Going to try something new here in the form of a Weekly Review. (Named as such until I can think of something cooler. Maybe I’ll bring back the runDisneyBelle Review…better alliteration…)
Thoughts on the Week:
-2017 is flying by way too fast. I cannot believe that TOMORROW IS APRIL 1ST. Just…wow. Where has this year gone?! I feel like I turn around and lo and behold, it’s Friday. (and this is after thinking that every day of the week is Thursday.)
-I’m closing in on my one-year anniversary here in Washington D.C. on Monday (woooo). I’ve never been able to say that I’ve been with a company for an entire year, since I’ve spent most of my 20’s in university (that equates to semester assistantships/jobs or something seasonal in the retail/restaurant industry). I’m mentally preparing a more in-depth retrospect of my past year for Monday, so stay tuned.
Meanwhile, in running land…
Welcome to Marine Corps Marathon Lottery Week! This is a pretty suspenseful week as marathon hopefuls put their names into the abyss in hopes that they get picked to run The People’s Marathon (also known as The Marathon of the Monuments). Above is my “The waiting game sucks. Let’s play Hungry Hungry Hippos!” face.
So I waited and waited some more. Thursday was MCM Notification Day (aka “Break Your Refresh Key Day)…
And there was celebration! I am SO happy to have been picked for the 42nd MCM, and for good reason: it was my first marathon. And it was also the marathon where I got my first DNF in 2015. It is going to mean SO much to exact revenge on the course that did me in. Must do. Can do. Will do.
It is also Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Miler weekend!! Also known as the Runner’s Rite of Spring, the CUCB 10M draws runners from national and international fields, with large prize pools and fast times. The CUCB course, which will take place in D.C. around the Tidal Basin, Rock Creek Park, and Hains Point, is super flat with an elevation change of only 31 feet at most, so there will be exciting racing within the elite field. There will also be a 5K run/walk after the 10 Milers have taken off. There will be roughly 16,000 participants (almost like a runDisney race!), and hopefully the remaining blossoms haven’t fallen off the trees yet. Temperatures are projected to be in the low to mid 40’s on race morning with sunshine (which is like a heat wave compared to Rock ‘n’ Roll DC a few weeks ago), so we should be good to go!
Congrats to the MCM Class of 2017! Let’s get out there and rock it! And good luck to everyone racing this weekend!
If this is your first time attempting this lottery, congrats! You’re one of us crazies!
One of us. One of us…
In all seriousness, the Marine Corps Marathon lottery is a day of epic suspense. Starting at noon, the process will begin. It will go a little something like this:
If you are selected, the above will apply.
1 & 2. A pending race registration transaction WILL APPEAR FIRST. Keep an eye on your bank account.
3. It may take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours for the acceptance email to hit your inbox. Don’t panic. There are a TON of runners that registered for the lottery. I didn’t get my email until almost 6pm in 2014 (my first MCM).
4. Celebrate! You’re gonna run a marathon! 🎉🎉
The most important thing to keep in mind is that this process takes awhile. Pack your patience. If you haven’t gotten notification in the first couple hours, don’t get discouraged. Keep checking back periodically.
Good luck, runners! I hope to be on the course with you! 🖤❤️💛
After a cold spell here in DC last week, it was speculated that the treasured cherry blossoms that surround the Tidal Basin and other areas would not bloom. While some blossoms didn’t reach the poofy white stage and died off as a brown color, many did pull through! Woohoo!
The weather on Saturday was perfect for bloom watching. I am usually anti-DC on the weekends because it’s way too crowded, but I made an exception to walk about and take some pictures. Enjoy!
Here’s to hoping they stay relatively intact for the Cherry Blossom 10M next Sunday! 🌸🌸
Very long story short: I had every intention on completing the RnR DC Marathon on Saturday, and to help Chris to finish his first 26.2. However, due to exceptional logistical ignorance and lack of proper course preparation from race officials, our attempt at the distance was soured and resulted in us finishing the half marathon instead.
But you all know that all my racing adventures have a story to tell, so let us begin this journey starting at the expo on a blustery cold Friday morning…
Chris and I journeyed to the expo at the DC Armory on Friday morning and stayed about two hours. The weather was projected to be in the mid to upper 20’s with wind on race day. This was colder than the WDW Marathon, by the way!
The highlight of the day was getting to meet Olympian and NYC/Boston winner Meb Keflezighi!
The Rock ‘n’ Roll series had a huge banner, which would be one of 21 to line the course at their season finale in San Antonio to celebrate their 20 Years Running campaign. Of course, we had to sign it.
After the expo, Chris and I walked around the city a little bit, and ended up at Shake Shack at Union Station. So good!!
We ended up in bed around 10pm and readied ourselves for the bitter cold that would accompany our marathon the next day…
Race morning comes around and we bundle up in layers (I wore three, plus two sets of gloves) and walk the mile or so to the staging area. It was 26 degrees outside with a real feel of 16 degrees. Coldness aside, we were greeted by a beautiful sunrise as we gathered into the corrals. I had projected a 4:30 time finish when I signed up last year–which was a tad too ambitious–and I ended up in Corral 5. I had studied the map and saw that there were 26 corrals total. Okay! That’s cool! I thought. With a 2-3 minute launch between corrals, we should have no problem staying ahead of the pacing vehicle.
Slightly after 7:00am, we started. Chris and I agreed on a :45/:45 interval pace, which served us well for the majority of the race overall. All we had to be concerned about was making it to the half/full split at 10:40am (according to the website). The first 5k was relatively decent, coming in around a 41:00-ish split. But one thing we noticed very quickly, was…where were all the runners? Were there really 26 corrals for marathoners or were there 26 corrals for the half marathoners? Was our math wrong?
The second 5K took us through Rock Creek Park. Sticking with our intervals, we suddenly found ourselves in No Man’s Land. Seriously…where was everyone? With all those corrals on that staging map, you’d think there would have been more people in the back.
Around mile 5.75, the Wear Blue to Remember mile started, and with it came The Hill. Chris and I agreed to walk this hill, and I’m glad we did. Future runners: It is at a 10% incline for .10 of a mile. Nevertheless, we persisted: it was lined with American flags and the best course support of the whole race (IMO):
It snaked up like an “S” and all we could do was keep pushing forward. I got many compliments on my Sparkle Athletic skirt, which made me really happy. We got to the top and the 10K split timer was there. Woot!
We were halfway through the first half of this race, and suddenly we found ourselves running through neighborhoods…with hardly anyone lining the streets. This was rather sketchy and kind of scary. We felt like we were in another world…I mean, were we even on the right course? When were the half marathoners going to catch up to us? Where were all the runners?!
I was getting very frustrated around Mile 11, and contemplated just skipping the full route and finishing with the half. I felt pathetic and slow, and even though we were sticking with our intervals, being lonely at the very back of the field with no direction or little support was mentally draining. I had researched the average finish time of the marathoners from past races, and it averaged around 4:15, 4:30-ish. This race clearly wasn’t made for turtles, and it was beginning to show.
However, after petting some very adorable puppies on the course, I changed my mind and started looking for that half/full split, which should have been coming up at 12.3. There were signs…
…and we stayed to the right of the road as loads of faster half marathoners breezed on past us (which we were cheering along, of course). We reasoned that there would be arrows or signs or cones or actual course officials directing this split. We ran along and couldn’t find it. Did we pass it? Where was this marked?
We ran over to a couple of police officers who, unfortunately, gave us no answer. (I guess they weren’t briefed on this.) We kept following the course, staying to the right, and saw that the finish line was just over the hill.
What the actual hell. WHERE WAS THE SPLIT? Did we miss it? Did they close it? It was 10am, and the website said that full runners would be diverted at 10:40am:
We crested the hill, and saw the full/5k finish and the half finish. I pulled myself off the course and started crying out of panic and frustration. I couldn’t believe it. We were going to be forced to finish this on the WRONG DISTANCE that we didn’t sign up for, of no fault of our own because someone somewhere screwed up. No signs, no officials, no nothing. We had a 40-minute advantage, and yet, we were still going to be penalized for logistical ignorance by the race directors.
Chris hugged me and said, “Let’s go finish the half.” (“There could be Hamilton tickets at the finish!”…which I will forever quote him for.) Angrily, I walked back across the course and took off toward the finish line, finishing in 3:02.
This ended up being a PR for me (finally, after three years!) by four minutes, but I was so wrecked with emotion I didn’t even think about that until waaaay after the fact. When we took our medals from the medal ladies, we explained what had happened, that it wasn’t our intent to do the half but we really had no other choice because we had no clue what was going on. They were sweet to give us the full marathon medals in addition to the half medals.
I walked to the Mylar station and got a blanket from our friend Lauren (whom you may remember from last year running the RnR 5K together), and I started sobbing again, blanketed with confusion and anger and frustration. We walked through the rest of the recovery stations, and rang the PR bell because, after all, we did technically PR the half distance…
While we were over there, I got my marathon jacket, and then we slowly walked back to the Metro…dejected, upset, and very, very cold.
Christina’s Post-Race Thoughts:
*This was the coldest race I’ve ever done. It took me roughly a day to thaw out. I know the weather was a big deterrent of spectators cheering us on along the course (or maybe this just isn’t that popular of a DC race for people to do so?), so it was a lonely run.
*So…no signage right at the half/full split and not adhering to your own time standards? Rock ‘n’ Roll, get your shit together. You would think that a race series that has been established for 20 years they would have these sorts of things down to a T. I have never participated in a race with such a poor execution of direction and communication. I will, unfortunately, never again sign up for the DC version of this race.
*Also, a word of caution for those of you that aren’t pulling BQs with every marathon you run: don’t sign up for this race in DC. It doesn’t cater well to the slower runners. With a 5:30 finish time, that would equate to a 2:15 half split, essentially (12:30-something pace). I would highly recommend the Marine Corps Marathon series or something similar.
In the end, I’m glad I got a PR (albeit a small one), and am very very grateful that I had Chris there to maintain the intervals. I am really looking forward to seeing Chris come back in October and crush the Marine Corps Marathon (which he’s wanted to make his first marathon for quite some time now).
I was also relatively okay-ish with my splits, which included a couple potty stops:
What will I do with the marathon medal and jacket? That remains to be seen.
Did you run RnR DC? Did you experience any types of issues like mine?
After traversing 17.44 miles the previous day with the Enchanted 10K, EPCOT (and carbo loading with those huge ass pretzels in Germany), and meetups over at Polynesian, it was time for my fifth running of the Princess Half!
I set my alarm slightly earlier on Sunday (around 2:15), and made sure I gave myself plenty of time to get dressed and get my stuff in order. I also made sure to pack all of my previous GSC medals into my gear bag. This would come into play later for my legacy picture.
I decided to go with a “Beasty Belle” theme with the blue and yellow. You can’t really see it, but the tank top has the Ravenclaw crest on it. Chris got that for me awhile back, and I truly think that Belle would have been a Ravenclaw!
I decided to take the familiar route to EPCOT this time around, and completely ignore my GPS. This paid off as I got to the parking lot with no problems. I was reluctant to leave my car, though: the temps had dipped from the previous day, the humidity was down, and the wind was up. It felt like marathon weekend all over again. The forecast had originally been projected to actually be in the 30’s with wind…just like marathon weekend. Luckily for us, the temps were in the mid 50’s. Still, though…for someone that’s constantly cold no matter what the weather is, it still felt like an ice box.
I made my way over to the TS bag check and waited for the team to arrive for our usual picture. There were reports coming in from social media that traffic was at a standstill and/or crawling. By 4:30am, the majority of us had arrived!
I also ran into Caroline, my favorite Sparkly Soul sister!
We took off for the potties and then to the corrals. En route, I saw some of the elites literally running along the sides of the road to get up to the front corrals. This traffic jam was such a determent that the race directors decided to postpone the start by about five to seven minutes. Fantastic, I thought to myself, as I sat in corral K with a hooded zip-up sweater I found hanging on the barrier of the corral. It alleviated some of the coldness, but not enough for my taste.
Finally, we started moving around. One thing I did notice right away was that the Fairy Godmother wasn’t around to count us down, nor were there any characters up at the front. Were they all on vacay or something? This was such an iconic part of previous Princess races, and really made the race what it was. I really missed her motivational speeches.
Finally, we got the fireworks and Corral K was off on their magical 13.1 miles! As much as I wanted a PR on this half, I know from my performance the previous day that it wasn’t going to happen. I took this race easy and made sure those side stitches didn’t come back.
Time to PR in photography once again!
Now, for those of you wondering…yes, you can pee in the men’s bathroom. When ya gotta go, you gotta go. Nobody cares. We’re all runners.
Heading to the castle post-pee…
Anyone else besides me notice the lack of photo ops? For example, just past mile 6 there’s usually a train right here. Not there this time…
Around the halfway point of this course, things started to get reeeeeal boring. You hit the second Cone Alley and all paces come to crawl. I found one of the 3:00 pace groups to run with for a little bit, thinking, “Oh hey, maybe if I stick with these guys, I’ll get that sub-3!” Upon further inspection, they started in Corral M, not Corral K. Womp womp.
And on we go…
I finished this PHM in 3:34 on the nose, which is my second worst half marathon to date. I’m just glad to have made it in one piece with minimal oblique/rib pain and a lot of pretty pictures. Oh, and meeting new friends!! I finally got to meet Ian (left) and Keith (right) on my way out of the staging area!
And, of course, I couldn’t leave without getting the GSC legacy shot (which garnered many comments of, “Shut the front door!” as I was layering up the medals!) One more year to go to become a Perfect!
Christina’s Post-GSC Thoughts:
There’s really not a lot I can say now that I haven’t already covered in previous years, but I’ll repeat some of them…. The lack of characters and on-course perks are still diminishing with every year, and is making it hard to justify the cost of the races… As mentioned above, if you need to pee somewhere, just go pee… Don’t bottleneck the castle… Don’t walk 239847 abreast in Cone Alley… Be careful in that first cone alley as you go down the hill, because you’ll eat it if you’re not paying attention…. Don’t underestimate the power of the SUN; stay hydrated and properly sunscreened…don’t be too upset if you don’t PR this race; it’s designed to be fun (I have to tell myself that every time I come down here)…don’t traverse 17 miles the day before or your feet are gonna be sore…always bring throwaway clothes or a Mylar blanket so you don’t freeze, especially for those of us who are prone to the cold…etc. etc.
Since next year is the 10 year anniversary of the Princess Half, and the five-year anniversary of the Glass Slipper Challenge (now going by the name of “Fairytale Challenge”…-_____-), I’m curious to see what the theme is! Typically the runDisney Easter Egg is whoever the character is at the Mile 13 marker will the theme for the following year’s race. This year, though…it was Belle. Way to keep us in suspense, runDisney! I guess we’ll have to the wait and see!