On last year’s National Running Day, I took advantage of a great deal and signed up for the 2015 Rock ‘n’ Roll (RnR) DC Half Marathon. Last weekend, the race finally arrived!!!
Always a planner, I had my race attire, parking and plan laid out months ago and I was more than ready when it was time to pull the trigger on race weekend. One of the only downsides for this race is that RnR only allows you to pick up one other packet for free at the expo. Our MRTT chapter rallied and three of us went into downtown DC on Friday morning to pick up 6 of our packets. We had prepaid our parking and had all our documentation ready to go when we arrived at the DC convention center. Pickup was very smooth and well organized. I LOVED the shirt, which never happens, and it was easy-peasy to pick up our friends’ bibs.
We had a great time wandering around the expo, shopping and picking up some very cute running gear. Brooks was the title sponsor and had a fantastic area all about RUNNING HAPPY!!! I was in heaven and had to remind myself I had set a budget for this expo.
It was a beautiful morning downtown and we were all a little bummed that the race was not scheduled for that morning.
At 5am on Saturday my MRTT friends met at my house for a rainy drive to RFK stadium. We all had a ton of gear including ponchos, toss shirts, warm clothes to change into and fresh socks and shoes. After consulting the stadium map, we decided not to check our stuff for the end of the race, but head back to the car when we were done. If it hadn’t been raining, checking would have been worth it so we could have hung out at the concert after the race. But alas… you can’t fight mother nature! We got bundled up and headed up to the metro station.
The metro took a little longer than we anticipated, so we missed the BIG MRTT picture. We arrived at the Smithsonian Metro stop and headed right to the porta potties. One of the girls had gotten us into the Brooks VIP potties, but with the rain and the crowds we went with the masses to the traditional ones. While we were waiting in line, we were so excited to meet up with Kim and Amanda. After finishing up, and letting Amanda and Kim check bags, we had to take a few pictures before heading off to the starting line.
Some of our friends went up to faster corrals, but the rest of the group hung out in corral 15 together as we waited for the race to start. I LOVE LOVE LOVE starting lines of races and the hush that comes over the group during the national anthem. At almost exactly 7:30, the first group was off.
The rain was really falling as we started to run and my friends were each running for different times/ goals. My goal was to finish and to have a good time. I have been nursing some injuries and my Dr. advised me to take it easy so I could continue my quest of five half marathons this spring. I sadly watched my friends pull ahead, but was focused on running my own race. While we were heading to the Memorial Bridge, I ran into my Instagram and Blogger friend, Kristin. I was SO excited to meet her in person. After chatting for a bit, I ran ahead to the bridge and around to Rock Creek Park. As I was taking my time, and feeling really bad-a@$ in the rain, I was on the lookout for photographers.
I was definitely feeling the rain and my roving right side injury, but I was LOVING the race, the route and the crowd support. I ran into two of my amazing MRTT friends along the route who had added swimmies and inner tubes to their running outfits. As it was raining hard, I didn’t get my camera out to take a picture of their cuteness. I did slow down enough just after seeing them to have my first Honey Stinger waffle at mile 4.
Everyone had been telling me about the hill going up to Adams Morgan just before the 10k mark, but I don’t typically study race maps. I watched the line of runners ahead of me snake up the hill and decided I was going to try to run the whole thing. I was especially inspired by the The Wear Blue: Run to Remember organization. Not only had they featured laminated photos of each solider, but they had a huge line of American flags lining the hill. I was in tears the entire time.
Once I got to the 10k mark, my IT band was really bothering me. Taking my Dr.’s advice, I decided to walk a minute every mile from there on out. It helped a LOT after all of those hills. And I stopped at mile 8 for my second waffle to keep my energy going. We passed through DC neighborhoods with tons of amazing fans and hysterical signs, college kids handing out jello shots, past National’s Park with the Presidents out for fun, and an incredible MRTT cheering squad at Mile 10.
When I got to the split for the half and the full around mile 12, I realized I still had some gas in my tank and picked up the pace for a last push around RFK. All things considered, I was SO happy with my time and pace. It was my third (of 6) fastest half at 2:07:50.
I grabbed my heat sheet, some snacks, got my pic taken and headed to the car where my speedier friends were already waiting. I am so glad the planner in me kicked in for parking and organizing our trip. We really were able to get home safely and quickly without freezing. I actually signed up for next year’s race once I was warm and dry inside my home. AND the pictures were up by Sunday night, so that was a win for me!!
It was, hands down, my favorite half marathon. I had a great time. The course was awesome. I loved the bling and the shirt.
I hope you can join us for next year!! I promise you won’t regret it!!!