I high five’d the Awakening…or something like that.  At least that’s what my shirt said I did.  You know..the shirt I got for running the WW Bridge ½ marathon.  To tell you the truth, I don’t even remember seeing the Awakening.    The last 3 miles of that race was a complete blur to me..the only thing I had on my mind was, ‘WTF??  WHERE IS THAT FINISHLINE????”

I had husband get up at the crack of dawn on Sunday to drive me to Mount Vernon.  I could not bear the thought of having to get to the National Harbor an hour early, riding the bus to Mt. Vernon and then standing in the freezing cold rain waiting for the race to start….so I cheated.  I was waiting in a nice warm car drinking my Venti Black Eye…yeah…I’m a pooosah but hey, I was warm.   Added bonus was we were parked right by the port-a-johns so when the coffee kicked in, I had only a few feet to go to take care of business.  It was the perfect set up.   Happy face!

About 20 minutes before the race I headed over to the start…I positioned myself in the 11:00 – 11:30 corral and got ready to run 13.1 miles.  The first 9 miles of the race were awesome.  It rained a little and it was a little windy but all and all it was nice and smooth.  Not too many hills, my pace was okay…I was feeling pretty good.   I knew the bridge was going to be difficult so I didn’t want to overdo it.  I wanted to make sure I had something left for the mile over the Potomac so I just kept a nice steady stride.  Just as I got into Old Town the course followed a pass way to get onto the foot path that crosses the bridge.  I made my way up the hill and started the climb up and over the bridge.  Just as I was reaching the crest of the bridge I saw a bunch of people looking back and pointing to the sky.  It was a rainbow!!!!  It was sooo beautiful.  I was all stoked and feeling all full of myself being able to get over the bridge without even breaking stride.  I was feeling awesome…I kept thinking, the hard part is almost over. 

 Well, as with most things in life, things that appear to be easy rarely ever are.  Once I crossed over the bridge, I was at about 9.5 miles.  From that point forward, the race went downhill (figuratively, definitely not literally).  In fact, in reality I was not mentally or physically prepared for how hilly that course was after the bridge.  Mile 10 was up on the overpass over Interstate 95.  The incline was so steep you had to follow a switchback to reach the top.  Once you were over 95, there was a hill about .75 miles long….that is where most of the folks around me gave up and started walking.  Once you got past all the hills, the course led you down to the water through a construction site with a surface of sand and gravel…that combined with the wind coming off the water made things miserable!  It’s times like that when you think to yourself…”why the hell am I doing this?????”  Finally, we were back on solid ground..at that point, I had no idea at what mile I was.  There was no marker between 11 and 13.1 and that really messed with my head..I kept thinking, “this has got to be mile 12!!!!!”  The finish was nowhere in sight…we ran through the streets of the harbor; down one street up another…at each turn I was like WHERE IS THE F’N finishline????????  Finally, the last and final turn up and into to the “festival area” and there it was…the finish.  I crossed just as my watch turned over to 2:37.  I made it just under that mark.  My official time, 2:36:58.  Whew…finally under a 12:00 min mile.  It’s a small victory…I still didn’t reach my goal, but that only gave me more incentive to run another one. 

Richmond…here I come!