Race Recap: Part 1
So, this was it. 28 weeks of blood, sweat, tears, and living this event. This was it. The moment I had waited for and worked for the ENTIRE year!
Friday I flew out of Knoxville, to Atlanta, and then onto Washington DC and my hotel in Alexandria. The training plan thankfully had me off on Friday. I got in early to mid-evening Friday and was EXHAUSTED. I went to bed thankful to have somewhere just to lay my head.
Saturday, my plan going in was to get up, do my shakeout run, and hit the expo to get my bib, and then come back and get off my feet. I woke up and one of my dear friends, whom you will hear about more in the 2nd part, Tamara, messaged me. She asked me to come to the Wear Blue: Run to Remember shakeout & meetup. This was to honor the fallen that we run for. Since I had submitted a Soldiers Name, Staff Sargent Joseph P. Goodrich, I decided why not. So, I hustled and got ready for this event, and caught an Uber. We met at the Washington Monument for a circle of Remembrance, Prayer, the National Anthem, and to shake it out. We circled around the Washington Monument, around the WW2 memorial, around the reflecting pool, and back. It was a 1.6 mile shakeout that took about 22 minutes. I felt GREAT. I was careful not to do anything as I knew I had to get ready for tomorrow.
After the run, we ate and talked. I then headed to the EXPO to pick up my bib. While there, it was like a huge shopping mall with vendors EVERYWHERE. Unreal. It gave me sensory overload. I stepped back and took it all in. I picked up my bib that had my scoring chip on it. Also, while there, I stopped by to look at the Run blue booth. I picked up a shirt and also made a bib with my soldiers name on it.
I got back to the room, and then ordered pizza and got ready for Sunday. I pinned on my Number to my shorts. I then got ready to pin my Soldiers name to my shorts on the opposite leg. I lost it. I broke down in tears. It was such an honor to get to run for this guy who sacrificed it ALL for us. Thanks to my wonderful friend, Stephanie, I got the honor of doing this.
The hotel decided it was ok to have a loud party Saturday so I slept very little. I finally did catch about 2 hours of shuteye. When I woke up, I was nervous but I kept finding ways to be ok. Did my normal things, and then headed to the race site. I was ok until I got to the site. When I stepped off the bus to the Pentagon North parking lot, I was about to be sick. My nerves were at an all-time high. I kept trying to breathe, but It wasn’t helping.
Finally to calm down, I went and gathered with the Run Blue group. I just sat quietly and thought about other things. Finally, Tamara and I found each other. She took one look at me and said to get out of my own head. She could see stress oozing from me.
Finally at long last, it was time to walk up to the line. I took the chance to go over my gear one more time as I suited up fully, and power up the watch. It seemed so quick that we got up there, got up to our corral, and got situated it was time.
I decided to start way up from where I would have. The first hour was off the clock. I could bank up some time for the cut off when I knew I would need it. As you will read later, this would bite me.
During the National Anthem they had 1 flyover that brought me to tears. I started crying. Then as soon as the howitzer went off, it was go time. They had another flyover while we were leaving. 3 Marine Helicopters this time. It was all I could do to hold it together. But we headed down the hill and across the start mats. This was it. We were under way!
Coming out, I wanted to stay slow but steady. My calling card is to start too fast. It happens about 98% of the time. I knew starting up I would need to stay slow. As we headed down the hill, I stopped one more time to make sure I was ready.
We headed off into Downtown Roslyn for the trip out of town. The first 5k came and went. I knew right then, dang it, did it again, so I went back to my interval training. 4 min runs 1 walk. Of course, I felt good, and we were in that free time before the pace requirement kicked in so I kinda did as I felt ok doing. Big mistake. Before too long, Tamara caught up with me, or vice versa. We ran a few miles together and she snuck off for a break. That left me to fend on my own. I did meet a couple fellow IRC members on course. Don’t ask me their names, I have already forgotten. LOL! We would chat and then roll along. Before I knew it we were at mile 8. I knew I was too fast. GRRR. So I really slowed the pace. Strictly on the 4:1 ratio. This seemed to help. It was about now that the clock had officially started once the start line closed. So now I was keenly aware of the requirements. I felt good. It was overcast and breezy. I had been pre-cooling my body at every water stop so I was chilly but ok. It was supposed to get to 81 today. So trying to stay ahead of the game. At mile 8, they had a Marine Corps band. They were not playing but when I went on a lil further; they were playing the Marine Corps song. I loved it. Every minute of it. I may have started dancing. LOL! Pretty soon, we were to mile 10.
Mile 10 was the blue mile. Where the pictures of fallen soldiers are displayed along with individuals holding American flags. I was not sure if my soldier’s picture would be there or not. However, when I got there I started carefully looking. I did find him. I sobbed. I stopped and prayed and cried some more and took a couple pictures. However, as I would discover later, my pictures did not save. Oh well. You heard nothing this entire mile except footsteps, breathing and silence. The most moving thing ever. I was honored to be able to run this race for him.
The next check that we got was mile 13.1. This was the half home mark. I had done this in 3:04. Too fast. I knew it. Goodness. I attribute it to adrenaline and being nervous too, but still, I hoped I had enough time stored for the cuts as I was super nervous, even though I knew better not to be. Period.
So, with that, we’re half way home.
Come back next week and join me as we finish the race and reflect!