Back For More: Rock N Roll DC 2017, My second year in a row

 Washington DC, the district, D.C. Is just 61 square miles yet it is home to our nation's three branches of government along with dozens of monuments, museums and foreign embassies. It's one of my favorite places to visit. It is unique in so many ways. 
     Last year I ran out his race and wasn't to happy with my results. So, I returned on a mission to succeed. I'll get to that in a moment. 
     First, you have to know my plan going into this race. When I signed up for this race, I was about 15 weeks into an 18 week Marathon training cycle. Also, as a Rock'n'blog team member, I agreed to run the Snapchat account for the weekend. Cool right?  
     Washington D.C. is either a short flight or a nice 4 hour road trip from Raleigh, so.... I hit the road. 
    Somehow,... I cruised into the city missing all serious traffic jams. I rolled in during the beginning of the Friday afternoon rush hour. 
    As usual, straight from the road to the Expo to pick up my bib. Getting out of the car and walking no up to the D.C. Armory, in the cold blistering wind... I got my first indication of what this weekend was going to be like. 
    Keep in mind,  one day before this... it was 70 degrees outside. Very confusing weather pattern leading up to the race,..but with some reminders from a Rock n Roll email and constant checks on my weather channel app... I think I was prepared.

   The security check to get inside went surprisingly fast.

     I bought some cheap clothes to put on over my running gear and throw off if the need be. You can find some deals at a thrift shop. 
   I don't know about you, but I like to buy a memento from each Race Expo.... either a mug, glass or a magnet. This time I add to my glass collection. 
    Alright, so off to the hotel. I'm staying outside the district with a college friend. That makes this all easy,...saves some cash,... it also means I'm hanging out Friday night. Nothing crazy,... just shooting some pool and eating Mexican food. 
    Skip to race morning. Remember I told you it was 70 on Wednesday. I pulled up to the parking lot and got out in the crisp cold air to find pockets of ice. Several puddles had frozen over. Crazy right? 
     Important tip: buy your metro pass after you pick up your bib at the Expo on Friday. 
    After forgetting to bring my debit card with me,.... I had to wait In line for about 30 minutes to purchase a metro pass. I got in the metro and made my way to the gear check UPS trucks just before they were about to shut it down. 
     I rolled up to the start line after the national anthem and as the first coral was taking off. What a scramble right?  And did I mention that I left my headphones in the car?
     Last year I was extremely early. Not this time. 
      I'm officially going to call this the coldest race I've ever run. That race that I ran in December in Durham was cold.... but not like this. The temperature in DC that morning was in the low twenties with a feel like temperature in the teens. My hands were freezing which made it hard to take pictures without dropping my phone. I don't want to become another victim of the cracked screen. The sun came out, but my hands never really warmed up until the very end. 

        The course was a little different in the beginning. We did not go out to Arlington National Cemetery. Instead, there was an out and back loop added that went under Penn station. The rest of the course was very familiar. You have the blue mile hill which honors service men and women who have died serving our country. E energy on the hill is contagious. The cheers can really get those legs pumping. Without the aid of headphones, this was a much needed and appreciated push. Soldiers and their families lined up to deliver high fives. Then before you know it.... you're at the top of the hill and your legs are burning.  But the crowd is still so loud you have to keep going. 
    So my hands are still frozen. But the high fives don't stop! Remember,... I'm the SnapChat guy. 
    I Avoided the college students with the beer and and hard liquor and stuck to my Nuun bottle. 
    Having run this race before, I found that it was a different experience running without headphones. It's the only marathon run completely inside the district. The White House, the Washington monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Kennedy Center, Watergate, Howard University, past Union Station (at a distance) and the US Capitol. 
      I slowed down a little after e Glukos aid station. I must've misjudged how close or far I was to the finish. Or maybe you can blame the pre-race party the night before. 
      Anyway, I roll into the finish line past RFK stadium 1 minute and 20 seconds slower than last year. Ultimately, I was slower because I had to be slower. My goal race-- a full marathon-- was scheduled for on week later. So, we'll call this a training run. 
    After crossing the finish line, I took a couple of pictures and made a B line for the changing tent/locker room. I felt great after getting into some dry clothes and rocking out with Sly and the Family Stone. You know, classics like: Hot fun in e summer time, thank you, everyday people and dance to the music. Good music. Cold morning. 
    Time to make changes in my training.



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