2016 Navy/Air Force Half Marathon Recap

The opening percussion beats and bagpipes of Gaelic Storm’s “Blind Monkey” served as my 4AM alarm this race morning. No matter what race it is…whether it’s runDisney or RnR or this…early wakeup times suck. You wander around bleary-eyed and sleepy while trying not to spill your pre-race coffee while asking yourself, “Why did I make this wonderful decision?”

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These are just a few of my favorite things that enable me to survive on race day: Nuun provides the electrolytes, EnergyBits for protein/healthy algae goodness, and sunscreen to not turn into a lobster. 

Now, I am a huge advocate of “nothing new on race day”, but I had been eyeing the forecast since two weeks out up until right before I left. The original forecast projected not just heat and humidity, but thunderstorms, as well. I turned to my Team Shenanigans members for rainy race day advice (just in case), as I have been fortunate to not have run in the rain at all in my running tenure. Jennifer Hall suggested coating my feet in Vaseline to prevent blisters. I located this here Vaseline (with cocoa butter) and applied it liberally to my feet.

Spoiler alert: no blisters!!


I started driving towards DC around 5AM, and I was super happy that there was very little traffic. Navigating traffic on race day is a surefire way to get the anxiety levels up. I always allot substantial time to arrive. I arrived around 5:30AM at the parking garage about two blocks from the staging area. I saw some other runners in a vehicle near mine and made it a point to make friends…DC is still pretty sketchy in the wee hours of the morning, and as always, safety in numbers.450fcb8c-e08f-4e73-92ae-a179e5400054

The staging area for NAFHALF and the Navy 5 Miler was on the National Mall adjacent to the Washington Monument. The field, in comparison to other races that I have run, was miniscule: 9,000 half runners compared to 25,000 or 30,000-deep fields. It was pleasant knowing that I could move around and not feel like I was being herded.

Race started slightly after 7:00. I was in wave #2. With the ding of the Navy Bell, we were off around 7:13 AM. The course was flat and in reverse of the MCM course, heading towards Haines Point (which is typically Miles 12-14 of MCM). The first 5K was overcast/not too hot, steady, and I think I clocked in somewhere around the 37:00 minute mark, according to the Garmin.

However…there was no 5K split timer. I didn’t get a split until mile four.

Weird.


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The second 5K ran concurrent with the Potomac River on Ohio Drive and past the Lincoln Memorial. The course split before the 5 mile mark of the Navy 5 Miler, with half marathoners heading left and 5 Milers to the right. The sun was juuuuuuust beginning to peek from behind the overcast skies, but stayed behind for the majority of this section.

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*looks around for 10K timing mat. Sees none. Grrrrr.*

I was also taking notice of my Garmin in these middle miles. It seemed as though the course measurements were off by at least .20 of a mile; when I reached an actual mile marker, my Garmin would show .20 over that. I’m not sure if the race coordinators noticed this, but I feel like I ran more (distance-wise, as in more than 13.1) than I intended to in this race.


Miles 7-11 wound up and around Rock Creek Park, which was nice, especially for the shady areas. Once I rounded the corner to descend a small hill near mile 9, the sun was making itself known. The heat rose rapidly and I started slowing down a little. I had also been fighting side stitches for the duration of the race, as well, so that didn’t help at all.

Rounding around the Arlington Memorial Bridge (and getting the perfect opportunity to do a flying jump at the camera), the final water stop was at mile 12 (with “The Final Countdown” playing).

nafhalf jump shot

During that last mile, I ran into Jenny and Topher (short for Christopher), whom I had run into during the Rock Creek Park section. With Jenny’s encouragement, we all made a strong effort to run to the finish line together.

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Half marathon #6 conquered! (Chip time: 3:10:49….Garmin time: 3:10:54)img_0461-1


Christina’s Post-Race Thoughts:

  1. Splits: I have NO idea why the only splits we received were at the 4 mile and 10 mile markers. Traditionally, you receive them every 5K, plus halfway. I’m aggravated by this, as I feel like I cannot assess my performance accurately, except from what my Garmin could tell me:
  2. Lack of on-course support: Usually during military-based races, the service men and women are out in full force cheering and encouraging runners on. Today’s race was not the case. Even the spectators were few and far between. Not sure if it had to do with the fact that NAFHALF has less pomp and circumstance than its sister race, the Marine Corps Marathon (or even the Army Ten-Miler), or what, but the course was unusually quiet.
  3. I do give props for the conservative pacing. Half marathon runners had to reach mile 9 by 9:45 AM to prevent from getting swept. That’s hovering around a 16/mpm pace.
  4. Being near the back of the field is not the end of the world. I hover around there for breeze appreciation and knowing I won’t have to be elbowing people while maneuvering for position. Plus, I can fart and no one pays attention.
  5. Driving back home (aka driving through DC traffic) after a race totally blows. I wish the Metro was not under Safe Track at the moment.
  6. After analyzing my past half marathon performances, I have determined that I perform the best in cloudy, overcast conditions.
  7. Posting live Facebook videos on the course was a ton of fun and kept my mind off of my distressed obliques.
  8. If you gotta pee in the men’s bathroom because the women’s room is closed, do it. No one cares.
  9. Today’s race is my third fastest half marathon. Still striving for the sub 3-hour goal, though.

Congrats to everyone else who ran today/this weekend!

Next up: Everglades Half Marathon.

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Turn Of Events…

PHM 2017 II

Without going into too much detail, I’ve decided to reverse my decision from my previous blog post. I will be pursuing my fourth Glass Slipper Challenge and fifth Princess Half Marathon!

PHM 2017

Will I be seeing you in February?!

 

 

The Great runDisney Debate…To GSC or Not to GSC?

So…here we are.

Princess Half registration is coming.

Glass Slipper registration is coming.

Usually I’d be bouncing off the walls with anticipation.

But this year? Not so much.

For the first time since 2012, I haven’t felt the same pangs of anticipation and happiness like I typically do for my signature runDisney event.

Honestly, I feel…hollow. Numb. Apathetic.

Can I even say…burned out?

InsideOut

I’ll admit, runDisney is highly addicting. The feeling when you run down Main Street U.S.A. toward the castle cannot be replicated. Accomplishing your fitness goals at the Happiest Place on Earth yields the same reaction. The energy and camaraderie (for the most part) is contagious among veterans and firsties alike, and we’re all in it together to get across the finish line. In subsequent years, you give back and become one of those cheerleaders/kinda-sorta “runDisney Experts” and offer your advice and words of wisdom through social media and IRL.

It’s exciting and thrilling…but also mentally draining, and…perhaps to an extent…

Unfulfilling?

I have been debating heavily for a few weeks now (and the thoughts have crossed my mind for months) about registering for 2017’s Glass Slipper Challenge. For those that have followed my blog and socials, you know that this is my signature weekend: PHM 2013 was my first ever race, I’m on track to be a GSC legacy (three for three so far!), and I wrote an entire PHM Survival Guide last year detailing multiple aspects that runners should be aware of when they meddle in the middle of the magical mess* that is runDisney.

(*If you got the “Cabinet Battle #2” Hamilton reference, give yourself a gold star.)

When I went down for GSC this year, I felt mentally prepared. I essentially reviewed everything I knew through my Survival Guide and couldn’t have been more prepared logistically. Physically, however, was a different story. (For those wondering, little to no fiber + long days = massive stomachaches and no PRPs.) When I finally arrived to do the race weekend, I felt like I was going through the motions: go here for packet pick up, browse the expo, spend money on some things (or not at all!), sleep/wake/leave/arrive at ass-o-clock in the morning, be herded into intensely packed corrals, run or run/walk the courses, take pictures, say hi to people, update socials along the way, cross finish line, get medal, rinse and repeat.

I’ve done the above list for four years now.

Looking at it…I don’t feel inclined to do it again. At all.

Hell, I don’t even feel like writing about anything PHM-related. (I tried doing an updated registration blog post, and I deleted it halfway through writing.)

Is it possible that this is my time with PHM/GSC is drawing nigh?

My brain says yes, and my heart is close behind.


There are far more reasons behind my decision-making than emotions, obviously. A viral blog post by Chris Smith (@DopeyRunr) of Team Shenanigans made its rounds through the runDisney world after Star Wars Dark Side weekend, which you can read here:

http://teamshenanigans.org/breaking-up-with-rundisney/

I’ve reread this several times and realized that many of my decisions to potentially give runDisney/Princess weekend a rest align with what he wrote. So, here I am to give my two cents…


1. Increase in Pricing, Decrease in Magic

We all know that runDisney is all that and a bag of marshmallows, and it ain’t cheap by ANY stretch of the imagination. I cannot begin to tell you how much I have spent to run these races in the last four years. However, for the cost that runners shell out just for registration fees, you would think that runDisney would step up their hospitality, especially since prices have increased dramatically within the last few years. In the past, there have been complimentary park registrations and goodies out the wazoo. Nothing like that is seen anymore, except for maybe the free parking fee on the morning of the races if you’re driving yourself to EPCOT. (Hey, $20 is $20. I’ll save wherever I can!)

The quality of the runDisney Experience has taken a severe nosedive in recent years, and it affects runners and non-runners alike. Tempers do run high, especially with PHM weekend. Ask yourself this: is it really worth shelling out $1000+ for a weekend just to see women fighting over wine glasses and breaking things at the expo? To watch non-runners stock up on runner-specific merchandise just to turn around and upsell it on eBay? To witness fellow runners demoralizing each other over social media through virtual catfights and name calling? To run through 13.1 miles with two character stops (when in years’ past, there would be no less than eight or nine)? To contract transportation companies with little to no knowledge about how Disney operates their bussing systems, resulting in stranded runners needing medical assistance in hot, non-shaded parking lots?

This is the sort of “Disney Magic” (or lack thereof) that deters me from participating again. With every race, the quality steps down another two or three notches. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

(Side note: can someone update the runDisney website? Please? And maybe hire a PR team to answer inquiries on a timely basis? runDisney is really lost with this whole communication thing and it loses major points every time I log on and see that the website hasn’t been updated since 2012 or something.)

2. The Racing World Extends Beyond the Walls of WDW

This is one of the biggest points I’m making with this list. There ARE other race series other than runDisney, which is something I’ve had to beat into my head recently. I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC 5K in March and absolutely loved it. I’ve also run the Marine Corps Series and will be experiencing the NAFHALF in September, the Vacation Races series in November with the Everglades Half. The Hot Chocolate 15K series is another one I want to experience, as well, plus the World Marathon Majors….etc.

 

 

See what I mean?

99% of the time, these other races are far cheaper than a single race or challenge run that runDisney offers. For example, I calculated that I could do at least four RnR fulls ($80-ish/race) or halfs ($70-ish/race) for the price of Glass Slipper (around $330 for two races).

Plus, these series are offered in areas where I haven’t traveled yet, and I LOVE TO TRAVEL! Win-win.

I also have other racing goals on my mind, specifically accomplishing the World Marathon Majors and earning Hall of Fame status with Rock ‘n’ Roll. GSC legacy status is wonderful and everything, and the concept early on was enticing…but it doesn’t appeal to me anymore. I want to experience something new and fresh, and by stepping away from runDisney, I can achieve that.

3. Virtual Races Are Really Not That Bad

I have always detested virtual races.

Personally, I’ve always thought that they were never “real races”, and that people would do them as a cheap cop-out for running IRL.

Well, I’m here to apologize for that assumption. Virtuals are not that bad after all.

I experienced my first ever virtual race when I went to Atlanta at the end of June. Chris and I ran the #OrlandoUnited 5K, bibs and all. It was sunny (87 degrees with humidity around 60%), very uncomfortable, and I felt like I was gonna die (we Northerners do NOT like the heat!)…but we coached each other through and took walk breaks when we needed to. We finished around 45 minutes, and we also ran for a really great cause: through this race, Final Mile Race Management raised $100k+ for the families of the Orlando tragedy. I am SO proud to be a part of that, and we earned cute medals!

I’m here to renounce my seemingly profound hatred for virtual races, and I honestly look forward to signing up for more.

4. World Marathon Majors…London-Bound?

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Let’s jump back to #2 for a second. The World Marathon Majors is a lifetime goal of mine. My name is currently in the lottery for the London Marathon, and I’ll find out in October if I’m selected. The money that I would be using for GSC would easily go to my travel expenses. This is a hypothetical factor, obviously.

But what if I don’t get selected for London? What else can I do to kickstart my WMM journey? Fundraise for Boston, perhaps? The possibilities are endless.

5. Adulting Priorities—Financials

rundisney money

The biggest concern, of course, is the financial aspect. Judging by how much I’ve spent in the past for runDisney events, it is very easy to plunk down upwards of $1000 or more on a racecation here. With rent and transportation eating up a good chunk of my paycheck nowadays, I have to be very careful where I spend my fun money. Glancing back at point #1, the prices seem to rise for runDisney (and Disney in general) every time you turn around. By cutting out one race weekend, I can easily save (and allot for cheaper races, or funnel it into London, for example).

I did both the WDW Marathon and GSC this year, and had to get very creative on a limited budget for even the basic necessities. (Staying off-site at a hotel I found on groupon.com saved me SO much.) Don’t get me wrong, I did sign up for 2017 Goofy, so I am committed to that. I may make that my only runDisney excursion for 2017. During 2016 Marathon weekend, I managed to get everything that I needed park-wise done, and had a blast doing so. When I returned for GSC in February, I had zero desire to go back to the parks, since I was JUST there. ($220-ish saved on park admission.) I also discovered the Boardwalk and Disney Springs as being wonderful places to hang out at without paying an entry fee.

Maintaining legacy status for GSC is pretty cool and everything, but at what price? Why am I paying exorbitant fees for the same course year after year, and essentially the same medal with one or two things changed? I also ended up with a patellar tendonitis injury during GSC that set me back over a month in my running endeavors. (Probably due to the abrupt stopping and starting stress on the knees that one experiences by being on a runDisney course with a billion other runners.) Honestly, my desire to continue experiencing the same things is waning, and I’m ready to move on to other experiences in the running world (back to point #3).


Final thoughts…

Unless I find a huge pile of money somewhere, I’m going to sit out Glass Slipper 2017.

I just said that. Holy shit.

I will not be poised and ready to go at 11:50 AM on July 12th on active.com as I await the link to go active for this race.

I will calmly sit back and watch the chaos and craziness unfold before me from a distance.

I have done my time with this race weekend. Now, it’s time to pass the torch along to someone else looking to continue their legacy status, or run their first GSC.

I’ll still cheer you all on, and answer any questions you may have. After all, I’m a nice person like that.

But for me, it’s time to seek new adventures and different roads to run.

If you’re in WDW during Marathon weekend, I’ll see you there.

If you’ll be participating in 2017 Princess weekend in whatever capacity, I wish you all the best. Adjust those tutus and lace up your shoes. You have slippers and tiaras to earn.

Trust me, I will be watching. See you at the finish line.

❤ @runDisneyBelle

2017…Going Goofy!

Yesterday was registration for WDW Marathon weekend. I had been on the fence about registering for just the half (since it’s the 20th anniversary), or signing up for Goofy, because, well, I’m kinda goofy like that. Ha.

 

Goofy 2017

I figured I’ll be pacing and racing with my Big Brother, Chris, during his second half-marathon. I can also instigate many shenanigans with my team during the full. Coupling the fact that WDW weekend is like a reunion for many runner friends of mine, it’s a perfect combination. I have a feeling Goofy will be a one-and-done for me, then I’ll tackle Dopey in 2018 (also a one-and-done).

With that said…Cg-3oJUXEAA_hct

 


Did you sign up for WDW Marathon weekend? If so, what will you be racing? 5K, 10K, half, full, Goofy, Dopey??

 

Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. 5K Recap

I went to bed on Friday evening feeling fulfilled and accomplished after a successful day  of volunteering at the expo. I was pumped to be racing my first 5K the next morning with Lauren, but was also a little anxious.

Anxious for a 5K? What the hell, Christina. You’ve run marathons. 5K is nothing in comparison!

(Yeah, that’s lovely, but my left knee had been giving me issues ever since Glass Slipper. After a lot of self-researching, I hypothesized that it was a case of Runner’s Knee, or patellar tendinitis. As much as I would have loved to really race this 5K, I had two objectives:

  1. To pace Lauren comfortably, and
  2. Finish in one piece.

My knee had been seizing up during the night the days before the race. On a scale of 1-10, this pain was around a 9.8. Trust me, it was not pleasant to deal with. Any runner who has dealt with injury before can commisserate.)

I woke up a little before 5:00 AM and sent a good morning text to Chris, who was at the airport and heading his way towards D.C.! The thought that I knew my KKPsi Big Brother would be waiting in the finisher’s area for Lauren and I gave me an early morning boost that didn’t require coffee. 🙂

I got dressed and started making my way to the Metro. Based off of the timing I noted the day before, it would take me about 25 minutes to make it to the Stadium Armory from Mount Vernon Square, including the transfer from L’Enfant Plaza. At the MVS stop, I ran into another group of runners that were running the half and found out the majority of them went to PSAC schools just like I had, and we struck up conversation. It really is a small world!

I got to the staging area around 6:25 AM, and caught this fabulous sunrise…img_3376img_3375

Since I had well over an hour until the race started, I explored the finisher’s area and snapped a few pictures while updating the socials with said pictures…

I found Lauren while on my adventures, and we went around trying to find the gear check trucks. It took a couple of minutes and a visit to the info booth to figure out where we were going, but we got everything checked and ready to go! The rock music (lots of Metallica and AC/DC) was pumping and runners were getting excited. Once we got to corral 3, it was horribly weird acknowledging the fact that I was in a race area that had 2,200 runners. I was used to far more chaotic crowds, and a larger corral space. (These corrals were only a fraction of the runDisney corrals’ size.) 1004487_967011606687593_329825332240942459_n

(^^Lauren and I pre-race! Look how close we are to the start line and we’re only in Corral 3.)

In the minutes just before the race began, the corrals flooded with people and it got very crowded. It didn’t seem like anyone was really policing the area for proper corral placement. (I’m assuming this was more critical for the half and full, which were starting simultaneously across town.)img_3390

Weather-wise, it was a decent day. It was a little gloomy after the sunrise ended, and it sprinkled a little, but it was in the upper 40’s so that was ideal. The race started promptly at 7:30 with the corral 1 runners. All 2,200 of us counted down each other’s corrals. That was a fantastic feeling! The corrals were released in 1-1:30 minute increments, and this felt like no time at all. In less than five minutes, Lauren and I were taking off past RFK Stadium to accomplish our first 5K! We took a very conservative pace (which turned out to be around a 13:00 mpm), and spent the time taking in the course and experience. Bands were playing at every mile marker, and we were engaged in conversation the entire time. (This is a great method to determine whether you’re going too hard; if you can’t form coherent sentences, you’re going too fast.) img_3392

I helped pace our run/walk segments; I would call out a certain spot on the course (usually a mile marker), and encourage Lauren that, “Once we get to that spot, we can walk! Yay!” After each marker we hit, we walked for a about a minute to assess our bodies and make sure we weren’t falling apart. We kept calling out distances via our Garmin (which we magically started at the exact same time), and would count down how much longer we would have to run to finish the course. The elites were coming back up on our left side during Mile 1, and we cheered for each one of them, which prompted more cheering from the runners around us. (Runner comraderie is the best!)img_3393

We rounded mile three, and started up the last hill towards the finish. The gentleman who was announcing the finishers was actually DOWN ON THE COURSE personally giving high fives and interacting with the runners. There’s no better feeling than giving a high five and having him say, “Team Sparkle is in the house!” with cheers erupting from the grandstands.

Across the finish line we went, and 5K was officially completed in 42:07! Woohoo!img_3401

(Trust me, my first thought after, “Woohoo!” was, “…that was it!?!” Running long distances will have that effect.)12832408_970135086375245_2202102343895699416_n

The RnR finisher’s chute is set up far differently than runDisney, and I may actually prefer this method: first, medals (handed to you, not draped around your neck), pictures (not formal; the backdrops were their for runners’ leisure in case they wanted pictures), space blankets (my collection keeps growing!), and different food tents where you could pick and choose your recovery items that you wanted (chips/pretzels/salty snacks, bananas, True Moo chocolate milk, Powerbar…the list goes on!)

Lauren and I grabbed our items and headed over to the potties, gear retrieval, and changing tent. At this time, Chris had arrived and I was anxious to greet my Big Brother. I had sent him a picture of the A-D family meetup sign earlier, and told him to meet us there. We entered the finisher’s festival area and I saw him from afar. I looked at Lauren and excitedly mentioned, “There’s my Big!” and took off toward him at full speed, my Mylar blanket flying behind me like a cape. (I didn’t care how much my knee hurt at this point. I was just excited to see my Big!) Luckily for me, Chris was facing the other way, and my hug from behind took him by total surprise (to the point where he almost flipped me over; martial arts training will have that effect). Once the realization was made that I was a friend and not an enemy, hugs and smiles and happiness were exchanged.

Can you see why I was so excited for the end of this race? Yeah. That’s why.


 

So that is the story of Christina’s first 5K! I’m very content that I could finally cross that off my list of race distances that I have run, and that my knee held up the whole time! At the time of this writing, it has been healing quite nicely. I traversed close to 50 miles during my time in D.C. (compared to 47.2 during Christmas vacation), so I think that played a role in loosening whatever tightness had accumulated during the three weeks between GSC and RnR. Those adventures will be covered in a forthcoming post.

In the two and a half months so far in 2016, I have raced four races of four different distances: full, 10K, half, 5K. Currently, I have no races scheduled on the calendar in the near future, but that may change at any time…you never know where I may show up next!

Until next time,img_3400

See you at the finish line!

*~*Christina*~*

Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. Expo Volunteer Experience

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To kick off this D.C. racecation, I was presented with the opportunity to volunteer for the RnR DC weekend by my fellow Team Shenanigans member, Jenn (@Jenneral1 on Twitter!). I arrived at the D.C. Armory around 8:45 on Friday morning ready to work and give my fellow runners a fantastic experience.

The majority of the volunteers would be downstairs in the basement doing corral check-ins and changes. After receiving instructions from the Race Crew supervisors, Jenn and I called dibs on the Corral Change booth.

Yep, Team Shenanigans was in charge of making decisions.

For those that have never run a Rock ‘n’ Roll race, the corral changes for this series is a LOT easier than, say, runDisney. RnR corral changes are based purely off of an honour system. If you know that you’ve been training at a faster pace than the corral you are placed in, you can request to be bumped up. We make a little tally mark on the spreadsheet for statistical purposes and to make sure the corrals are filled evenly. That’s all! (There were many comments of, “That was so easy!” It is. You don’t have to sacrifice your firstborn or sell your soul to transfer corrals.)

One of the most humbling things I experienced during my time at the corral change booth was being asked questions and confidently giving advice to other runners about pacing and to provide corral options. Jenn said that it is better that experienced runners are at this booth to act as a mentor and source of information. It was awesome seeing many runners walk over with a harried, worried facial expression about their corral placement and leave with a smile and newfound energy to rock their race day.

Plus, it was great seeing runner friends, Ken (#kenthumbsup) and Malinda of @TwinsRun!!

Around 3:00, I jumped over to Corral Check-Ins. Around this time, until 7:15 or so, the traffic picked up a bunch, and volunteers were leaving their morning shifts. At one point, I was manning two corral sections due to the area being temporarily understaffed. I was put in this chaotic situation many times last summer—I worked for a whitewater rafting company, and the pre-rafting paperwork/logistics craziness that would occur in the hour before everything was to start (which I called “Power Hour”) truly prepped me for these Corral Check-In tables. (Thank you, Three Rivers crew!)

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(…after the storm at 7:15 PM. It was quiet. Too quiet….)

Our Race Crew leaders were incredibly hospitable. They made their rounds roughly every hour or so, making sure we were fed and watered appropriately. (I ate so many fruit snacks and Cheetos it was unreal.) We also got lunch and time to explore the expo. They made it known that our service and time were greatly appreciated. (If it isn’t for the volunteers dedicating themselves for however long they will be there, these races will not have the same fluidity. So make sure you thank your volunteers when you see them!)

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I will be more than happy to volunteer for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Series again. I had a fantastic experience, and I encourage anyone that is even thinking about volunteering to do so. I noted that the majority of the crowds at this expo were very friendly towards us volunteers, even during peak periods. There was no drama, nothing getting broken, no craziness… just smiles and thank yous. It’s very different being on the other side, but volunteering gives you a better perspective on everything a race weekend needs to run right.

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Next up, the Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. 5K!

There’s a First Time For Everything

Ladies and gents…I’m heading back to Washington D.C.!

(…not like I wasn’t just there in December or anything…)

It seems like every time I turn around, I’m in the nation’s capital for some reason or another. Yes, I will be running a race. No, I haven’t landed a job there. Not yet, anyway.

So, what’s the race, runDisneyBelle?

I’m so glad you asked…

 

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Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C.! I will be running the 5K on Saturday morning! It is also the fifth-year anniversary of the RnR D.C. race!


 

I’m elated about this coming weekend because it will check off many “Runner Firsts” for me, including…

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–Running a 5K. (Yep. FINALLY running 3.1 miles as a race and not as an addition to other mileage en route to finishing another distance! And since this my first 5K, I get a PR! Woohoo! And the medal is SO stinkin’ adorable.)

–Running my first race in the RnR series. (I haven’t raced much in the years I’ve been running, yet when I do, I’ve done the runDisney/MCM races. Time to branch off into other series, and it looks like a TON of fun from all the pictures. This year’s bling is super cute, too!)

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–Volunteering/being on the Race Crew (I’ll be at the expo on Friday from 9-7:30 in some capacity or other. I’ll update the socials when I know!) 428448_441581312600190_149554978_n

–Pacing a fellow Kappa Kappa Psi brother/running friend to the finish! (You may remember Lauren from my 2015 Almost-MCM recap. She paced me twice along the course and even met me at the finish in Rosslyn when I got off the bus. Hugs all around. She’s amazing.)

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In addition to all the firsts, there are other things about RnR D.C. weekend that I’m looking forward to:

WRS meetup DC

–We Run Social will be at the expo on Friday for a meetup! Granted, I’ll be Race Crew-ing somewhere, but knowing that they’re there is a fabulous feeling.

–Reconnecting with some of my favorite vendors; Sparkle Athletic and SparklySoul being two of them!

–The potential to run into fellow runner buddies as they traverse the expo. (As you can tell, the potential social aspect of the weekend is raging right now.)

–Washington D.C., in general. Not only does my amazing cousin, Adriane, and her husband, Robert, live here, there is something about this city that just draws me in (besides its ability to draw runners in with its multitude of events). I had contemplated moving here right after graduation in 2015…then life happened. (As always.) But I am highly reconsidering going hardcore on applying to places. Suggestions/leads are always welcome!

I will also be spending four days with my KKPsi Big Brother, Chris, sightseeing and touring and running around the city with. I have yet to formally introduce him on the blog yet, but I will! He’s super cool and adopted me as his Little Brother. (Charter Members don’t get big brothers; we are our own big brother, essentially.) He adopted me right after WDW Marathon weekend and we’ve been super close ever since. Due to said coolness, he deserves a highlighted post or five. I also got him into running, and he’ll be running the Star Wars Dark Side 10K as his first runDisney [and 10K!] race! He’ll be meeting Lauren and I at the finisher’s area (and this will also be the first time I’ll have someone actually waiting for me at the end of a race!).

Speaking of sightseeing…

(photo cred: americaslibrary.gov and washington.org)

CHERRY BLOSSOMS. Holy crap, people. How about this amazing warm weather we’re having right now in the Northeast?! The National Mall Park Service originally announced on March 2nd that the CB peak was to occur March 31-April 3.

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Yeah, no. That isn’t happening now.

It has now been bumped up!img_3295

Peak Week is now projected for March 18-23!  If I’m playing my cards right, I’ll be able to get some halfway decent pictures this coming weekend of everything just about to peak.

The Cherry Blossom Festival will still take place March 20-April 17 in Washington D.C. (Head over to http://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/) for information about this annual tradition!


 

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Will I be seeing you in a few days at Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. Weekend?!