Race Recap: The Rock n Roll DC Marathon - Peter's Perspective

The following race recap was written by my husband! It was his first marathon and I felt that having this race described in his perspective would give a better recap than I could have given! So without further ado...Peter, take it away!

The Night Before
We set off the day before the race around 1 pm.

Going into the city was a bit of an experience (normally, we do not have any trouble);  however, we had GPS trouble which caused delays getting to the expo. We were supposed to arrive around 3, but due to some missed exits and congestion, we didn’t really arrive at the DC armory until around 4.

The expo was pretty neat with the Rock and Roll memorabilia. Vendors were also all around handing out their free samples and wears. One notable vendor I came across was Glukos. They have a variety of nutrition packs that were displayed: gels, gummies, tablets and bars. It was nice to look at what  from a race participant perspective. As a spectator in past events, I didn't really appreciate the value of expos.

After trying out several samples, and purchasing a few items, I was relieved to finally arrive at our hotel at around 5. The Capitol Hill Hotel was nice and quaint in a quiet area of DC.

Earlier in the day I researched a place for dinner and set my sights on We, The Pizza,  a nice little restaurant which was only a 5-minute walk from the hotel.

Lindsey and I devoured most of a large double pepperoni, which was a decent size. I also enjoyed a nice cool Blue Moon (well deserved after my battle with traffic all afternoon). Afterwards, we hit up a dive bar just down the street called Tune In. We took some time to enjoy some drinks. Lindsey had 2 margaritas, while I enjoyed a beer and a White Russian.

After getting a little tipsy, we headed back to the hotel room. From there, I watched some TV while Lindsey did some freestyle yoga. She talked me into doing some poses to get me loosed up for the race. So in my drunken stupor, I agreed and did some poses. It was definitely fun and opened me up to doing yoga again.

After that, we ate our leftover pizza and headed to bed.

I had some knee pain from driving earlier causing some discomfort while I slept. It did cause some concern about my performance the next day.

Morning of the Race
The morning realistically started at about 4 am. I started stirring and going in and out of consciousness and my mind started to fill with thoughts about the race. I was a spectator/photographer for Lindsey at this exact same race two years ago, so all those memories started to flood in.

At 5:30 am, our alarms went off and we began to get dressed. We headed down for breakfast, which was supposed to be served at 5 am since this was an official hotel for the DC Rock and Roll. As we made our way down, I noticed a good number of runners in the lobby. I assumed they were just hanging out, so we made our way over to the other building where breakfast was supposed to be served. As we came across the breakfast room, it was locked so we returned to where we saw the runners earlier. It turned out that was where our breakfast was being served. There was some fruit, instant oatmeal, orange juice, and some breakfast cake. Not the breakfast of champions, but we made due.

Next, we checked out and headed to the finish line, as with this marathon, the start and finish are not the same (I am sure the logistics of closing roads in a major city has some influence on that) . By now, it was about 6:45 and roads were starting to close as we got closer and closer to the parking lot located at RFK stadium more. Thanks to the direction of DC’s finest we made it to our destination, parked, locked up the car, and made our way to the metro. That's where we were whisked away to the start line.

The Start
As we emerged from the metro, a familiar scene set in. The start was setup just as it was two years ago right outside the IRS building. Music was pumping and runners everywhere! They were already releasing runners in corrals and at the point of our arrival, corral 5 was setting off. Lindsey and I were in corral 16 so we had time as we made our way to our spot. At that point I realized, “Oh wow! I am doing this!” I never got nervous before races in the past, but now it hit me. This race was going to be my initiation to being a marathoner! All of the winter training, all of the injuries, and all of the frustration was for this moment right here.

About every two minutes another corral was being released. Although we were 10 corrals back when we arrived, in no time we were also set free into a massive pack of runners ready to tackle this half/ whole marathon.

The First Half
Off we went, passing by the Washington monument, going across bridges circling other monuments and seeing sights of DC. You really don’t get to appreciate it all if you are driving by them,

The biggest hurdle, which everyone talks about, is the hill at mile 6. I will proudly say that I ran the whole thing! It was definitely intimidating but conquerable.

As we progressed hour by hour, everything was going swimmingly. I had no pain, I maintained a decent pace about at about 10:00/mile and sometimes even venturing into the 9:30s. We were running all hills at this point too. Lindsey, however, kept a close eye on me the entire time to make sure I wasn't pushing too hard.

We passed through neat neighborhoods and shops, while spectators crowded all around. A new band and aid station at every mile definitely helped to keep me motivated. 

Around mile 9 was the Glukos aid station. I was given a gel tube and a pack of their orange gummies. I downed the gel tube and saved the gummies for later knowing I would need the fuel. I just didn’t know how bad I already needed them. That lesson was about to be learned.

Three miles later we reached the mile 12 split where the half marathoners made their way to the finish line and the marathoners continued their adventure. It was a bit of a tease and I will admit it was a bit tempting to just finish early, but this was another challenge I needed to conquer.

The Second Half
After the mile 12 split, it was no-mans land. During the first half I tried to note who was wearing the red bibs (marathon bibs) and the blue bibs (half marathon bibs), but now you could really see how many of the earlier participants were half marathoners.

Because the amount of runners died down, the lines for the bathrooms were non-existent! So it was also a good time for a bathroom break. What a relief!

Things went well until mile 14. At that point we hit some uneven road surfaces and my right hip told me it didn’t like it. At that point, I started to manage my pain by backing off walking for a few minutes. Even after the road surface improved, it was too late. My hip wasn’t having it. So I took my time through the aid stations and picked my battles when it came to which areas I was going to run. Hills were out of the question by mile 18. It was going to be flats and downhills only. That's about the time I realized I had no energy.

My less than ideal breakfast and my gel from earlier was all that I had! I needed to fuel! So I dove into my Glukos gummies and ate only half the pack as I feared that my stomach would not take well to them. Thankfully, the people at Glukos knew what they were doing and I was able to digest them pretty well.

For the remainder of the race, it wasn’t a battle of the milage, but it was a battle of managing my hip and fuel needs. I continued to walk hills and some flats (not proudly). As we made into the last few miles, Lindsey and I started making short term goals: “Run to that light post” and “Try to run partially up this hill.” It helped me prove to myself that I was not out of this race. It kept my spirits up even though my mind started to work against me. Then...it happened. I hit “The Wall.”

I am not sure what triggered it, but I was overcome with a feeling of hopelessness and all energy was zapped (you know, as if you ran into a wall). I knew that I needed to draw forth all my energy to overcome this. I had no breath at this point, so I started concentrating on that: getting my lungs pumping again.

My overall goal for the race was four hours and thrity minutes, but at about half a mile left, the 4:40 pace group pasted us.

“SHIT!” I exclaimed.

Lindsey couldn’t help but laugh and a few other runners who heard me did as well (I couldn’t blame them since I laugh about it now over a week after the marathon). I knew the end was near but my hip wasn’t getting any better.

Finish Line
We came to the last corner of the race; a sharp left turn and an uphill (really at the end!!!), but as Lindsey said to me countless times during training, “Nothing to it but to do it.”  We picked it up again and charged for the finish line.

The spectators were there in the masses. Runners that already finished were walking around with their medals, recovery treats and the most coveted item of all (to me anyway): the marathon finisher jacket. Lindsey had one from the San Diego marathon last year and I stared at it for the whole last month of training hanging by the door of our house. I had to have one and now, I was earning it.

As the course funneled in, I grabbed Lindsey’s hand and said “You kick my ass during training. I kick your ass on race day” and we crossed the finish line in a sprint. That was the end. It was over.

We made our way through to get water, chips, fruit, chocolate milk and various other replenationing goodies, but I zeroed in on my finisher jacket. We found the stand where the jackets were being distributed and I got my XL jacket (I like to be confortable so I wear my clothes baggy). That was it and at that, I realized what happened to me and how I was acting.

Normally, I am pretty cheerful and friendly, but during the course of the race, I became quiet and unsocial. So as we sat and stretched, I took the time to try to re-center myself. I was now realizing exactly how Lindsey would feel after her marathons, doing her “grandma walk.” Now, it was my turn.

We must have parked as far away from the finish line as possible because the walk felt like it went on forever, but we made it and with a much better experience of getting out of the city, we were on our way home.

We met up with some local runners that also participated in the race. We ate, talked about the run, and discussed how this run compared to other events. My only closest mileage to this was when I ran 23 miles of the JFK with Lindsey. It was good to hear from them about how this event compared to others and the future plans that my newfound friends were looking to compete in.

Recovery wasn’t too terrible actually. I took the day after the race off from running, but still made it a point to be up and around as possible. The following week, I tallied 9 miles for the week, which was way better than I thought! Knowing how I lose fitness from too much rest after previous half marathon races, I knew I can’t take too much time away from running.

All in all, it was a great race for both Peter and myself! I am unbelievably proud of him! He and I finished just under 4:47, which means he beat my first marathon time from when I ran the Rock n Roll DC in 2014!!! I really don't think that either of us could have asked for a better day!!!

Sorta Silent Sunday

Race recap to come on this one! But it won't be written by me! Just wait and see!!!

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