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Race Report- DC Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon (late)

on April 29, 2012

I Ran this race last month– but have just not got around to blogging! Here’s my race report about my very first race:

My first half marathon!! It went even better than I expected. Going into it, I felt confident. I knew I was well trained. There was nothing to be nervous about, and I really didn’t get any jitters at all.

The night before the race was a bit interesting. It took my mom and I two hours to drive from Germantown to DC, when it should have taken 40 minutes. DC traffic sucks!! When we got to the expo, I got my bib, switched corrals, and picked up my free tech tee as well as a fleece pullover and a decorated glass. After some minor navigational issues, we checked in at the Hamilton Crowne Plaza Hotel and went out to grab some dinner, which was a tuna sandwich at Au Bon Pain. That night around 10:30 however some very loud and obnoxious 13 year olds were very noisy, making it a bit difficult to catch some zz’s. That, plus the VERY LOUD showers at 4 am, made for a less-than-perfect night’s sleep, let’s just put it that way! I got a solid 8 hours the night before, though, so I wasn’t too concerned.

Then, it was the morning of the race! I was up and ready to go at 5:30 am. I put on my outfit, filled up my fuel belt, and had my usual long-run breakfast of a peanut butter sandwich. We then headed off to RFK after a chat with the front desk about the not so stellar stay. Zero traffic meant we arrived at the stadium just after 6 am. I was meeting up with my group at 7 at the Armory, so we just grabbed a parking space and relaxed until then. Around 6:45 we made our way to the Armory, making a pit stop at the deluxe port-a-potty on the way. A few minutes later, I heard someone calling my name, and it was my pace coaches from Fleet Feet! Woohoo! I was happy to see them. We then walked over near gear check to meet up with the group. Everyone showed up within a few minutes and we were all pumped!! After standing and waiting for what seemed like forever, we made our way to our respective corrals. We then proceeded to wait (yet, again) until 8 am, when the first corral was let loose! Several moments later, I spotted my parents and Aunt Laura at the start line. Our corral #16 crossed the start line at exactly 8:24 am, and we were off!!

The first three miles were hardest for me, which I expected, because it always takes me about 5 miles on a long run to feel warmed-up and comfortable. Shortly after mile 3, I saw my Aunt Suzanne and Uncle Bob on Constitution Avenue! Coach Ellen somehow managed to make an appearance at miles 2, 5, and 10, with a sign and a cute St. Patrick’s Day balloon! We also ran into Robyn and Chris, the owners of Fleet Feet Gaithersburg, as they snapped pics at mile 7. Possibly the most difficult part of the entire race was attempting not to trip over the multitude of empty Dixie cups of water and Gatorade that had been victims of the “toss-and-go” method. I felt really good around miles 5 and 6, especially after passing the 10 K mark. Coach Pete said “Nice 10K”.  After mile 6, a couple members of the group sped ahead a bit, including Pete and I. Pete and I ran together from miles 6 to 13. He is a great pace coach!

We passed Howard University in the 8th mile, and the campus looked surprisingly pretty! Once we passed mile 9, we began to pick up speed a bit. I was energized. At about mile 10, I saw a runner passed out and was presumably dehydrated. Poor buddy. There were lots of paramedics around him. I made sure to gulp down a few sips of water after seeing that.  As we got to mile 11, we kicked it up a notch. Pete told me our pace was good, and I mentioned that I was hoping to finish under 2:10, if possible.  He told me if we maintained the current pace then I would finish under 2:10. It was music to my ears. Passing mile 12, a police officer said “one more mile, runners!” Yeah baby! I was really excited. We bumped up to an 8:15 min/mile pace. Pete told me he wouldn’t finish the race all the way, he would get me to around 13 and then turn around to check on the others. Before I knew it, I could see the mile 13 marker!! Pete told me Tammy, one of the runners in our group, was just in front of me, and said “go catch Tammy, I’m gonna go back”. I caught up to her and then we turned the corner and WABAAAAMMMM!!!! I could see the finish line!! I ran as fast as I could, and that was it!! As soon as I finished, a man handed me a medal. It was so pretty!!

Right after we crossed the finish line, I wanted to know my time. It was quite a walk from the finish line to the family reunion area, where I was meeting my group and family. As I made my way there, I couldn’t help but notice the buckets upon buckets of post-race food available. It was literally a buffet! Fruit, yogurt, and bagels, just to name a few. It was a little much, but I guess to each is own! I then saw the sign for the family reunion area. A minute or so later, I saw Aunt Suzanne again. Right behind her was the rest of the fam. It was so good to see everyone! Ella brought me a cute “Go Erin Go” poster. I was also very satisfied with the plastic wrap provided to prevent chills. It was fab. We took a few pictures, and then went over to meet up with the Fleet Feet group.  I remembered that my mom had runner tracking updates sent to her phone, and that my final time was probably available. I checked it out, and was SO THRILLED with what I saw. Final Time: 2:09:04!!! WOOHOOO! Going into the program, I didn’t really have a goal, other than to finish. Further into the training, I thought, “Eh, I guess I’ll shoot for 2:15/2:20. I signed up for the 2:10 pace group even though I thought it was a long shot. But when I hit mile 11, all I could think about was, “UNDER 2:10, UNDER 2:10, UNDER 2:10”. Afterwards, I got my medal engraved. It reads: “ Finisher Erin McGuire / Time 2:09:04”

I saw some of the 2:00 group, and they were happy with their times. A minute or two later, Adriana, one of my friends in the group arrived. Yay!! We were so happy. The rest of my group trickled in, little by little. Poor Leah, one of the faster girls, messed up her knee and hadn’t finished yet. I wanted to get a picture with Coach Kanayo, and he came in a few moments later. It later struck me that Tammy and I were the two fastest girls (besides Coach Jackie) in the Fleet Feet Winter Warriors Group.  What?! Peter was there too, and it was good to see him. Such a sweetheart for coming out to cheer. He also had a knee injury and couldn’t run the race L. After seeing everyone I wanted to see, the race day was over! It went by so fast, but I’ll never forget it. We then went off to get a massive post-race lunch.  Yum. I loooooooved my first race and am sooo shocked and thrilled with my time. My ultimate goal is to finish in under 2 hours, but there’s time for that. It’s only the beginning!

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