Thursday, 24 September 2015

Navy-Air Force Half Marathon, Washington DC Sept 2015

At home part of today again and I can't sleep so I thought between coughs I'd finally get my race review written. I've somehow deleted all my go pro pictures so I'm sorry if this ends up incredibly boring ;)

DC is such a small area it's actually difficult to find a race that is truly in DC. It's the nations capital, so of all races that I'm running for my 50 states goal I wanted to cover as much ground in the district as possible. Technically DC is not a state but I'm including it in my challenge. So far I've found this race and Rock and Roll DC that run within DC for most of the race. I've already run one and I'm signed up for another Rock and Roll race this year, so I do like them, but let's spread the love a little!!

The Navy Air Force race is organized by, you guessed it, the Navy and the Air Force. The packet pickup was a bit of a Metro ride away in the DC Armory. Alòng with my bib I got a unisex long sleeve tech shirt (excellent tshirt exchange). The expo was small but they had some great extra race merchandise for sale that I was itching to buy.

The next day the race started at 7am. I grabbed a free banana at my hostel and made my way to the metro. It opened an hour early at 6. That would have been great if my station actually opened on time . I missed the first train and waited another 20 minutes for the next one. 
***This is the only thing I'd change about the race. If you are going to have no special parking arrangements and encourage everyone to use the metro, it needs to open more than an hour early and the trains need to run frequently. I know this is probably outside the RDs control but I cut it really tight I could have easily missed the start altogether and I wasn't even staying that far away. ***
My anxiety went away as soon as I got on a train. It was fun, an entire train full of runners. The approx. 1% that were non runners looked very out of place for once. I got off at the Smithsonian stop and it was less than a five minute walk to the start right at the Washington monument.  

I knew I was running very short on time so I went straight for the very long port a potty line and was in line listening to the national anthem and the race start. No biggie! This race was huge I just joined the back of the pack and still had to walk for a few minutes before crossing the line.

The first few miles of this race were awesome, you get a nice view of a ton of monuments. Then a few miles along the Potomac River. Even the less scenic miles were pretty...we were running under giant stone road bridges. Every time I saw a bench I thought of Olivia Pope, wished she was real and would show up, so I could steal whatever awesome coat she was sure to be wearing. 

The whole run had loads of people at all times. Even though I was pretty close to the back of the pack and going nowhere fast, the aid stations were still well stocked. I never felt like I missed out on anything.
The temperatures were good, maybe a bit humid. I was sweating a lot but I'm pretty sure I had a fever at the time so my perception might be a bit biased.  Pacing I found hard, I felt very sluggish. I got no sort of boost from the usual hype at the start of a race. After about a mile I was wondering why I wasn't done and dreading the rest of the run. I gave my self a bit of a talking to and pushed all of that out of my head. 

My new phone, the cheapest smartphone I could find, surprisingly has a radio that works without data. I put that on and although it was a bit fuzzy it played the best songs the whole time I ran. Mentally that was huge. Running is my music time, at least on slow runs, let's just hope I didn't sing out loud!
I knew my pace wouldn't be hot anyhow, hello lack of consistent running or speed work!!! Even though I had a good inkling that my IT problems at the last race were just down to travel etc I was worried they'd rear their ugly head. Thankfully, no problem with that or cramping. 
My pace didn't increase as the race went on but it didn't slow down either. I took a bathroom break (loads of potties on course) at mile 9 and had to walk a bit to try figure out what the hell was wrong with my go pro clip (it broke after a little tumble) but other then that I stayed strong throughout. I even had a little kick at the end..barely ha,ha.
I thought the medal for the race was great, really colorful. Once I got that I went straight for food and water. As well as water, really randomly they were giving out redbull. Caffeine, my love, come to meeeeee!! 
Food wise I got a banana and a Disney style food box. I ate the banana and drank a ton of water and red bull before trekking back towards my hostel. I showered, checked out, called home and sat around the hostels TV area devouring the contents of my snack box. I ate almost everything, except some fake cheese s&!t, so I'd say the race food was a winner.

So ignore all my moaning. I'm not complaining only trying to give an honest account of how I felt. Overall I really enjoyed this race and my entire race weekend in DC. I definetely think it was worth it to wait and run a race truly in DC, running through the monuments was beautiful and inspiring.

Another slow one with a chip time of 2.17. Another few races and some cooler weather and I should be able to drop that time significantly. 

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