Latest reviews by Carrie
The expo was really small at a runner store by the Potomac Mills Mall. It would have been really quick to get in and out if I didn't have my kids with me. Once inside the store it was really quick to pick up my bib and my race t shirt. I did listen to one of the volunteer tips about where to park and what time to arrive.
My morning started off pretty crappy because I slept through my alarm. I was in charge of a carpool so I felt that I let the other two ladies down, but one of the had a car and they drove ahead of me. Luckily I had everything laid out the night before so it didn't take me much time to run out of the door.
The drive to Prince Williams Forest was uneventful even though I left later than I wanted to. I easily found one of the parking lots by the shuttles and made the short walk to one of the shuttle buses. The coach shuttle buses were warm and comfy which was a pleasant surprise. I expected either city buses or school buses.
Immediately after I got off the shuttle, I decided that I needed to get in the huge port o potty lines. Although the lines didn't seem to long, it took forever for them to move.
Next I got to stand in the gear check line. They really could have used a couple more volunteers to make it go faster. I got done with gear check right before the beginning ceremonies. For once I got a nice view of the ceremonies After the ceremonies they brought us up on the street where I thought we were going to find pace markers to line up behind but they didn't have any. When I realizes that I was lined up near the front I immediately stepped off the course to let all of the speeding runners go and then I jumped in after a few minutes.
During the Race
It was so windy that you froze, but once we got into the forest the trees protected us from the wind which was a huge blessing. The first two miles we were packed like sardines running, so I didn't get to start my intervals as soon as I am use to. I saw some intervals runners get run into by runners who weren't paying attention to the hand signals. The beginning of the course was definitely not meant for this many people especially when everyone started at the same time.
There was a lot of support on the course at each add station. The also had medics placed throughout the course which made me feel good running up and down the gravel hill. The course was hiller than I thought it would be (I guess they change the course every year to keep people guessing). I did love running through the woods, but after a while I did wish for other scenary.
I loved seeing my fellow MRTT mommas at one of the water stops. Getting hugs and cheers from them helped me push on. Something in my left leg was screaming around mile 8 so I had to take it easy the last three miles which meant the last couple hills I felt like I was crawling up them.
After the race
I enjoyed the cheering from all of the spectators and Marines as I came to the finish line. Receiving my medal and the access granted card (which gave me my code for entereing the MCM marathon) was the best feeling in the world.
There wasn't much race food left when I got through the lines, but at least I got a banana, a bottle of water, and a fruit cup. I also a disposable zip up MCM jacket to keep warm (which I still have in my running drawer).
The gear pickup took forever and most of my friends had left before I got my bag. Oh well I still got a selfie in front of a couple of cool Marine trailers before I hopped on my shuttle back to my car.
If I was going to be in the area next year, I would so do this race again. It was well worth the money, though I would probably think twice about checking a gear bag.
Packet pickup was held at the various Pacer locations around the city. There was ample time given to pick up your packets. Big plus for being able to pick up friends packets without signed approval or charging. The race shirt was a navy blue tech tee with a simple design (I believe they were gender specific too). Althought the looked nice, they snag easily.
Since this is an A to B race, there is no parking at the beginning. You had the option of either being dropped off near the start line or you could park by one of three shuttle areas. I decided to use the Eisenhower shuttle and parked in the parking garage by the Patent office. I got on the bus around 6 am and it didn't take long for until we departed for the start line. Unfortuntately half way there our bus got rerouted by misinformed police officers. Our bus drive had to drive a little out of the way before he found a police officer willing to open his barricade for us to get through. This only delayed us a little bit.
Once off of the shuttle there were plenty of volunteers directing us to the port o potty lines and the main area with pre race food, emergency blankets, and coffee. Luckily I got there in plenty enough time to meet both of my running groups for our pre race pictures.
I missed half of the openin ceremonies because we couldn't hear that they were going on. I felt really bad because I am a stickler for being quiet during the National Anthem. The start happened right after the opening ceremonies and it didn't take as long as I thought to cross the start line.
The course was beautiful. I have run a few times on the Mount Vernon Trail but it was different getting to run on the main road. I enjoyed the nice open space to run. It did warm up more than I planned on it, so I was glad that I remembered sunscreen.
There was one photo op during the race which was nice for my small group to get a photo. Since I wasn't going for a PR it was nice to be relaxed. At mile 4 I had to slow down because my IT band was starting to bother me. One of the other girls in the group slowed down with me, because the beginning pace was a little fast for her. By mile 8 I told her to go on because my leg was hurting more.
I enjoyed all of the cheering at the water stations and getting to drink water and gatorade. During the last mile we saw more and more spectators cheering us on so we knew we were coming to the end. Luckily after we turned off of Washington is was practically downhill from there.
After the race
At the end of the race, it was easy to get my medal and my post race food box (best idea ever). The line into the beer tent took a while to go through but while I was standing in line a runner came up and ask if I wanted her free beer ticket. That was a blessing. I enjoyed drinking the beers while I waited for my family to come and find me.
The post race entertainment was enjoyable and I enjoyed eating free samples of Krave jerky (If you haven't tried it yet, why not). My only disappointment was the kids play area. They didn't specify that the bouncy house was age specific so I had one upset little one because he couldn't go on it.
Even though I ended this race in pain, I really enjoyed the race. I would totally do this race again.
The expo was held at the bottom of the convention center. It was nice but not as big as I thought it would be. I picked up my packet and my friend's packet on the first day. The next day I work at the Navy Air Force Half Marathon booth. The biggest downside of the expo was the music loop during the expo. We heard the same songs over and over again.
The metro opened up early race morning making it easy to meet my friends at the metro station and ride in together. Bag drop off was easy and there were plenty of porta potty lines to choose from so waiting wasn't long. After our bathroom break we made our way down to the corrals. We choose to stand outside the corrals so we could easily stretch and move around without hitting anyone. The starting ceremonies was beautiful with the natural echos off of the nearby buildings.
I have always been a fan of wave starts, but I didn't realize how long I was going to have to wait in the cold, so it was a bit of a downer after the opening ceremonies.
During the race
The course was mostly beautiful. We got to run by some of the monuments and the white house, but the course was definitely hillier than I thought it was suppose to be. I knew mile 6 there was a huge hill but at least Wear Blue was there with their Blue Mile to motivate us up the hill and around the corner. The fried food from some of the local resteraunts made me hungry.
I commend the race officials for putting out constuctions cones in front of the potholes that were filled with water.
The 2nd half of the course would have been really boring if it wasn't for a few college students whom set up DJ booths, offered food, and beverages to keep us runners and walkers entertained.
Due to the rain, the bands were lacking so there weren't as many performers as usual on the course. Unfortunately there was only one band playing music that I would want to listen to while I run. The others were slow songs or polkas.
By the time I was finished, I was soaked to the bone and frozen. I couldn't put the emergency blanket around me fast enough. The selection of after race food was nice, though my hand were so cold I could barely hand onto the couple of items I picked up.
The worst part about the whole race was gera pick up. The bags were suppose to be separated alphabetically. Unforuntately there were so many late comers that the last three trucks were force to stay behind to collect those bags instead of leaving on time. This made pick up really challenging. It took me 45 minutes to pick up my bag because my bag was in the 2nd to last truck and there weren't enough volunteers to distribute all of the extra bags. The dozen other UPS trucks had no one waiting around while the last three trucks had close to 200 people waiting for bags.
After I got my gear bag I decided that I wanted my free beer so I made my way over to the beer tent and band so I could drink a cold beer in the freezing rain.
Because I wanted to be cheap, I didn't spend the money for a parking pass so I got to spend another 30 mins or so waiting in the metro line. At least I was smart enough to make sure I had enough money on my card for the trip home so I didn't have to stand in another line to put money on my card.
RNR did reach out to all of the runners concerning the messup with the gear bags. They did inform us that UPS did bring as many trucks as they were told were going to be there. For anyone that was inconvenienced you were sent a coupon $40 off coupon that could be used at any future RnR race through March 2016.
Even though RnR offered me a coupon for another race, I am not sure I would do another one unless I got in on early pricing. You could easily spend $200 on the race and VIP parking and food. Honestly this race is not worth it.