RnR USA: Run with Muscles over Mind

We’re always hinting at the mental game that fitness can become; sometimes we have to dig deep in the mind to convince our muscles that they can keep moving. Saturday’s race flipped the coin on me, my legs spoke loud and clear.

IMG_0655 MarathonFoto Starting Line

Thanks, D, for trekking to the Starting line with us, playing photographer and being there at the finish!

Our 7 a.m. arrival left barely enough time to get wander around, settle for the outdoor bathrooms (aka, port-a-potties), give our extra layer to D (left photo) and loop around to Corral 2 (right photo). Crowded? Of course. But it didn’t quite feel like we were surrounded by 24,000 people. Kudos, RnR! You’re tricky, with your planning.

Mind memo: it may have been a huge mistake to actually race on Sunday, just six days ago. I may not have the speed today that I’ll really need to push that 1:39 barrier. I may just have to play it by ear.

Legs: Excited! Jittery! Nervous! I remember every single one of the hills we’re about to hit, every step. 1:39? Gotcha covered.

Miles 1 – 4(ish): Flat, partially downhill and everything I love about running in DC! We head toward the regal Capitol dome, sneak by Union Station and head onto Constitution Avenue (with a few course adjustments this year, we didn’t spend as much time on Constitution).

To the left? The monument (photo below actually taken from the other side – say hello to the Cherry blossoms!). To the right? The Obamas! Good morning!

MarathonFoto Eastern Market  MarathonFoto 3

I paid some attention to my splits, and was trying not to back things up too much. Mile 3 clocked in at “6:54”, which was my first clue that Garmin was goin’ rogue for the day. Otherwise, things were right where they needed to be. My mind talked to itself from each side – I can maintain this  vs. eh, we’ll see how it goes…

The brain is a fickle friend sometimes. Loyalty rests in muscle memory.

Miles 5 – 8: THE HILL(s). We start the climb at the bottom of 18th Street (hey Emily!)  on the Mall. It doesn’t really stop until we reach Adam’s Morgan, and every time I run this course I’m grateful that I run hills more often than not. At the turn onto Columbia Rd my heart rate was quick to remind me that we were racing today, not “just” running.

Oh, you’re done for the day, G? I see how it is.
My watch switched back to the “Time/Date” screen, and stayed there for the rest of the race. Mile splits still popped up on the screen, but generally I was doing the math in my head every time I saw a race clock at the mile markers*.

At the top I saw Ivan & Epod, who are usually on this foot-tour with me. HELLO!

RnR Adams Morgan mile 6

From here we enter the tunnel of rolling hills – you think you’re done, then you’re not. Then you think you might be….but you’re not! Distraction came in the form of the best spectators in DC – festive costumes, signs, yard-parties, tailgates & rockin’ bands.

Miles 9-11: Are we there yet? Am I done? Did the sun just get 20* hotter in 5 seconds?! I remembered feeling like I was flying last year – going about this same pace, but having had no intention of doing so. I was back home, and it felt so good. My mind finally did me a favor, trusting that if that PR was possible one year ago, this one would be, too.

*Math be damned! I know I’ve got this, and I can do it without staring at the timer on my wrist.

Turning onto H street meant I finally got to see the Back on My Feet crewthey rock. Screaming & cheering and genuinely SO EXCITED for all of out there. You guys are amazing – thanks for the needed boost!

….Miles 12 & 13: Not fun, not euphoric, not enjoyable. All I know is that I was closing in that goal, my mind was anxious and my muscles just seemed to calmly take over. They knew exactly what to do and how to do it. The last few splits (starting at mile 9) were the most consistent I had all day – 7:17, 7:15, 7:17, 7:30, 7:17.

MarathonFoto Finishing Line 1100_1833

13 – 13.1 taught me exactly what that puke threshold feels like. It’s totally worth it to check that Goal box.

MarathonFoto after 1 100_1835100_1843
IMG_0659RnR USA 2012 Medal

2012 Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Half-Marathon Official Results:

1:38:56 – avg. 7;33

Gender: 164 / 10,707
Age Group (25-29): 51 / 3025
Overall: 664 / 16291


Congrats to all who finished,
and a huge kudos to those who tackled the FULL on a very warm, sunny spring day!



Filed under challenges, DC, Goals, race report, running, things I Love

24 responses to “RnR USA: Run with Muscles over Mind

  1. Congrats on an amazing finish! Looks like a beautiful day!

  2. LOVE the race day pics — you look utterly euphoric in them, how is that even possible given how FAST you were going?? You are amazing! Nicely done!

  3. When we saw you, you’d never have known that you’d just come up that hill. You looked great! Congrats on the PR!

  4. Way to go on a great run – and kudos to you on not letting a wonky Garmin throw you off. That would have driven me (and probably most runners) nuts of thrown off my game!

    BTW, HOW is it that you manage to look so cute in your race pictures?! I always look either near death or crazy (or some combination of those two) in all my race pictures haha! I don’t think I have a single normal one!!

    • Heather C

      Ha, well it’s pretty easy to spot the photogs, and I just flash ’em a smile if I have the energy 😉 I’ve tried “fun” poses, but whoa, I always look like a crazy-person.

    • Heather C

      Thank you! The watch issue did bug me for a while, but when you can’t beat it, go with it? I don’t know, but it probably worked out for the best. The last mile or so just made me nervous, because I thought I was cutting it close!

  5. the race where garmin goes rogue = a PR. HMMMMMM.



  6. Congrats!!

    How do you look so fantastic in all of your pics??

  7. Congrats on the PR! I’m working on the mental game myself, glad to hear that your legs took control on Saturday.

  8. fab time on your half marathon well done.

  9. My lawd! You are super shamrock woman! HOLY CRAP!!! You are unstoppable. This is amazing.

    What beautiful pictures. I love the R&R series. Can’t believe you agreed to do a race near St Patty’s day, but this is awesome. Great work, again!! My goodness!

  10. Great photos! I totally thought that “Proof” referred to “proof I ran this race” hahaha

  11. Wow, speedy legs!! Awesome job! I love all of the pics too 🙂

  12. I just love your race recaps! again, big congrats on the PR. and awesome race photos this go round! xo

  13. I need you to pace me for my next half! I’ve been trying to go under 2 hours (my fastest was 2 hrs 31 seconds!). Any suggestions or tips for training? My next half is May 6 and I used DC just as a fun run.

    • Heather C

      What half are you running ont he 6th? I’ve only been a pacer once, but it’s fun! 🙂 You can definitely get that sub-2, no doubt.

      Tips? Between now and then, do a few tempo runs (one per week) at your race pace, to start getting used to how it feels.

  14. YES I love this report!! Your legs knew what to do, so good for you letting them do it! Crazy that G acted up — who knows, maybe it was a good thing? Either way, congrats on a nice, strong, steady race and the sweet PR!!!

    3:30 marathon? I think so.

    I am having issues with commenting on WordPress blogs because my email is still associated to an account with my wordpress.com blog before I switched to self hosted. Long story, but anyway – that is why I am not using the correct email address to comment! Just remove “wordpresshatesme-” and that is my actual address, which I think you have anyway. 🙂

    • Heather C

      Ha, that is Brilliant (re: fake e-mail)!

      To all who have had issues commenting – try using a different e-mail address, one that isn’t tied a WordPress account (unless you still use that WordPress account – in which case, you should be fine!).

  15. looks like a great day for a race and holy cow how do you look so good in your photos???

    congrats on sticking to the training and pulling off a great race!!

  16. Pingback: Some Don’t like it hot: Yoga, Cool Eats & Spring Racing | Dietitian on the Run

  17. Wow, impressive! 7:33 pace is my fastest one mile ever 🙂 Some day I’ll get where you are, I hope! You are an inspiration!

  18. Pingback: Navy-Air Force Half-Marathon: Testing 1,2,3 | Dietitian on the Run

Let's Hear It!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s