Friday morning I was up early for my flight out. I landed in DC at about 9:30am; and, I was checked into the the hotel and on my way to the expo by 10:30am. (By the way, for those traveling to DC, the Courtyard Marriott at Foggy Bottom is a fantastic place and the staff is nothing short of amazing!)
I was told the race expotique was only about 1.2 miles from the hotel. So why bother with a cab or the metro. I put on my running shoes and started running DC on Friday morning. Getting my first glimpses of DC since my 2010 trip for Nation’s Triathlon was perfect… Great weather for a short run to the expo and then a walk through Georgetown to hit up the necessities: the Nike Store, City Sports, and of course, DC Cupcakes (I was told to get the cherry blossom cupcake and I did!).
At the expo I picked up a few goodies from Nike for being a Nike+ member and for using the Fuel Band. I also learned about the Nike Training Cub which I had not heard of before, so I downloaded that app, too. Since I am certainly training almost daily, why not I thought.
Then off to the Nike store. Of course I had to find my name on the Nike wall of participants (Nike tradition). Inside the store I picked up a new Nike event jacket and a Nike DC Half singlet for running. Oh, and because I was running for #BostonStrong, I also grabbed some yellow shoe laces for my race day sneakers. Just a little reminder of what happened a few weeks ago in Boston.
I did not carry my foam roller on the plane as I did not expect it would not make it through security. I definitely needed something to massage my legs after the run, so off to City Sports for a massage roller for after the race. Good thing I did too because the amount of miles I put into this weekend, my legs need some serious TLC.
After a quick stop at DC Cupcake for my post race snack – a cherry blossom cupcake – I was headed back to the hotel for lunch and a quick nap before the Nationals baseball game later that evening. After the expo, the shops in Georgetown, the walks to/from the metro for the baseball game I managed 6 miles on Friday.
Saturday I woke up with a bit of a sinus problem. A quick run to the closest CVS to pick up allergy meds, then off to the Metro to head to Arlington National Cemetery. What an amazing morning. Along with all the walking around the Cemetery we (my friend Annette, her mom, and I) took hundreds of pictures. I believe Annette joked about seeing how many pictures she could fit on her phone. I don’t know who won, I will have to check. I know we both took pictures of cherry blossoms, dogwood trees, tulips, the JFK Eternal Flame, the DC skyline, The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Change of Guards, The Arlington House, the Pentagon…. I think you get the picture (no pun intended).
After we finished three hours at the cemetery, I headed back to my hotel for lunch and a little rest. The only problem is I was restless given I still had so much of DC to see and was not sure what race day would bring. I decided to lace up and go for a light jog/walk around the National Mall. So glad I did too! A stop at The Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam War Wall, WWII Memorial, The Monument, Roosevelt Memorial, a tulip garden, and even a jog across the Arlington Bridge… Made for a great afternoon and definitely put me in the mood to sleep before the race the next morning.
From The Cemetery to the National Mall including getting to/from the metro I added another almost 9 miles to my #WeRunDC weekend.
A restless night in bed on the eve of the race is not always typical for me…. I think there has been entirely too much on my mind lately. 4:30 am came too quick.
Race morning… Up on time, fueled and out the door to the metro to get to the race start location. Along the way I met up with a young lady from a GW University sorority who walked and chatted with me on the way to the Metro. She was very friendly and a little nervous as she was about to begin her first half marathon. I shared a few experiences with her to try to calm her nerves. If nothing else, it was a good distraction.
At the race start I was in awe to see the gorgeous backdrop for the beginning of the race, which would be the end of the race as well: The Capitol Building. As the sun was peaking out, it was a gorgeous start of the race.
While waiting for Annette at the start, I found a few friends from Florida: we exchanged encouragements and went off to our starting corals. Finally I found Annette and we heading I to the corals as well. Annette and I had not been able to run a race together since Disney in 2010. Our plan was to stick together and baring flare up of injuries we both had we were aiming for 2:30 finish. Slow and easy.
I paid attention to my pace and my hip while still catching the sights along the road. I let Annette take all the pictures. It was around mile 7 my hip started to bother me. We switched up the intervals and that helped until about mile 10-11. The last two miles or so were a lot slower than I anticipated but give. I had not run more than 5 miles in the last month healing from the IT Hip Injury, I was not about to push myself. I backed off and decided a finish is a finish!
Just before our last mile we passed in front of the Capitol Building. What a sight for a history buff. Just knowing the history of that building was awe inspiring.
On to the finish where I found myself negotiating with Annette for the run or the walk or the jog…. I remember saying ‘I don’t care what we do, but I am hungry!!’ I just wanted the food at the finish line.
With the finish line in sight and close enough I could easily run in without further injury Annette took off first, then I went behind her. Ahhhhh the pretty little blue box awaits!! And what a beautiful necklace!
We did it! Together, again! It was a great day. The weather was beautiful. The race route was supreme. The volunteers were amazing. What was best of all…. The DC crowds that came out to cheer. I don’t recall very many spots at all where there were not lined streets with spectators cheering us on. As always, we catch a glimpse or two of signs being displayed. I sometimes remember them and sometimes even get pictures. This time I only made a mental note of the ones I loved the most:
‘Smile if you peed a little’ - Of course we laughed because we both did at the start line with all the warm up jumps!High fives to the guy pimping out his friend with the sign ‘Hey ladies, this guy –> is single!’One I have seen before ‘You trained longer than Kim Kardashian’s marriage lasted’ – still made me laugh.‘You look HOT when you sweat like that!’ - All I could say was ‘um, you think?’
So add 16 miles to my weekend for Sunday…. 13.1 from the race the other three include to/from the metro, walking around the finishers area, and a walk to Luke’s Lobster in Penn Quarter later in the evening to meet my dear friends from Maryland for dinner. What a great dinner too! Definitely recommend a visit to Luke’s Lobster if you have not been there before. Great lobster and crab from Portland, ME.
I originally planned more sight seeing on Monday before heading home, but the weather did not really comply with my request. A rainy and cold Monday morning was still a good recovery jog through the Mall. I took one last look at the Lincoln Memorial, the Monument, the Vietnam Wall, and even across the Arlington Bridge one ore time. I took a few last pictures, which even in the cold rain were still breathtaking looks at the history this city keeps for America.
Add 6 more miles to the weekend to bring me to a total of 37 miles for the weekend. I love that DC is such a commuters city, unlike where I live in Florida where you have to have a vehicle for everything.
Reflecting on this weekend and writing this blog on the flight home, I have determined I would really like to repeat this event again next year. Next up is a few short events, 5ks for fun, and a lot of cross training to possibly fit in a sprint tri this summer with a metric century. No more half marathons until September when I travel to PA for the Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon.