Mar 20, 2010

National Marathon, DC - Race Report


  • Chip time: 3:51:44  Gun time: 3:54:28   Garmin time: 3:49:48 **
  • Course - deceptively hilly. Watch out for the hills at the end of the course.
  • Weather - low to mid 70s. Too hot for running.
  • Personal achievement - two marathons in twenty days.

** Garmin time indicates the actual time spent running. For instance, I paused Garmin when using the porta john. Hence it differs from the chip time.

Picture this: First day of spring, ecstatic crowds, and a picturesque tour of the nation's capital. That's National Marathon 2010.


Unlike NOLA, this one was close to home. Travel (Amtrak + Metro) costed me less than $40. This is the closest I've traveled to run a marathon. (Yes, I haven't run the Baltimore Marathon yet)

I arrived here around noon and headed to the expo right away. Nothing special about the expo -- if you've seen one you've seen them all -- but it was inside the DC armory. So, going to the expo was like getting into an airport, with security scans and all.

I'm no stranger to DC but this was the first time I actually stayed a night in DC. Since Dupont Circle is my favorite hangout place and I wanted to be close to the Metro, I decided to stay at the Inn at Dupont Circle. This is a quite B&B that is only a little more expensive than private rooms in nearby hostels. While booking B&B's, the pictures on the website don't tell the whole truth. The wireless internet connection was non-existent and the room was not bigger than a prison cell. I didn't mind that as I only had to spend a night there. After dinner with a friend, I retired to bed early for the action tomorrow.

Saturday - Race Day

Imagine going to the Metro station and finding only runners there? That's how it was at the Dupont station. The Metro started at 5am today, instead of the usual 7am on weekends. At 5:30am, I was in a train full of marathon and half-marathon runners. If you like crowds you must run this race. There were around 4000 marathon and 8000 half-marathon runners with little elbow room for the first couple of miles. Also the porta johns were conspicuously absent at the start line and I had to make two unfortunate stops during the middle of the race. This is the first marathon I've been to where half and full marathoners run pretty much the same course till the end of the half-marathon. The latter half of the full marathon was pretty much a repeat of the first half but being able to run next to the monuments, esp. the US. Capitol was a unique experience.

This is the first race for Spring and it so happened that the weather was in the mid 70s during most part of the race -- not my running weather. I like it cold. I liked running in Baltimore even when there was a storm. Running in hot weather is exhausting and with my training there was no way I was looking for a PR here. Also, this was the second marathon for this year and second one in the last twenty days. So, I was pretty much used up. I finished the run in 3:51:44.

The race had its funny moments, like while running through a tunnel at mile 19 (?), the "Speed Limit 35" traffic sign cracked me up. I think the cutest poster was "My daddy is faster than your daddy" held by an equally cute kid.

The race bling is really pretty. The embossed US Capitol on the medal looks really cool. I really wish more races had ice tubs at the finish line like NOLA. After asking, all I got was a teeny ice pack. But overall, I'm happy with this race. I didn't have spend much on travel, the run wasn't so bad, and I got my personal achievement of running two marathons in twenty days. My last one was NOLA on Feb 28.


Anonymous said...

Way to go!!

The Running Moron said...

I ran the National half the last two years before skipping this year. It's pretty amazing to me that it's nearly tripled in size since '08. You're right about it being deceptively hilly. Obviously I don't know about the second half of the marathon, but I don't see how the organizers bill the National as one of the fastest courses in the country when 4-5 miles of the first half are basically uphill.

Great job, regardless of the weather!

What The Run said...

Hey Brett, The second half was worse than the first. The hills kept on coming towards the end. My running experience no way matched to course elevation profile on the website. Not that I mind hills but I wasn't mentally prepared for them on Saturday, esp. towards the end.

Morrissey said...

In fact, the last few miles were uphills as well. This course was NOT flat

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