Sometimes, the stars align and the cards play for themselves and race day goes perfect. Sometimes, a bunch of little things go wrong and add up to a race not quite what was anticipated.
At last year’s Irish Jig, it was the stars and I even got my 5k PR out of the deal. This year, well, it was more the little things.
I woke up before my alarm, took care of the dogs, and was playing with my phone. At 9am, I woke back up. Oops. Fortunately, the race doesn’t start until 9:35, so I was able to hustle and get out of the house. I inhaled a Clif bar (which I’ve never had before a race) on my drive over. I forgot water. After struggling to find a parking spot, I finally did and got to the starting line just minutes before the race started. So, two minor crises, but at least I woke up in time and made it to the start before the race actually began.
A sea of green for the Irish Jig actually happening on Saint Patrick’s Day? Color me surprised!
As for me? I looked a bit out of place in my maroon, but I had to show my love for everyone running the Rock n Roll USA Half Marathon this morning! I can’t believe it was only a year ago I ran the streets of DC for my first half marathon! I swear I brushed my hair before leaving the house. I feel like it doesn’t look like it.
So, after a couple quick pictures, the crowd started shuffling forward. At this point, I realized I forgot my Garmin. I had enough time to grab my phone and start the RunKeeper app. Not ideal since I wasn’t actually carrying my phone so I couldn’t watch my pace. In retrospect, I can’t help but wonder if that did me more good than harm in the long run.
The first mile or so, I was feeling surprisingly awesome. I had no idea how fast I was going, but I felt good. I was making my way along, making good progress in navigating the clogged roads, and just feeling pretty stellar overall.
Not too long after the Mile 1 marker, I crashed and burned. The lack of water combined with the heat (in March?!) was draining me really fast. I started sweating like crazy, my mouth felt like sandpaper, and I was half tempted to ask a random spectator for water. (I didn’t.)
What felt like a strong start quickly turned into a mind game to just keep my legs moving. Run/walk intervals were crucial and that second mile felt endless. I listened to my music, prayed that God would give me the strength and energy to keep going, and trucked along. Soon, the end (and the downhill stretches) were in sight! The crowds at the finish line were awesome and just what I needed for a strong sprint to the finish line!
Despite finishing feeling a bit let down about the whole experience, it wasn’t so terrible in the end. Ultimately, I finished in 32:30 (230/374 in my division).
- Mile 1: 9:53
- Mile 2: 11:01
- Mile 3: 10:18
- Mile 0.17: 1:18
For a race that felt less than stellar in the midst of it, I’m actually quite content with my time. That first mile was awesome and overall, it’s pretty speedy for what I’ve been running lately and I think had I been a bit better prepared (namely hydrated), I could have done even better! Besides, at the end of the day, a finish line is still a finish line. It wasn’t a PR I was secretly hoping for, but that’s okay. There’s always next year!