There have been a few changes to this race since I ran it two years ago. I guess I should note that I was signed up last year and due to rain chose to bag it and do a bike/run (known as a “brick” workout) later that day when the weather was much nicer. Here is the good, the bad and the lucky:
- Packet pickup was moved from one of the Marriotts in Crystal City to the National Building Museum. Generally, I am a fan of the museum as it’s a great building. Bad idea logistically though. Move it from a place that is Metro accessible with ample parking to the middle of DC with no parking in the middle of the Cherry Blossom Festival. Good plan race organizers.
- The line normally is not an issue, but that was not the case this year. We were able to get through it in about 20-25 mins which wasn’t too bad. However, after exiting and then eating lunch a few blocks away, we returned to see that it had grown fivefold. Not good times for those who came later. They also suggested we come at a certain time of day based on last name. That is hilarious. I’m sure everyone followed those directions.
- The race T-shirt was horrendous. It was a strange pastel green color this year and, as always, had lots of pink flowers. Awesome. We will be donating the shirts yet again. There must be someone somewhere that likes the design, but I have not met them yet.
- Traditionally, the weather for this race is terrible. My first year, there was hail, crazy wind and then pouring rain. The weather was amazing on Sunday though. There wasn’t even any wind while running around Haines Point which hardly ever happens.
- I am a big fan of the new course. No more slight uphill at Rock Creek Parkway so this is truely a “fast and flat” course with spectators everywhere. This is not surprising as there are usually around 10,000 runners.
- They had very well-organized corrals which was fantastic. Normally, the beginning of the race is complete chaos as faster and slower runners sort themselves out. Some of this is inevitable, but the idea behind corrals is to minimize it. It was great. No chaos at water stops and I never felt claustrophobic. I received reports that the groups further back were still a mess though.
I was very happy with my time (just over 78 minutes) considering the long bikeride and strength training from the day before. 4 others from our relay team also ran and the race went well for most of them too. At least 2 of them earned personal bests for this race.