This is my second year running the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Half Marathon. To read about last year’s experience, click here 🙂
I went to the race expo on Thursday to pick up my bib. My next step was to figure out what to wear since the weather was calling for 100% rain and temps in the 40s. I don’t have a running rain jacket (now on my wish list), so I decided to go with layers. I ended up throwing on a long sleeved tech shirt under the shirts below (and over the arm warmers.) I certainly was dressed like a party animal!
The morning of the race, I woke up around 4:40am to get ready. I needed to apply lots of Glide and get dressed. I left my house a little after 5 and headed up to DC. I had purchased parking at the finish line, so I parked there, walked a mile to the metro, and got to the start line. After a quick-ish stop at the bathroom, I headed towards the start line.
On there way there I noticed the fruit tent. Thank goodness! I had some dry cereal and a granola bar earlier, but a banana (or 2) was a welcome thing. They also had a water tent for pre-race hydrating.
I was in corral 23 for this race. Right around 7:30 I went into my corral and waiting for my turn to begin. It took about 30 minutes for us to get to the start line. By this time my feet were already starting to hurt (I really need new shoes!). I spotted the 2:30 pacer and went to hang out in that group, hoping I would be able to keep up. At 8:04, I finally crossed the start line and we were off!
I lasted about half a mile with the pace group before I needed to break away to take a walk break. They were just too fast for me to not have an interval. I also needed to take off my garbage bag because it was get a little steamy in there!
Miles 1-3 were pretty awful. I was grumpy from the rain, my feet hurt, and I was really not into the race at all. As I was running on Arlington Memorial Bridge, I heard my name being called. I looked up and saw John from Run. Geek. Run (disney) running on the other side. I quickly yelled my hello and picked up the pace a bit. Thanks, John, for the motivation!
The course took us on to Rock Creek Park, past the Kennedy Center, and then I finally felt in the groove where I could actually stay with my 2:1 intervals. I was feeling much better now. The rain wasn’t bothering me, my foot stopped hurting, and I was mentally in a better place.
Because of the rain there weren’t as many bands out (at least from what I remember from last year), but there was still some good entertainment and crowd support. At the big hill at mile 6 (yuck) there were tons of people from Wear Blue: Run to Remember holding flags and motivating us to keep going.
Miles 7 through the end were all through the streets of DC, past businesses, houses, and Howard University. There were people out in the rain spectating and cheering us on with the dogs and umbrellas and it was a good motivator to keep moving. I was still feeling pretty good and sticking with my intervals until the very end.
The National’s Presidents were out to say hi to everyone and I had to quickly stop for a photo and to post it on Facebook. (but of course! I’m not winning any prizes..I may enjoy my time!)
And finally I was at the pre-finish line where I got to run under this guy:
Running as fast as my fatigued legs would let me, I headed to the finish, so ready to be done because I was exhausted and water logged.
I collected my medal and Mylar blanket and then shuffled along to get some snacks. At this time it started to get really windy, so I knew there was no way I was going to stay for the after-party. I walked almost 2 miles through parking lots and around JFK Stadium to get to my car (so much for finish line parking, right?), where I stripped down before I drove home.
My final time was 2:54:17, which was almost 20 minutes slower than last year’s race. But this year I had to dodge puddles and potholes, and I didn’t have a running partner.
I like looking at maps of how far I have run! I think it is super impressive to see my point A to point B.
I think the Rock ‘n’ Roll races are always well done. This race was well organized (except I did hear about some bag check issues). There were a lot of volunteers on the course. While I don’t think that I will be running this race next year, I would sign up for one in a different city.