I rode a meteorological roller coaster during the ten days leading up to race day. Thankfully, race-day weather conditions ended up being just about perfect - temps in the upper 40s and overcast.
On race morning, I was up at the crack of dawn to catch a Metro bus and train to the starting area. Check out this beautiful sunrise outside of Vanitha and Asheesh's apartment:
I arrived at the Federal Triangle Metro stop and started making my way over to the start village. Here's a telling view of the Washington Monument on Rock N Roll race morning:
Afterwards, I made my way to the start line. The corrals weren't being enforced, so I elected to jump into a slightly earlier corral and get moving.
|Starting line next to the EPA building|
I reveled in the stunning memorials and landmarks we were passing along the course.
|The Lincoln Monument near the 3-mile marker|
|Running past the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.|
I thought the "No Pedestrian" sign was a funny race-day contrast. =)
|This picture so does NOT do the scenery justice.|
The Wear Blue to Remember organization puts up pictures of fallen soldiers stations folks prior to and along Calvert Hill. Folks stand holding American flags on both sides of the course. It was an emotional experience and made me think of Amy and her connections to the group. Several runners were touching every picture along the way. I tried to high-five as many of the flag-holders as I could.
|The Wear Blue to Remember folks with their flags preceding Calvert Hill|
I hit the 10K mark in 1:04:35 (which definitely reflected the walking I did on Calvert Hill).
The course next wound through Adams Morgan. The spectators were fantastic. There were so many people in costume, holding up funny signs, playing music, offering us everything from grilled meat to doughnut holes to champagne shots. (Seriously, they had a pile of empty champagne bottles sitting on the ground nearby - I wish I had taken a picture!) I saw a man and his toddler daughter both handing out plastic cups filled with margaritas. This made me chuckle.
Here are a few spectator pictures:
The next part of the course included a view of the U.S. Capitol (undergoing renovations, unfortunately). I had completely missed seeing the Capitol building during last year's race, so this was awesome. What a privilege to be running in the shadows of such an important landmark!
|The U.S. Capitol Building adorned with scaffolding|
At that point, the course was running through neighborhoods with rolling hills. My quads and hamstrings were livid. I didn't remember those hills from the prior year. Maybe the rain made everything so rough last year that all I could remember was being miserable, period?
|I think this was around Mile 11.|
The final stretch of the course was uphill. I gritted my teeth and tried to look only at the finish line banner. I didn't even try to kick it at the end.
My official time was 2:16:26. Yay for beautiful race medals!
last year, especially since I ran straight through in 2015 without taking pictures. However, I was pretty wiped out considering I hadn't run anywhere near goal pace. Those hills ended up taking a much bigger toll on me than expected, too. Looks like I still have a lot of work to do in preparation for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. But we'll take it one day at a time, yes?
New this year, the Rock N Roll DC organizers made a changing tent available post-race. YES! Last year I also had to wait a good hour in the rain before I could get onto a Metro train. This year I was on a Metro train in 5 minutes. Even more gratitude!
I met back up with Vanitha. We had a tasty post-race meal at a cute local restaurant called Teaism.
All in all, the weekend was a really fun time. Shout out to my long-time friend Imran, who we got to catch up with later that night with tons of laughs and stories. It was also awesome to spend time with Sarah, Dina, and Jamie. Last but not least, my huge thanks go out to Vanitha and Asheesh for being such wonderful friends and hosts.
Life is good - and it's even better when you have great friends to share it with. =)
My next race: the Shamrock Shuffle on April 3