Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Rock n Roll DC (2:08:54)

When my plane landed in Baltimore last weekend, I was surprised at how quickly I switched to autopilot while navigating the public transportation down to DC.  I didn't live in DC for very long (11 months) but while time consuming, it was easy to get in and back out of the district Thursday night. My former roommate Jessie and I booked a hotel in Rosslyn, just one metro stop out of the district and along the same lines as the start and finish of the Rock n Roll event.

My morning was quiet until Jessie arrived from Boston. Together we headed into Eastern Market and found a random place for lunch. The weather was super spring like, so we sat outdoors and caught up.   After a leisure lunch ( I know DC isn't really the south, but it definitely works on a slower time frame than NY)  we hopped back onto the metro to go to the Rock N Roll Expo.
some grilled cheese on what seemed like french toast.  delicious.
This expo was pretty serious. RnR DC was my 3rd Rock n Roll event, so while its size wasn't a real surprise, I've become accustom to much smaller races & expos.  We were shuffled downstairs to collect our bibs (which were made for giants) and T shirts before heading back upstairs into the Brooks merchandise area. They had a lot of race memorabilia, but the only thing I really wanted was a mug, which I didn't see. There were a few other cool things, but I didn't want to buy all the things to only have a lousy run.

I'm superstitious.

We meandered through, Jessie needed a headband and I ended up with a tank top. We had our fill of the expo and decided to take advantage of the gorgeous day, we walked along the Washington Memorial towards Lincoln. While at Lincoln, we were both surprised to find a small exhibit below. When I lived in DC, I visited this memorial many times, but I think it was the first time that I had seen it & it was opened. After being tourist in a city we were both previously residents of, we headed back to our hotel. We went to the local safeway to grab breakfast & post race snacks before eating at the hotel restaurant and calling it an early night.

very faded now, but an says "I have a dream"  and is the location where Martin Luther King Jr Stood.
Our race day morning didn't start too early, our alarms were set for about 6 for us to get dressed and eat before making our way to the metro by 6:30. Getting on the train was easy, but it was pretty crowded to get out of the metro stop. We followed everyone out to the main road and were immediately at the corrals. It was early enough, that they were mostly empty. Both of us were dropping gear off in our extra bags, that process was easy and then we were off to the portapotty lines.

These lines were long,  I haven't decided what the best system is, but they were doing 3ish toliets for each line.  It seems reasonable, but always awkward when it is finally your turn. (side glances to other lines about whose toilet it is..)  Anyhow, the national anthem was sung ( I assume ) and the race started long before we made it through the line. Just as soon as we were done wave 10 was off, so we hopped in with ours 14 & 15.  I had wanted to try to stay with the marathon pacer for 4:10 (2:05 for the half) but without any warm up, I couldn't jump to a 9:30 pace right out the gate.  I lost the pace group immediately and completely by mile 4.

I didn't notice the White House when we ran by, but did see random landmarks that reminded me of my short time in DC.  I played in a kickball league on the mall frequented several bars that we passed, and distinctly remember hanging out at the H street festival.

Just around mile 4, I felt a few rain drops and willed the rain gods to hold off ( they did).  We came into Rock Creek Park and the memorial mile, which choked me up a bit just before THE hill of the race.  I did manage to run up it, but then struggled to regain my breathing and focus.

Since I didn't know my official start time ( but knew I hit the first mile at 33 minutes)  I tried to do some bad math about my pace. My watch was registering early, so I thought I could do the lap function.  But without practicing it,  I was unsure of what I was doing.  My watch was completely useless early in the race.
a billion splits for a 13 mile race. whoops.
I loved watching people see their friends along the course. There were also plenty of houses that were enjoy the running parade.  Had I not been running with a goal time I would have stopped for the beer, mimosas, margaritas, wings, and or whiskey. I knew I would be cutting it close, but a new PR was still on my mind.

I didn't feel particularly strong.  I was working for each and every mile and the the gels I had practiced with did me absolutely no favors. When I made it to the final stretch I pushed with what I did have left and was VERY excited to see my finish time of 2:08:52.

The only photo that is normal, the rest look exactly how I felt on the course, like crap.

My PR from 2010 has finally been broken.  It wasn't broken by a lot ( 32 seconds)  but compared to every 13.1 race since 2010, I beat my time from a range of 1.23 to 23 minutes.  I was smiling ear to ear as I made my way out of the finishers area to the gear check. When I retrieved my phone, I saw that Jessie had also finished so I found a place to sit and waited. We took some photos, hobbled a bit before skipping the beer garden and jamming into the metro to head back to our hotel.

Once we got onto the platform, we let one train pass before climbing onto the next, we grab seats and let the train do the rest of the work.  I was very grateful that it was such an easy ride. We spent the better part of the day watching a terrible Channing Tatum movie before I met up with my friend Teri for lunch. After, laying around continued and we did nothing but watch lousy cable tv and it was awesome.

yes i did walk around with the blanket around my legs.  I was wearing shorts. (maybe)


In the morning I started my grand adventure back to Baltimore and again was a bit surprised at how natural it seemed despite it not being something I've done often or recently.  But regardless, I landed in Albany without a problem collected Marcy dog from the dog hotel.  Overall a successfully and very satisfying weekend.
My best training partner


  1. Congrats on a great race and a PR! This race is definitely on my list for next year. Nice post race snacks!

  2. I am so jealous. I someday really want to run a race in DC. I just love the city. Very nice job on your awesome race and your PR!