So last year after completing our first half Marathon together, Mr. Slick and I decided we enjoyed the experience so much (sore legs and all) that we promptly signed up for the 2013 half marathon. Fast forward 10 months and my husband found out due to a work commitment, he would not be able to run the marathon with me. Blah! Running alone with 30,000 other people was not what I had anticipated when I signed up.
On the Thursday before, my daughter and I braved public transportation to pick up my packet at the DC Armory. Those of you familiar with DC, this is much easier than trying to find parking. Getting the packet was a piece of cake, but we were a bit disappointed with the Expo. There were not as many vendors as the year before. We walked around and tried a sample of the new caffeinated Jamba Juice that they are selling in a can. It was pretty tasty. We also stopped by the Larabar booth and tried a couple of samples. Then back home.
There was a new route this year and my corral started in front of the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History and there was a lovely view of the Washington Monument. Of course, as I only had my camera phone, no great pictures.
The start wasn’t the only change from last year. There were also port-o-potties in every corral and all along the track. This seemed like a good idea at first, until the race started and you had to weave your way through the lines of people waiting to get into them. Another difference was there seemed to be fewer volunteers. All of the Rock N Roll races I have run in, had people with rope blocking off one corral to the next and moving them forwarded in an orderly fashion. Since there was no one with ropes, there were people from several different corrals all crowding together…very crowded by the time we arrived at the actual start point.
The other problem I had with the run this year was the water points. By the time I got to the first water point, there were only empty tables. I had to get a cup out of a box and fill it at the water tank. This experience repeated itself over and over through the rest of the run. The tables that still had volunteers were barely keeping up with the demand. As in you had to stand and wait for someone to fill a cup for you. I spoke with someone who started in corral 7 and he said that this was not the issue when he went by.
I will say the race route was nicer this year, instead of some of the rougher DC neighborhoods, the course went by the zoo.
When I finished the run, at a not so great time, the medal was handed to me in a baggy, again, another difference from last year. There was plenty of water and Gatorade at the end as well as food items, but the lines were longer maybe. And they seemed to be having trouble moving people out of the area and keeping family from wandering in. One woman was actually arguing with the volunteers, trying to get them to let her in so her toddler son could use the bathroom. They could tell this was a lie, because one, there are no bathrooms in the food area and two; she was about 10 feet from a dozen port-o-potties, with barely a line.
I am not sure if I will run it again next year. As fun and invigorating as the run is, it is more fun to run it with others.