15 September 2013

Abebe Bikila Day International Half Marathon [or: holy crap this work is paying off!]

as I mentioned in my last post, I kind of forgot about this race. It's been on my schedule but it wasn't an A race -- more of a let's-see-where-I-am-for-Philly race.

For information about Abebe Bikila, click here.

my iron-buddy Deb came over for a pasta dinner (complete with a refusing-to-sit-on-his-chair toddler) and we headed over to Georgetown/ NoVa around 7:30 (no one wants to be anywhere near that area in rush hour traffic). We drove past all the fun Georgetown-ness to go to check into our hotel and go to  sleep early. woohoo. Fell asleep after 10:00 after watching two episodes of Say Yes to the Dress because priorities.

we didn't go to packet pickup on Friday (see: rush-hour terribleness and it closed at 7) so we left for the race start at 6:30 am. Race start time was 9am and we were 3 miles from the hotel, but who wants to rush on race morning? we got to the start (after getting a little turned around and holy crap do I want to live here. my dad: you may want to practice a different area of law then) and realized we had a couple of hours until race start.

it was an almost chilly morning .. not even 60* at the race start -- a welcome change from the 90+ degree temps we had earlier in the week. Deb and I got our packets and tshirts:

The race was really low key - no chip, about 300 runners, small mile markers on the ground. no mats, no splits, nothing fancy ... just a well organized, beautiful race with the friendliest RD (Jay Wind was the nice guy who let me enter the Potomac River Run Marathon last year after the registration closed and I needed a redemption marathon).

The race had bananas and bagels for breakfast (how many races provide pre-race food?) and Deb and I ate breakfast in the car (I asked her to turn on the heat. she laughed) and putzed around until race start.

The race was a 6.55 mi out and back race on the C&O Canal Towpath -- with the canal on one side and the Potomac River on the other. It's almost totally flat and on crushed gravel and add to that cool(ish) weather -- a perfect course for speed.

I planned on keeping around an 8:00 - 8:05 pace. for the first 10 miles and then let 'er rip from 10 until the finish. I thought I might have a PR in me (flat course, training going well) but wasn't sure if it would happen (no taper).

At the start of the race a lot of people passed me. It did hurt the ego, but I told myself to run my own race and pass people at the end.


1 8:01.8

2  8:04.5







my view for 13.1 mi ^^

thanks to toddler H, I had The Wheels on the Bus stuck in my head for, umm .. approximately 12.754 miles. It was so painful. Hard as I tried I could not get another earworm in there.

I had an absolutely fantastic race. I felt good during almost every moment of the race -- mentally and physically. A woman (guessing around my age) and I played leapfrog for a few miles and then I passed her for good around mile 9. At mile 11 and 12 I passed three more women ... not going to lie -- it felt really, really good. The last 4 miles hurt, of course, but it was a good hurt. An I-can-do-this hurt. An I-can-PR hurt. I did the math a few times in the race starting at the 6.55 turn around and figured it would happen but only if I didn't run out of gas. I didn't think I would but stranger things have happened. I started feeling really thirsty the last few miles (water stations were every 2 miles) and I stopped to walk at the mile 11 water stop so I could make sure to drink the entire cup. I told myself that I would turn on the burners at mile 10 and run hard and not stop until I crossed the finish line.

I didn't realize how close I was to the finish until I saw the 26 mile marker (the marathon was two out and backs) and all of the sudden: holy shit, I am .2 mi from the finish line! One more kick and I was in and holy CRAP ANOTHER PR! This one by about 40 seconds from the Crab Run half back in March.

Deb and I hung around for a little while and I found out I placed in my AG! AND I got a $25 gift certificate to Falls Road Running (see, James? I can totally quit my job to become a professional runner. A Pandora bracelet and gift card to a running store totes pays the mortgage).

Deb drove me home and then James and I dealt with a pukey toddler for the rest of the day. (no worries. he's okay now)


And I thought I was second in my AG but something in the prelim results was wrong and I GOT FIRST IN MY AG!* FIRST WOMAN 30-39! WHEEEEEEE !

It is so super-duper nice to see mid week medium-length runs and puke inducing sessions on the treadmill pay off. Philly I cannot wait to see you!

Time: 1:44:39
Pace: 7:58/ mile
AG (F30-39): 1/ 21
Overall: 15/ 245

*I realize this was a small race and just barely cracking 1:45 wouldn't get me anywhere near the top in a bigger race, but I'm going to ignore that and keep on feeling like a rockstar.


  1. Very, VERY well paced race. Consistency pays off :)

  2. You are a rockstar. And I guess that makes me a groupie.