Rock n Roll USA was my second race in our insane 3 in 9 day plan. We flew to Baltimore on Thursday and met Chrystyna and her friend (our new friend) Kristin there. This was supposed to be a reunion weekend of our original No Boundaries group, but Erin couldn't make it and Mark was home recovering. We went to the expo as soon as we got into town so we could spend all day Friday being tourists. I feel like once you've been to one Rock n Roll expo you've seen them all. This isn't bad since some of my favorite booths are always there, but it's also not very exciting.
We spent Friday sightseeing. The only thing we were missing were fanny packs. We went to the American History Museum. They had some great exhibits. My favorite was the First Lady's Dresses. They were so beautiful and it was cool to see fashion change with each inauguration. We also saw the White House and several monuments. We had dinner at Filomena Ristorante in Georgetown. It was so good. It was a memorable experience, not just because of the food, but also it had the most Easter decorations I've ever seen. I'm pretty sure the Easter Bunny actually lives there. We also had cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcakes, which is featured on TLC's DC Cupcakes. I haven't seen the show, but the cupcakes were a great pre-race food.
Chrystyna had said that she would like to PR this race. Her previous PR was 2:38ish. I knew I could pretty comfortably get her a faster time than that. She had a few goals - PR, under 2:35 and a 2:30. We started a little fast but she felt good, so we kept going. She did great all race. The really nice people who planned the course put a mountain at mile 6. And don't bother telling me there aren't mountains in DC, this was definitely a mountain. It slowed us down just a touch, but we had made up the time in a mile or so.
Around mile 10 my watch died. But I didn't tell her. I tried to keep glancing at it like I had been all along. Once she asked if we were on pace to finish in under 2:32. I lied and told her yes. I guess it wasn't actually a lie, but I certainly didn't know for sure. We finished in 2:31:43. Ironically, we were faster in the last 3 miles after my watch died. I was very excited that we met 2 of her 3 goals. The funniest part is when she was a few steps behind me I would try to point out holes or bumps in the road. She took my pointing to mean I wanted her to speed up. So funny.
Overall, I really enjoyed this race. I think the Rock n Roll series is generally well done. There was a good bit of sightseeing the first few miles. We ran past the Washington Monument and the White House and ran to Arlington National Cemetery. One thing I like that some other races have done, but Rock n Roll doesn't, is give you a list of some of the things you will pass on the course and their significance. Something like that would have been great for this race. The crowd support was awesome! The waterstops were terrible. I don't think the race was able to secure enough volunteers. There were a few waterstops that definitely cost us a little time. Oh and bag check was a complete disaster. This is one place this series usually excels at. But not this race. The line to drop off your bag (arranged alphabetically) was 20 - 30 people long and slow moving. Picking up the bags post race was even worse.
If you're looking to do a race in DC, I would recommend this race. I'm not sure I would do this one again, mostly because, as my sweet husband tells me all the time, if I want to complete my half marathon in each state goal, I have to stop doing the same races over again.