Happy June, everyone! I keep reiterating this on my posts from time to time:
Where has 2017 gone? What is life? Why is time moving so fast?
It’s true, too! Seems like just yesterday that it was New Year’s, and now we’re almost to the summer solstice.
This June is a tad more special to me this year, as I will be celebrating my 30th birthday on the 19th. (I’ve seen a bunch of you post on the socials that it is also your birthday month, too! Hooray, June babies!) I know that reaching this milestone will evoke new emotions, new thoughts, new goals, a new age bracket for running. I’m scared, yet excited, as my twenties have truly given me the tools to navigate my thirties and beyond with confidence and dignity.
I have a plethora of “You’re Turning 30, Read This!” articles bookmarked on Pinterest and on the web. I’ve been slightly obsessed with reading about others’ journeys into their thirties so far this year, and I’ll have my own deep thoughts on the matter coming up soon. Many of the things I’ve read I can relate to instantly, others I haven’t even reached yet. (Money matters and 401Ks? Yeah, right. I need a big girl job with benefits first…)
I know I’m still a solid 2.5 weeks away from this milestone, but I still can’t shake the feeling that I haven’t got my shit together yet. I just left my previous position and am keeping one eye on my bank account and the other on job boards/email. I have five applications out there for jobs in the Orlando-ish area, and am hoping for quick replies and good vibes.
June plans consist of my Chicago Marathon training plan beginning Monday, and I have another FL trip lined up for mid-June (provided I don’t already have a lob landed before then). In between? More job apps, more blog posts (let me know if you want me to write about anything specific! I’m always taking requests!), and trying to be in the moment and assuring myself that everything is going to work out and will be okay.
What are your plans and goals for June? How are you kicking the summer off?
Heading back to Disney in February for my sixth Princess Half Marathon weekend! I’ll be running my fifth Glass Slipper/Fairy Tale Challenge, which means Legacy status! Woot woot! 💖🙌🏻
This year, there was speculation that the race weekend would either sell out in five seconds or five months. Turns out, the 10k and challenge sold out within about an hour or so. The Kids races and 5k sold out the next day, and the half still remains.
Any time an anniversary weekend rolls around, the hype is amplified. Runners everywhere still want to know what princess will headline the weekend. I’m calling it now: it will be an all-princess weekend. The fifth-year back in 2013 was like that, along with a redesign of the medal. Lots of pink and glitter and celebrating the love of running.
Looking forward to connecting with you all as we train over the next several months! 💖✨🎀
Happy Sunday, and Happy Easter/Eat Chocolate For Breakfast Day! This past week was really just…blargh. I felt sunny and happy on Monday with our first eighty degree day, and I think I used up all my happiness in one day, because I fell into a depressive state on Tuesday and it hasn’t let up. Hopefully this week will be different.
But let us review!
1. Clyde’s 10K. Time 1:12:33 (chip time).
I am on a PR roll right now! Three races, three PRs. This course, which took place in Columbia, MD, had a variety of terrain (aka a lot of hills). I was honestly surprise with how well I did, seeing as I hadn’t trained at all between the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and this race.
The route wound its way around the Columbia lakefront and surrounding neighborhoods. It provided a nice distraction as we ran up and down a million hills…
Including THE hill…the Route 108 Hill…
Another runner suggested, “Don’t look at the hill. Look down at the road and just keep going!” This was sound advice.
I finished 1:12:33 on the results page (which begs the question of why my Garmin was significantly faster, by 34 seconds!). Regardless, it’s a PR of 4 1/2 minutes. I’ll take it! Afterwards, I met up with the Dunkin’ Donuts crew and just had to get a picture of the donut skirt/headband and truck combo.
The Clyde’s of Columbia crew and the Whole Foods next door provided a smorgasboard of goodies including muffins, bagels, fruit, Powerade, etc. I honestly pushed myself during this race, and thought I was going to throw up everywhere. I was sad that I didn’t eat more than I did, but it was delicious nonetheless.
2. Medal Monday
The Clyde’s 10K was the official conclusion of my 2017 winter/spring racing season. I had told myself that once that race was done, I would go on a racing hiatus for an undetermined amount of time. (Mainly for financial reasons; I know that Chicago is going to be a pretty penny.) This is definitely the most active I have ever been in a four-month period:
Three half marathons (including the unofficial WDW Half)
Two runDisney challenges
3. Tulips on Tulips
Tulips are one of my absolute favorite flowers, and DC has been blooming with them!
4. Chicago Marathon Training Plan
After much deliberation, I have settled on a Chi Marathon training plan. It’ll start in June, and from now until then, I’ll be focused on building up my base, both physically and mentally (great advice from Leah and Malinda of TwinsRun.) I haven’t officially decided on whether I want to try to train to BQ this summer or not, so we’ll see.
5. Cutest Post Its Ever!
Ohhhhh my goodness! I found these at Target and they are the cutest!! *squeee*
One last note:
Best of luck to everyone running the 121st Boston Marathon on Monday! I look forward to cheering you all on from D.C.!
This past weekend was the 45th running of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-Miler. Known as the “Runner’s Rite of Spring”, it is a widely attended race with national and international competition toeing the line for one of D.C.’s most scenic races. I ended up applying for the lottery and got selected a day after I got in for the Chicago Marathon. I’ve applied for this race in the past and have come up short, so it was a nice change of pace. After being rejected by London and Berlin (and I think something else in there), it’s nice to have a few major races to look forward to!
The weekend started with meeting up with Lauren at the expo on Friday afternoon at the National Building Museum.
With regard to the itinerary above, one concept stood out in my mind: this race has a legitimate time limit: 2:20:00. When the start line closes at 8AM, runners have until 10:20AM to make it, or they would not be counted as official finishers. This gave me my race goal. Since I was in the Purple corral (last corral), we would launch at 7:53am, and I would be running with runners at a 12 to 13 minute per mile pace. Knowing I would have less than an 8-minute buffer between myself and the pace vehicles, this encouraged me to stay steady and hopefully not dawdle like I typically do during races.
I’m working to fix that last part. Promise. 🙂
Lauren and I did some pre-race window shopping, and found that Sparkly Soul was going to be at the expo. They are my go-to headband and I have about twenty of them in my collection. We saw my friend and Sparkly Soul ambassador, Caroline, manning the booth!
I picked up three new headbands and Lauren grabbed one. We poked around the expo a little more before I had to peace out. I then spent Saturday preparing for the race and heading to my cousin’s apartment, which was about a half hour walk from the starting area over by the Washington Monument.
One thing I forgot at home were my Honey Stinger gels. Ever since being introduced to them at the Everglades Half, they’ve been my go-to for fueling. I went to Safeway to see if they carried any, and they didn’t. I bought fruit snacks instead!
I was up at 5:30am and out the door by 6:15am. With my corral launching so much later, I wasn’t in a mad rush to get out the door. This paid off as I read the weather report for the morning and realized it was going to be colder than previously thought: low 40’s with wind. Brrrr. Not having it. I swapped out my shorts for thermal tights and layered a jacket over my shirt, along with throwing on a Marine Corps Marathon end-of-race jacket and a runDisney Mylar blankie.
I started walking over to the starting area and the sun slowly coming up. I reached the area around 6:45am and walked around for a moment, getting a feel for where everything was at.
I continued walking about and noticed two very familiar women taking selfies by the cherry blossom trees. I recognized them immediately as Malinda and Leah of Twins Run! I ran over and we all had a big group hug 🙂
We talked for a bit about our upcoming big races (for them: Boston! YAY!), gave me some great insight on how to prepare for Chicago (build a base!), and they chatted about their experiences with the Cherry Blossom races from years’ past. We departed for our corrals after more hugs and good luck wishes.
While hanging out in the last corral, I finally got to meet Heather Mundwiler! We’re both members of Team Shenanigans and have been following each other on social media for awhile. One of my favorite aspects of running is being able to meet those that I have befriended online IRL. Always a great time!
Right after the anthem was sung (by a gentleman who is studying at Westminster choir College…holy voice, Batman!), 7:18 am rolled around and the elite/seeded women were sent off. We stood around what seemed like forever waiting for our corral to launch. The temps were warming up ever so slightly, so I rather reluctantly ditched my space blanket and jacket. (I have a serious problem with being cold. It seems like if the temp is below 70 degrees, I’m freezing.)
7:53 comes and we were off! Woohoo!
With runners needing to submit a proof of time with their lottery entry, it was a true seeding of time. I was in a pack of runners that were literally my speed of 12-13 minutes per mile. My body wanted to run faster, but I couldn’t find a solid stretch of road to do so. I truly felt stuck where I was, even moreso than I am for runDisney events.
Around Mile 2, I got a hello from my old friend Side Stitches. (Seriously, when is this going to end?!) I slowed to a walk on the sidewalk of the Washington Memorial Bridge and stretched out. I kept on going at a more reserved pace for the rest of the race, but damn, it’s frustrating having to deal with those things.
Having started so far back, I was constantly on the lookout for the sweep vehicles. I was coming back up the bridge and saw them coming down in the opposite direction. This put a little pep into my step heading into Mile 3. Around the 5K mark, I noticed that a lot of runners were tripping and falling down; I saw at least three or four bite it around this area. Runners…be mindful of where you’re running and watch for those potholes/each other!
The first half of the race was scenically uneventful, having run the area recently for RnR DC and NAFHALF. I felt no need to take pictures, as the truly scenic parts were coming up during the second half of the race.
My pace around halfway was a 12:30 mile, and I clocked in at 1:02:32. Not too shabby. At least my miles were consistent.
At Mile 5.5 was the Tidal Basin:
THAT was the scene I was looking for. After the cold snap that D.C. endured a couple weeks prior, there was speculation that the blossoms weren’t going to make it. But here they were!
From Mile 6 to Mile 9, we wrapped around Hains Point.
There was also abundant entertainment and cheering:
During the Hains Point portion, I kept a close eye on my Garmin and my phone. I had until 10:20am to cross the finish line to be considered an official finisher. (They’re really strict like that.) I crossed the 9-Mile marker at 1:57:06 (13:01 pace). I knew I had it at this point 🙂
What you don’t see is the last hill I had to ascend at Raul Wallenberg Pl. SW to get to the finish line. Way to make you earn your medal!
I finished in 2:10:05, ten minutes before the cutoff! Woohoo! This medal is absolutely adorable!
I met up with Patrick and Lauren post-race. Lauren found me a discarded space blanket (she’s honestly the Queen of the Space Blankets, as Chris calls it), and we sat around, took some pictures, then trekked to Shake Shack at Union Station for celebratory burgers and fries.
Christina’s Post-Race Thoughts:
This race was incredibly well-organized…all the way up ’til post-race. After crossing the finish line, I walked through the finisher’s chute, which stretched the length of 15th St. NW. There was nothing in this chute: no one handing out medals, no water, no space blankets, no nothing. You had to cross back over onto Washington Monument grounds and find the appropriate tent for medals. En route, there were tables with water, bananas, and Nature’s Valley crunchy bars. Umm…yay post-race recovery?
I did, however, appreciate that there was a hoarde of volunteers checking and rechecking bibs to ensure those that ordered medals got their medals. Thank you, UnderArmour, for manning the medal tent!
Right after I got my medal and snackies, I found Lauren and Patrick. We started walking away from Runner’s Village and tents were already being taken down and things being put away. Wow. Glad I didn’t finish any later!
All in all, this was a solid race. The weather was great (unlike past years, from what I’ve heard/read about), the course support was decent, and the medal is super cute. The course itself is flat and fast (with the exception of that last hill), and with an elevation change of only 31 feet. I would do this race again, but only after I could secure a faster POT.
Next up: my last race of the winter/spring season: Clyde’s 10K!
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! 🖤❤️💛
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?