Spectator Race Report – Diva’s Half Marathon in DC Wine Country

First off, I always laugh when this race is billed as a DC race.  I live less than 2 miles outside of the DC border, and this race started an hour northwest of my house.  It’s a beautiful part of the country, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not Washington, DC.

So as we all know, Kelly and I were spectating this race, both of us rehabbing injuries.  So I’m going to give you my point of view.

This was a Saturday race, so the expo was Friday and Friday only.  No packet pickup on Saturday.  There was no way in the world that we wanted to be driving out to Leesburg in Friday afternoon traffic, so everyone took the day off work, headed out early, and we did some amazing outlet shopping.  Definitely the highlight of the weekend.

The expo was nice enough.  Some good vendors there.  But it was a very small space, and as we left, we could see that it was starting to get very crowded.  Wasn’t going to be fun as the day went on.  But that happens when you have a bunch of women ready to shop!

We had a great day on Friday and finished up the evening with dinner and cupcakes.  You know, gotta fuel up for all that tough spectating.

We were staying about 15 minutes from the start, according to Google Maps, so we left the hotel on Saturday aiming to get there by 6:30 for a 7:30 race start.

That was a ridiculous plan.  Traffic on a little two lane road with apparently no one directing parking (at first) meant that we were inching along.  7:30 came and went.  Thankfully, we had a friend at the start who was relaying what was going on there.  The race organizers also posted on their Facebook page that the start would be delayed.  Go read that thread.  It’s pretty hilarious to watch the comments coming through.

(Important note to remember – if you are going to be mean on the internet, do it anonymously.  Snarking on Facebook with your real name is just idiotic.  One rude woman was so awful that someone used her name to pull up her bib number.  I wonder if anyone found her and gave her a piece of their mind.)

Apparently, the traffic was so bad that the Sheriff was threatening to pull the permits unless someone did something about the cars all backed up.

Finally, we made it.  I’m not sure what time we finally got there.  Maybe a little before 8.  Not good, considering we were aiming for 6:30.  And we weren’t the only ones.  Some people didn’t even get to run, as the police had to start turning away cars.

The race finally started at 9am.  At this point, Kelly and I called our hotel to tell them that we wouldn’t be back by checkout and we were very sorry.  We then wandered to find a place to sit.  And well, being at a winery…

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We watched the 5K runners come in and then the half marathon runners.  We had a nice time sitting outside on a beautiful day.  Our running friends, not so much.

I will let them tell their tales.  This was Betsy‘s first half marathon, and it’s not what I wanted for her, but she made it and she is now a half marathoner!  The course was advertised as having rolling hills.  From what everyone has said, these weren’t rolling hills.  These were large hills and many said the course was worse than Baltimore, which is known for being hilly.  Hilly courses are fine – just advertise them as such so runners can properly train!

Post race, I got to meet up with other friends who were running, which was great, but we had to rush back to the hotel to make our delayed departure.

Remember that traffic getting into the winery?  Yeah, same thing going out.  We didn’t get back to the hotel until almost 3:30.  We left before 1:30.  Two hours.  Of course, we called the hotel multiple times and they were amazing.  We finally asked them to just grab our bags out of the rooms and store them for us so that they could get the rooms clean.  Thank you, Holiday Inn at Carradoc Hall!  Other hotels required people to pay for an extra night.  They were well within their rights to do so.  All because of poor planning on race management’s part.

So far, the only response from the race organizers is a quick sentence on their Facebook page apologizing for parking and traffic delays.  Personally, that’s not good enough for me.  Of course, I would be shocked if they get permits for this race next year.  And if they do, they’ll have trouble getting the same runners to come back.  I’ve heard such great things about this race organization, so I thought this would be a well planned race.  I thought wrong.

VICTORY!

Guys.

I ran 3 whole miles last night.

They weren’t fast, and they weren’t particularly pretty.  But I ran all three miles WITHOUT PAIN!

I am very excited about this.  Can you tell?

I stopped half a mile in, at 1 mile, and at 2 miles to stretch, just to be sure.  And my leg was tight.  It’s still a bit tight this morning.  But it’s not sore.  I’m going to keep up the stretching and the massage and just hope for the best.

Not sure what I’m going to run on Sunday.  I think the plan originally called for something like six miles.  Might try for five and see how that feels.  All treadmill miles, just in case.  That way I can stop immediately if I feel any pain and don’t have to worry about how the heck I’m going to get back home.

In other exciting news, tomorrow is Betsy’s first half marathon!  Everyone wish her luck.  I know she’s gonna be amazing.  I can’t wait to cheer her on through the finish.

It’s the eye of the tiger…

Is the theme from Rocky going through your head yet?  Well it should be.  It’s the theme for this post.

No, I haven’t taken up boxing.

Tonight, I am returning to running!

[cue the cheers]

Marathon training officially started on Tuesday, but tonight I’m finally going to give my leg a try.  The plan is a very easy three miles, then no running the next two days.  And then from there, we’ll see how things are going.

Right now, I’ve only missed two runs in my planned training – two 3 mile runs.  And admittedly, I wanted to run last night, but after two grueling days at work, I ended up going home, eating dinner, and crawling into bed.  One more day of rest wouldn’t hurt.

So my fingers and toes are all crossed that tonight’s run goes well and that my leg is finally healed.  Wish me luck!

We Remember

Twelve years ago, a phrase commonly seen and heard was “We will never forget.”

And while that’s true, I think a lot of the country has generally moved on from the tragedy of September 11.  Which is, of course, what you do after a tragedy.  You rebuild and you move on.

But somehow, it feels wrong to let today pass without an acknowledgment of the lives lost twelve years ago in New York, at the Pentagon, and in a field in Pennsylvania.  Because we won’t forget.

As part of my job, I have spent some time interacting with a number of people who lost family members on 9/11.  One widow in particular said something that really resonated with me.  She lost her husband at the Pentagon that day, and her fear was that 9/11 would be remembered in history as the day that New York was attacked.  Of course, the loss of life at the World Trade Center was enormous.  No one will ever dispute that.  But today, family members remember those lost at all three locations. I hope she is wrong and that we never forget.

It’s hard to speak eloquently about a tragedy that has been written about and talked about in so many ways.  And I’m sure some people will think that writing about it today is trite.  But it just felt wrong to let this anniversary pass without a note, without a moment of silence, and perhaps a moment of hope for the future as well.

Increasing Daily Activity

Thanks to my Fitbit, I’ve discovered just how incredibly sedentary my life is. You wouldn’t think that from someone who runs marathons (well, marathon) and triathlons.  But with the exception of my daily workout, much of my day is spent sitting on my rump.

Perils of a desk job, I suppose.

I’m trying to be better about it though.  I always make a point to take the stairs in the office.  I try to make my lunch break a walking break and go wander the city for thirty minutes or so.  That’s much easier to do on the cooler days – I can’t exactly go back to the office sweaty and stinky.  Well, I can, but I really shouldn’t.

Even with that, I’m still averaging only about 5000 steps a day without my workout.  And since I’ve been doing my best to rest my leg (so doing a lot of core work, but little else), that means my steps are pretty low.

While rest is obviously good, as I continue to heal, I also want to continue to up my daily activity levels aside from my daily workouts.  I need to walk more during the day.  I’ve tried setting an alarm to force myself to get up from my desk, but I found myself snoozing the alarm because I was in the middle of a project or on a phone conference.  I think what I need to do is start small – make sure I take a mid-morning and mid-afternoon break and go up the stairs or something.  Just get up and move.  From what I read, this should help my concentration as well.

(As an aside, I’ve been using the Fitbit calorie counting to help me attempt to lose weight.  Still up in the air on whether or not it’s working, but the rest of the year will be a good test.)