Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Diva Is A Girl Who Crushes PR's

When I first signed up for the Diva's Half Marathon I had heard great things. My friend ran it in 2012 and fell in love. I needed a big fall race and nothing was fitting into my schedule or was at a reasonable location. 13.1 on Long Island in early October sounded like a perfect fit. Then, a Twitter friend ran a Diva's race in DC and had a horrible experience. Judging by her experience I had a feeling this was going to be a waste of my time. Safe to say the organization has it's ups and downs. More downs than ups though. 

On Saturday morning I packed myself up and headed to my dads house since he lives about 20 minutes away from the location of the race. I dropped by stuff off and headed to packet pick up. First, no direction as to where bibs were. There were about 10 of us standing in the entrance unsure of where to go. After someone finally told us, we headed back where they were a bit unfriendly if we didn't know our bib numbers already. And asking where I was staying? I think i already put that in online and I don't think it matters. I finally got to get my bib where I was informed that I was not allowed to check my backpack or the bag provided (what?) and we had to use clear bags. Thankfully my dad as coming to he was able to hold my things. 

I walked around the festival that had way too much pink for my liking. A lot of the vendors were at previous races I had been to. I bought a new sticker for my car. And then I found the KT Tape booth! Although I already have tape, I paid them $20 for a new roll and an application. With the problems I have been having with my food, it was so worth it. I watched him apply it and asked questions on how to properly use it at home. 

After I headed back to carbo-load with pizza and relax. Sushi was my dinner of choice along with some foam rolling while watching Nashville. 

I pretty much didn't get any sleep again. Why I don't know but thankfully I didn't feel too tired when I woke up. Me and my dad headed out to Eisenhower Park at around 6 because they said we needed to be in the parking lot by 7. Good thing we left then because of course there was a parking disaster. Closing off the entrance to the park everyone was trying to use without an email was NOT a smart move. At 7 we finally made it in and parked on the grass because shocker, there were no spots. How do you people not plan for this?

[Intersection nightmare]
[Stretching my foot out, my dad thought this would make a great pic?]

[We were off]
After using a REAL bathroom (I guess that was a big plus) I headed to find the start line that was no where near where I was. The 5K went off in very large waves for about 20 minutes then the half marathoners lined up. A woman did ask me where the start was for the 10K, I hope she knew she was running a half or she was in for a big surprise. 

This was supposed to a big goal race but I knew I was injured so in the back of my mind I had to tell myself it was OK to just do this as a fun run. I lined up at the back of the 9 - 9:50 miler pack to ensure I started out slow.

We took off at 8:06, just 1 minute after what when we were scheduled to so that was perfect. Additionally, throughout the first mile there was minimal weaving in and out of people. A few times I had to jump on the grass to pass but after the first mile that was it. 

[My dad saw this sign and thought it was hysterical]
Miles 1- 3 were inside the park and felt great. The first 2 miles were a loop so the crowd kept us pumped. I accidentally ran the first mile a little fast (9:36 I think) so I slowed down a bit. Also, I took a shot block at mile 3. I brought 3 with me but forgot my handheld water bottle at home so I had to utilize the water stations. 

Miles 4-7 looped near the Nassau Coliseum and museum row. I still felt really strong during those miles. The crowd had spread out and I kept pace with the girls in front of me. I took another shot block at mile 6 and around mile 7 I grabbed a sit of water. I really wanted Gatorade but the young kids handing everything out were pretty useless. 

Miles 8 - 11 did not have any loops. Getting through these miles were crucial for me since this is where I bombed in DC. I felt pretty strong but at mile 9.5 I started feeling like I was dragging so I took my last shot block and had some Gatorade. I knew I was almost done and I could push the pace at the 10 mile marker if I wanted. My body just didn't want to thought.

The last few miles sucked. Why? They made sure to drag this course out. We looped a parking lot so we could get boas and tiaras. I took a tiara but tossed the boa (I was sweating to death, can you blame me?). When my watch beeped for 12 miles I thought for sure we were going to hit a straightaway with a crowd. I was so wrong and so annoyed. We ran the back of the golf course on a narrow path with NO cheering.

[To the finish line I go!]
We finally approached the last .2 of the race and found the finish line and the crowd. I saw my dad (who takes great race pics BTW), gave him a wave and sprinted my ass to the finish for a major 13.1 PR. 

The volunteers put my heavy medal around my neck, handed me champagne and a rose, took my picture. Then I grabbed some food and stretched on the field. Eventually we made our way back to the car and headed out with less traffic than coming in. Post-race treat was Dunkin Donuts and I have no complaints about that!

I loved the course except for the last 2 miles. It was relatively flat which was great because I ran the whole race on my injured foot. There were an adequate amount of water stations and volunteers. 

I was really disappointed in the traffic situation, bag check and the last 2 miles. 

Would I do it again? Maybe. It was more work to get there than actually run the race. 

Have you run a Diva's series race? What did you think?


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