|Chilly but beautiful weather in DC all weekend!|
We landed in DC around 3 (thanks Amex rewards points!) and we were picked up right from the airport by our good friend. I was already getting anxious about packet pickup (I had read complaints on Facebook that there were 30+ minute lines during lunchtime) so we headed straight there. Luckily the crowds had died down and we had no problems getting in. Packet pickup was easy enough - I think I waited about 10 minutes for my bib. I noticed I was in corral 7, and was debating moving up a corral to reflect more recent race times, but the volunteer told me it was no big deal. Since I had two other non-runners with me who looked pretty bored, I decided to take her advice and skip another line. Was pleased to see the shirt was a tech shirt and came in xs (which I'm sure they told me when I registered back in December, but honestly, who can remember those things?), but when I held it up to me, I realized it must of been men's sizes...the xs was swimming on me!
We then headed back to my friend's apartment so he could feed his dog, made a quick stop at Union Station so I could help him pick out a tie for a formal event he had the next day, then checked into the hotel and off dinner - Italian, of course! . Before I knew it was 8:30 pm, so I sent the boys off to the bar and headed back to the hotel so I could relax and settle in before my 5 am alarm the next morning.
I woke up in a daze (I am SO not a morning person) but to managed to eat a bagel and banana before heading down to the hotel lobby. The hotel had promised us there would be a shuttle running, but when I got down there, there was a big crowd, and sure enough, no shuttle. And it was FREEZING! Like, below 30 degrees. My watch said it was already 5:45 am so I was starting to get a little anxious - I asked a couple of people around me if they would be interested in just grabbing a cab. They were, so we 6 of us piled into one cab (hello sitting on the lap of new best friends) and headed straight to the race. Our cabbie was slightly crazy and drove like a lunatic, but he got us there in 20 minutes and avoided all the traffic. Which apparently was a very good thing, as I heard horror stories from runners barely making the start because of terrible traffic!
The race itself both started and ended at the DC Armory - which means we had a warm place to wait before heading to the corrals, and had real, non-portable, bathrooms to use - such a luxury, compared to other races. But unfortunately the clock stuck 6:40 am, and it was time to venture out into the cold.
I found my corral easily enough, and lined up. The race started a bit late, and then it took me about10 minutes to cross the start. I already started to feel guilty since I had told my boyfriend to make sure to be at the finish at 9 since I expected to come in bit over 2 hours - whoops, I guess he'll have to wait.
The first few miles were S-L-O-W. I tried not to stress too much about the crowds, but I struggled to find my rhythm. I was definitely annoyed - I was trying to keep a 9:30 pace, but I was definitively closer to a 9:45 pace because of the crowded course. I started to regret not moving up after all.
|early, crowded miles by the mall|
Water stations were a hot mess - I think I had to wait for a cup practically every stop, which really threw off my rhythm to have to keep starting and stopping again. I like to run through water stations but that was virtually impossible with the set up.
At mile 4.5 I caught up with the 4:15 marathon pace group, and decided to hang with them for a bit. Unfortunetly there was a water stop coming up very quickly...so of course I lost them. Luckily, I had the crowds coming up at around 5.5 in Dupont Circle to give me some energy!
I knew to expect a slow, steady climb around 5-6, but it didn't really hit me until mile 6. I kept telling myself the downhill will come, but honestly, I don't even really remember it. I guess the climbs are more rememberable!
|10k mark - it's a bit "Where's Waldo" to spot me|
The last few miles were tough - mostly uphill. We got a great view of the Capitol on the climb around mile 11-12. I ended up finding the 4:15 pace group again, and passing them.
|Still found the energy to smile in the late miles|
|Crossing the finish!|
We headed back to the hotel via metro. I immediately ran up to the hotel for a hot shower, and my boyfriend headed downstairs to grab me a hot chocolate and another bagel - he's the best! Then it was naptime before spending the rest of the weekend leisurely exploring the city.
|Post-Race Cherry Blossoms!|
When it's all said and done, I did enjoy the race course itself and the crowd support, and had an amazing weekend in general. I won't be back for this race next year, but if they fix all the issues, I would consider making the trip again in a few years.
Now I'm spending this week recovering, and then it's refocus my training. I have the Brooklyn Half Marathon coming up at the end of May - my first of the boroughs to get me into the NYC HM!