Navy – Air Force Half Marathon – Race Recap
On September 20th I ran the Navy – Air Force Half Marathon. Oh geez that was a full month ago… well better late than never. I’d first heard about this race from a short blurb in Runner’s World magazine. After doing some research I decided to give it a try as part of a longer training run leading up to MCM.
Packet pick up was at the DC Armory, which is always a pain. #sorrynotsorry. Not the armory itself, but parking is a nightmare and somewhat confusing. I eventually got to parking lot 3 and made my way inside. This was a relatively small expo, especially when compared to some of the other power house race expo’s that take place here. I was able to quickly grab my packet and look around for a minute (literally a minute, it was pretty small) then head out.
On Sunday morning I woke up bright and early. My plan was to park in Crystal City metro to the start and run back to the car. Brilliant right? Who ever is shaking your head, you’re correct. Not brilliant, but more on that later.
The start of the race is at the Washington Monument which is accessible from Smithsonian stop. I however was running a bit late, much like the metro. So if I took the correct train to the Smithsonian start I would miss the race start. So I got off at a different stop and decided to jog to the start. (not wise)
Once I finally made it to the start with 5 min to spare, I made my way over to the bathrooms. This is where I encountered the longest line of my life. After waiting forever, some kind stranger informed the group that there were also bathrooms on the other side. So I jogged over and got in another (shorter) line. By the time I crossed the start line it was 15 minutes after the “official” race start. But thankfully, there is a 25 minute window to start the race before the 5 miler starts.
The first mile or so is weaving around the Washington Monument, because who doesn’t love that. I’ll take running around DC monuments every time. The next few miles were around Hains Point. This spot can be tough on a lot of races, however I really loved how we started with it. Made the peninsula feel more manageable.
After Hains Point the race broke in 2. 5 Milers began to head back and the Half Marathoners kept going toward Rock Creek Parkway.
Rock Creek Parkway was a big up and back. The final turnaround took place at the foot of Beast Maker (you may recall from Rock N Roll DC 2014). Thank goodness we didn’t have to go up that again. Rock Creek Parkway is beautiful and I would recommend anyone looking for a nice run to hit up the trails available there. This was also good practice for MCM which also has this out and back pattern.
On the return from Rock Creek Parkway, the course goes under the Kennedy Center and up towards the Arlington Memorial Bridge and features some great views of the Lincoln Memorial. The course continues up Independence Avenue and passes the WWI Memorial and turns onto 15th Street to finish at the Washington Monument.
Overall, I enjoyed the Navy – Air Force Half Marathon. It starts in a great location and features some scenic parts of Washington, DC.
The 5.5 miles I ran after the race wasn’t something I was prepared to do. I miscalculated how far away I had parked. So the 1.5 I ran before, combined with the 5.5 means that I inadvertently completed 20 miles, when I only meant to run 17-18 as part of training.
On a side note…. recovery from the 20 miles wasn’t that bad. Looks like the training is paying off.
Did you run the Navy Air Force Half Marathon or 5 Miler? Do you ever fold races into your training? Are you as bad as math as I am?
I love this race! Sorry you had so much trouble getting there. I always drive in and park at the Reagan building. Parking is like $10 and literally 1/4 of a mile from the start, no issues. So you may want to try that next year!!
Thanks for the tip! 🙂 It’s a beautiful race.