I can officially declare the 2009 season open... hence I have completed my first race of the season... the 2009 Suntrust National Half Marathon in Washington DC. A great way to describe the race would be consistant... in which you will see why.
Pre Race... Race Morning
Up and ready at 4:45 am without the alarm having to wake me up. The nerves and excitement were in the air... I had mixed thoughts about the morning and what outcomes it would bring. Got ready... short sleeve running t, arm warmers, running capri tights, running gloves, and running shoes. Bowl of oatmeal and out the door with the family for the short drive to RFK stadium in DC for the start (and finish) of the race. Once there got warmed up and staged for the start of the 2009 National Half Marathon in our Nations Capital.
The Race Itself
The start was perfect as can be... temps in the mid 30s... sun coming up... no wind. It took about a minute and half to reach the official start line once the gun went off. Out through the neighborhoods we went leaving RFK and making our way down East Capital then Constitution to the National Mall. Eyeing the Capital Building in front of me for a quater of a mile or so was unreal and moving. It made me think about how lucky I was to experinence a race in DC. As we hit the Mall... we made out way south towards the Washington Monument past all my favorite museams... to bad I would have to wait another day to explore those! Once we hit the Monument Dad was waiting for me. Though I slowed down for a pic... he managed to stumble and almost face plant on the side of the road.... but he got the pic of me running by.
We continued down Constitution for another good quater of a mile before turning around into the sun and heading back towards the south end of the mall. The next part of the race took us left on 18th Street towards Dupont Circle. The course was described as mostly flat... but after the left we started to hill the little rollers... ones that beat your legs up like no other. At about mile 5... passing past the Farragut West Metro station I slowed down to be on the lookout for Mom and Julie... but later found out I was too fast of a runner and they made it there soon after I went through... oh well! Once hitting Connecticut it was down through the tunnel under Dupont Circle. The little downhill was great... the uphill to follow... not so great. Then at mile six we hit the steepest elevation of the day going uphill. The hill wasn't to bad compared to ones ran... but it took a while ro recover and get on with race. Approaching the halfway point I was well on my way to reaching my 1:48 goal... I decided at that point to keep my pace steady and relaxed and just go with the flow. Once into Columbia Heights we hit more rollers... what the ugh... I thought this was mostly flat! As we then made a quick right on North Capital I remembered Dad saying he would be somewhere along the road for his second shot at me. The air was still cool but my running gloves were not a necessity anymore. I took them off and stuffed them in my race belt... hoping to see Dad soon and throw them to him. The rollers continued... up and down... up and down. At this point my legs started to get tired and my pace slower. I couldn't let this happen... so I took in a little hurt to my legs ramped the pace up to keep consistant.
Finally... at the end of North Capital before turning left onto K Street... there was Dad. As I approached him and the small crowd on the corner I heard a "come on Marci" from him and a "go Marci" from the rest of the crowd. Does it feel good to be a rockstar at a race! As I threw him my running gloves... he snapped a shot of me... doing just that.
The last few miles were now approching. I looked at my Garmin... as I had all morning long and knew the consistancy of my race would bring me into the finish in my goal time of 1:48... oh so fine with me. Once we hit K Street... H Street... and C Street I eased up a little on the gas to enjoy what I was doing... take it all in. The "nice job" to others came out of my mouth... the high fives started flying... it was a wonderful feeling. As we hit mile 12 I could see RFK Stadium approaching. I eased up even more... just to enjoy the last mile of what had been a wonderful race. The road surface had once again become flat... the crowds seemed thicken... and the turn off for the finish was coming soon... up ahead of me.
Before making it to the chute my Garmin said 13.1 miles covered in 1:48:12... so technically I was done... but of course kept running onward. As I came down the chute I first saw Julie... who finally would get to see me finish a distance running race. When she finally recognized me it to late for a snapshot. We said our "hellos" to each other and I ran on. A few strides later there was mom... smiling and cheering me on. Then as hard and gracefully as I could I hit the finish... out of breath... but trying to smile. I hit the stop button...1:49:12 it read... collected my very nice finisher medal and met up with the family.
All over the place... but yet very consistant!
A must do race! Overall... very content and happy with my first race of the season! Splits could have been faster... but I can't complain. Ended up 69 out of 345 20-24 years old... 312 out of 2281 women... and 1020 out of 4142 overall finishers!
More to come...