Race Report

Last Fall, several high school friends decided we needed to have a little mini reunion.  We picked a weekend in March.  Happily, it coincided with my birthday.  What better way to spend a birthday than surrounded by good friends.

Three of us are pretty avid runners.  We thought it might be fun to choose a destination for our weekend together that had a race nearby.  We found the National Half Marathon in DC.  We went to school in Northern Virginia, so this race made perfect sense.

We all signed up on New Year’s Eve and began our training.  One trained in North Carolina.  One trained in Maryland.  I trained in Buffalo.  We checked in with each other via Facebook during the winter months.

Friday, I drove down to DC.  I had a peaceful ride, listening to NPR the whole way.  I followed by MapQuest directions until the final three turns.  Somehow I decided the directions were taking me the wrong way.  I veered off course.  Thankfully, I was able to make my way back to those last steps.

I arrived at the hotel first.  My name was not on the reservation.  The clerk allowed me to check in!  I was pretty surprised, as I can think of some scenarios where a “friend” should not be let into a room without proper approval.

My buds arrived soon after.  We “fluffed up”, as my friend, Tamarin, called it.  Then we headed to the race expo.  We decided to drive.  Tamarin said she is notoriously bad at directions.  Jennifer rode shotgun and read the directions.  At some point she said, “Ummm, this says it’s supposed to be three pages, but there are only two.”  An entire page of directions was missing.  We never did find the missing page.

We got hopelessly lost.  It was pretty funny.  I had my new iPhone, but I was not quite adept enough to figure out how to use the maps on it.  Finally, I was able to plug in an address as we passed by.  We found the race expo.

We parked, illegally.  Tamarin said, “I like to think a lot of things are frowned upon, but not necessarily illegal.”  Let’s just say, we all pitched in for that particular parking ticket.

The race expo was at the Armory.  We had to go through security to get in.  They had several lines going in.  They had volunteers standing outside to answer questions.  We were debating which line to stand in when a volunteer said, “This line has been moving faster than the others all day.”  We chose that line and were glad we did.

There were more lines to collect our bibs.  To be fair, it was after 5 on a Friday.  Lines were to be expected.

Jennifer’s race packet folks were helpful.  Tamarin called her volunteers “The Golden Girls”.  My guy was nice.  He gave me my race bib, but I had to remind him to give me my race bag.  None of us got a special bib that said “HALF” on it.  We saw people wearing that bib on their back.  I guess that was in case you missed the people waving you to the finish line at mile 13.  No one wants to run a full when you’re only expecting to run a half.

We went met up with more friends for dinner, after getting hopelessly lost once again.  This time we were on foot.  We kept texting, “We’re almost there!”  In reality, we had no idea if we were close or not.  We were extremely late.

We enjoyed a delicious Italian meal.  The runners all corrected our non-running friends about carbo loading.  It’s not really necessary for the average Joe runners, like us.  That didn’t stop us from enjoying some pasta.

Thanks for the dinner, Ladies!  They treated me for my birthday.

We had an awesome waiter.  He had an accent that sounded familiar.  At the end of the meal, I asked him where he was from.  Ayiti!  He was off to Petionville to visit family next weekend.  I showed him a photo of Island Boy.

Our friend, Janice, kindly saved us a walk back to our hotel and gave us a ride.  We stayed up gabbing until about 11 pm.

Several alarms were set.  I did not fall sleep until about 4:30 am.  An hour later we were up and at ’em.

We left the hotel a little before 6.  We walked to the Metro station.  The station was packed.  A train finally came around 6:35.  Did I mention that the race started at 7 am?

Tamarin and Jennifer had bags to drop off.  We got into the Armory at exactly 7 am.  They ran in, dropped off their bags and came out at 7:07.

We could hear the race starting.  We hurried over and joined the crowd as the masses were crossing the start line.  We were off!

This was a very fun race.  We talked and caught up the entire time.  We ran past monuments, which I caught out of the corner of my eye.  I ask ed my friends if we were about to pass the White House.  They replied that we had already passed it.

I did take note of the flowering cherry blossoms!

There were some small rolling hills around the mile 6 and 10.  We motored up them without any problem.

My favorite part of the race was running through Howard University.  There were students out, playing music, giving out high fives and shouting encouragement.

The race needed mile markers.  We saw a mile marker at miles 5 and 10.  The aid stations were great.  They were well-organized and had friendly volunteers.

I love my race medal!  The “loot” at the end of the race was amazing.  We got the traditional bagels and fruit.  They also had fruit cups, granola bars, beer, juice, Greek yogurt, raisins, etc.

Fun race with good friends.  We’re hoping to do a repeat in the near future.  As for me, I signed up for the Grand Island Half Marathon.  See you there, on April 30th!

–Running Girl

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Jenn Rag on March 31, 2011 at 8:16 am

    You forgot to mention that the hotel alarm clock woke us with Madonna belting out “Holiday”!!!

    What a great trip! Good luck on the 30th – I will be doing the Charlotte ALS walk.

    Jenn

    Reply

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