Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Rock and Roll DC Half Marathon review

Well, as some of you may have seen on Instagram, I had my first DNF this past weekend.  I only got to around mile 9 of the RnR DC Half Marathon before dropping out.

But starting back at the expo... I had plans to go to the expo with a friend but we were running late so didn't get there until around 6:15pm and the expo closed at 7.  When we got there, the line to just enter the building was huge.  It went down the side of the building, out onto the sidewalk and around the corner.  But it moved fairly fast, even though it didn't feel like it due to the cold and wind.  We finally got in and there was very little wait to pick up our bibs and shirts.  We were also picking up bibs for some friends and we managed to get all four quickly.  We also managed to change corrals for a friend with no problem.  The expo was really well organized.  We looked around a bit and I bought a stick since those seem to work better for me than the foam roller.  But we pretty much rushed out of there since the expo was closing and we had a dinner reservation.


We met up with Ana and another friend at Rosa Mexicano.  It was a delicious meal with great company!  I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet up with Ana in person.  It's so funny how you can begin to feel like you know someone without even meeting in real life.

Stole this photo from Ana's instagram

Next, race morning!  The race started an hour later this year so it wasn't until 8:30.  We were back in corral 21 so we figured we would start around 9:15 or so.  And we were staying in a hotel close enough to walk to the start line.  But we still managed to run late and as we saw the street where the corrals were lined up, we saw the very last corral walking by!  So we had to run a bit to head up and find our corral.

Oh yeah, no photos because it was bitterly cold and windy.  I did not want to try to fool around with my phone to take photos.  It had died in the past from cold weather so I had tucked it in a sip lock bag for some extra insulation and then in a zippered pocket of my running jacket.

The cold was pretty much the main story of the race this year.  I think it was in the 20s at the start and felt like it was in the teens.  But I also never felt like I could really settle into the race.  In the sun, I would begin to feel too warm.  But then the wind would pick up again and I would feel cold all over again.  The race went ok, slow but I knew that was going to be the case, until the big hill at mile 6 or so.


My knee began to hurt, but I figured once I got past the hill it would get back to normal.  But instead, it just kept feeling gradually worse.  The knee kept getting stiffer and stiffer.  I played the mind trick where I keep telling myself to just go another mile and then re-evaluate how I feel.  That will usually get me through a race.  But this time, around mile 9, my knee seemed to stiffen up completely and I couldn't bend it much at all.  I tried to tell myself that I could just limp to the finish (the race has a very generous time limit).  I was pretty sure that I wasn't actually injured at that point but I worried that limping an extra 4 miles might end up causing more damage.  So I ended up deciding to drop out of the race at that point.


The good thing about a race in a city that I'm so familiar with is that I didn't have to wait around for the SAG bus or anything.  I walked a couple blocks off the course and used my phone to call for a Lyft back to the hotel.  I took some ibuprofen, changed into warm clothes and began icing my knee.


My friends finished the race and made it back to the hotel an hour or so later.  We got cleaned up and headed out to brunch.  I was still hobbling but it seemed a bit better.  Sadly, sitting at brunch made it stiff again and it was worse again when we tried to walk back to the hotel afterward.  So more ibuprofen and icing ensued to try to get the inflammation back down.


Later in the afternoon I also used the stick the massage out the quad and IT band.  It was definitely much worse on that side with the bad knee so I guess maybe that's what caused it?  I'm not sure but maybe it was a fluke thing because of the cold?  It continued resting it the rest of the day and it was ok.  We went to a movie that evening (Lion, and it was really good) but the same thing happened after sitting in the theater and my leg stiffened up to the point it was hard to bend it.

But thankfully, it seemed better Sunday.  There was still some popping when I bent that knee but much less pain.  And it seems back to normal today.

So this was a disappointing race for me given that it was my first DNF.  But at the end of the day, I think it was the right decision.  I'm not sure why that happened with my knee but I'm glad it doesn't really seem injured and that I didn't risk more damage by trying to hobble the last 4 miles to the finish line.  In spite of my disappointment, I still think this is a great race and would definitely recommend it!  It's on pre-sale for $50 until March 17th for anyone who wants to give it a try next year.