3M Half Marathon – Distance Challenge Race Report

Amber Wadey registered for the Distance Challenge after realizing that she perfectly fit the profile for the “average” DC runner. She participated in an ARC member interview earlier this year and we’ve asked her to let us follow along as she runs the series by contributing her race reports to our blog. We hope you enjoy sharing her journey!

Amber's 3M stats

Image courtesy Amber Wadey

This is the first race report I’ve contributed where I don’t feel like a newbie. I ran the 3M last year and came in right at my goal time of 2:05. I registered for this year’s run soon after and told my training partner that next year we’d go even faster; perhaps even break 2 hours! After the Decker Challenge I was feeling strong but had a little more trouble moving from recovery back into training than expected. I blamed the holidays, weather, allergies, work and school for limiting my time and focus. Somehow I managed to stick with my training plan (even when my daughter insisted I could skip) and everything started coming together in the final week leading up to the 3M.

My goal was to beat last year’s time, and the day went as well as I could’ve hoped. I woke up before my alarm and took my time getting ready. I was lucky enough to find a neighbor who was taking her sister up to the start and she offered to give me a ride, so I didn’t have to worry about parking or shuttle buses. I lined up right in-between the 2:00 and 2:05 pace groups and felt great from the moment we crossed the start line. The weather was nice, I had a new playlist ready to go, and I remembered to bring a cheap pair of sunglasses and a nice snug running hat.

By the time I hit the 5K mark, I’d lost my sunglasses AND my hat thanks to some very impressive gusts of wind. I knew the sun and my hair would be in my eyes for the rest of the run, but I didn’t let it deter me. I kept a faster pace than anticipated through the first 9 miles, timing my clif shots and nuun just right and sailing downhill with the wind (mostly) at my back. By mile 11, I was starting to overheat and wishing I had those sunglasses. My legs were getting tight and my pace slowed enough that people started passing me. I spent about a mile trying to loosen up and pick up the pace, until one of my favorite songs came on and I found the strength to keep pushing forward. The final stretch was slightly uphill with the wind right in our faces, but the crowds and runners were energizing and crossing that finish line felt great. I don’t know if I’ll ever run a sub 2 hour half marathon, but I beat last year’s PR by almost 4 minutes and I’m happy with that!

The 3M is a fantastic event. The shirts and swag are awesome, the medals are impressive, and the post-event venue can’t be beat. I had a little trouble finding the Distance Challenge tent, but once I arrived I was greeted with big smiles and fresh breakfast tacos. It is such a pleasure being a part of this vibrant running community and I’m looking forward to seeing you all at the Austin Marathon & Half Marathon – our LAST EVENT of the DC!