Rock and Roll Marathon Series: DC Half Recap

I received a free bib + VIP ticket through the Rock ‘n’ Blog program; all opinions are my own.

Have you ever run a race in the rain?

I did Saturday, and it was TOUGH.

My coworker Liz and I headed down to DC on Friday morning for the Rock and Roll Marathon D.C. Half Marathon. All week, she’d been IMing me the weather forecast, and it hadn’t been looking good, but I think we were both in denial that it would actually be that bad. Welp, it was.


Like to the point of people wearing trash bags to stay dry.

We found a great deal on Hotwire and stayed at the Residence Inn near Thomas Circle so that we’d be close to the start. We jogged about a mile down to the Mall and then found out that the VIP area that RNR had invited me to was in the Willard Hotel so jogged back up there to have a dry, warm place to hang out and fancy bathrooms. I choked down a dry bagel and we left for the start around 7:10 for a 7:30 start.

Rock N Roll Half Marathon DC

The faces of two very nervous ladies before running 13.1 miles in the cold rain.

Our hobbies involve waking up at 6am and standing around in the cold rain. Maybe we need new hobbies? Also, in my usual pre-race tradition, I woke up with my period. Obviously.

Liz and I had both put in less training than we were comfortable with, so we decided to just run together since neither of us were gunning for a PR. We didn’t really discuss it but I just really wanted to come in under 2. I did a whole bunch of races “for fun” last year, and I haven’t seen sub-2 in a while, so I knew it’d be a good mental boost for me.

We took off and I started seeing miles between 8:30 and 8:50. The 8:30ish miles made me nervous that I would start burning out early, but I just tried to hold on since I was feeling ok. The race has a great course: you start out running down Constitution along the Mall, run over the Memorial Bridge to the foot of Arlington National Cemetery and then back into the District.

Lincoln Memorial RNR DC

photo via Anne

From there, you go under the Kennedy Center (which I always love in any race for some weird reason) and into Rock Creek Park. It starts getting hilly when you get into Rock Creek Park, with lots of small and gradual inclines, leading up to one jerk of a hill at mile 6ish at Calvert Street. As we were running through Rock Creek, Liz started complaining about the hills.

“OH SWEETIE,” I said. “Just you wait.” Sure enough, when she saw what was waiting for her, several choice words were uttered. In 2013, I was much better trained and ran strong up this hill. This time, I just tried not to walk. About halfway through, I decided to just surge up. The faster I run, the faster I’m done? I’d eased up on the pace a bit just before this hill to leave something in the tank for it.

Hill of Death

photo also via Anne, queen of running photos

THANK GOD that was done. I knew there were several small rolling hills coming up, but then they’d be followed with a pretty significant downhill and some flats.

For the craptastic weather conditions, the crowd support was still pretty good, although I miss the usual crowd support of this race!

Liz and I didn’t talk a ton during the race because we were just focused on not dying, but I would let her know what was coming up and tell her stories from my past times running this race (2011 | 2012 | 2013.) From 2013, I remember running down the hill near the reservoir with my friend Fiona, and she just totally beasted it out. I was happy for this downhill, but knew this meant there were lots of flats left and not much downhill. My legs and mind were starting to get tired, and I knew we had long stretches of North Capitol and H Street coming up.

Around mile 9/10, I took a peek at my watch and started doing some mental math. Liz’s PR is 1:54, and I thought we might be able to break it or come close to it. Turns out I was completely run-dumb, because we came in at 1:59.

Nothing felt great, but nothing felt terrible either, and in those last few miles, I wanted to stop and walk. But I’d promised myself to not give up in this race and run a strong race, so I was going to keep up my promise to myself.

Rock and Roll DC

also via Anne!

Finally, we cruised around this corner and to the finish line.

We finished and hugged and high-fived, proud of ourselves for getting through the race in the cold rain under two hours.

IMG 1614

The post-race shuffle reminded me way too much of the post-NYCM shuffle, only without the epic ponchos and much shorter and soggier.

IMG 1617

We boogied on over to the VIP tent, where we were too cold to eat or drink anything and stood around shivering, waiting for the shuttle that would take us back to the Willard. We did get to take advantage of the free massages, which were wonderful. Other casualties: some hot underboob chafing that looks like someone took a knife to me…and my toes. I wore these dumb shoes walking around on Friday and they cut the hell out of my feet. Add blisters + rain and, ow. I ended up getting my first pair of Toms (jury’s still out: comfortable but not my style) at Whole Foods on Saturday (god bless you, Clarendon Whole Foods) because my feet were so uncomfortable.

Yesterday morning, I woke up and tracked all of the runners who competed in the NYC Half. My boss ran it, and on her third half, shattered my PR by 3 minutes. I’m super proud of her…and also, I now have a goal for Brooklyn.

At brunch yesterday, Liz and I talked about our upcoming races. I am SO excited for this year of running. I’m back, y’all. I am most excited, of course, to run NYCM. I found out last Thursday that I have a confirmed spot through the New York Junior League. It’s the first year we have a team, and I’m so excited to raise money for an organization I truly believe in that is making a difference in the lives of women and children in NYC. Just today, the New York State Assembly passed the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act — a bill the NYJL has been advocating for for years — which increases penalties for human trafficking. I’m so proud to be a member of this organization, and can’t wait to share more with you throughout my fundraising journey.

17 comments on “Rock and Roll Marathon Series: DC Half Recap

  1. Patty @ Reach Your Peak

    Nice job!! I ran a race saturday too but 5K. It was also pretty rainy…can’t imagine 13.1 miles in that. I’m currently opposite of you – kinda lacking motivation for running lately. I FEEL motivated by thinking of races I want to run and how I want to PR, but then the hard part has been actually getting out there and running…and not making excuses (i’m too tired, etc).

  2. Kim Hatting

    Rain is painful, unless it’s 80-degtees outside (my opinion). I have done some races in the rain, two of the worst were a 7-miler with pouring rain before/during/after, and a 20K with heavy rain for the first 9 miles (followed by sunshine, though). Not pretty, but those races (or training runs) really make you tough, and they show you what you’re made of 🙂 Excellent work!!!!

  3. joelle @ on a pink typewriter

    Gf, that is such an awesome time! I realizes it might not be a PR for you, but I’m still shooting for below 2 and find that impressive, especially since you said you didn’t really train as well as you’d hoped! I PR’d at my recent half, but hills stopped me from getting to 2hr/below. Kudos to sticking it out through the rain – that would def be miserable for me.

  4. Kristine

    HELL YES on getting it done in that crap weather! I’m so excited to cheer you on at NYCM…. and then brunch afterward. Oh yeah – I’M COMING. (Um, can I crash on your couch?) Your mom and I are going to be besties.

  5. MCM Mama Runs

    Nicely done. I always walk Calvert and then pick up the pace after. I was colder at this race than I think I’ve ever been. I totally underestimated how much difference the rain would make on how I felt when I was running. MY thighs were numb when I finished LOL.

  6. Amanda @ Slimplify Life

    Great recap! This was my first full marathon and definitely not ideal weather conditions. But the worst part of it all was the sudden freezing shock that came after the run. Stairs to the metro = Mt. Everest.

  7. Katie

    Tell me the truth about the Tory Burch flats….You’re the second person who’s mentioned chaffing/blisters from them. And I’m looking to relocate to Minneapolis soon, so do I buy them? or are there better good looking flats? Teach me.

    Also, my first (and so far only full) included it raining on me….twice. So I’m aware of the sogginess. Way to power through and still get under 2!

    1. Theodora Blanchfield Post author

      Oh gross 🙁 I can’t imagine rain during a full! Honestly, I would say Tieks over Tory. SOMETIMES TBs are okay on my feet, but they chew them up and spit them out more often than not. Tieks take a tiny bit of break-in time but then are as comfortable as slippers.

  8. Lauren

    I ran this too and was undertrained (thanks winter and icy weather!) and had not so great race. I was completely over the cold rain by mile 9 but finished strong. Here’s to warmer and better races!

  9. Barbara

    Congrats on sticking out the rain! I felt your pain this weekend – I had my 20 miler on Saturday in prep for Boston – that was 2:50 in the NJ rain starting at 6:30 am!

    Definitely felt hard core at the end of it, though. Its the bad races that make you really appreciate the good races, in my opinion! (And the yucky training runs that prepare you for the yucky race day).

    Maybe I’ll catch you at one of the NYC races sometime soon!


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