Finish time: 2:06:29 (PERSONAL RECORD!)
Placing: 85 out of 162
With the year is winding down, I was looking back at the races I did this year and I realized that since Mini was born I have run races at all the standard distances except for the half marathon. And so I set out to do a half before the end of the year. And then, just as I type this, I realize that I actually had run a half marathon about a month ago (the DC Half and Half, though not an official race), so maybe I never needed to run this.
But I’m glad that I did. I’m always glad that I go out for a run. It may feel painful to go through the process, just like it’s sometimes painful to go through the process of writing, but when I’m done, I’m glad I did it. It was a cold morning, fresh off the first winter snow. Even up until the race, as I sat in my car to keep warm, I thought about going back home. But I didn’t listen to that devil on my shoulder, went out and ran, had a great conversation with a stranger, and set a personal record.
I saw this race and kept my eye on registering. I was traveling to South Carolina on the Friday before for an appointment with my mom, and so I waited until Saturday to register in case something came up. Thankfully, the appointment went very well, my mom is still cancer free (!) and so I went forward with registering.
I snowed briefly on Saturday, and since this race happens on a trail, I was a little concerned about the conditions. That, and I haven’t really run very much at all recently. Ironically, the last two longish runs I’ve done have both been in very cold weather (below freezing).
Anyway, the race started at 8:30 in Georgetown, and I headed down there by 7:30 to pick up my packet. It was cold. The thermometer on my car said 34 degrees, the windchill was 29. I sat in my car and debated coming back home. But then I figured that, at most, I’d be done in 2.5 hours, so why not just run the thing. Kind of weird logic, I know.
I stepped outside and snapped some pictures, but even as I walked over to the start, I thought about turning around. The mind is a powerful thing.
My goal was to try and PR, but really to keep under at 10 min/mile pace.
10:02 min/mile; 9:31; 9:27; 9:18
The course is pretty straight forward. It’s an out and back along Capital Crescent Trail which later turns into the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal Towpath. The trail was a little slippery for the initial mile or two. And it was pretty muddy. But the scenery was beautiful.
9:31; 9:32; 9:51; 9:32
Right around mile 5, I started chatting with a fellow runner. And we ended up running the rest of the race together. Experiences like this are exactly why I love running in races–I always seem walk away from every race with a positive experience and interaction. She was running this race to complete 100 miles of race running this year. Which then got me to thinking, how many miles in races did I run this year?
If I don’t count the DC Half and Half, the answer is 90.3 miles of racing. If you do count the H&H, it comes to 100.3 (I ran only 10 miles of it). So technically, I guess, I too was trying to pass 100 miles of race running this year too.
9:31; 9:32; 9:51; 9:51
As mentioned above, the race kind of went by quickly from here because I had a running partner to chat with. When we got to the end of mile 12, I was actually kind of surprised that we were almost done with the race.
Once I recognized we were at the last mile, the race felt long again. I guess I had spent the whole morning dreading the race, and then for most of it, I had unexpectedly forgot that I was really running. And when the finish was coming up, my legs started to feel heavy again. But from the glances down at my watch, I knew that I was going to PR, so I felt great. PRing a half marathon in the snow, nothing like it!
After sprinting to the finish, I collected my medal, which was a kind of cool bottle opener. This was a pretty small event, so there wasn’t much of a formal finish, but it was still well done. I grabbed some of the snacks and water laid out, said goodbye to my race friend, and headed back to my car.
As I drove home, I started to think a lot about some of the perspectives I gained through the year, and how this race was a bit of a microcosm of that. I decided to put my own negativity and nay-saying behind me and go for a run in the snow. I reached a personal best, had an unexpectedly great experience, and had a nice conversation with a one-time stranger. All in all, a pretty good run.