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Hard To Resist $5 Half Marathon

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ran the GW HM this past weekend. No medal, no music, and no "free" t-shirt. But beautiful views of the Potomac River the whole way. And unlimited brownies, bagels, and bananas at the end - which meant that I had to use more willpower after the race than during!

Looking forward to doing this race again next year!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PDQ1203 12/20/2014 9:20AM


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MBTEPP 12/17/2014 1:27PM

    That would be an inspiring run along the Potomac!


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MARGARITTM 12/16/2014 3:07PM

    A $5 half! Awesome!

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ARNETTELEE 12/16/2014 2:25PM

  That's great! Brownies???? Yum!

Comment edited on: 12/16/2014 2:25:47 PM

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$5 vs $50 Half Marathon?

Monday, December 01, 2014

If it was worth $5, wouldnít it be worth ten times that? (Huh, you don't like my logic?) Yes, you can run the exact same course as the $5 Gar Williams HM just 6 weeks later as the Cloud Snapple HM for $50.

Dec 12, 2014 $5 Gar Williams HM
Jan 31, 2015 $50 Cloud Snapple HM

They both use the *exact* same course. Same parking lot. Same USATF course certification. Likely, even the same volunteers :-p

But the $50 CSHM is at the end of January with high probability of the worst weather of the winter (which I guess excites some people). Also has the cheesiest medals Iíve ever seen. (Medal blanks with a logo on paper pasted in the middle.) And yes Iíve done it twice. No matter how much I trash talk it, itís hard to resist since it starts just a mile from my house.

That said, I have not registered and have no intent on doing so unless peer pressure builds and I go out of my freaking mind. Just figured Iíd get this off my chest.

Oh, and both of these races sell out. Admittedly, $5 or $50, they're both still cheaper than a lot of other HMs in the DC area. Now that Nike gave up on their $175 DC Women's HM, the reigning champion is the $105 Virginia Wine Country HM and the $105 ZOOMA Annapolis Women's HM which are more than twice the price of a $50 HM! BTW, these are all early prices! You don't want to hear the late prices!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Be strong!

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MBTEPP 12/2/2014 9:37AM

    It's simple economics really. If you do both races, it's dollar cost averaging! I also like the "close to home" appeal and would do the course twice.

Just do it. You know you want to!


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JAMIRBLAZE 12/2/2014 9:11AM

    Some of the races are ridiculous. I paid $60 for my upcoming Orlando area HM (would have been cheaper if I had signed up earlier), but paid something like 3 times that for a Disney HM (and that was the cheapest price, but this is one that I always have wanted to do). I like races, but have become more selective due to the fees.

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Ĺ and Ĺ ≠ 1 marathon

Saturday, November 15, 2014

How can Ĺ + Ĺ ≠ 1? At the DC Half and Half: You run 6.55M, eat a half-smoke with chili and chips, then run the remaining 6.55M to complete the half marathon.

Iím not keen on gimmick races but I like half marathons so I had to consider this. It also had a lot of other things going for it such as a beautiful course. And because they limited it to 200 runners and had race-day packet pickup, I knew driving and parking would be a breeze. (When was the last time you were able to park for free 100 feet away from the start line?)

But if you read my previous post, youíll know I was concerned with the crazy nutrition aspect of the race. I decided to eat lightly the day before and nothing at all for breakfast on race day morning. I knew I could run 10K without breakfast so it seemed reasonable to treat the first half of the race similarly. And it was nice running on an empty stomach.

Since no one was taking the race seriously (i.e., no time awards), I took it very easy. But most of the first half was a gentle downhill so I pretty much ran the same pace I would in a normal HM. Didnít worry about bonking. It felt more like a weekend long run but with several hundred friends.

But we got stretched out quickly and I found myself running with a handful of other people who matched my pace and enjoyed some chitchat. ("Did you hear that DC just voted to legalize marijuana?") Of course, food was a big topic and we soon discovered everyone else had skipped breakfast as well.

Most of the course was Rock Creek Park, a very large park (over 1750 acres) from the north of DC to its core. We ran beside waterfalls and babbling brooks for about 5 miles. Delightful. We passed the National Zoo and lots of other interesting sites.

As we neared the midpoint, we ran through pretty neighborhoods and then finally into the city streets. Traffic was light in the morning so crossing avenues wasnít a problem.

We reached the restaurant in about an hour. I walked in and was stunned to find that they were easily keeping up with the flow of runners. They had the food sitting on the table *before* we sat down. I had expected to have some time to stretch as I waited for my food. So I walked back out and stretched outside for 5 minutes, took some photos, then went back in to meet my doom.

I sat down across from people I didnít even know and we all started talking about the food, of course. Runner across from me (see photo above): ďDoesnít look appetizing, does it?Ē No, it didnít. And while I was a bit hungry, I knew that I had to eat cautiously. Another runner: ďThe next mile is going to be the worst, then it will get better.Ē Me: ďYouíre doing this again; are you crazy?Ē (I figure I'm doing this just once to get it out of my system.)

I delicately began to nibble at my half-smoke. It was covered with chili which I had heard was the best part. But I found it quite bland. And it was on a bland white-bread roll. WTF? This is the restaurant with the awesome reputation? (Photos of celebrities eating here line the walls. Obama brings dignitaries from other countries to eat here.)

I stopped paying attention to the food and just keep eating it. But it didnít take long. They really didnít give us much. The guy across from me asked for a second one; then ďJust kiddingĒ but I could see how the thought ran through his head. I was still hungry! I guess itís just as well. The food went down easily and felt pretty digestible.

I probably spent about 15 minutes at the restaurant and then hit the road. I was relieved that my tummy didnít bother me at all. But one of my calfs was cramping a bit so a mile after the restaurant, we hit an aid station. They had Nuun, an electrolyte drink, so I downed a cup. I had never drank Nuun before and it tasted disgusting but it seemed to do the trick. A mile later, I ate a Luna bar that I picked up at the aid station. Yes, I still felt hungry but I didnít feel so good after the Luna bar. In retrospect, a gel would have been more appropriate but I didnít bring any so I was stuck with what they were giving.

The 2nd half of the course was the reverse of the 1st half which meant we were running uphill most of the way back, sigh. But it was the same gorgeous waterfalls and other scenery; maybe thatís why the uphills didnít seem as bad as I had feared.

The last mile was the steepest and here I think I paid the price for skipping breakfast as the half smoke hadn't really kicked in either. So I walked a bit until I was passed by a guy dressed as a hotdog. That lifted my spirits and I jogged along with him up the final hill and across the finish.

At the finish, the volunteers were eating more half smokes and offering us fruit and red bull. (What is it with red bull?) The race director did video interviews with everyone personally - and wanted to know what we liked and didnít like, why we came, and so on. Thatís what comes of a small race - You can meet (and thank!) every volunteer, giving your opinion - and theyíll listen! (I asked if the race was tax deductible since it was billed as a benefit. I was pleased to hear the RD say yes! He just needs to total up the expenses and will get back to us about the amount we're allowed to deduct. All races claiming to be benefits should do this.)

They gave us all beer glasses with the name of the race inscribed, a shirt that said ď13.1 and a bunĒ and a bunch of other bling. Included a coupon for a free tour and drinks at a local brewery (Port City Brewing) and free entry to a pro soccer team game (DC United).

All in all, a pleasant way to spend the morning. Met some nice people. Had a nice 13M run. Plenty of water stops, bathrooms, and volunteers on the course. The only downside: that half smoke just didnít do it for me. But I did enjoy the attempt at quirkyness. As another runner observed ďAt least they didnít make us eat 12 donuts!Ē (cf.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MBTEPP 11/20/2014 5:49PM

    Normally, anything tastes better after a hard run, but the thought of eating during a run is disturbing. Better you than me! Sure is a conversation starter. Glad you got through it!


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MARGARITTM 11/16/2014 3:00PM

    I think the food would have done me in on the second half. You are a good sport.

Thanks for the story. I still think it sounds fun!

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BROOKLYN_BORN 11/16/2014 6:52AM

    That was one quirky race.

I love Rock Creek Park and running through it, but not after eating chili. You must have a strong stomach as well as strong legs.

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RASPBERRY56 11/16/2014 6:36AM

    You sure had quite an interesting experience, for sure! (And yeah, what's up with the Red Bull and that white bread, anyhow?)

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JSTETSER 11/16/2014 6:17AM

    What a great way to spend a morning!

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TENNESSEEWALKER 11/16/2014 12:28AM

    Congratulations on finishing the run, if not the food. Thanks for sharing the story and the pics, especially the hot dog man. Rock Creek Park, we can see any day - man dressed as hot dog? Keep running and writing; you're great at both.

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JAMBABY0 11/15/2014 10:05PM

    thanks for sharing

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Training for the Half and Half Marathon

Thursday, November 06, 2014

This weekend, I will do the DC Half and Half Marathon: Run 6.55M, eat a half-smoke with chili and chips, then run the remaining 6.55M. I admit that I have not trained my GI system for this. But I have given it some thought:

When I originally registered, there was a veggie option but I figured I'm only doing this once and I want the full experience, give me the damn meat. Weeks later, I began to worry because I eat meat so rarely, so I switched to the veggie option. Then someone pointed out that veggie was likely to mean bean-based which could be a problem for obvious reasons. So I switched back to meat.

This afternoon, a friend of mine who is a nutritionist recommended taking Tums - either before the race or at the first sign of heart burn. (I've never taken Tums before.) What have I gotten myself into?! Advice welcome!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Huh! and I thought the chocolate-covered bacon (with your choice of sprinkles or chopped nuts) was unique. What says "District of Columbia" more plainly than a half-smoke? Run, eat and finish well!

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SUSUSUZZZIE 11/7/2014 10:17PM

    One of my friends carries Tums with her on longer runs. And I would agree - take some as soon as the feeling comes.

Good luck and I also can't wait to read your trip report.

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JAMIRBLAZE 11/7/2014 10:52AM

    My stomach aches thinking about it, but even sports drinks can upset my stomach on runs.

Maybe something that prevents heartburn before you have it like Prilosec which you can take some time before? I like the Alka Seltzer chews better than Tums. I'd definitely recommend that you rinse your mouth out with water if you do the Tums as they leave me with an annoying chalky residue.

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MBTEPP 11/7/2014 10:17AM

    Not sure you can really train for food like that at a race! I would go veggie no matter what, since meat sits like a lump in the stomach:) You can get through 6.55 miles without any plumbing problems, I expect, but the tums are a good idea. I would choose Gaviscon over tums.

Have fun, don't worry. Cant wait for the race report on what you decide and how that effected your race!

emoticon no matter what the decision.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 11/7/2014 8:27AM

    I can't wait to read the race report! What indeed......

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Crazy elevations in the Annapolis 10M

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ran the Annapolis 10M on Sunday. A nice race for hill lovers. Check this "interesting" elevation chart. (I'm just showing an excerpt since SP squeezes photos down too much otherwise. The horizontal lines were 20' apart.)

It was kinda humid too but itís an August race. We all knew what awaited us.

A gorgeous course. Great views: the capital of Maryland, the US Naval Academy, Severn River, and lots of pretty neighborhoods. The course is always curving so no thereís no chance to get bored. Neighbors set up sprinklers to cool us off. A church showed their good spirit with signs such as ďRun faster; weíre missing church for you!Ē and gave us orange slices and bananas as we ran by.

My only complaint: The aid stations were confusing. Some had water tables followed by gatorade and some the reverse. At other stations, there were tables serving *both* gatorade and water so it was impossible to know in advance what you were going to get. (Trying to listen to volunteers yelling what theyíre holding doesnít work very well for a lot of reasons.) I found this confusion surprising - after all, it's the 39th year of this race!

After the race, we got our bling: Pretty running jackets with zip-off sleeves. (Kudos for races that give functional bling rather than pointless medals.) We also got running hats. By tradition, at the finish, volunteers hand out ice-soaked washcloths that feel so good on your head or shoulders. Theyíre embroidered with the race name. I now have four and use them as guest washcloths in the bathrooms of my house! Guests to my home have never seen my medal collection, only my washcloths!

The food at the end was modest - but there was a live band, ice cream, and free beer. Canít argue with that!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUSUSUZZZIE 8/30/2014 9:48PM

    Congrats! That is some elevation change - way to go. Love the wash cloths - what a great idea!

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PDQ1203 8/30/2014 6:11AM


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THROOPER62 8/29/2014 6:22PM

    emoticon emoticon

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JSTETSER 8/29/2014 4:23PM

    Congrats on running a tough race.
What a challenge! emoticon

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IFDEEVARUNS2 8/28/2014 8:53AM

    Love the useful stuff! And I love the embroidered towels.
Sounds like a nice race all around.

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    Great blog. What's the weirdest piece of bling you ever got?

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MBTEPP 8/27/2014 9:00PM

    The more challenging the race, the more self gratification m
emoticon on a challenging run.

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INSPIREDSOUL 8/27/2014 6:52PM


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