Sunday, March 27, 2011

And so the season begins

While Spring is officially here, April coming soon, and already some 80 degree days, snow still threatened the forecast.   Yesterday was the annual Suntrust D.C. marathon and half marathon.  This year we participated in the half marathon.  I did the half two years ago but boycotted it last year because the year we did it they ran out of cups at mile 5 and if you wanted any water for the rest of the race you had to drink out of the gallon jugs!  They also ran out of the fuel gels they had advertised on the course.  I very disappointed by the planning and less than a week after the race I was sick with presumably some gross person's germs that had drank from the gallon jugs before me!  The hubby ran it last year and said everything went fine so I said I would give it a try again.  As usual upon signing up I had grand plans of what I would be able to go time-wise but as fate would have it I have had a lingering bronchitis for the past 2.5 months which has made it difficult to do any sort of exercise which as been quite frustrating.  I am still working to consistently make it through a full swim workout and that is the sport I like the best!  But I digress.

So the race.  Earlier in the week there was the threat of rain and/or snow for the race. Luckily that forecast got pushed to today, Sunday.  It was quite chilly in the morning and was to remain chilly for the race.  I bundled up in running tights, long sleeve shirt, short sleeve, jacket, and of course my Batman utility belt.  Batman utility belt? Yea I have one of those fuel belt in which I had two water containers on the back. In the front two water spots I pinned fuel packets on, my inhaler in the pouch, and my bib held with pins to the pins on the fuel packets.

damn cat always wanting to be the center of attention!

I ran with a friend, Jen, and not the hubby this time. He had a time goal that is not anything I will ever be able to do.  I have been running with Jen's run group a couple of times now so it wasn't completely new to run together but this was our first race. Jen has been running a lot more than me, I didn't want to disappoint.  It worked well, we both had our iPods for comfort and sound when we didn't have anything to talk about.  Neither one of us can run straight so we kept running into each other. That made things interesting.  We walked the water stops when we needed water but otherwise we kept chugging along.  We ran up the hills when everyone else was walking.  We ran past a bunch of cheer zones which were fun, I always wish those last longer as they really do help to get you going.  There are two cheer zones on the Howard University campus with lots of music, encouraging words, and high fives.  Around mile 11 I could feel myself slowing and I didn't want to interfere with Jen's time goal. I told her to feel free to go ahead, she didn't have to give me any warning.  We had been doing well with 9-10 min miles on the downhills and flats, 11-12 min for the uphills.  There were a lot more uphills than I remember! Those last two miles were a mental fight.  Usually the mental battle begins much earlier in the race so I would definitely call it a success that it didn't come in until mile 11.  Miles 11-12 included some walking even though I was so close to the end. I needed some energy. I just wanted to finish!  Upon finishing I found Jen quickly and was only a couple minutes behind her.  I finished in a 2:32 definitely not a best time but not a worst and probably ok considering I haven't run more than 6 miles in the past 6 months.  The hubby made his time goal with room to spare!

We hung out in the finish area for awhile, one of my work friends ran the marathon so I waited for him to finish. About 1/4 mile away his stepdaughter ran up to him to finish the race with him. There was a collective "ahhhhhh" from the crowd as she sprinted towards him excited to finish his run with him.  She also ran with me for the last few hundred feet of my 70.3 in the fall, she was much faster than me by that time!  This little girl is an awesome supporter!

After the race we headed to my favorite salad joint Chop't at one of their new locations in Union Station.  It was delicious as always!!  The portion is huge but I like not gorging myself on unhealthy food after I have done something so good for my body.  The afternoon brought a nap and dinner at Mamma Lucia's in Columbia. I still didn't have a huge appetite so I went with the delicious Tomato Florentine soup and Mozzarella Caprese and of course a cannoli for dessert!  This was the best cannoli I have had in a long time.  The shell was crisp meaning it wasn't pre-filled and soggy.  The filling was really sweet and smooth. I don't like it to taste to ricotta-ey. Yummmmm

Today was the multi-sport expo in Bethesda.  Our friend is the event direct for the Du the 2 duathlon happening in Howard County in August. ( hoco@@@ )  He told us about the expo as they would be having a booth.  There were lots of vendors and event companies.  Many folks said to him they were happy to see something that didn't involve swimming.  If you are interested in the multisport world but are hesitant about swimming check him out .  I was there of course to support a friend's endevours but also because I HATE MY WETSUIT!  I think I may have mentioned this before. I went to the Bonzai Sports tent which had several brands of wetsuits and explained what I needed - a triathlon wetsuit for a swimmer which didn't choke me or take me 10 minutes to get on and off.  They had me try on the Blue Seventy Reaction sleevelss. I got to try it on.  It seemed to fit well I mentioned that I wished I could swim in it and they said go ahead, what?!  There was a pool facility, they gave me a cap and goggles and a lane!  I swam around and it felt great, good buoyancy, lots of maneuverability for my arms.  The real test was going to be getting the wetsuit off. Typically it takes 2 people and at least 5 minutes.  It slid right off in 30 seconds, SOLD!  It was 10% off, a free pair of goggles, the cap I swam in, and they threw in some spray stuff to help get the suit on and off. Success!

6 weeks until Orlando, Florida 70.3! I better get my butt in gear!  Next week Outback 5k!