Despite weather challenges, I had a great time running this race! I've got a lot to share. Today we'll go with the "Good, Bad, and Ugly" recap format.
- The course was stunning. The amazing array of scenery included the National Mall, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the White House, the Memorial Bridge, Rock Creek Park, the Potomac River, Woodley Park, Calvert Hill, Howard University, the Kennedy Center, Adams Morgan, etc. etc. etc.
|The starting line.|
Due to rainy conditions, this was unfortunately the only picture I took on the course.
- There were a lot of touching elements to the course, too. In Rock Creek Park, there were dozens and dozens of signs with pictures of fallen soldiers and their names/ages. Along Calvert Hill, there were folks lined up along both sides of the street holding American flags. These all brought tears to my eyes.
- Despite very rainy, inclement conditions, the volunteers, spectators, and my fellow-racers were unbelievably energetic and spirited.
- At the water stations, the volunteers were amazing. They did a great job keeping things upbeat. Some made jokes like, "Don't be shy, there's no water shortage!" or "We're just putting out the cups. The rain is filling them up for you!"
- Dozens of spectators were cheering us on in costume, setting up dance stations for us, offering us all kinds of food and beverage. Bacon? Oreos? Bloody Marys? Ask and you shall receive.
- The runners were very diverse - I must have heard a half-dozen different languages being spoken. Folks were cheering each other on, singing at the top of their lungs, kidding around, and overall just having a marvelous time.
- The DC Metro couldn't have been easier or more convenient when getting to the race expo or the starting line.
- My father-in-law, being local to the area, knew of a McDonald's near the starting line that we could stop at. This enabled me to do all of my pre-race prep indoors. It was a godsend.
|Donning my stylish garbage-bag dress pre-race to ward off the rain. |
Look for this to hit department stores soon. Accept no imitations!
- Consistent with my prior Rock N Roll race experiences, the event was very well organized with excellent offerings for the runners. I loved the race shirt and medal. I also appreciated the on-course bands, Clif Shots, great selection of post-race food and drink, and space blankets at the finish.
- Military personnel happily handed out the medals at the finish line. This again brought tears to my eyes.
- As was feared, it started raining on Friday night and didn't stop until Saturday afternoon. The precipitation kept going throughout the ENTIRE race. Obviously it made for some uncomfortable circumstances. (If you're keeping score at home, this is the third time in the last nine months that I've run a water-logged race. Maybe I should start running races in California to help ward off their awful drought?!?!?)
|This is what the DC-area radar looked like on race morning.|
- There was no corral enforcement. I think there were 32 corrals, and I saw plenty of folks from later corrals lined up in the earlier corrals.
- This race was not intended to be a PR attempt. However, I did sign up to run with the 2:15 pace group. The pace leader (I think his name was Charlie) was supposed to be stationed in the same corral as I was. I looked for him several times but NEVER saw him. Additionally, other pacers seemed to be positioned weirdly. For example, I saw the 5:00 pacer in an earlier corral than mine. Then, Adam said he saw the 2:15 and 2:30 pacers at the 10K mark only about a minute apart from each other.
- Adam and my father-in-law planned to cheer me on at the 10K area. My father-in-law was wearing a neon orange jacket and Adam was waving his Terrible Towel. They should have been easy to spot in the crowd. I looked all around for them. Unfortunately, we never saw each other. This made me feel bad, considering the effort they made to be there.
- The course was hillier than I expected. It wasn't outrageous, but Calvert Hill near the Mile 6 marker was tough. Additionally, the pavement on the course had some rough patches. Presumably these were the lingering after-effects from a rough winter in DC.
|Obligatory race photo body spasm|
This was listed on the photo site as "Drumberton Bridge" but I can't find info on it.
My uneducated guess is that it was somewhere around Mile 10.
- My Garmin indicated that I completed the course in 2:16:44, plus or minus a few seconds. However, my chip time was 2:17:27! I think I know what happened. At the starting line, there were two timing mats - one directly under the starting line sign, and one a few feet prior. The organizers/volunteers had my corral line up just prior to the timing mat under the sign. However, some of us, myself included, crossed the other timing mat while we were waiting. I think it activated my chip before my corral was released. I have emailed the race organizers to inquire.
- The race finished at RFK Stadium. It was a lengthy walk from the finish line to the stadium's Metro stop. The walk also included either going up a long incline, or traversing a long flight of stairs.
- Worse yet, once we got to the Metro station, there was an EXTREMELY long and slow-moving line to get onto the train. Had the weather been good, it would have been much less of an issue. However, on this day all of the runners and spectators were exhausted, cold, and wet. There was no place to change clothing or to sit down, either. It was torturous to be standing outside waiting. It took a good hour before we got onto a Metro train.
- Once we did finally get onto the Metro, it was jam-packed, of course. We all couldn't wait to get moving so we could get home. But then, the conductor ended up having to stop the train because a passenger (probably a runner) got sick onboard. Yikes!
- Remember when I said here that my piriformis pain was gone? Yeah, scratch that. During and after the race, my piriformis reared its ugly head again with a vengeance. Sigh. I've clearly still got my work cut out for me.
It is really too bad that the relentless rain marred everything, because Rock N Roll DC was a fantastic race. The course was one of the most scenic that I've ever had the privilege of running. The energy was astounding and the sense of patriotism was unparalleled. I would give this race a HUGE two-thumbs up.
|Post-race medal glee|
Finally, I have to give a very, VERY special thank-you to my wonderful family. Adam and my father-in-law were both up at a truly ungodly hour on Saturday morning to get me to the starting line. As I mentioned, my father-in-law's local knowledge of the pre-race McDonald's location was an absolute godsend. Then, Adam and my father-in-law spent the morning riding the Metro all around DC amidst the rain, crowds, and long lines to spectate, meet me at the finish line, and get me home in one piece. My stepmother-in-law was unfortunately unable to join the day's festivities due to foot issues, but she couldn't have been more supportive, hospitable, or accommodating throughout the entire weekend. Huge thanks also go out to Aunt Marylin, Uncle Marty, and cousin Matthew for all of their wonderful hospitality over the weekend, as well!
MY NEXT RACE: The Shamrock Shuffle on March 29