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?
On Thursday, I went to the RnR USA Expo at the DC Armory. It closed at 7 so I had to jet over there quickly after work and grab my packet. My only real pet peeve about this expo was it’s closing time. 7pm! That’s not long enough, at least stay open till 8. I got there at 5:40 and went through the motions, but I would of like to not feel so rushed.
First Stop: Packets!
We went into the “basement” of the Armory to grab the packets. It was fast and very straight forward. Everything was laid out well and clearly marked. I grabbed my bib and safety pins, then headed back upstairs to get shirts and bags! They had out drawstring bags to hold all your items. (I love these bags, because they are fantastic for travelling! You can use them to hold shoes or laundry!)
The main athletic sponsor was Brooks, which is good and bad. It’s good cause I’m a huge fan of Brooks and bad because I’m a huge fan of Brooks. When I saw the race shirts debut online, I have to admit… I was not impressed. However, in person the shirt works.
I knew going in, that I wanted to pick up some official merchandise. Number 1 item on my list were the new Brooks Ravenna 5’s! They were reduced at the expo and I’m in need of a second pair of running sneakers.
I also picked up 2 tanks and a half zip. What can I say I really like Brooks Running gear. So after sufficiently having a great time in the Brooks Merchandise area, I found out that because I spent a certain amount ,I qualified to get VIP Porter Potty access at the race. Whoever said shopping didn’t have it’s perks, well you were wrong!
While at the expo I sampled the samples the new Powerade bar Mint chocolate chip which tasted just like Thin Mints. And, the Powerade new fruit juice “Gu” is out of the world delicious. How it fairs on a run is a whole other issue.
To wrap up the evening we visited booths, signed up for new races (King Crab Challenge), and purchased a few necessities.
Overall the expo was laid out well and had lots of fantastic vendors. I think I’m a Rock N’ Roll Marathon fan (well at least the expo).
What’s your favorite race expo? Have you run DC before? What do you look forward to at your race expos?
Beer is good for recovery. Right? Either way, Ben Franklin once said, “Beer is Proof that God Loves Us.” Even if you’re not a religious person, it’s easy to see how a great beer on a nice day can be an experience.
Well, Last Saturday, hubby and I went to a Craft Beer Festival. This is where I learned the stranger the brewing company’s name, the more I want to try it. Some winners for me in the naming category were SlyFoxBeer, Terrapin Brewing Co, Smuttynose, & Alewerks. This doesn’t mean their beers actually tasted good.
My personal favorites were all the ciders. What can I say…. I love cider. The Lager from the Brooklyn Brewing Company was great. Fordham Gypsy Lager was nice as well. Lastly, I enjoy Anthem Cherry Cider. What I did learn is that not all beers are created equal. I am not a fan of stouts or IPAs. I hear it’s an acquired tasted, but it may take me awhile to acquire it.
Later Saturday night hubby and I saw a movie. He got to pick. I picked Frozen last time, he picked, 300 Rise of an Empire. Let’s just say Frozen was better. I bring this up only because we ordered a medium Coca-Cola to split. A medium coke was 44 OZ!!! That just a little less than 2 average size bottles of wine! Is it just me or does that seem excessive.
Then we Hibachi’ed (in case you were wondering, it’s a verb now). The hibachi was exactly what you’d expect, lots of amazing food cooked in front of you. What I didn’t’ expect was the interesting Green Tea ice cream that followed the meal! um YUM! It had an interesting zing and creaminess all at once.
Are you a fan of Beer? Do you ever use it for recovery? What’s your favorite? Are you also obsessed with Frozen? Do you love trying new crazy foods? What’s some of your favorite interesting foods?
It’s Friday and time to share a few of my favorites from this week. It’s been a long week, so I’m glad the weekend is here. I’m especially excited for this weekend cause I’m my 1 year anniversary with my husband on Sunday.
Onto Fav Friday, I’m crushing on a lot of things this week. Let’s just say, I’m all over the place.
1.)I found the shirt below in Target. It’s super soft and ONLY $10. I may have gone in to Target for 3 things and come out with an entire cart full, but who ever comes out of Target with just the items on their list. If you can do that, I admire your self-control.
2) iTunes Radio: I can’t stop listening. There’s no commercials and you can customize it more than Pandora/iheartradio. Here’s my stations (you can judge, I would if I were you).
3.) Chapstick – Yeah I know it may sound strange. But yes, I’m currently obsessed with Chapstick, especially Chapstick, Hydration Lock 8hr. It’s the only thing that makes my lips non-chapped during the dry winter months. I swear by this stuff.
4.) It’s almost Easter and that means one thing to me. Peeps. I love them. They are one of my favorite foods in the entire world. When I was younger my Nana signed me up for the Peep’s Fan Club (yeah that’s a thing). So I would say this has been a life long obsession that goes into overdrive around Easter.
5.) Blueberry Green Tea – In an effort to consume less caffeine, I switched to green tea after my first cup of coffee in the morning. It’s delightful. Not only does it taste good, but I don’t need sugar or milk to enhance the flavor. I’m not sure if it’s the blueberries, but I am hooked. I’m currently Crushing on both of these brands. Green tea has lots of health benefits too, including being high in anti-oxidants.
6.) RunDisney Cinderella Shoes – My good friend Amy, got these shoes for me at the Princess Half Marathon last month. Let’s talk about how pretty they are. The problem is, they are just so pretty I don’t want to use them. I’m a New Balance girl, so when Disney came out with these I got so excited. Now, I have to take that first step and get them well-worn. (They’re just so pretty)
Have you every owned clothing or shoes so pretty you’re kind of afraid to ruin it? Are you obsessed with a seasonal treat too? Are you as dry as an alligator in the winter? Do you ever go into Target and come out 2 hours later wondering where did all these things come from?
The hubby and I have been experimenting with something called race-cations. It’s exactly like it sounds, a vacation centered around a race. We did that for OBX and Cape Cod a few years ago. It’s a really fun idea and you get to see parts of a new city you may never see.
Our next race-cation will be… drum roll please…. Disney World!! Yes, that’s right Walt Disney World. After lots of discussion, we will be running the Disney, Wine and Dine Half Marathon, during the Food and Wine Festival this November. (BTW… it’s already sold out)
When I think of some of my favorite things in the entire world, this event checks off quite a few. It’s got Wine, Running, Wine, Disney World, Wine, Fun Costumes, and did i mention Wine? Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better…. it did! One of my best friends, Rockymtpearls (Amy) and her husband will be joining us for the weekend! She and I will be running together! (She’s also amazing cause she and her husband introduced me to my hubby)
That’s really it! In 10 days I’m doing the RnR USA Half Marathon in Washington, DC and I’m excited! Training has had it’s ups and downs. Overall it’s gone well and I’m looking forward to brunch afterwards 🙂
Do you race-cation? Where have you gone? Is there a race-cation on your bucket list? Do you run with friends?
We all reach those moments in training where we’re wondering why we continue to do this. Running requires intense dedication and a real willingness to want to succeed on your own. I don’t know about you, but I am constantly tempted to sleep in, skip a workout, or just help myself to another glass of wine/margaritas the night before a training run. I am guilty of committing all of these acts. Well the buck stops here… or something like that.
I go through this routinely every six months or so. I take roughly a week off, usually due to a small injury. Somehow I end up reflecting on what I am looking for out of running and my training program. What is my motivator? Why do I do this?
When society or some cynics think runners are a little unhinged, one can’t help but actually think about it. Are we? What motivates me to keep doing this?
Running my first half-marathon was a challenge to prove that I could do this, to someone who thought I couldn’t. Running my first marathon, was a rite of passage in my family and fulfilled a lifelong dream. But now what?
When taking my short hiatus, I had an epiphany. I’ve been running since I was 12 years old. That’s right. I started on my middle school track & field team. It’s second nature to me. As much as many of my goals have involved other people, the process of running has been to make me happy. It’s because I want to! I thoroughly enjoy running, it’s freeing. You can leave behind your thoughts, fears, and stresses when you lace up those shoes and hit the pavement. I need that time to myself. It’s a crazy, hectic world and running provides me familiar comfort, like visiting with an old friend.
That being said, I need to make running a greater priority. I already have running as a huge focus in my life, however I make my life plans, then organize training around that. In order to achieve all the I hope to in 2014 I need to plan more of my life around training.
Okay… that was my philosophical moment. I’m done. 🙂 Before you’re done though. In case you need a boost or some motivation, check out the video below featuring Jimmy Fallon & Paul Rudd in a lip-sync off. My favorite moment is at 4:21 where Paul Rudd dominates, Don’t Stop Me Now! I must admit the entire video is worth the watch! Happy Viewing!
Do you ever wonder why you run? What pulls you back in? When did you begin running? Is it just me or does Paul Rudd look like he hasn’t aged since Clueless?
On Saturday I decided to explore my own city. I’m FONZ (Friends of the National Zoo). Therefore I get free parking at the National Zoo which happens to run along one of the most popular trails in the DC area, Rock Creek Park. I’ve been going to this zoo for a long time and often notice that runners go through it. So I figured why don’t I do a few miles on the trails and finish it up with a some hills in the zoo. I started this adventure this morning by myself and after I finished the trail portion I met up with my friend Christine and her boyfriend Rudy.
I started my morning out with a nice jog starting at the National Zoo and going south toward DC. I was surprised by the amount of nature. That may sound silly, but I assumed like many trails it was a paved road next to a highway. Wrong. There were portions that were highway adjacent but, for the most part it was quite beautiful.
I found many bridges and large hillsides. Here I stumbled upon an exercise park… that people were actually using! So for good measure I did a few push ups. It seemed appropriate.
There were lots of little and rolling hills. In Miami, we didn’t have hills. We had bridges/causeways. I’m still acclimating to hills. My shins hate them.
I eventually returned to the zoo area and started to run up the massive hill. For anyone who hasn’t been to the National Zoo, let me give you a quick run through. It’s free. Great for joggers and easy to get to. Here’s the interesting part. It’s a point-to-point zoo with an entrance on both sides. If you enter from the Petting Zoo closer to Rock Creek Park your zoo journey begins uphill. If you enter from Connecticut Avenue via metro you begin on the downhill. The entire zoo is on a HUGE hill. So if you are looking to add hills to your workout cause you stink at them, like me… this is a great place to get in a few.
For me there is only one flaw with running at the zoo. I love the animals and want to see them all. So when going uphill I take breaks to check out some of the exhibits. Today, I visited the baby tigers and the BABY PANDA!! Yes, that’s right DC has a baby panda. Her name is Bao Bao and she sleeps 20 hrs a day. But guess who was awake and playing at 11am on Saturday! This made my whole day.
When I met up with Christine and Rudy we ran up the rest of the zoo and ran back down again! We then veered off for a few minutes to explore the trail north and get in a mile or so. Then we repeated our trek up the enormous hill. But this time grabbed some yummy Dunkin Coffee before making our way back down and heading home.
Overall it was a long but fun day. We explored a new area to run and I can’t wait to try it out again. In total I went 8.31 miles.