Sub-4 Marathon Group


RnR DC Half Marathon RR (Read 24 times)


Three Martini Lunch

    This is a bit of a novel.  Irrelevant side note: I don't like that RnR calls this race "USA." I liked the name of the race they took over, the "National" and would be ok with a place name like "Washington" or "DC" like all of their other races.



    I had some trepidation about this race and how I would do.  I came down with a cold last weekend that really knocked me on my back for a couple of days, and I was still feeling the lingering effects of it on Thursday. I still thought I had a PR in me, but I didn't know by how much.  Going into the race, my A Goal was a 1:36, B Goal 1:38, and C Goal a PR.


    Race day was forecast to be 40s and rainy, but it wasn't raining at 6 when I was getting dressed and was 43 or so.  I went with shorts and a long-sleeved shirt, which ended up being almost too much later on in the race.  I did a shakeout run on Friday and still felt creaky from the cold and only having run once since the previous Saturday, so I had decided to use the mile and a half to the start as a warmup jog.  I did this because I think I needed it: by the time I got to the gear check area on the Mall, I my legs were feeling good and loose.  They weren't the first 3/4 of a mile, though.


    I'm glad I wasn't trying to check anything; it looked like a cluster.  The forecast rain held off for the entire race, which meant that the weather was perfect. I stretched out some more and hopped around to stay loose, and then ducked into my corral with about ten minutes before gun time. 


    Mile 1-4: 7:28, 7:16, 7:14, 7:18

    I was in corral 4, which meant I crossed the line about three minutes after the gun.  The pack broke open pretty quickly; they changed the start location this year to the Monumental Core of the city, and one of the benefits of the change was being able to have the starting line feed onto a six lane road.  I was planning on trying to hold 7:20-7:25 as evenly as I could until past the Mile 9 marker and then cut loose to the end (my strategy the last two years, which had worked rather well).  These first four miles are the most scenic of the half course, passing landmarks and running a lollipop route across the Potomac over Memorial Bridge (an out and back over a bridge with the turnaround being a big traffic circle...I don't know what else to call it other than a lollipop).  I hit my pace early on, and edged a bit faster than goal pace as I worked around people. 


    Mile 5-6: 7:27, 7:22

    These two miles are a gentle incline through Rock Creek Park, a deep valley that cuts northwest DC into two.  I run this part of the route all the time as part of my long run route, but it is a pretty part of DC that most visitors don't see.  I slowed down a bit through the park because I knew that the one major hill on the route was right after the Mile 6 marker.  This part is also mostly devoid of spectators, so it is pretty quiet. 


    Mile 7-9: 8:08, 7:23, 7:21

    Mile 7 had the hill where we climbed out of the park and back onto the city streets.  I have my watch set to display average lap pace; when I got to the top of the hill it was showing 9:00, which is still a lot faster than I've run it in training.  It also took me longer to recover than I thought it would.  But, as I was gasping up the next rolling hill, I realized that when I run that part of the race route in training I am not running as fast overall and usually have to wait a light cycle to cross a street at the top, allowing me to catch my breath.  I usually am in a tunnel when racing and don't pay much attention to spectators, but the crowd of cheering spectators at the top of the hill was a godsend.  Mile 8 and 9 had some rolling hills, but I'm back on pace. This is also the point where I feel that the cold I had earlier in the week is affecting me; I'm not getting my wind back as quickly as I normally do on the uphills and have a minor twinge of a side stitch. I choke down a Gu at the water stop just past the Mile 7 mark, and it doesn't sit well.  The queasiness lasts for about half a mile, goes away for a bit as the course levels out, and then comes back as we head up another roller. 


    Mile 10-13.1: 7:18, 7:23; 7:30; 7:04; 1:25

    There is a water stop just past the Mile 9 mark, and that allows me to get some more water in, and that seems to dissolve the Gu lump sitting in my stomach -- or at least that is what it feels like.  The impending stitch also goes away about this time, too.  This is also a rolling downhill (the uphills are just where the street dips below grade to allow surface streets to pass over it), and begins the mental home stretch -- by this time the hard part is over.  My race plan was to pick up the pace once I hit the downhill, but it really is all I can do to stay around 7:20s.  As we turn east just past the Mile 10 mark, we turn into a headwind.  It isn't much, but at this point I'm running out of gas, and I start to fade a bit.  After I hit the 12 mile mark, I dig in to finish strong, and manage to pull out my fastest mile of the race.


    Chip time ended up being 1:37:33, a 2:26 PR.  7:27 average pace.  I feel I ran close to the edge of my fitness, but feel that I would have had a bit more were it not for the cold and diminished recovery on the uphills.  But despite that, I think I executed my race plan well; I was hoping to have more in the tank for the last four to five miles to reduce my overall average pace, but just didn't have it today.


    ETA: They posted official results while I was writing this.  759/19945 overall; 136/1495 in my AG.

    M: 3:31:56

    HM: 1:37:33

      Congratulations on a strong performance- especially on what sounds like a tough course.

      PBs since age 60:  5k- 24:36, 10k - 47:17. Half Marathon- 1:42:41.

                                          10 miles (unofficial) 1:16:44.



        Congrats on the race and PR, Flinders, especially considering the tough course and your cold. My frienassailed the bag check was a cluster, so good call there!

        Rusk Runner

          You da' Man, Flinders! You da' Man.

          PRs...5K - 20:36, 4mile - 26:15, 13.1 - 1:32, 26.2 - 3:42

          Just Run!!!


            Awesome race Flinders! I attribute 100% of your fitness improvement to the new Garmin!

            PRs: 21:35 (5K); 1:46:46 (HM); 4:30:46 (FM)

            Bad Ass

              Great job!  Congrats on a great performance and on the PR.



              "The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."

              It's always fucking hot in Miami!

              Ball of Fury

                Awesome race absolutely killed it!!

                PRs:  5K 22:59, 10K 46:54,HM: 1:51:15

                Ball of Fury

                  Awesome race absolutely killed it!!


                  (Evidently, I really think you killed it since I told you twice!)

                  PRs:  5K 22:59, 10K 46:54,HM: 1:51:15


                    What a great race. Super speedy!  And 7:04 for the last mile! Wow.  Congrats!


                      Sweet race, Flinders!  I knew this was coming based on the paces of your recent "easy" runs.  Smile

                      Trail Monster

                        Congrats! You killed it!

                        2013 races:

                        3/17 Shamrock Marathon

                        4/20 North Coast 24 Hour

                        7/27 Burning RIver 100M

                        8/24 Baker 50M

                        10/5 Oil Creek (distance to be determined)


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                        Altra Zero Drop



                          Nice race Flinders. I don't care for USA either. I I always call it RnR DC anyway.

                          PR's - 5K - 20:15 (2013) | 10K - 45:14 (2011)  | 13.1 - 1:34:40 (2013)  | 26.2 - 3:40:40 (2014)


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