited. And waited. Aunt Kathy was in that line that didn't seem to be moving, but the line for the race sure was.
This is me jumping up and down ready to go. The neon to the left of me is the back of the line. Seriously, I worked so hard to move up in corrals and I'm going to start at the end again! Oh well...just more people to pass. (ps check out how killer my legs look!)
And we crossed under the large American Flag hanging above us which is so cool.
We decided to slow it down a little on mile 2. I hadn't trained to start off running and we wanted to see how Aunt Kathy's back was feeling. The first water stop was by the Lincoln Memorial...which was cool, but the two sides we saw were not Lincoln.
My favorite part of the course was on mile 3 running across the Arlington memorial bridge and then back. That was beautiful and a little emotional.
On mile 4 we had our next water stop and I wanted to pick it up a little. My Run for Autism group would be cheering us on at mile 5. Mile 4 was a mix of walking and running. When we came up on them it was great. 15-20 people on the side lines screaming and jumping up and down for high-fives.
Miles 5 and 6 were relatively calm. It was pretty along Rock Creek Parkway. We had done a lot of running for the first 5 miles. My knee was feeling good, but I was starting to feel tight in my right hamstring and butt cheek. It wasn't that bad yet though.
As we were coming up on mile 7 I saw the hill. The big one. The one that I had been afraid of. It was not pretty. Basically we cut a left and head right up the hill. No one was running it. No one was standing upright. It SUCKED! And it lasted forever...and ever...and ever.
There was a sign a the top of the hill that said "It's all downhill from here...literally"...LIES! haha. Nothing was that bad, but there were still more. It took a little while to get my legs working again. The thigh was so tight at that point that it was difficult to move it. I kept going. We were halfway. And still no rain!
Mile 8 was fun. I can't remember the cheer group except that they were by a DJ who was playing hip hop music and they were dancing. My legs had stretched and I felt better so I kicked it into high gear. I sprinted and danced and then it was another quick left and up a hill. DOH! My breath was knocked out of me. No sprinting like that again.
At that water stop Aunt Kathy needed a restroom break. I didn't hear her say "go on and I'll catch up" so I waited for her. I tried to keep moving, but my momentum slowed down considerably. This is bad. BAD. I always have a hard time starting up again. I did however take the time to text and give an update on our mileage.
I think this was the mile that we were crossing the street when the light turned red. We joked with the cop blocking traffic that we were speeding. He jokingly took our Race numbers and said he was sending us tickets. We so fast! haha
There was an unofficial beer stop on mile 9. I don't normally like beer, but I was hot and I'll take the carbs. As we were coming up on it they were yelling "The tutu is going to take one!" oh yeah I will. Although it was handed to me by a 4 yr old...I'm not really sure that's legal.
Mile 9 had my favorite band. It was a marching band. They were drumming it up. That was great. Sadly it was also where we saw our first major injury. Some poor woman had face planted and they were icing up her whole face. Ouch.
So now all I'm thinking is that we have 4 miles left. I had hoped to run the last 5 straight, but I couldn't take it. I cannot even begin to describe how bad my hamstring felt. My legs were tight in my last Half Marathon, but this was totally different. This felt pulled.
I tried to keep up as much as I could. We would jog for a little while and then I would have to drop back. If Aunt Kathy would look back I would hold up my fist and that was my sign that my butt was super tight. I felt bad holding her back a little, but she also kept me moving which was nice.
Mile 10 brought a lot of drama. First up was the water stop with the gel packs. I told Aunt Kathy to grab a couple if she could. I took one to eat and shoved 2 down my shirt. As we were running this was a long stretch heading towards the Capital. That was way cool. We never actually got that close to it, but it was really cool to see.
When we turned away from the Capital I tried to kick up the running but the hamstring was killing me. I put my energy into reserve for the last two miles. This was one of my favorite miles though. There was a police woman on mile 11 who was blocking off traffic and talking into her speaker. She was calling out numbers and encouraging everyone. That was really awesome. Lots of people were talking about her on instagram saying how much they loved her.
Mile 12...well it HURT. My knees were bothering me, but I was starting to feel like I had sat in a bear trap. My mind wanted to take off and run. "The sooner we get there the sooner it's over". We pulled over to stretch for a few minutes. I couldn't take it any longer. If I didn't do that I was not going to be walking across the finish line. I was going to be dragged. After we stretched we passed someone with a sign offering free hugs. I want one! I got me a hug. And another cup of beer around the corner. That was the last push I needed. Mile 13 was all mine. I kept it steady. No walking, but no sprinting. If I slowed I would never be able to start up again. I had pushed the pain to the back of my mind.
I knew where we were at this point. It was the start line for the race last year. I knew the finish line was up and around the corner. I had gotten the text so I knew where to look for the family. What I had totally forgotten was that the last part was a hill. DAMN IT! Okay...steady...steady...the plan was to sprint when we got to the last .1 And that's when I heard them...our cheering squad! I turned and started waving and smiling...Aunt Kathy didn't see them. So as soon as I passed them I had to turn it into overdrive to catch up with her. But I did! And we crossed the finish line together.
Whenever I have a race I pick someone ahead of me that I want to focus on. I want to pass them. They are my motivation. For the last 5 miles I had my eye on these two ladies with more green tutus. We would pass them. They would pass us. It kept up for 5 miles. I had no idea what happened at the end. But, I looked through the pictures my family took and they were right behind us. I'm happy for them, but I was a little excited that we passed them.
So after we got our medals we were walking through getting our food and drinks. Gatorade. Water. Chocolate milk (mine was frozen though...argh). Bananas. Protein bars. Apples. When we came out we headed towards Charity Village where we would meet the fam at the Run for Autism tent.
It was emotional. Everyone was crying and hugging. I was excited to see everyone and excited to see that cousin Randy had made it to see us too.
I went to the tent and got my Run for Autism Medal. And we had a do-over because the photo op was missed. This is my shout out to Sean from Run for Autism. He was great. He was a great cheerleader and very helpful. He is also very tall! haha It was nice to talk to a few other runners in the tent...and of course get some more food. I also verbally committed to signing up again next month to start fundraising for my next race in September also.
But, before we could do anything else, we had to find the medic tent. Ice was desperately needed for the knee. I missed the massage area or I would have gotten them to work on my hamstring. And so we sat and iced up before we headed out to find real food.
So now on to how the outfit did. I wasn't thrilled. My running leggings were pushing fat up and my sports bra was pushing fat down. It was meeting in the middle. BAH! The tutu kept trying to ride up to my waist. My bib ripped several times. I was having wardrobe malfunctions all over the place. haha. But, it's okay. I survived.
Coming up in the next post: Just how many people can you fit in one metro car? Will Jennie get her burger? What happened to those gel packs she put down her shirt? Will she ever walk again?
Have a Blessed Night.
If you feel like you are alone on your journey and you just need some encouragement I am here for you! Shoot me an email and I will do my best to check in on you or give you the words of support you need several times a week. The journey is so much easier if you have support.