I love this race.
It’s my second year running it, and it was everything I remembered. From the perfect race day temps to running past all of the best monuments to the Hooah tents at the expo and everything in between. It was great.
Have I mentioned I love this race?
Saturday morning J and I made the four and a half hour drive up to Atlanta to fly to D.C. with points (Flights out of Pensacola both with dollars and points are outrageous). It was a quick, overnight trip so we headed to the Westin in Georgetown to drop off our bags before taking the Metro to the expo/packet pickup.
But first, lunch.
DOD ID card holders have priority pickup coming through the expo. My favorite thing about this race is that unlike
a four-month wait for class start after a rushed PCS everything else in the Army, it’s impeccably run and organized so well. Bib pickup is organized by numbers and you quickly show ID with minimal lines for pickup before getting your ATM shirts.
After a quick loop of the expo, stocking up on #allthegu and a stop to break the Nothing New on Race Day Rule at KT Tape we were ready to go.
We made a Whole Foods stop for morning iced coffee and instant oatmeal, walked down M Street for dinner and headed back to the room for an early bedtime. We’re old. I’m over it.
But first, cupcakes.
As part of my marathon training plan I needed 20 miles this weekend. I planned to get in 10 before the 10-miler but miscalculated a little thing called sunrise. I woke up to darkness and could hear my marathon training coach’s voice telling me to wear reflective clothing I didn’t have so I headed to the Westin gym to dreadmill it for six miles.
Around 6 I got J up and we ate before taking the Metro to the Pentagon.
One thing I definitely suggest for the wait at Pentagon City is throwaway clothes. We learned from last year that it can get pretty chilly while waiting for the start so we bought $3 sweaters at a local thrift shop before leaving for D.C. We made long but efficient lines at the Porta Potties and headed to the corrals. A cannon start sets waves off every five minutes and around 8:25 it was go time.
10.25 beautiful miles in the nation’s capital:
Although spectator support is spotty at this race there are sections where they line up in droves. The first two miles or so along course, the finish and underneath any bridges are where you’re bound to see your fair share. The ones that do show up are more than enthusiastic.
Last year I loved a man who played the flute for the entire race while maintaining just under a 10-minute pace. Flute man wasn’t anywhere to be found this year, but I kept my music off and enjoyed the slow, marathon pace crawl through one of my favorite cities along the east coast.
I didn’t need to use them but one of the things that struck me most about the difference between this race and my terrible experience running the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler in April was the number of aid stations, stocked water stops and bathrooms along the course. Seriously, CUCB can learn a thing or two.
Since I wasn’t shooting for a PR after already running six miles that morning, I ran a super comfortable 10:45ish stopping for pictures along the way and high-fives from spectators.
I hit 10 miles about a quarter mile early but I could honestly run this course twice and be ecstatic (Might there be an MCM in my future? Hmm.).
I crossed the finish line, got my $60 banana, found J and this lovely human.
We only had a few more hours in D.C. so we headed to the hotel for showers before checkout.
But first, brunch.
I’m sad the trip was so short but I’m crossing my fingers and toes that many more trips to D.C. are in our future after this next PCS. I’m not done with you D.C. and can’t wait until next time.