I’m With Cupid

Happy Monday, beautiful people!

I had particularly productive weekend, thanks in part to the Third Meeting of Yelp’s Haute Dumpling Club, wherein Yelpers met up to, you know, eat dumplings (my job is really hard to love, guys), but MOSTLY due to the fact that on Saturday I finally hit the pavement for the Cupid Run 5K at Mosaic District!

The wonderful Jessica, who I actually originally met thanks to this very blog, and now is a Brand Ambassador for Yelp, and I both wore our Yelp colors proudly. Perhaps a little tooooo proudly for one of us, actually…

Yes, those are Yelp “hot pants.” Yes, they say “Make me Yelp” on the butt. They are actually quite the hot commodity around these parts, hahaha.

ANYWAY. Part of my job is actually working out cross-promotional marketing partnerships with local events just like this one, so Yelp was actually a partner for this event! It was pretty awesome to get to do something that was both good for me AND good for my job! Plus, seeing all the runners out there with their Yelp sweatbands that we included as part of the race packets was heartwarming (which was good, because it was cold as BALLS out there that morning, hahahaha).

Alas, while I can’t say that it was a particularly triumphant return to the art of racing (I ended up stopping a bunch of times to talk with people about Yelp, plus, you know, there’s that whole thing where I’m pathetically slow anyway), I am still so glad that I did it. I can’t say that I’m still much of an avid fan of running in general, but the whole experience, the race spirit, seeing people of all ages and fitness levels banding together? I remember now why I used to like doing this kind of thing much more often! Plus, there was an extraspecialbonus of running into a blog reader while I was figuring out how to breathe again enjoying my post-race complimentary hot cocoa (Hi Lindsey!).

The only sad part about the day? My Fitbit DIED right after the race was done. So even though I totally smoked all of my Fitbit goals and had like the most active day I’ve had in a long time, it basically just looks like a normal day. And how am I supposed to #humblebrag about my fitness level without being able to Instagram a screenshot of my stats?! Womp womp. But, let’s face it, if that’s the only thing that went wrong this weekend, I’ve got it pretty much made in the shade, don’t I?

It was a great way to remind me that, despite all of my moaning and groaning about how much I hate to work out or run or sweat or whatever, there really are a lot of good parts of being active. And, reading it back, I realize that is probably the most eyeroll-inducing sentence ever, but you know what I mean. Now if only I could bottle up the energy and aura of a race day crowd, mix it with some water, and put it in a spray bottle for when I’m whining and moaning and groaning about going to the gym. That’d be liquid GOLD right there!

Who knows? Maybe this was the jumpstart I needed to make way for another era of actual fitness-related activity for me. I do have this very strange, unfamiliar, foreign feeling right now that I actually — gasp! — want to go to the gym today…

…I don’t even know who I am anymore.

Reach the Beach: Final Thoughts

So I said that I’d be recapping our tour of the New Balance factory that we took pre-relay, as well as wrapping up my final thoughts regarding Reach the Beach. Well, I’m a woman of my word (ish), so here it is! I know it’s a little late, and RTB fever has probably (blessedly?) passed, but I’m nothing if not thorough… when I want to be. Advanced apologies if you find this thoroughly uninteresting, but I kind of think it’s fascinating and, well, it’s my blog and I can write what I want to. 😉

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C’mon, admit it: you’re as excited about this as I am!

So before we got around to the whole running 200 miles thing, we were able to tour New Balance’s factory in Lawrence, MA. As I’ve mentioned before, New Balance is the only major athletic shoe company that manufactures ANY of their shoes domestically! They have factories in Massachusetts and Maine (probably among others, but I’ve forgotten where else, haha), which means they provide around 2,000 American jobs that would normally be outsources overseas. Pretty cool! It definitely seems to be a point of pride for New Balance that their 990 shoe line (their benchmark shoe, from way back when) is still, to this day, produced in the United States.

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Tina and Sarah

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Elizabeth and Bridget

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We were able to tour the actual manufacturing floor, which I actually found fascinating. It’s also where I got the sa-weet safety glasses (and headset!) that I’m sporting in the first pic above. It’s a huge, huge facility, is CRAZY loud (which is why we had headsets, so we could actually hear our tour guide!), and there are TONS of people working on the floor, each at different stations.

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I remember being distinctly impressed with the sheer number of employees working on the floor. For some reason, in my mind I always imagined that any massed-produced product — athletic shoes included — simply come out of a machine already made. Not so, as it turns out! Every shoe produced in this facility is touched by something like 20+ hands. Pretty neat.

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We were able to see the beginning-to-end creation of the 990 shoe model, from the floppy and flat shoe form, all the way to molded upper (which is then attached to the sole, laced up, and even boxed by hand!)

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After our factory-floor tour, we headed down to the Sports Research Lab, where we were able to see all of the hard work, science, and research that goes into the development and testing of each shoe.

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I barely took any photos while we were down here, but we were able to do things like analyze our gait, see how our weight is distributed on our feet, and check out the varieties of foams that go into the soles of running shoes. Neat stuff, though, admittedly, it wasn’t quite as fascinating to me as it probably was to more of the seasoned runners on the team. You know, the ones who actually care if they’re heel-striking or not, hahaha (confirmation: I heel strike like my life depends on it).

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You can see more of our time inside the factory in the video that is embedded at the end of this post!

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Oh captain, my captain. 😉

Okay. Now. Prepare yourself for like 10 straight paragraphs of text. Here are my final thoughts about the relay, my contribution to it, and all that general wrap-up stuff:

1. I am SO proud of myself.

I know it sounds pompous to say that, but whatever, it’s true. This is an event that I would never have done on my own if Tina hadn’t asked me to be a part of it, and I am so grateful to her, my teammates, the race organizers, and New Balance for making it all happen. I ran 11 miles in total, which is by FAR the furthest distance I have ever (and likely will ever) run. I climbed a freaking mountain! I get to say that I was part of this epic adventure, and that elicits pride for me. PRIDE!

2. I was REALLY unprepared, in more ways than one.

Physically, I prepared myself to run shorter distances, 3 – 4 miles. After all, my legs were all around that distance, and because of the hours of “off time” that we would have in between, I really didn’t consider the fact that I would be running 11 miles in total. I just concentrated on each leg as an individual distance. While mentally, I think that was a good thing because it helped me from becoming overwhelmed and freaking out (er, more than I already did, haha), physically those miles REALLY added up fast. By the end, my legs were sore, my feet were bruised, and it’s kind of a miracle that I was able to run (hobble?) across that finish line at all (and is the reason why I’m waaaaay in the back — unseeable, haha — in all our finish line pictures). I now know that the way to train for something like this is more closely aligned to half-marathon training than training for the individual distances of your legs. Live and learn!

I also thought that because my short distance running pace has improved so much since I first starting running (from 12:30 to around 10:30/10:45), I’d be able to hold my own more in comparison to my super speedy teammates. Well, throw 600 feet of elevation and a rocky mountain trail into that first leg, and it’s a whole different story. I was slow. So, so slow. I think that my average pace for this relay ended up being closer to 13 minutes per mile, which is hard for me to openly admit. I mean, that’s pretty much walking. Luckily, my teammates don’t judge, and in fact, they were wildly supportive of me before, during, and after every single leg. They’re kind of the best.

The last thing that I felt unprepared for was the whole mentality of Reach the Beach. I kind of figured that it’d be like marathons and half-marathons are these days: sure, there are tons of incredibly fast, seasoned, competitive runners, but there are also lots of more casual runners who are there more for the experience and sense of personal accomplishment. I felt that almost all of the runners that comprised the other 165 Reach the Beach teams steadfastly fit into the former category. This was an elite running event, and these teams were FAST. We all said that we were going into it with the intention of having fun and just being able to finish, but with an average pace of 9:30, we still ended up with fewer than 20 vans finishing after us. While that’s not really a big deal to me (says the person who single-handedly shifted the average down the curve, haha), I know it definitely bummed out some of my more competitive teammates.

3. Living in a van? Not so bad!

The things that I was dreading most about this race (other than the, y’know, running part, haha), were having to deal with being crammed in a van for 2 days, and getting no sleep. As it turns out, neither ended up being that bad! Yes, I was thoroughly exhausted (actually, the word “exhausted” doesn’t really even being to cover it) at the end, but basically napping in the middle of the night for 40 minutes with my legs pushed up against the van door wasn’t THAT bad. Adrenaline goes a long way, and once I was up and out of the van, I didn’t really feel the sleepiness again until our van had totally finished. I think having a driver (thanks a million, Nicole!) helped a TON with keeping the additional mental exhaustion at bay, too.

I also expected it to be totally smelly and gross in the van, but was pleasantly surprised! Maybe it’s that we’re not super smelly people (hard to believe, though, after 100 collective miles, haha), but we were all pretty diligent about wiping down, reapplying deodorant, and keeping our stanky running clothes locked away (I put mine in giant 2.5 gallon ziplock bags and it worked wonders!).

4. The million dollar question: Would I do it again?

I had an absolutely amazing time doing this relay. I feel bonded for life with girls that, prior to piling into a van for 31 hours with them, were total strangers to me. I accomplished a physical feat that, if you had asked me to do just one year ago, I would have crumpled to the floor in laughter. I don’t regret being a part of it for one second. All that said though, if I was going to be 100% honest with you all? I’m not really sure. I mean, I’m not saying no, I’m just not really saying that I’m positive I would be up for it again. This is an event for RUNNERS, and while I hope that our blogging about the experience encourages relays like this to go more mainstream — because it really was incredible! — I am not one. A runner, that is.

I reiterate my gratefulness to have gotten the opportunity to participate, and I feel like I was challenged to break through my limitations, which is an awesome feeling. That said, I do think that there are tons of other bloggers out there who might be better suited for an event like this. Who knows though? I’m kind of “off” running right now, but things tend to come full-circle with me (um, my recurring — and current — obsession with My Little Pony much?) and if I get the motivation to want to start conquering long distances again, I might change my tune entirely. For the meantime, I am perfectly content to place my Reach the Beach experience in the “once in a lifetime” folder.

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Credit: Jack at pixelwiremedia.com / rtbrelay.com

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but RTB had a videographer (Jack, from pixelwiremedia) who split his time between our two vans for the ENTIRE race (getting even less sleep than us, if you can imagine!). The first episode (I think there are supposed to be 5 in total! Eep!) of his video recaps is up on Youtube, and it’s kinda awesome (you know, in a totally embarrassing way). Make sure you check it out below (or on Youtube by clicking here).

This episode covers our New Balance factory tour and our pre-race campfire interview. And yes, of course I cried during my interview question. Don’t you know me at all?

Cherry Blossom 5K

Boy, oh, boy. Where to begin with this one? Well, Sunday I ran the Cherry Blossom 5K and my feelings on it are… complicated. It started off as a huge cluster, unfortunately, but I still felt pretty good about it at the end. So, again, complicated. I felt the slightest bit weird about it in general, since I originally had signed up to run the 10 Miler but then dropped down to the 5K (smartest decision EVER, I should add!), but I still had my 10 Miler bib and everything. Still, I was excited to get another 5K under my belt (a distance that I’ve admitted many times to enjoying), and had plans to meet up with my sister and brother-in-law after they finished the 10 Miler.

The 10 Mile race had kicked off at 7 AM, while the 5K didn’t start until 8:40. I figured I had tons of time to get there, so I left for the Metro around 8 AM. Well, apparently I am fail at riding the metro, because even though the Smithsonian stop is only supposed to be 20 minutes away I didn’t get there until almost 9 o’clock! I hatehateHATE being late, so as soon as I got off the train, I started sprinting to try to find the 5K starting line. Unfortunately, it was blocked by the end of the 10 Miler course! Since I got there so late, there were a TON of fasssssst runners booking it towards their own finish line. I ran back to ask some race volunteers how to get across to the 5K start, and they told me that I did, in fact, have to cross the 10 Miler course… carefully. So I ended up having to wait another 4 to 5 minutes just to find a break in the stream of runners that I could sprint through (and felt like a total toolbag/douchecoaster doing so).

I tried to shake off my humiliation and continue towards the starting line… which had already been converted into the finish line. D’oh. I tried to peek at the clock to see what time I’d actually started at and I started my RunKeeper app to get some semblance of an idea of how I’ll do by the end. At this point, I was pretty disheartened. All of the stuff I love about racing — the crowds, the kick-off, the other people surrounding you — was gone. It was just me, a handful of other latecomers, and a steady stream of runners who are already heading for the finish. I had pretty much resigned myself to having a horrible race experience at this point. It was really difficult not to feel embarrassed as I trudged along by myself, despite all the encouraging words for volunteers and whatnot. I kept wanting to announce to them that I just started really late, that I wasn’t really in last place! Discouraged and already exhausted (after sprinting almost half a mile just to get through the starting gate), I ended up walking most of the first mile. Womp.

As it turned out, all was not lost, however. I did make a friend on the course, a fellow latecomer and 10 Miler drop-downer. After commiserating with her for a little while, I started to get a little bit of my spirit back. We started jogging again, and once we hit the turnaround point I was feeling much better. At this point, we began to pass the majority of the walkers, and as we ran back over the Memorial Bridge one of the volunteers yelled out “You caught up! I remember seeing you on the other side. How did you catch up so fast?!” which made me feel pretty good, haha. The second half of the race went by much faster, and was generally much more pleasant as we passed groups of people and the finish line came into view. I caught sight of Jenny and Dan (who had already finished their 10 Miles before I could even finish my 3.1, haha) near the end and started to really book it. I sprinted across the finish line and, though I don’t have an official read on my time, ended up finishing in ~38 minutes. Not a record by any means, but given my craptastic start and the fact that I walked in the beginning, I actually feel pretty good about. (I also feel I should remind myself that my very first 5K — which I didn’t walk at all during — took me over 40 minutes to complete.)

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In the end, all’s well that ends well, and despite its less-than-stellar beginnings, the race did serve as a good reminder that the actual 3.1 mile distance is totally doable. With a little more dedicated outdoor training (since I’ve been doing almost 100% treadmill runs lately), I know I’ll be able to get back up to a 4 mile running stamina for the Reach the Beach Relay in May.

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The last item on the agenda before Jenny, Dan, and I braved the smelly Metro back to Falls Church was to pick up the 10 Miler finisher medal that I had prematurely ordered, hahaha. Oops. At least you can’t argue about my INTENTIONS to have run that race, right? I bequeathed it to my very deserving sister instead. 🙂

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So the name of the game now is simply to continue training for the RTB Relay, go out with a bang there, and then never have to run ever again! Bahahaha. 😉

The Plan

Making the New Year’s Resolution (or any resolution, or goal, or intention, or insert-synonym-here) is the first step. Making a plan to actually follow through with said resolution is the second step. Actually following through with that plan? That’s the hard part.

As you’ve seen, I’ve really been trying to get my eating back into gear over the past few days. Calorie counting is back in full force, along with primarily home-cooked and brought-from-home meals. We are all aware, however, that eating is only half the battle. Unfortunately, it’s time for me to face the music with that other pesky part of this weight loss game:

Excitement?

Exercise. (DUM DUM DUM)

I have barely broken a sweat since the Hot Chocolate 15K at the beginning of December, and it’s time to change that. I’ve admitted many times that I really can’t get myself to exercise without some sort of strong motivator, namely races. So! Here is my official announcement of my big racing plans for the foreseeable future!

I will be running the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler on April 1st, something that has been on my list of fitness goals since I started this blog. Can you believe it?! After the 9.3 miles (allegedly) of the 15K, this shouldn’t be too crazy, but again, I haven’t run in a month soooo, I’m going to need to build my stamina back up like WHOA.

What’s more, my goal is not going to be simply to finish this time (what was that about maintaining realistic goals? Ha!) No, this race is actually just going to be a precursor to something even greater, if you can imagine…

I will be joining some incredible, superfast bloggers in a relay for the Massachusetts Reach the Beach race on May 18 – 19! I’ve never done a relay race before, let alone one of this magnitude (200 miles in 36 hours, essentially!) and I am a turtle compared to amazing ladies like Tina, Anne, Theodora, Ashley, and Monica (among others!) who will also be on the team. There will (hopefully) be 12 members on our team, and we will rotate throughout the day and night (!), each running a total of 3 legs. Each stretch can be anywhere from 3 – 7 miles (I’m gunning for the shorter ones, obviously).

This is why my training plan for both the Cherry Blossom and this race will not only include stamina and endurance training, but actual speed training. SAY WHAAAT??! I know. It won’t be anything crazy or completely unrealistic, but I will be trying to hold my own. It’ll just be too embarrassing for me to drag down an entire team of awesome runners and bloggers by being slow. Nothing motivates me like the potential for humiliation! As dictated by the race rules, the team average needs to be 10 min/mile or less. I figure that since a bunch of my teammates will probably be running 8 – 9 minute miles, if I can weasel myself down to around or under 11 minutes per mile, it should still balance out. And hopefully nobody will hate me for it. I’ll be trying really hard guys, I promise! 🙂

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EVERYBODY GETS THIS RED AND SWEATY OKAY SHADDUP.

So there you have it. Two BIG milestones to meet and BIG motivators for me. As part of my training, I’d like to participate in some smaller races, primarily 5Ks, to help encourage the running-without-stopping and running faster, as well as to make training more fun (I hate running but I love races!) Anyone know of any local 5Ks coming up in the next couple of months? I’m eyeing the Love the Run You’re with 5K in Arlington on February 12th (I’ve heard good things about Pacers events!) but am open to recommendations!

What am I doing here?

I should make it clear that I do NOT intend to allow myself to fall into the trap I did when I was “training” for the 15K. Namely, the “I just ran 7 miles, I can eat whatever I want!” trap. This is why I’m going to rely on you guys to help me realize when I’m starting to make those rationalizations. Yes, my caloric intake will probably not be limited to 1500 calories on days when I’ve had a long run, but neither does it allow me to consume all those calories in the form of cupcakes and french fries. So say we all.

What’s your plan for making your resolution stick?

PS: As of today, my new monthly column in the Falls Church News-Press is out! Check out the first edition of Fit in Falls Church today!

Hot Chocolate 15K

Cue the fanfare!

I'm alive!

Ring the bell!

Victory!

Let it be known to the world: I ran a 15K and survived!

Take a Bow!

Now, some of you may have already heard about how the Hot Chocolate 15 & 5K may go down in infamy as DC’s most horrible race (just check out the comments being left on their Facebook page if you need proof!) It was a logistical clusterf***, and I agree with a lot of what is being said about it. That said, I don’t feel it wasn’t the life-ruining event that some people are making it out to be. Not to say it wasn’t truly awful. Soooo, I may just be saying that because I’m so psyched that I can say I (mostly) ran 9.3 miles and lived to tell the tale. Here’s how it all went down for yours truly. BEHOLD!

Hot Chocolate 15K

I woke up bright dark and early Saturday morning, around 5:45 AM. Took care of the doggies, rinsed my face, got dressed, and tried to quell the growing ball of fear and regret in my stomach before heading to my parents’ house to meet my sister and her hubs, and Steve, Lara, and Janie who were running it as well.

Nerves

Oh, it should also be noted that it was frickin’ FREEZING. Of course after a straight week of unseasonably warm weather, the day that Mother Nature seems to recognize that it’s, uh, December is the day of the race. Womp. I tried to get excited anyway…

Excitement?
Try being the operative word, of course.

The six of us crammed into a car and left my parents’ house in Falls Church around 6:45 AM (the race was set to start at 8 AM) and headed toward National Harbor, a normal half-hour trip. All runners had to choose a parking option way in advance — some were at the race site but you had to pay to park there, and some were free but further away so you had to take a shuttle. Since we are cheapos, we obviously chose the free option and figured we’d just deal with the shuttle drop-off (which on the website was quoted as being up to 20 minutes away.) Well, as it turns out, this was probably the best thing that we could have possibly done. Traffic and parking ended up being a HUGE issue for this race, with people being stuck on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge trying to get into National Harbor for up to two hours. And these are for the people who PAID for the closer parking. We, however, barely hit any traffic on the way there, since we went up and around National Harbor to reach our parking site. The shuttles to-and-from our satellite lot (Rosecroft Raceway) were plentiful and the trip barely took 10 minutes from site to site. We arrived at the starting area around 7:40.

This is where things started to turn a little sour for me. Despite us getting there pretty much right on time, we ended up having to wait around in the cold for the next hour and a half before the race actually began. (Thank goodness I ended up wearing an old sweatshirt that I ditched on the course. I might have literally frozen to death if I hadn’t.) I should have known something was up when the 5K (which was scheduled to begin at 7:30) hadn’t started when we got to the race site. I do understand them delaying the race start for those who were stuck in traffic, but with very little communication being given as to when the race would be starting or why it was being delayed it was very frustrating to just have to… wait. As I understand it now, the 5K’s start was delayed because the layout of where the parking lots in National Harbor were, were on the opposite side of the 5K route. So the path for parkers to get to the 15K start was ON the 5K path. Therefore, they had to clear pedestrians from the route before it could begin… which is extremely poor planning, IMO. And the 5K delay contributed to the 15K delay as well, of course, so there were not many happy campers in the lineup, to say the least.

ClusterF.
I know how you feel, bottom-left-corner lady. I know you feel.

After my feet and legs had the opportunity to go thoroughly numb, the horn for the start of the 15K finally went off at around 9:10 (in case you had forgotten, that’s an hour and 10 minutes after the original start time). 20 minutes and some 8,000 runners later, I made it through the starting gate and was off! From here on out, my race experience actually wasn’t too bad. The first 5 miles of the race were a down-and-out on Indian Head Highway, which still had one open lane of traffic, and a lot of people had issues with that. I didn’t really enjoy running with a huge mob PLUS an open (though crawling) lane of cars, but it wasn’t terrifying or anything since the cars were going slower than we were, haha. And despite my freakout over the race elevation (which was indeed terrible), the first part wasn’t too hilly. After about 2 miles, I regained feeling back in my tootsies (though I did get that annoying itchy-toe feeling from the blood rushing into them, which wasn’t pleasant) and the numbness probably helped contribute to my speedy start — we did the first mile at a sub-10 minute pace! Yes, me, the champion of the 12-minute mile. It was insane.

Another issue with the race, however, was that the 5K timing mats were on the wrong side of the road, so we clocked our “5K” split in at around 2.5 miles instead of 3.1. Womp womp. Therefore, my unofficial 5K time (according to my RunKeeping app) was 36 minutes and a few seconds — a PR based on my past 5Ks! Also unofficially, I beat my 5 mile time by almost 7 minutes! (1:03:0-something vs. 1:09:53 from the Navy 5 Miler!)

Mile 8
The harbor was beautiful, though the clock isn’t accurate for me, since I went through the gate 20 minutes after the gun.

After the first 5 miles, the race headed down into the actual National Harbor area. We did a huge loop around the harbor, and there was finally something pretty to look at, though this was the part of the race that really was incredibly hilly. In some ways, it worked to my advantage, because I was literally flying down some of the downhill slopes. However, the sadists who planned the course route also had the race end on an uphill stretch. WHO DOES THAT?! So I kind of died at the end. Also, there were a few parts of the race that were on rocky gravel and shells, which was kind of crummy. I walked most of those parts, but if I had been running fast, I can envision me biting it pretty bad on a stray rock, haha. You should all be proud of me though — all together, I’d say that I ran about 75% of this race, which is crazy since I didn’t think I’d be able to run even half of it!

At the last .3 miles, Jenny came back and forced me to run the end, something for which I simultaneously cursed her and thanked her for. As is always my goal, I managed to sprint the very last stretch, finishing strong with a time of 2:01:48! And I didn’t even puke!

RAWR

I ended up with an average pace of 13:05, which is actually much better than I anticipated given my frequent walking breaks. After forcing Jenny to take many pictures of my sweaty self, we crawled over to the tents housing the chocolate fondue and hot chocolate. Here is where I will give the race organizers props again. Even though the tents were cruelly far away from the finish line, we didn’t have to wait in a single line for our chocolate, and they looked like they really did have enough for everyone (I mean, let’s face it, I definitely finished on the tail-end of the race, and there was still plenty of chocolate.)

Will Run for Chocolate

Plus, it was DELICIOUS. It kind of messed with my stomach a little, since the last thing I had eaten was a slice of apple spice bread at 6 AM, but the pretzel stick dipped in melted Ghirardelli? OMFG. Amazing.

Reward
With a face this red, I deserved my chocolate.

So yes, there were plenty of problems with the race from a logistical standpoint, but other than the huge delay, I wasn’t really that affected by them. I just feel so bad for those that got to the race site earlier than we did. The race communications originally had told us to be on a shuttle from the parking site no later than 6:45 AM. We value sleeping too much to actually listen, but if we had then we would have been waiting for ANOTHER hour. My honest opinion is simply that RAM Racing oversold the race. It really should have been capped at half the amount of runners. National Harbor just isn’t made for having so many people trying to get in all at once — there’s really only one way to drive there, and it isn’t metro accessible. That said, I am really proud of myself, so in spite of all the issues, I’m definitely glad I did it. I mean, I finished 9.3 miles. NINE MILES!! AHHHH!

Okay, and just so every single photo in this post isn’t of me being gross and sweaty, here are some pictures of me hamming it up before my company’s holiday party last night. (Hooray for vanity!) Not sure where I got the energy to go considering what I had accomplished only hours earlier, but I guess that’s what they call rallying, eh?

ANTM Work Hard, Play Hard

The party was at the Air & Space Museum in Chantilly! You know, because one grown-up event at a museum this week simply wasn’t enough, hehe.

Survivor Heels

I think I deserve extra credit for being able to put on heels after the race! Of course, the soreness didn’t really hit me until this morning. As in, it has never been more painful to go from my bed to the bathroom and back. ‘Cause that’s about all I’ve managed so far.

Worth it.