No Rain, Crazy Costumes, and a Goal Time: The Rock N Roll Half Marathon



Saturday was the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon. Before I start my recap, I want to offer my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for all of the kind, encouraging comments I received from Friday’s post. I put it all out there and the response was overwhelmingly positive. So thank you – all of you – for making this little blog a safe space for honesty and taking risks. And now…off to the races!


Let’s start with the expo. I waited until the last 15 minutes of the last day to head over to the Stadium Armory to pick up my race packet…and paid for it.


The place was a bit of a mad house with lines out the door and people frantically trying to make their way through as vendors were closing down. Not crazy enough, however, to keep me from taking a shameless selfie amidst the chaos. That’s right, I totally pulled this one off for the sake of the blog. Don’t judge me. I wanted to show you the cool mirror with “here is your inner Kenyan” painted on it. Wonder how I could get one of these in my apartment?


I really have no right to complain about the stress level at the expo because I waited till the last minute. Lesson learned. One real complaint though: why were we emailed digital confirmation sheets but then required to transpose the information onto pointless paper forms before picking up our numbers? Made me wonder if they were going with the DC bureaucracy red tape theme or if it was really supposed to be that inefficient. Mystery.


I drove home and got right down to the business of making my traditional pre-race chow. I have a very finicky stomach, and when it comes to fueling up before a big event, blander is better. In college my go-to dinner before a triathlon was white rice with salt and butter. As you can see, I’ve upgraded to plain pasta, white chicken breast, and sautéed veggies with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. It did the trick and sent me to bed with a full (and happy) stomach.


I laid out every single thing I would need to get ready in the morning, right down to the plastic zip loc bag for my iPhone. Having everything prepared the night before cuts down on time in the morning and calms my nerves about forgetting something. I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m., did a little bit of foam rolling, and called it a night.


When I woke up, I immediately opened my window and checked for the forecasted rain. Nothing! What luck! I got dressed, made a bland breakfast of almond butter toast and banana, and spent a few last blissful minutes on the foam roller to get my muscles ready for the journey ahead. After hopping on the metro to Metro Center, it was just a short walk to the blaring music and huddled masses of the starting line.


Despite the gloomy clouds, the temperatures were perfect for running and there wasn’t a drop of rain falling from the sky. Hooray! I moseyed over to corral three to wait out the final 30 minutes before the start with a few stretches. And then we were off! Well, at least the first corral was off. The Rock ‘n Roll race starts each corral in their own separate wave, so we had to wait for the first two corrals to go before it was our turn. Talk about building up the excitement and suspense!


As I crossed the starting line, I took a deep breath and decided to take the entire race one mile at a time. And as the first mile beeped in at around 7:30, I knew this was going to be an adventure. A few details:

Crazy apparel seen on the course:

  • Full suit and tie with “Jesus Saves” taped to the back
  • A denim jacket
  • Mini Mouse costume
  • Green body sock
  • Star-spangled full body spandex
  • Spectator in a ketchup costume, spectator in a gingerbread man costume, spectator in a Mr. Incredible costume dancing to disco music
  • Tiny gold lame shorts
  • Tuxedo t-shirt and black shorts


Things I didn’t like about the race:

  • My watch clocked the entire course at around 13.5 miles. I can’t tell you how devastating it is to think you are just around the corner from mile 11 and then realize it’s another few tenths away. My watch consistently beeped way before the mile markers. Anyone else have this problem?
  • Calvert Hill at mile six

Things I loved about the race:

  • Great spacing out of the bands along the route
  • The spectator support was incredible (except for the guys offering beer – the smell was atrocious)
  • The route was really fun despite Calvert Hill
  • I never wondered when the next water/gatorade spot would be because there were plenty
  • Runners genuinely seemed to be having a good time
  • Lots (and lots) of free food at the finish area. Potato chips, chocolate milk, smoothies, bananas, Gatorade. I was in heaven!


My official finish time was 1:42:20 – about three minutes under my goal. I was so shocked and thrilled and shocked some more! According to my watch, my time at 13.1 was somewhere around 1:39, but since that’s not an official time anywhere other than my head, I’ll have to let it go. But breaking 1:40 is now in the crosshairs for next time. Oh yes, there will be a next time.


An enormous thank you to my parents for coming from Ohio to support me on the course. The original fit crasher is an accomplished marathoner and she has been my chief coach and motivator since I took up running in college. My parents have been my race-day support team from the very beginning and I couldn’t have done it without them. And check out the sign they made – so official! Thanks guys! Another big thank you goes to Bonnie, Jeff, and Heather for spotting me on the course and cheering me on along the way.


This is one of my favorite photos from the day. These are two of my friends from the Georgetown Triathlon Team, Jenny and Michelle. I don’t know how long it’s been since we’ve all done a race together, but part of me wants to put it way back to 2008. It was such a fun throwback to have a mini-reunion at the finish line. You ladies are the best!


And what do you do after running 13.1 miles? You eat, of course! Well, you change out of the wet and sweaty clothes from the race and then you eat. I took my parents to Ted’s Bulletin on Capitol Hill for an enormous celebratory breakfast. Mom tried a home-made pop tart and some breakfast classics, dad went with the biscuits and gravy, and I inhaled the ten-grain hot cereal with toasted coconut and dried fruit. Oh, and a bottomless cup of hot coffee.


We walked off breakfast with a trip to Eastern Market, and then it was time to call it a day. Whew! So many months of training and worrying and agonizing over 13.1 miles…and it is finally successfully behind me. What a wonderful sense of relief. This medal will be proudly hanging in my apartment as a reminder that anything is possible with a little chutzpah, faith, and a whole lot of good old fashioned hard work.



Did you run the Rock ‘n Roll? Share your story!



  1. Lindsay March 18, 2013 / 9:56 am

    My Garmin clocked in at 13.5, too! As did my friend’s Nike run app, and my boyfriend’s Nike+. I know it’s not an exact science, but I think we ran more than 13.1! Looks like you didn’t have to check a bag: gear check was an absolute disaster. Had to wait in line to check BEFORE the race (and run about 1 mile to get there and back to the start line), and took me about 45 minutes to pick up my bag post-race. Oh and the smoothies were long gone by the time I finished (my time was 2:30).

    • Allison March 18, 2013 / 10:06 am

      My MapMyRun did 13.9…so I thought the app was off and just ordered a Garmin. Will use both, but interesting to know that other people had a similar problem. Also made me think my run speed was significantly slower than I had been training. Hmph.

    • DC Fit Crasher March 18, 2013 / 10:07 pm

      Oh no! I’m sorry to hear about the bag check disaster Lindsay. What a bummer!

  2. Allison March 18, 2013 / 10:04 am

    So I did the half marathon as a kick off to my training for my full marathon in Montana in July. I can’t tell you how many false starts I’ve had with my full marathon training…somehow something always derails my training, colds, new jobs, jury duty, etc. But this time I am committed. I am paying for a hotel, researching a flight and with now two “halfs” under my belt, I’m feeling confident.

    That’s not to say that this kick off was without its bumps. I recently started a new job (the past kiss of death to long runs) and the schedule has been nuts – 4:30am start time. Some people say that the time must be great because I get a lot of daylight. Yes, I like that, but it’s been a lot to get adjusted to, think a month long jet lag. So when I set out to run the half this time, I realized I wasn’t going to hit or best my 1:50 time that I was pretty proud of the last time around. And then I read your “Adjusting Expectations” post. And I also talked to a friend – she asked what my motivation was. After I had adjusted my own expectations for the race, knowing that I wasn’t going to beat my previous time, I realized that there is merit in showing up and seeing if you can do it. And I did. So pain, white knuckling Calvert Hill (by the way, if you’re going to walk, please get out of the way), and just general discomfort for 13.1 miles didn’t stop me…and for that I realized that I was just that much more mentally tough. And there is definitely merit in showing up. Cool to know.

    Thanks for the adjusting expectations post…really resonated with me. 🙂

    • DC Fit Crasher March 18, 2013 / 10:10 pm

      Allison you ROCKED IT out there and I am so proud of you for showing up and giving it your best effort. You are right, there is something to be said for making the decision to go after it regardless of the conditions or odds. You’ll be ready for the Montana marathon and already have the hardest part (the mental prep) taken care of. Can’t wait to hear about the race – let me know how I can be on the support team!

  3. Anne March 18, 2013 / 10:16 am

    Girl, you are a speed demon. CONGRATS!!

    • DC Fit Crasher March 18, 2013 / 10:11 pm

      Anne – congrats to YOU for killing that PR!! So very awesome! And your photo of the energy bites served appetizer style in the VIP runner section cracked me up. So fancy! I can’t wait to get on the race course with you again soon…we both have some goals to stare down for next time.

  4. Colleen March 18, 2013 / 10:39 am

    My GPS mapped me at 27 miles! And when I finished they were completely out of chocolate milk. I was so sad. As I crossed Cowboy Mouth (the headliner) was playing their last song :-(. So disappointed :-(. I finished the full at 4:20 which isn’t terrible, but I felt like an after thought by RnR 🙁

    • DC Fit Crasher March 18, 2013 / 10:12 pm

      Ah Colleen that is so disappointing, I’m sorry to hear about the poor timing and preparation by RnR for runners over 4 hrs. But a hearty congrats on the great finish – 26.2 is such a rocking accomplishment!

  5. Anne March 18, 2013 / 10:46 am

    p.s. the Mr. Incredible was my favorite. 😉

  6. Christy March 18, 2013 / 12:36 pm

    Great job! I’m surprised you thought there were plenty of water stops! I didn’t find that at all! There wasn’t one between Miles 7 and 11 and the one at Mile 7 didn’t have any volunteers!

    • DC Fit Crasher March 18, 2013 / 10:13 pm

      I didn’t even realize the mile 7 stop didn’t have any volunteers – to be honest I must have been really “focused” (aka out of it) not to notice that! I didn’t grab a drink till around mile 8 so there’s my first problem. Congrats on the race and hopefully next time we’ll both have better luck hydrating!

  7. Beth March 18, 2013 / 12:43 pm

    Congratulations on a great race! I also clocked in way over (13.4 miles) and I hated that hill on Calvert. That was the only place I missed a water stop–I really could have used a swallow after that hill!

    • DC Fit Crasher March 18, 2013 / 10:14 pm

      Beth – totally agree. I could have also used a huge om-pah-pah band or a little classic rock to get me up that darn hill.

  8. Logan @ Mountains and Miles March 18, 2013 / 1:07 pm

    I thought the water/Gatorade stops were at good places/spacing, but they were poorly staffed and way overrun.

    I was actually disappointed in the bands and their spacing. As much as I love me some acapella, I did not find that to be a very “pump up” performance, and I also wish that there was a band at/near Calvert Hill.

    My Garmin came in at 13.33, but, like you said…have to go by the “official” time and not when I pressed “lap” on my watch to signify the end of “my” half marathon, ha.

    I did end up with a 17 minute PR though!! I clocked in at 1:51:58, which was HUGE for me! Then it got me thinking what I’m capable of next…

    • DC Fit Crasher March 18, 2013 / 10:15 pm

      17 minute PR – that is crazy Logan – congrats!! You are capable of quite a bit, and I bet you’ll keep surprising yourself : )

  9. Dan March 18, 2013 / 1:18 pm

    My Nike watch was over a ways too, but unless you are running perfect tangents and never swerving around people its going to be over. For races I set my watch to show elapsed time and check my time at the mile markers to pace for a desired goal time. I love the course and going through “real” DC neighborhoods, I think the half course offers a lot for the destination runner and DMV local. As others have said I was disappointed with the staffing at the water/gatorade stations and some other aspects of the race but I will probably keep coming back. Great time BTW!

    • DC Fit Crasher March 18, 2013 / 10:16 pm

      Good advice Dan – next race I do I won’t clock distance. It’s too much of a heartbreaker. I also loved running through some of my favorite “real” DC hoods and seeing all of my neighbors come out cheer. They really hit the nail on the head with the route, in my opinion. A great tour of our city!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *