Misadventures with wine, weights, and running shoes.

Race Recap: Marine Corps Historic Half - Our First Race Together

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Time for out long overdue race recap of the Marine Corps Historic Half - Our first race together. Since I'm writing this one, Cindy's Side Notes (CSN) have been added in maroon in parenthesis .

Naturally, all great races start with an expo and packet pick-up. That means road trip. At about 8:00 in the morning on Saturday, May 17th I grabbed Cindy, followed by coffee - no great road trip happens without coffee - and we drove our happy butts to Fredericksburg, VA. It was an uneventful two hour drive to an uneventful expo.

It was so uneventful, we forgot to take pictures AT the expo - we need to get better at that.

(CSN: As this is my first official race as a blogger, I was doing my best to take as many mental notes-so for future reference TAKE ALL THE PICTURES)

So here's one from the car in all our cranky glory because we were, in fact, starving!

Lucky for us, there was the answer to our food prayers, just around the corner - Outback Steakhouse - where we could eat ALL THE FOOD!

We are not carbo loading pasta downing gals. The sweet potato is my idea of carb loading - no butter, no sugar - just sweet potato goodness. I made a second one when I got home that evening.

(CSN: This is NOT our pre-race meal, but our pre-pre-race meal. Unless you want to, as a part your race visit ALL THE PORT A JONS, eat this the night before. Your biggest pre-race meal should be lunch giving you plenty of time to um, process it. An easily digestible protein and complex carbs, low fiber - NO SALAD - pre-race meal that fuels your muscles and doesn’t sit in your gut like lead is what we recommend and works for us.)

Naturally, we both assembled our gear for the following morning - and then I crashed for the night. ZZZzzzzzz.
Flat Cindy

Flat Theresa
Morning came really damn quick! I was up well before 2:00am. That is correct - you are reading that right - TWO O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING. That is even too damn early for this early bird, who normally is up at 3:00am. Needless to say, I did not hit fully functional until about 6:00am which is unfortunate for everyone else. (CSN: Yes, yes it was!) Sorry!

I arrived at Cindy's just after 3:00 and we were at Michelle's by 3:30am. Michelle is a Saint - she drove. I vegged out in the back while I listened to them talk up front. Cindy, being the awesome woman that she is, got us coffee the night before from Starbucks.

(CSN: For someone that has only recently started getting up at a ridiculous early time -thanks to my blog partner in crime - the coffee was essential to me not only for being able to complete a full sentence but also to not cause harm to my travel buddies.)

Drinking iced coffee results in pit stops so we shot a picture on the way.
Leaving that early in the morning, comes with it's benefits. We arrived ahead of schedule and got amazing parking at the starting line which was right next to Wegman's. Hello real bathrooms. We also got to chill out in the car until about 15 minutes before the race start at which time we made our way to our areas.

Since my allergies were on hyper drive over the last two weeks, I took advantage of the time in the car to take, pretty much, all my drugs. If I could have come up with a couple of extra ones to take, I may have taken them too. I thought my allergies were bad in Maryland, but something in Virginia was sending them through the room. I am relatively sure that it was written all over my face too - Cindy asked me a half dozen times if I was ok. I was miserable.

(CSN: For someone who is normally just as much a chatter box as Michelle and I, it was pretty evident how she felt when all we got was one worded answers. Sole Sister rule of thumb; If you ask, "are you ok?", and the reply is, “I’m fine” - it is NOT fine. You are being asked to ignore the obvious because he/she is choosing to suck it up and drive on. Yes, that would be Theresa that morning}

The 15 minute warning was made over the loud speaker and we wandered over to the race start. Naturally, pre-race photos ensued.

We made our way to our appropriate starting locations. Mine was around the 2:10 finish time and Cindy's was around ZOMG that's fast - close enough that SHE was all most in reach of the starting arch.

(CSN: So as I weave in and out of the crowd and get to my hopeful starting group, I look around and briefly thought, should I be THIS CLOSE? My goal was to PR this race - my previous half was flat - like St Pete 20 feet is considered a hill flat, two years prior. Not much on this course was flat, so I knew this was not an easy task, but if you want to get faster, get up and go faster, so took a deep breath and this is what I did)
So have you ever had one of those races that was a total blur for the majority of it? For me - this was that race. What I do remember is that the new watch was having some accuracy issues. I had just gotten my long awaited Bia Sport Watch and around mile 4, I realized that my watch had jumped to mile 5. Hello, discouraging. I am trying to remember that they are still working the bugs out of the watch and that I was a backer/pre-order. I'll fill you all in on the watch at a later time.

(CSN: Similar take with mine. I had received my new Garmin for mother’s day and it was my first race wearing it. It took me till mile 3 to realize I hadn't set my screens correctly and ONLY had average pace and not current, so it wasn't until the end of the mile and my watch beeped that I knew about my pace- very frustrating at first, but focusing on the watch wasn't helping me race, so I let it go and hoped for the best!)

Anyway, the mile accuracy thing kind of screwed up my fuel and sodium intake, as I go by miles instead of time. I am just glad I wasn't racing this race and was just running it.

(CSN: If they offer nutrition on the course take it even if you think you won’t need it. Like a squirrel, store it away just in case. One of my gels fell out and I didn't realize it. I usually bring an extra, but because I was racing, I needed a bit more and any extra nutrition could have really helped. I could have especially used that extra nutrition for the hill.)

By far, my most favorite part of the race was Hospital Hill. The first ten miles were ran with great anticipation of this infamous climb and while it was my favorite part of the race, I was a bit underwhelmed by it. All the talk and all the hype surrounding Hospital Hill had me envisioning a miniature Peakwood Mountain - it ended up being a speed bump. Cindy will disagree with me on this.

(CSN: My favorite part was probably the rolling hills through the neighborhoods. This really is a beautiful course and well supported with the people posting signs in their yard and cheering us on. Rolling hills I am good on, Hospital Hill, sad to say is NOT a speed bump, unless you race up mountains like my counterpart. My strategy had been to give myself a little cushion on time before the hill, just in case. I found that possibly nutrition and humidity being a factor, my muscles were a little angry around mile 9 and going up these hills, they were pretty furious. My pace dropped 30 seconds per mile for those two miles and I was still passing people. It leveled off, my legs found new life and I took off finishing at a full stride sprint, but needed a little more time cushion: I missed my PR by 6 seconds. It was my best run race to date. so I am still very happy with the results. I now hovered at the finish line to wait for my sole sister to cross.)
The remainder of the race seemed to be down hill and naturally, I thought I'd give myself a little push. That was a bad idea. My lungs were not having it and a distinct burning set in. I can only imagine what I looked like as I crossed the finish. I just knew that I had to walk and get water so I would not pass out. Of course, it must have been bad - the Marine that slipped my medal over my head took one look at me and asked if I was ok.

(CSN: My soul sister pushed hard enough at the finish line that, “I have nothing left. I need water!” was all she said. Handed her water and walked with her. She looked exactly like she felt. Once she was able to walk and get her heart rate and breathing regulated, I could breathe. We then waited for the rest of our crew to cross the finish line.)
While it wasn't an ideal race, it was still a good race all the same. We agreed to come back in 2015 to do it again, only better. Then we bid farewell to the Marine Corps Historic Half and drove off to EAT. ALL. THE. FOOD. AGAIN.

Next on our list of running adventures - Zooma Annapolis Half Marathon - a home turf race. 
4 comments on "Race Recap: Marine Corps Historic Half - Our First Race Together"
  1. Looks like you all had a blast! Confessions of A Mother Runner

    1. Yep! Can't wait to go back and do it again next year - only BETTER!

  2. I absolutely loved this! Great write up, loved how you combined both perspectives, and it looks like you both had a fabulous time!

    1. We did! I will definitely run this race again next year.