District of Columbia,
- 3 miles/5K, 13.1/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
Registration: I registered online in the comfort of my home with no difficulties. I purchased a 2015 3 pack Tour Pass which made everything really easy since it had saved my information in a special profile.
Expo: The expo was a two day event but I couldn't get up to DC until Friday afternoon and was nervous to be arriving only hours before it closed. A large race can create crowded, messy expos but this went much smoother than expected. Doug and I quickly grabbed our numbers and race bags with nice tech shirts. Next stop was picking up Expo Cash I had earned by referring other racers at the Rock n Roll booth. Easy to find, I quickly picked up my cash and made my way back to the official store to grab a race themed magnet (yay, free!). A few PowerBar samples later we were on our way.
Parking: Not an issue as we could walk from our hotel to and from the expo and to the Start. We took the metro back after the race but Rock n Roll did offer the option to buy parking passes for both expo and race day in advance at a discount. I definitely would recommend mass transit for this event as much as you possibly can.
Start: It was lightly drizzling then stopped as we walked to gear check. I don't understand why RnR does gear check by last name instead of race number. I had to walk past corral 2 to gear check truck 15, then back. It was at least an additional 1200M of walking in the restarted rain. Port-A-Potties at the start had slow moving but not large lines though I didn't notice as many as I have at previous RnR events. Getting into my corral was easy and there was plenty of room to get warmed up on the surrounding streets and sidewalks. The serious rain actually held off until after the race started, which was nice, and we were off right on time.
Course: Hills. Some big ones, some long, gradual ones, some not-so-bad ones and one monster around Mile 6. Get your mental game ready for that one. With the rain coming down steadily for the entire event, it was sometimes hard to tell if something was a puddle, a hole or both. I didn't hit much traffic after the first mile though there are lots of turns through the entire race that pile up a little bit. It was neat running from Mile 2 to the 5k line because you get to see the people in from of you making their return. In my case, the leaders were breezing past Mile 3 as I headed in to Mile 2 and it gives you a little push. This was just a training run and I started taking turns wide and trying to pick up some extra distance while noticing a lot of people not taking the shortest route possible. I definitely recommend shaving turns as much as you can. Hugging the right side curb is not always a good choice.
Course Support: It seemed like there were fewer bands on the course than at previous RnR events but it could have just been a lack of noticing. Water stops were well manned but spirits were damped by the 45 degree, rain filled morning. I know there were Port-a-potties on the course, but I didn't see where they were. There was an enthusiastic GU stop around Mile 8 (?) and I strolled lazily through another well staffed water stop after Mile 9.
Finish: The finish is a nice little downhill to flat section that helps you forget about the hills from earlier in the day. Nice big medals, sports drinks, water, pretzels, chocolate milk, bananas, chips and PowerBars are a handful when you're trying to hold on your RnR heat sheet on your soaking wet body a the cold, rainy day. Unfortunately due to the weather, Doug and I did not hang out at the Finish festival at all.
Swag: A nice tech t-shirt has come with all of my RnR races and this one falls right in line. I don't know if it's my shape but they never seem to fit me right. That's OK with me because I plan on making them all into a quilt anyway but for those who like to sport them, it can be kind of disappointing. The medals are, as always, big, heavy and blingy.
Rock n Roll DC is a fun race in a great city if you're prepared for some serious hills and the potential for bad weather. RnR management did a good job of preparing the course and the participants for the logistics of running in the nation's capitol. With 40 states left to go, I don't think this will be a repeat for me any time soon, but it certainly worth the trip if you're looking for a spring race in the North East.