Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Race Report: Rock N Roll USA Half Marathon

For the third year in a row (every year they've had it) Julie and I headed down to Washington D.C. to run the Rock n. Roll USA half Marathon.

The fun started the Tuesday before the half when Julie asked when we flew back on Sunday.  Checking my e-mail and a couple of airline websites it appeared we didn't have a flight home, so after a quick search we booked some return tickets to Boston that luckily didn't cost and arm and a leg.

Friday morning rolled around and we made our way over to Logan for the short flight to DCA where we dropped off our bags and headed to the expo.  The expo had a bit of a different feel this year as they moved the bib, bag and shirt pick up down stairs to leave more room upstairs for the vendors, even so it didn't feel as packed with vendors as other expos have in the past.

After the expo we headed down to the mall to see some of the sites.  Last year we went to the national gallery so this year we changed it up and went to the Smithsonian Castle.  The castle acts as a visitors center for all the Smithsonian sites.  It has small exhibits from each of them so it's great for trying to figure out which museum you should go to if you're torn between a couple.  After checking out their collection we wondered around the mall a bit when a sign advertising an underwater photography exhibit at the Museum of Natural History caught Julie's eye.

The first floor of the museum held a massive oceans exhibit featuring everything from the aforementioned underwater photography, to a fossilized great white skull to a preserved giant squid.  We spent some time touring the first floor and getting my picture taken in the sharks mouth before heading back to our hotel to get ready for dinner.

We met up with Julie's brother and his wife, and one of my old friends Kelly at RFD which has quite the beer selection.  Our night before meal was healthy to say the least.  Fried mac n' cheese for an appetizer, burgers, tatter tots and beers.  RFD has a healthy beer selection so finding something new each round wasn't difficult.  Great beers and good people it was a fun night to catch up!

Race day started with a 4 AM wake up call.  The training plan called for 19 miles but the race was only 13.1 so I got up early and after waiting for my watch to finally find a signal I made my way down to the mall to get in 6 miles.  I made my way down past the Washington and WW II Monuments to the Lincoln Memorial.  Being so early no one was around, I was hoping to see some secret meeting like two cold-war era spies exchanging intelligence but all I saw was a red fox on the hunt.  Who knew that there were foxes on the national mall?  I turned around and made my way back up the mall to the capital before making my way back to the hotel.  6 miles done in just over an hour.

After a nice rest I got decked out in my Miles for Miracles gear and Julie and I headed down to the starting line where we met up with Lena and her boyfriend Christian.  We timed it perfectly and the first corral was just getting ready to take off when we arrived.  We sat in the corral chit chatting until it was our turn to go.

As we started I tried to maintain my 10:30ish pace that I had been doing on my long runs and found it faster than most of the people who were in the corral that should be finishing in 2 hours.  The race headed down along the mall before popping over to Arlington, Va for a quick turnaround before coming back over in to DC.  As we made our way over the bridge there was one lady with a sign who kept repeating "Welcome to Arlington".  If she doesn't work for the chamber of commerce they should hire her right way.

Once back over the river the course heads north along the Potomac to Rock Creek park.  This rural part of DC isn't on the normal tourists itinerary but it should be.  A little bit of the woods in the big city.  As the Rock Creek portion of the race comes to and end the runners are greeted by a large hill that I remember from last year.  As most competitors groaned and on lookers shouted encouragement I steadily made my way up the hill finding that running nothing but hills on Saturdays for three months really pays off on race day!

From the top of the hill the course starts to give back some of its elevation gain as it makes its way through the Adams Morgan part of the city and over to Howard University where it starts to head back south and offers a great view of the capitol.

Just short of Union Station the course turns left and heads into a residential area before heading to the stadium for the finish. Here about mile 12 I took a quick pit stop to grab a beer some spectators were offering and tell them about the Big Man Run I'll be doing in June.  After the quick stop it was off to the finish!

The Head and the Heart Perform

After meeting up with Julie at the finish we headed back to the hotel to shower up and grab some dinner at Capitol City Brewery.  We were really hungry by the time we got there so we ordered some nachos which were not needed as all orders come with giant soft pretzels, but in the end my burger was a bit smaller than anticipated so it all worked out.  After lunch it was back to the mall to take in some of the warm spring air.

As we sat along the mall basking in the sunlight I checked my e-mail and saw that I had received a notice of my itinerary from Expedia.  Apparently I did book a flight home, so we headed back to the hotel to figure out which flight we should take before heading back to Adams Morgan for dinner and margaritas!

Sunday we slept in before heading over to Old Ebitt grill for lunch with Lena, Christian and another old friend Jamie.  Before heading over there we walked around the White House taking some pictures and seeing the sights.  The brunch menu had traditional St. Patrick's day items along with a bag piper which turned out to be a bad idea in such a small area.  After some more good food and fun people it was time to head back to Boston on a flight I didn't know I had.

As we left DC we got another great view of the city!




Segment Pace

Overall Page

















Overall: 10,653 out of 16,758  Division: 989 out of 1,259 Gender: 4,846 out of 6,441

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