RnR USA Half Marathon Recap
On Saturday, March 15, 2014 I ran the Rock N’ Roll USA Half Marathon. My running buddy Justine and I woke up at 5:00am to get ready and make it over to the starting line in Downtown, DC. Thankfully, my apartment is walking distance from a metro stop. We were able to get up collect ourselves and race (or stumble) out the door.
Weather in DC in March can be a gamble. It’s either spring or winter. Luckily, the weather gods were on our side on Saturday and the weather was perfect.
There were 25,000 thousand runners, crowding into the streets of DC. Despite the massive amount of people the crowds were still manageable. The only downside was the ridiculous amount of people on the metro. By the time we made it to the Federal Triangle stop we were packed side-by-side and then some. Getting off the train was a whole other challenge. Some people decided to stay on the train for another stop, which was Smithsonian. While this is fine, it caused some major traffic jams, when exiting the cars. Traffic jams continued on the platforms, escalators, and exiting the turnstiles, but I feel like that is expected in any major city race. After exiting the platform, I headed over to the VIP bathrooms (greatest decision ever), and then waited with Justine for her to use a restroom. We were wearing throwaways, which ultimately was a great decision because it was windy and chilly in the AM. We ditched the extra layers once we entered our corral.
Many parts of this race were along familiar streets and areas that my friend and I usually run. It was nice to have that in a race. We ran past her office and my hubby’s office. You run by the White House and Washington Monument within the first mile. At mile 1.8 you run past the Lincoln Memorial then across the Arlington Memorial Bridge.
You run back across Arlington Memorial Bridge toward the Lincoln Memorial, then you veer left to go toward Rock Creek Parkway. There were little to no hills as you run along a cute tree line path in a more suburban part of Washington DC. Our friend Christine was popping up periodically to support us! We saw her at mile 1 and again at 4ish and then again at 8(I think). My knee had been acting up a little so we embraced a run/walk momentum. We would run at a 10-11 min mile pace until my knee hurt then we’d walk for a minute or so. This was working well for us until……
At the top of mile 6, I saw my parents and younger sister cheering with signs. I loved every second and it gave me the extra boost I needed to run up the end of the hill. This was the first race of mine that my mother and sister ever went to and I have a feeling it won’t be their last. (My dad is a pro at this by now, I’ve run a handful of races with him and he took me to my very first half marathon… I’m going on a tangent.)
After mile 6, it becomes a more urban race. We ran through the city. There are ample water stops, Gatorade, aid stations, and volunteers. I would only recommend that they not use plastic cups. These were kind of slippery when wet and I saw a few people stumble a bit.
From 6-11 the run/walk ratio was working for us. The crowd support, fun signs, and general DC atmosphere was fantastic. We ran a large portion of the race near a man wearing a Nationals uniform and juggling mini bats. I think that says it all. Around mile 9 we saw a group of people giving out beer that seemed reputable, so we helped ourselves to some.
Shortly after this, we starting going through the DC mini tunnels. Our strategy was run down the tunnel and keep running till it went uphill. This worked for us.
We finished the race in 2:53:23 according to RnR USA chip timing. I fueled with a Plain Gu 20 minutes before the start, a salted caramel Gu at mile 6ish and an espresso love around mile 9. It was the perfect amount to feel strong. I also filled my Nathan hydration belt 10 oz. bottles up with Cool Blue Gatorade but only ended up taking a few sips.
After the race, we cleaned up and headed over to Bar Louie for some burgers and loaded tots! YUM!
Overall, it was a great race, in a great city, with one of my favorite running buddies/bestie. I would do this race again in a heartbeat and would definitely do another Rock N’ Roll race.
Did you run a race this weekend? Have you run a “Big Box” race before? Who’s your favorite running buddy? What do you look for in a race?