Last Saturday Dan and I ran the Rock n Roll DC Marathon. We decided to use the race as a supported training run and weekend city break. Having never been to Washington DC I thought it would be a great way to tour the city.
We went from the airport straight to packet pickup, the expo was chaotic, but I was impressed by how quickly we managed to get our bibs and gear check tags, we also got the chance to figure out the metro system to get back to our hotel. I was a little nervous about the race as I really don’t like big marathons, there was 30000 people registered, this included the half-marathoners, the course layout had us all run to together for 12 miles before the marathoners would split off. Unsurprisingly I didn’t sleep well the night before despite this being a training run (and to be fair every time I say I’m going to use a race as a training run I always end up racing it), so I had my typical pre-race grumpiness going on during our walk to the start line. Once there we were met by hoards of people which did not help my mood. Bag check was disorganized and took way too long, once we found our start coral we queued for the 6 porta potties provided (for 1000 people) so we ended up not using the bathroom before we started (to be honest I didn’t really need to go, it’s a psychological thing to use it before you start a four hour run). There were a lot of distressed people freaking out about missing their start times, I was happy that we weren’t concerned with our finishing time. By the time we advanced to the official start, it was getting light and I was starting to get excited.
Off we went on our tour of DC.
There was a lot to see, so I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of everything. About 30 seconds after we passed the monument Dan told me we would have to stop at the next bathroom because he really did need to pee. So 2km we stopped, for 7 minutes to wait for the bathroom. Luckily it was right by a pretty good band that turned pop songs into punk songs.
Next we almost entered Virginia via the bridge that leads to Arlington National Cemetery but we just went around the round about. This race prides itself on being run within the DC limits.
There was also the Lincoln Memorial from the back.
Then we approached the “big” hill at mile 6, I like hills and was disappointed at how not big it was.
After the climb we ran through some very cute neighbourhoods, very English looking at times. We both commented on how well received and supported this race was, there were spectators all along the course. I especially enjoyed going by the fraternity houses and guessing who hadn’t gone to bed yet. They were troopers, offering beers and good cheer. Then suddenly we were headed back to the centre.
Then we split from the 25000 half marathoners and carried on our way. This building reminded me of the one from Back to the Future movie.
Then I spotted something familiar.
Out of all the beautiful buildings in Washington, our embassy seems to be in the least inspiring.
After running a weird loop de loop, we ended up by the water.
Then things got a bit ghetto, like for real. Houses were boarded up, no one was around, and I’m pretty sure if something happened to you nobody would every find your body.
It didn’t help that we both had some rough patches along this stretch, but eventually things picked up.
The road finally turned towards the finish, of course it was uphill and around a bend, I saw a bunch of advertising flags and thought that was the finish but no we had turn a sharp corner and then we were done.
I was annoyed because all the half marathoners drank the free chocolate milk, I really like chocolate milk. There was beer left though.
It wasn’t milk, I didn’t finish mine and Dan wouldn’t finish mine which mean this beer is gross.
All in all our race went well, I didn’t race and we came in at 4:19:48, just over Dan’s marathon PB (if only he hadn’t needed to pee!). I would recommend the half course to everyone the marathon course was a bit meh. It was obvious that the race directors put more effort into putting on an amazing half marathon over the full. We spent the rest of the weekend celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and checking out some of the sights that we missed.