Even though it’s been over two decades since I left high school, I still struggle to escape defining my athletic self in terms of physical education (P.E.) classes and (gasp!) high school sports. That definition repeatedly reminds me that I have no right to consider myself an athlete in any sport.
I was never picked dead last for those days in P.E. where we divided up and people picked teams, but from elementary through high school I was consistently in the bottom half of the selection. I participated in a couple of sports, but never made the varsity team of anything.
During and even after running the D.C. Rock ‘n Roll Marathon on Saturday, I felt pretty glum. Frustrated that I had not run faster despite not setting a time goal. Mad at myself for lingering in a low point for five miles during the event. Disappointment despite finishing without injury.
I generally arrive at the starting line of the D.C. Rock ‘n Roll Marathon with wavering confidence. I love the course, which creatively sews together a scenic 26.2-mile tour through all four quadrants of the city, but spring marathons are generally a challenge for me.
This past weekend D.C. hosted the Rock & Roll Marathon and 1/2 Marathon. This event occurs right around St. Patrick’s Day as well as my birthday, and it has an incredibly festive feel. Runners dress in green, wear costumes, put on kilts, and sport an abnormal amount of plaid for a running event.
The day turned out well for a romp around the city, with warmer temperatures than forecast (from high 40s at the start into the high-50s by the afternoon), light winds, and overcast skies that gave way to sun late morning. (Weather forecasting is becoming an issue around here.)
The Rock & Roll organizers made changes to this year’s route which took us off of narrower residential streets and allowed for the throngs of runners to spread out over the roads during the early miles. This made for much less elbow-to-elbow running than last year’s event, and allowed mid-packers like me to run with greater ease.
This past Saturday I left the bike in the Dining Room Bike Shop, laced up my Montrails, and headed out to participate in the D.C. Rock and Roll Marathon. I like this 26.2-mile course because it stays within the District boundaries and traverses all of its four quadrants. In addition, it is a rolling course with a few actual hills along the way.
The course is a double loop, which I did not like in the past because it makes it tempting to throw in the towel at 13.1 miles. I also have a love/hate relationship with the fact that the course passes my house at around 16 miles which, depending on my state of mind, can be a tempting time to end the run.