So I kind of hit a semi-big milestone a few weeks ago. I ran my 10th half marathon. I know it’s a drop in the hat for a lot of people, but I was pretty excited that I was hitting the big 10! I had registered for the Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon last year and ended up having to defer because I was injured.
Well, I wasn’t completely injured, just dealing with some calf issues and didn’t want to injure myself more the week before I ran Ragnar Chicago. So I deferred until this year. Fast forward a year, the race was completely off of my radar. I knew it was coming up but after Paris, I was just really taking it easy and as a matter of fact, wasn’t even really training. I had thrown in a few 8 mile runs in the weekends prior, but those had been my longest runs since Paris. So to say I was feeling a bit unprepared was a bit of an understatement. I really had no goals going into the race, I was just going to run by feel and just listen to my body.
I’m joining up with for the Race Recap Linkup today for the first time!
The Race Recap Linkup is hosted by:
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So if you are looking to find some other great….or not so great races to run, go check out the rest of the recaps!
The Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon is a small local race, literally out my front door, so it’s kind of a hard one to turn down. They have had some problems in the last few years unfortunately. Last year they were delayed by 40 minutes which caused a big ruckus amongst people. A 40 minute delay at the end of May can really be tough, especially with the heat. I had heard a lot of bad things about the race, i.e. the course sucked, the late start, not enough volunteers, etc. In fact a lot of MRTT mama’s that ran it last year refused to run it again. Apparently it was that bad. But I decided to throw caution to the wind and try it out anyway. As far as the course, a lot of it was on roads that I run on anyway. Yea, not the most scenic as most of it is industrial park but, people should take the responsibility to check out a course route before registering. As far as I’m concerned, you have no right to complain about it because the course is published way in advance. Anyway, off my soap box on THAT one.
The race is put on by the Marathon Charity Cooperation which is a 501 (c)3 charitable and educational foundation for the benefit of underprivileged children and families around the world. The MCC mission includes funding a cooperative of non-profit charity partners who both benefit from and contribute to the events hosted. So most of the proceeds go to charity which I really liked. This year one of the charity partners was Team RWB.
I went to the expo the day before. It was held at the US Patent and Trademark Office Building near Old Town Alexandria. Very easy to get to and no parking issues which was nice. The “expo” was a bit underwhelming with just a handful of vendors. They did have a seminar to attend if you wanted to with various speakers but I had to get in and out. So I grabbed my bib, my timing chip, and my shirt and was out of there.
So, my morning started without a hitch. A grabbed a ride with a friend in my neighborhood because my husband was going to pick me up as we had to go to swimming lessons with our boys immediately after. It was literally a 5 minute drive. It was so nice to not have to wake up at the crack of dawn to get the metro into DC. The start was at the Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria and parking was ample. Street parking was available and also the PTO garage was open and free to park with plenty of spaces. We went into the PTO building and I found one of my BRF’s in line for the bathrooms. A nice touch that the PTO building is open, so no need to go in a stinky porta potty at the beginning! We met up with our local Team RWB chapter for a picture and then headed to the start line.
The race was supposed to start at 7:30. Around 7:15 the race director made an announcement that the start time would be delayed……whomp whomp…..I couldn’t believe a delay was happening AGAIN. They said that the police had been unable to secure the street because they had to get some cars towed. Fifteen minutes came and went and they made another announcement that they still weren’t ready. So I spent a little time with my old pal Woody Wilson..
After about 25 minute delay it was time for the race to start. There were no corrals, so we just lined up pretty close to the start line. They played the National Anthem and we were off!
I didn’t take any pictures of the course because it is a pretty boring course as I said earlier. None of the pretty parts of Alexandria like Old Town, just the industrial side of the city. There wasn’t much crowd support either, so it was pretty quiet. I went to turn on my headphones it was so quiet but it turns out they were out of battery (I had just got a new wireless headset)….yep, apparently I forgot the charge them. I was so bummed and wondering HOW I was going to get through this course without music. It was pretty warm at start time, in the high 60’s and warming up quickly. There also wasn’t a lot of shade, in fact, the was little to no shade.
I started off at a pretty good clip and was feeling amazingly good!
At around mile 5 my BRF that ran Shamrock with me met me and ran the next 6 miles with me as she needed to get a long run in and figured it would be a great opportunity for us to run together! My other BRF that I started the race with had dropped behind me around mile 4. It was around this point that I started feeling my right hip flexor starting to act up, so the next 6 miles or so I slowed down a bit.
Around mile 10 was where my family was waiting to say hi and cheer us on. It was so great to see them out there and get some high 5’s! We also had a bunch of MRTT mama’s out cheering for us at this point as well. It was really great to see some familiar faces and a cheering squad in a race with so little course support!
Erin left me at mile 11 and we stopped to say our goodbye’s quickly. It was SO great to run with her again.
At this point I was still hurting, but I knew I could push through and I had a good chance at a sub 2 hr half. So I really pushed myself and went for it in the last 2 miles…
Thankfully the last stretch was downhill into a straightaway so it was easy to push it. There was an awesome Team RWB photographer out there getting pics of all of the Team RWB’ers too which was awesome.
I crossed the finish line, and pretty much thought I was going to puke. I had pushed it hard and in the heat, my body was screaming no, but I refuse to not sprint in the last couple hundred yards of a race. I was immediately ushered into an area to remove the timing chip (they were not disposable and they use the same ones every year).
I retrieved my medal and immediately wanted water and something to eat. Someone was handing out water but I couldn’t find the food anywhere. I walked through the entire finisher’s festival (which included a few vendors, a bounce house, and a massage area) and still couldn’t find it. I had to ask someone where the food was. Turns out, they put all of the food inside the PTO building. So I went inside and grabbed half a bagel with cream cheese, but I was still starving. I had asked Mr. Cupcake to bring me a protein bar when he picked me up so I wasn’t too worried. I had to leave immediately after to get to swimming lessons, so I didn’t get to see where my BRF Lisa was. Turns out she finished in 2:09 because someone tripped her and she took a pretty good fall. Apparently, the person even looked back at her and kept running, didn’t even say a word to her or give her an apology. That to me is just unacceptable! Completely thoughtless and rude. But that’s just my two cents.
Anyway, I went outside to find Mr. Cupcake and the minis and had to wait a few minutes. So of course I had to get the obligatory medal selfie.
So while my watch had me at 1:57:55….
- official gun time 1:58:13
- Division place 35/171
- Sex Place 97/503
- Overall 264/869
I’ve got to say I was pretty pleased. This was my second fastest half marathon, EVER.
And I love these stats:
More females than males, amazing how the scales are tipping for women in racing!
So the hubby finally arrived and I got in the car. I was ravenous at this point and wouldn’t you know he forgot my protein bar…ARRGHH! We then had to go to an hour of swim lessons with nothing to eat for me. So we dropped everyone off and I left to go get something to eat. The only thing was Starbucks, so I got one of their Egg White turkey bacon sandwiches (which is so yummy) and their new MINI Java Chip Frappucino! I’m so happy they came out with these mini ones! I love these things but hate wasting my calories on a drink!
So overall the race was just ok. Like I said, boring course with several out and backs and changes in terrain from street to sidewalk to gravel and repeat, little crowd support, and a few friends mentioned there were no porta pottys for about 7 miles (which I didn’t notice because I never have to use the bathroom during a race, so I can’t vouch for that). But it’s hard to resist a race that is literally out your front door. Was it my favorite? Heck no. Would I do it again? Eh, maybe if I really wanted or needed another half marathon on my schedule or another piece of bling, but with that said, it is hard to turn a race down that is so small and so close, especially when you are used to running all really large races in DC. So if we are around next Memorial day weekend, I will probably run it again!Alexandria Running Festival race recap: my 10th Half marathon! via @suzy399 Click To Tweet
What is one thing that will keep you from doing a race again?
Have you ever been at a race where the start was delayed? If so, how long was the delay?