The Almost PR- Rock N’ Roll DC 1/2 Recap!


Monday: 20min yoga

Tuesday: 8.5m interval 16 x 400s @ 10k pace (6 @ 6:31/pace, 6 @ 6:27/pace, 4 @ 6:22/pace)

Wednesday: 6.9m easy 8:58/pace, 40 min shoulders + legs

I made a ton of last minute changes for the race which made me extremely nervous and anxious during the week leading up to it. Pre-race went badly, a lot of stuff was out of my control, I didn’t think this was going to be a good race.

Monday through Friday leading to Saturday’s race I dealt with a massive sinus headache, sinus related vertigo/dizziness & pressure headaches until Friday ,when i finally started feeling better (cue sigh of relief!) and changed my hair color. Not that hair color had anything to do with me feeling better.. wait, it may have been a slight pick me up.

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The sinus/allergy stuff  was out of my control of course. It’s never fun going into a race week feeling like absolute crap. I still managed to hit the weekly running workouts on the schedule, even though they all felt harder than usual. I’m thankful it was a cutback week, although I probably would have had to cutback anyway with how tired those horrible allergies made me.

The changes I mentioned have to do a lot with nutrition. Since last fall I’ve cut out most refined carbohydrates (breads/pasta etc) and have replaced those grain carbs with potatoes/carrots/beets etc. I will do a post on this in more details soon–> the point being, I was nervous about not having a regular pasta meal the night before and a bagel the morning of the race. So what did I eat?  I had a whole sweet potato with maple syrup and pork chop for dinner. The morning of the race I had a banana with pb and coffee, then on the train I ate a Honey Stinger Waffle and drank pink lemonade Nuun.

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Another thing out of my control pre-race: the metro was a complete mess on race morning. 13 minutes behind schedule and the train stop we were told to get off at had their stairs and escalators blocked off. Hundreds of runners were waiting to load up into an extremely small, slow moving elevator. A lot of us hopped back on the train and got off at the next station. Because of these setbacks, I did not have the chance to warm up or start the race on time. I was literally in a port-o-potty at 7:28am, two minutes before the start.

I ran slowly to the corrals, peeling off my throwaway clothes, getting my Ipod set up and finally squeezed into Corral #5. I was supposed to start in #2, so i knew i’d have some weaving to do in the early miles. My plan for this race was to hold back until miles 6-7 where the big hill was then see how I was feeling to push the backend of the race.

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After the stressful morning,  the race itself was great! Once my legs warmed up (took 2 miles) and I weaved around the corral 5 runners, i got into a groove and felt very relaxed. I finally had some elbow room at mile 5 and I could feel myself trying to speed up and kept telling myself to save energy for the hills in the 2nd half.

You might not like it, but my race mantra for the hill was “I like it on top.” It made me smile and laugh a little, which relaxed me. Feel free to think of this on your next hilly run 😉

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Once I hit that wretched hill and my slowest mile–it took another half mile for my quads to stop screaming at me. But once they recovered I was feeling fantastic and I just let the legs do what they wanted.

The final miles of the race were 7:05, 6:59, 6:51, 7:05 and my final mile was a 6:56! I was hoping on a good day i could FINALLY hit a sub-7 mile during a half. The negative split was my fastest ever 10k! Hitting those splits are a good indicator that big things may happen in 6 weeks. Horn officially tooted.

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Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 2.05.47 PMHere are the splits! Official Time 1:37:05.

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I did a breakdown of the good, bad and otherwise in a few other race recaps and I’m going to continue with this because it’s easy to look back and recall what needs to change and stay the same for future races. So here it goes!

The bad

-I did not anticipate the Metro being backed up, therefore I had ZERO time to do a proper warm up. I truly feel if I had that extra 30 minutes as planned I could have had a PR day, but i’m not upset over it because that was not the purpose of this race. This just means for my ‘A’ race I will have to plan for extra time to warm up just in case!

-My back was really sore after this race. I don’t know if i was tense or if my back was taking all the downhill jolting. Guess I’m out of downhill running practice?

The good

-I felt 100% properly fueled. My nutrition is on point and Honey Stinger products & Nuun are sitting well in my stomach.

-The final 6 miles. I paced properly! All those workouts of mile repeats and 2 x 3s are showing up!  A 7:00/pace did not feel like death :).

-I’m definitely a midwest girl. The flat parts of the course I cruised and dare i say, the pace felt easy. I never felt like I went above an 7-8/10 effort and the negative split was just icing on the cake.

-This race felt better (i.e I felt more comfortable) than  Indianapolis where I got my latest PR.

The firsts  I know you aren’t supposed to try new things on race day, but this was a practice race for me so there were a TON of new things.

-Pre race evening meal. Sweet potatoes will forever be a staple. And the morning meal, no bagels just real food.

-On the course i only drank water. This is the first time I didn’t have gatorade, and my stomach was happy because of it!

-Shoes. I bought a brand new pair of Saucony Kinvara 6s for this race. I did not wear them or break them in before the race. They worked perfectly. No blisters or anything. Saucony is seriously amazing.

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-I was blonde. Hey when you’re not gunning for a PR you need to find other running firsts. It was my very first run with blonde hair. lol.


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Last Week

Monday: 7.5 tempo (2m warm up, 3 @ 6:53/pace, 4 x 2:00 @ 6:18/pace, 1m cool down)

Tuesday: 4m easy 9:45/pace + 2m walk w/LE

Wednesday: 6.9m easy 8:41/pace

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 13.1m Race 7:20/pace Rock n’Roll DC 1/2 marathon

Sunday: Rest

Total Miles: 31.6

What are your pre-race rituals??

New running “first” you’ve accomplished during a race (other than a PR/distance record)?

Author: She's Going the Distance


18 thoughts on “The Almost PR- Rock N’ Roll DC 1/2 Recap!

  1. loving your hair!! and congrats on the speedy time! so motivating. way to crush it girl.

  2. Congrats on a fabulous race! Not a PR but an incredible time. I would love to break 1;40 some day. You are an inspiration! Thanks for your break down of what worked and didn’t work– we can all learn from each other! One thing that I have started doing even in marathons is mostly stick to water– I think my stomach is happier because of it as well! Congrats again!!

  3. Girlllll you are on FIRE! It was totally the hair (which I love, btw)…no but seriously, you are working really hard but also – you’re working smart. Good job with the changes in your diet. It’s funny, I’ve gone paleo over the past 2 years and also limit my grain based carbs but during a race week I still eat them. I am also interested in eliminating that. Last weekend, I made sweet potato waffles and ran long after eating one of those and a banana – it was perfect. I’m hoping to keep that as my breakfast for my remaining races/long runs leading to Boston and see if that works better than the bagels I usually eat. Great race, great recap, great JOB!!!

  4. Great job! Whew for all the craziness! I have been lucky for almost all of my races regarding logistics … though my first half marathon they had two (!) porta-potties for >300 runners! Yeah, that messed up stuff!

    Also love the changes in your hair – I’d seen the IG pix, but you get even more angles here. Cool the way it is integrated throughout and yet remains distinct and there are elements of your previous (natural?) color.

    Love the race description and seems like you ran a really smart race and should be very pleased. Keep up the sensible training and nutrition and you will totally rock a new PR this year! Moving from refined / processed carbs to more ‘whole’ food sources is not easy but it is SUCH a great thing … it is something I have done with our family over the last few years (as well as at least 1 vegetarian meal per week). And once you do it, you appreciate it – and since my wife is sensitive to many foods, keeping things ‘real’ helps her feel better. Of course we still have pasta and homemade pizza on occasion. 🙂

    One comment – in the first race picture (below your breakfast shot), it looks like your left foot is supinating … is that something you normally do? It can definitely play havoc with your knees/hips/back … and you can see it in your shoe wear patterns. Check it out!

    Finally – Saucony Kinvara 6 … YAAAS! 🙂 I have almost a couple hundred miles on my Kinvara 6s, just added lock laces a couple of weeks ago. They just announced the Kinvara 7 so I need to grab a couple more pairs of 6s while they are available AND a great price. I’ve used the Kinvaras since the 4 and still love them!

    • Yes natural color is still at the roots! Did it like that so it grows out looking “beachy” and you have amazing eyes–so my left leg is the one that i’d have it band issues & over pronation issues. Believe it or not i’ve been working on my “pigeon toes” for years now and its actually better than ever. My right leg moves normally, but my left is still turning in. My chiro & i have been keeping our eyes on it!

  5. What a great race and pace-SO speeedy especially that last 10K! I’ve never gone sub-7 in a half! I love your hair too! If I wasn’t in a professional grad program I’d be dying mine with some light pink in it. Also I feel ya that the DC Metro can definitely stress me out before races. Also that big hill in the RNR DC half by the zoo is killerrrrrr, haha.

  6. Congrats! That morning sounds so stressful. I know the metro can be a mess on the morning of that race! That hill is one of the worst i have ever run in a race. Nice job finishing strong! And I love the hair!

  7. Nice job Cori! That is an awesome way to finish a half and I’m sure you are going to get a shiny new PR in your goal race. I braved a new sports bra for a race but I don’t think I’d be brave enough to go for brand new shoes. Love the hair!

    • I always wear the kinvaras for racing–it was just the upgraded shoe. So not too out of my realm, but i’ve never not had ANY miles on a shoe for a race. That was a little scary. New sports bra would scare me more!! lol

  8. “I like it on top.” I LOVE mantras like that!! Congratulations on a great race with a super strong second half (multiple sub-7s… you are amazing!!)

  9. Pingback: Oh the Honesty… |

  10. Pre-race sweet potatoes for the win! I’ve never really been pasta person, so sweet potatoes have been my go to carb since starting to run a few years ago. Welcome to the club! 🙂 Morning ritual is definitely banana and PB too! No matter what distance. I’ll just add an extra banana if it’s marathon day vs a half. I’ve wondered if I should do more experimenting, but so far I figure if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…

    And congrats on the great race! Way to hold that pace on a tough course! #inmydreams haha

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