After planning it for over 4 months, a big race weekend has come and gone. Isn't that the way it always goes? This weekend I ran the Rock 'n' Roll DC half marathon (half #11 for me) and it was...interesting to say the least. This race seemed to be best recapped in superlative format (maybe my brain is throwing it back to high school senior superlatives since I've been getting 100 Facebook notifications a day from people posting to the page for my class's 10-year reunion, coming up this later this year...*shudder*). I wish I had been able to take more/better photos but nonstop rain proved to be quite a deterrent!
I love reading the signs people hold up along the course, and I especially love a good themed signed. DC didn't disappoint as there was a lot of crowd support along most of the course, with lots of DC-appropriate puns, but my favorite had to be "Hillary hasn't committed to running, but you have!" I might have even laughed out loud a bit. Not sure if that was because it really was that funny, or because I had spent the previous 5 minutes climbing a truly MASSIVE hill, I mean it was a mountain really...I can't say for sure that I was rocking 100% mental capacity at the point.
Right as we made our way to said
mountain hill, there were pictures of soldiers killed in action lining the course. They continued for the first half of the hill and then after that there were people with the same organization standing on the side holding American flags, telling us good job and giving high fives. I don't know whose idea it was to have those photos and flags at that point in the course, but they knew exactly what they were doing. All I could think about was that, looking at photos of fallen soldiers and my gosh, seeing ages underneath them that were lower than mine, that hill really didn't seem like such a hard feat in comparison. I'm not generally a person who gets really moved by patriotism, but I don't know that I would have made it up that hill without that encouragement.
Best Spectator Setup:
The DC tri club was set up somewhere around mile 9 or 10. They had a tent set up and were doing a workout on spin bikes as we ran by! There were a lot of spectators out (<3), especially for such a rainy day, but seeing those triathletes spinning away was definitely my favorite.
Best Thing That Happened Upon Leaving the Finisher's Chute:Seeing and meeting Becky and Erin!
Worst Thing That Happened Upon Leaving the Finisher's Chute:Everything that wasn't meeting Becky and Erin. Let me set the scene for you: it's been alternating between drizzling and steadily raining for the last 2.5 hours. We've just spent a little over 2 of those hours running and are completely, utterly, soaked-to-the bone drenched. We leave the finisher's area only to realize...there is absolutely nowhere inviting for us to go. No building of any kind to duck into, no giant tent, no nothing. We could change into the dry clothes we put in gear check, but there's nowhere to change and even if there were, there's no refuge from the rain so we'd be soaked again in approximately 7 seconds anyway. We were given space blankets, although we put them on backwards because I convinced Alyssa that Ben had told me to put them on that way and it turns out that he had, in fact, told me the opposite...meaning the literally thousands of other people wearing them logo side out were correct. My bad. Is race brain a thing? Not that it mattered a whole lot because there was no way that blanket could have undone the fact that we were already sopping wet and it was only getting colder. We huddled up under a metro overpass with nearly almost all of the other finishers while we waited for Kristen since that was the only covering of any kind in the immediate area. When we went to leave, we followed the masses to the metro station we knew was close by, but apparently wasn't that close, and when we finally finished that odyssey, the line just to get into the metro station was a block long. Then we waited for a taxi and were either ignored, shunned, or cut in front of by other people who apparently thought that neither the fact that we were in wet running clothes nor that we had been standing and waiting the longest trumped the fact that they too needed a cab. Then we had an Uber driver cancel on us and were nearly convinced we were going to die from hypothermia on that street corner when finally our second Uber driver showed up and rescued us. So, that was that. Thanks for the post-race accommodations, RnR!
Weirdest Moment:During said miserable trek to the metro station, a random guy standing on the street next to his pickup truck very obviously raised his phone to take a picture of us for no apparent reason whatsoever. So now he has a photo of the 3 of us shivering and giving him our best, "WTF?!" faces.
Favorite Part of the Course:
Despite the rain and the fact that we felt like Rock n Roll left us to shiver to death after we finished, I really enjoyed the course. The parts I could make out through the rain and clouds, at least. We ran by a lot of monuments, alongside the Potomac, and through pretty neighborhoods that I can't name but my favorite part was an out-and-back across Arlington Memorial Bridge. Anytime I get to run across a bridge is usually a win for me, but I especially liked coming back and being able to see the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument in the distance.
Overall I wasn't terribly impressed with the Rock 'n' Roll brand. Everything leading up to and during the race was well-organized, but I really felt like they dropped the ball at the end by apparently not preparing at all for the rainy day that had been forecasted all week. I know they couldn't help the weather, and I do think it would have been a much better experience from start to finish if it had been nicer outside, but it was disappointing to finish and have nowhere to go except under the metro overpass huddled with all the other cold and confused finishers. I would run RnR DC again just because I liked the course a lot and would like to see more of it on a better day, but I'm not exactly counting down the days until next year's race. Maybe I'm just spoiled because the races I run locally, although just as expensive as RnR, are truly top-notch and brilliantly organized in every possible way. My experience at RnR just made me look forward to a great Shamrock weekend even more!
Have you ever run a Rock 'n' Roll brand race? Was the finish line poorly organized, or is it just me?