First of all… What a race. Bucket-list this one for sure!
I was up against a few obstacles: some predicted crappy, nasty winds, a lovely head/chest cold with some severe congestion, and I’m still trying to rehab my stupid foot injury, so I knew my “unofficial goal” (1:30 finish) that I posted last week was a little lofty. I ended up with 1:35:14 and my splits were probably the most consistent I have ever ran…9:27 @ 5 mile, 9:29 @ 10k, 9:31 @ 9 mile, 9:31 @ finish.
The race organizers really had their work cut out for them, and any other year I bet this race is spectacular…because even with all of the challenges mother nature threw at it, it still was actually spectacular! Prior to the event, they were predicting peak bloom to fall right on our race. Well, a week of warm weather followed by a week of heavy winds and gusts made for a quick peak bloom (last weekend) and very few blossoms left for our run.
That wind?? Being the skydiver that I am, I took a look at DC’s weather observation history from yesterday and found sustained wind around 25mph with gusts ranging from 28 to 59 mph! Yes, wind gusts up to almost 60 miles per hour! Start temps were a little more brutal than average because race officials deemed it unsafe to put up any shelters (which made for an extremely chilly and unprotected 1+ hour wait for the start) and even had problems with the port-a-potties staying up (many, many tipped over johns…). With the race being kind of all over the place, the only noticeable and rough headwind that I remembered was the turnaround at Hains Point, which unfortunately meant the last 2 miles were into the wind. Sometimes I felt like I was being pushed backward!
The finish line staging was chaos and actually pretty unorganized. I am not experienced enough with this particular race to say if it was due to the almost unmanageable weather conditions, or if they just didn’t have it together yesterday. My personal opinion? Medals first, then blankets, then food and water, and finally a walk to your bag drop… It can’t be easy to manage 15,000 runners but that finish line corral is a no brainer. The blankets were a mess (no help from the wind), food and beverages were in boxes on the sidewalk, and the tables to get your medals were in the middle of a field after leaving the corral. Also, I think it takes a little bit away from the experience when you are handed a medal in a plastic baggie. Am I complaining?? Absolutely not, but there was room to improve and if there was something they could do better next year, that finish line corral is definitely it.
Kudos to the volunteers for keeping smiles on their faces and helping runners, I have no idea how you managed to provide 3 water stations in those conditions… Overall, I have to say this is absolutely one of my favorite runs that I have ever done!
Thanks to fellow MRTT’er Jennifer Yoon Chung for letting me use her finish-medal pic from Facebook!