Saturday, March 23, 2013

Race 2 - Rock n Roll USA & Chrystyna's PR

Rock n Roll USA was my second race in our insane 3 in 9 day plan.  We flew to Baltimore on Thursday and met Chrystyna and her friend (our new friend) Kristin there.  This was supposed to be a reunion weekend of our original No Boundaries group, but Erin couldn't make it and Mark was home recovering.  We went to the expo as soon as we got into town so we could spend all day Friday being tourists.  I feel like once you've been to one Rock n Roll expo you've seen them all.  This isn't bad since some of my favorite booths are always there, but it's also not very exciting.

We spent Friday sightseeing.  The only thing we were missing were fanny packs.  We went to the American History Museum.  They had some great exhibits.  My favorite was the First Lady's Dresses.  They were so beautiful and it was cool to see fashion change with each inauguration.  We also saw the White House and several monuments.  We had dinner at Filomena Ristorante in Georgetown.  It was so good.  It was a memorable experience, not just because of the food, but also it had the most Easter decorations I've ever seen.  I'm pretty sure the Easter Bunny actually lives there.  We also had cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcakes, which is featured on TLC's DC Cupcakes.  I haven't seen the show, but the cupcakes were a great pre-race food. 

Chrystyna had said that she would like to PR this race.  Her previous PR was 2:38ish.  I knew I could pretty comfortably get her a faster time than that.  She had a few goals - PR, under 2:35 and a 2:30.  We started a little fast but she felt good, so we kept going.  She did great all race.  The really nice people who planned  the course put a mountain at mile 6.  And don't bother telling me there aren't mountains in DC, this was definitely a mountain.  It slowed us down just a touch, but we had made up the time in a mile or so. 

Around mile 10 my watch died.  But I didn't tell her.  I tried to keep glancing at it like I had been all along.   Once she asked if we were on pace to finish in under 2:32.  I lied and told her yes.  I guess it wasn't actually a lie, but I certainly didn't know for sure.  We finished in 2:31:43.  Ironically, we were faster in the last 3 miles after my watch died.  I was very excited that we met 2 of her 3 goals.  The funniest part is when she was a few steps behind me I would try to point out holes or bumps in the road.  She took my pointing to mean I wanted her to speed up.  So funny. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this race.  I think the Rock n Roll series is generally well done.  There was a good bit of sightseeing the first few miles.  We ran past the Washington Monument and the White House and ran to Arlington National Cemetery.  One thing I like that some other races have done, but Rock n Roll doesn't,  is give you a list of some of the things you will pass on the course and their significance.  Something like that would have been great for this race.  The crowd support was awesome!  The waterstops were terrible.  I don't think the race was able to secure enough volunteers.  There were a few waterstops that definitely cost us a little time.  Oh and bag check was a complete disaster.  This is one place this series usually excels at.  But not this race.  The line to drop off your bag (arranged alphabetically) was 20 - 30 people long and slow moving.  Picking up the bags post race was even worse.

If you're looking to do a race in DC, I would recommend this race.  I'm not sure I would do this one again, mostly because, as my sweet husband tells me all the time, if I want to complete my half marathon in each state goal, I have to stop doing the same races over again.

A New Level of Crazy - Race 1 Tom King

I love the half marathon.  It's my perfect race distance.  There's a good balance between needing to train and keeping a normal life.  Unlike marathon training, where you turn your life over to training.  And shorter distance races don't require enough training for me

As much as I love the half marathon, even I think doing 3 halfs in 9 days is a tiny bit crazy.  But, obviously, I'm a little crazy too.  I blame my dear friend Chrystyna for giving us this idea.  Truthfully, we all went along with it with very little complaining.  Well, very little until the second race weekend.

Gail, Nicole and I did our first race as Tom King the weekend before our double race.  Chrystyna is doing hers the weekend after (tomorrow, actually).  She lives in Dallas now (yeah, I'm still a tiny bit sad about it).  So we decided we'd do 2 of the 3 races together.

This is my fourth year to run Tom King.  It was my very first half marathon in 2010.  Here are the things I love about this race - you get to see a lot of friends on the out and back course and you get to finish inside LP Field.  Everyone talks about it like it's a super easy half (is there such a thing really?).  But every year, I find myself thinking about how hard it is.  There isn't a lot of crowd support, and I love the distraction of people cheering and creative signs.  And even though it is relatively flat, it's not my favorite course.

This year I had a blister come up on the bottom of my right foot.  I could feel it start about mile 6.  My shoes were relatively new, but I'd already run the New Orleans half on them with no problems.  And my socks were my most faithful brand (feetures).  By mile 8, I could feel the blister growing.  And finally between mile 10 and 11, it burst.  OUCH!  I have had plenty of blisters, but never had one burst open.  And I hope never too again. 

I had planned to run the race with my friend Lauren.  She was going to pace me to a new PR.  My goal was 2:14:59 or faster.  But it wasn't meant to be this race.  Mark had his hip replacement done just 2 days before the race. I spent the 2 nights prior to the race sleeping in a hospital chair.  They say it folds out to a cot, but I'm in disagreement.  Not exactly a strong pre-race plan.  I backed out of running with her the morning of the race.  It worked out well for her.  She ran the 5k with her husband (his first) and was super speedy. 

Even with the blister and the sleeping in the chair, it was the fastest I have run this race.  Every year, I swear I'm not running this half again next year, but I always change my mind.  I've said I won't run it again, but I'm sure I'll be there next year too.

Mark's surgery went well.  This time he had a full hip replacement.  The recovery has seemed to be much easier and less painful than the other two fixations.  Thankfully, the surgeon who did the replacement suggested Mark see an Endocrinologist.  We learned that his pituitary gland is not functioning properly.  He is very low on several hormones.  Most likely this is the reason the other two surgeries did not work and the reason the fracture occurred in the first place. 

The big question is will Mark run again.  Everyone seems to have a different opinion on this.  The doctor said once he's completely healed and released he can run again.  The risk is he will have to have his hip replaced again sooner than if he doesn't run.  But because Mark is younger than most replacement patients, he'll have to have it replaced again anyway.  The doctor did suggest maybe shorter distance races or tris.  Ultimately, it's really up to Mark if he wants to run again.  We have 2 friends who have had replacements and still run.  I try not to push for one way or the other (I'd be annoyed if someone, even Mark, tried to tell me I should or shouldn't run).  I think he will run.  He loves it too much to give it up.