Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon - May 24, 2015 - Alexandria VA Time: 2:12:49
What a miserable course. Coupled with a delayed start and a hot/humid day meant that I was lucky to not get my personal worst. This was a smaller half marathon compared to some of the ones I've done in the past (IE anything Rock n Roll) but sometimes the smaller ones are pretty nice (IE Ann Arbor). This was not one of those times.
I should start from the top though. My good friend Wynsor finally worked up the courage to try out a half marathon and I had told her if she ever attempted it I would come run with her. I also signed Jon up to run but he unfortunately hurt his foot a week before the race and didn't want to further injure himself so didn't run. Lucky him! So I sent Wynsor a bunch of races that were taking place in the DC area and the Alexandria Running Festival looked decent and wasn't going to break the bank on price. This race was about a month after our last one (Eisenbahn) so we did a few long run weekends and then tried to taper off for the race. The bad thing about traveling south in the summer is that you'll hit hotter temps and more humidity. I had done a few humid runs in Wisconsin but it's only just gotten warm (ridiculous I know) so I hadn't done enough training to combat what happened in DC.
Any way so we get to the race. And it started almost 30 minutes late. :( It was supposed to go off at 7:30am which is still a little late IMO for a late spring/early summer race but 7:55 is even worse. It was already pretty warm by the time we finally crossed the start line and I had a bad feeling about how it was going to go from there. The first three miles were pretty hard for me- I couldn't get my legs going and I felt like "how am I going to get through the next 10?!?!" But then I got into a groove and was ok. I think the waiting around caused my muscles to tighten up a little too much and then within the first mile we ran over a large bridge so those things combined meant a slow beginning to the race.
I popped GUs at a 3.3, 6.7 and 10 which were immensely helpful. Sometimes I think back to how I ran on nothing and I just don't know how I did it. Of course as the race went on it got warmer and warmer and there wasn't a lot of shade coverage. We did run a portion of the race on Holmes Run trail but the amount of turnarounds that it took to make that happen were ridiculous. I felt like every time I got going we were at another turnaround and I'd lose momentum. (If it isn't obvious this wasn't my favorite race).
I was counting down the miles as we were getting closer to the finish but once we got back on the final straightaway (miles 11-13.1) it was so hard. I had to force myself to keep going when all I wanted to do was stop. This is where I start talking to myself telling myself I can do it, it's not much farther. It was just so hot- at one point I grabbed a cup of water just to splash on myself. And those final miles had no coverage- UGH!! I knew my original goal time of staying under 2:07 just wasn't going to happen but I didn't want to be worse than 2:17 so I bucked up and forced myself over the final hill and up to the finish.
I found Jon after gulping down a water bottle and we waited for Wynsor. I had passed her a couple of times on the course (thanks turnarounds) and she was staying not far behind me until about mile 7. Afterwards she said that's when she had to walk for a bit but hey she kept going and ended up coming in around 2:30. Not bad for someone doing their first half on a terrible course with heat and humidity!! Although I doubt she'll be signing up for another again soon I'm proud that she finished :)
Of course there was brunch involved after and I'll recap the entire DC trip later on this week. Below are some photos courtesy of Jon and of the photo company.