This morning I got up at 3:30 (!), drank some hot tea, prepped my breakfast, donned my ‘go faster socks’
and covered them up with ‘keep my legs warm until the start’ socks. Classy.
I packed up my gum and chewy energy gel things (lemon flavored..yum!)
put on my ‘go faster half zip pullover’ and headed out in the dark morning to RFK Stadium in Washington DC.
The directions seemed simple. The first part was simple. In fact, they were so simple that I found myself haughtily declaring myself a navigational wizard.
And then I got lost.
Like really, really lost. In the dark. In a city I never drive in. A city with tons of one way streets and confusing intersections. I’m pretty sure I disobeyed every traffic law in the book this morning as I frantically searched for a really big stadium that most people probably wouldn’t miss.
After I had turned myself around and around to the point of having a panic attack somewhere in the DC ghetto, I called Craig. In Georgia. As I cried and panicked and declared myself the stupidest stupid person to ever exist on this stupid planet, he fired up his laptop and helped me find my way to the stadium. My Hero. My Savior. Along the way I ended up behind a van with a 26.2 marathon sticker on it’s bumper; I figured that van might know where to go and sure enough, the van was following the same directions Map Quest was giving Craig.
Mad props to my navigator. No seriously. He’s my now my most favorite person ever AND I have fully forgiven him for eating my Luna bar last week.
I arrived with enough time to hit the bathrooms and get to the start line. The National Anthem played while I was in the port-o-potty line and that is also when I realized I left my Garmin GPS in my car. Thankfully I had time to run to my car and get to my corral with plenty of time to spare.
And then I ran.
You’ll be proud of me; I remembered to look up and notice the Washington Monument. I saw some other stuff too, but mostly I saw a whole lot of hills and a whole lot of runner’s behinds. Here’s something I surmised: Men, if you jiggle in your tight running pants…don’t wear them. Please. That is all.
I also noticed a lot of cute signs. My favorites were: “Guys like girls with lots of stamina” and “Free puppies at the finish line.” I also like the good old standby: “Don’t stop, people are watching you.”
As I mentioned yesterday, Craig was pretty diligent about reminding me of the hills in the race. I braced myself for one biggie but was totally surprised by the amount of rolling hills scattered along the course. Thankfully we had some downhill portions to give our legs a break.
Even so, I managed to beat the time goal I had set for myself.
When I race I usually have four times in mind. For today’s race I had 2:09:59 as my ‘if I don’t beat this, I’ll be really disappointed’ time. 2:05 was my ‘I know I can do this fairly easily, so I’ll give it a shot’ time. 2:02 was my ‘icing on the cake’ time and anything below 2 hours was my ‘wildest dreams’ time.
I was really close to my wildest dreams time, and I’m pretty happy. At one point I thought I might have enough gas to make it a sub 2 hour race, but it came down to either sprinting to the finish and possibly throwing up or maintain a more stomach friendly-comfortable pace.
I never opt for anything which might involve throwing up, so I’ll just deal with those 16 seconds.
I’m happy to report that my drive home was much easier and I didn’t get lost once. When I arrived home Caroline and her friends made me some cute signs and had some mac and cheese ready for me to eat.
Wasn’t that sweet?
I happily hoovered the mac and cheese before I took a glorious shower. Post race showers are the best!
And for the rest of the day? I shall nap.
And think about buying a GPS.