(#8) Rock ‘n’ Roll USA – Part 1 (Rushing To The Start)

Saturday, March 17th, 2012
crowded subway in Washington DC on the way to Rock 'n' Roll USA 2012

This gives you an idea of the fun crowd on the Metro.

As I mentioned yesterday, I knew that the lovely David Petrick was going to be waiting for me at the finish, so I was ready to do this thing!

When my alarm went off this morning, I realized the phone I thought had been charging all night, actually had not been charging at all.

I woke up with about 40% battery. Knowing I;d want to use my runner app and listen to music, I gave my phone every last second to charge, until I had to book it down to the Metro.

I thought I was running a bit late (which I guess I sort of was, sort of wasn’t – in that I wasn’t in my corral when the first start gun went off, but once I got there, I still had over 30 minutes before my corral started).

Being that I thought I was a little on the late side, I was shocked to see the incredibly packed Metro. I felt so bad for the two people who got off at other stops. They were probably just going about their Saturday, then all of a sudden – “Where am I? What did I get myself into?”

The Metro was full of great bonding. I met Dawn who lives in New York and is looking for someone to go see more musicals with her, so I’m pretty sure that obviously means we’re going to be friends.

subway station full of runners in Washington DCAfter all the runners finally made it to the stop, it took forever for our Metro car’s door to open. It was kind of hilarious. We were so close, but yet so far.

Once we were able to exit the car, there was yet another crowd waiting to get up the stairs and out of the station. (And in DC, you have to insert your Metro card when leaving the station too – so foot traffic got really backed up with a crowd this size.) But we all made it out in time.

Once above ground, I ate a delicious banana. I love that RnR events have fruit around before the race. While I’ve been traveling, I’ve been awful about bringing fruit. So, this was lovely.

Sometime around 8:40am, I crossed the start line. By the end of mile 1, I was already sweating profusely. Dearest race directors throughout the universe, I am begging you not to ever start a race at 8am. At first it was exciting to read that I could “sleep in,” but when I realized how much freakishly hotter it is to race later in the day, I was over the “late” start.

I learn a lot as the year goes on. Two weeks ago in New Orleans, I learned how incredibly important it is to get some walking and stretching in right after you get off the bus. I implemented that, and felt awesome – not bus-lagged at all. (Boom!)

Washington Monument with some runners in front of it during Rock 'n' Roll USA 2012In this race, I think the big lesson was to check the forecast, and bring options for a lighter running outfit.

I have my basic race outfit which I’ve worn to pretty much every race – but it consists of this heavy hat, black pants, and cotton shirt (over a technical shirt). It’s an awesome outfit for racing, but it was absolutely killing me today. Around mile 3, I was ready to start shedding layers until I’d run into the finish naked. (I did not do that.)

I really pushed myself during this race. I had 13.3 minute miles going during my first 5k. Slowly but surely, I slowed down throughout the race. (10k – 1:30:06, 10 miles – 2:31:28.) People had been talking a lot at the expo about the hill that was going to bother everyone around mile 6/7.

Pssh! I thought. Silly. A hill. We’re all strong. We’ll all handle it. Toward the middle of the race, when I was mildly convinced we were all going to die from the heat, I came upon this big-ol’ seemingly-never-ending hill. I realized, “Ah. This is what they were all talking about. Okay. It is hard after all.”

Do I make it through the hill? Do I make it to the finish? Find out more tomorrow.

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