Race Recap: Rock 'n' Roll USA Marathon!!!!!!!!!!

It has been a while since I wrote a race recap! Well, my 16 weeks of training began the same week I did the Turkey Trot 5k, so I was too busy to get involved in another race.

Anyway, this is going to be a big update, so let's get started!

I arrived in DC on Friday afternoon to attend the Rock 'n' Roll USA Expo. After having issues arriving at Lot 8 at the Armory (we rarely come to DC), we finally made it! This Expo was mandatory to attend as it was the only opportunity for runners to pick up their race packets and VIP passes. And they must lore you into buying everything running related.

As much as I wanted to buy everything I saw, I limited it to a pair of shoes I had already been saving up for.

These are the Brooks PureGrit 2s I normally get, only this time, I bought them in Grey/Orange. I definitely prefer the green, but I could not pass up a 10% discount. So I bought them knowing I would love them regardless of color. I also bought Peter's first pair of Brooks (he got the Cascadia 5s) so I could qualify for the VIP bathrooms at the beginning of the race. But more on that later....

After the Expo, we checked into our hotel, The Liaison Capital Hill Hotel. It was probably the ritziest hotel I have stayed in (which may not be saying much). But it was very comfy! My only gripe was that it did not have a mini fridge or microwave!!!

Once I figured out my running outfit...

...we walked to Union Station to grab Chipotle. I got the chicken burrito bowl, as I always do. I could not believe that my meal was cheaper in DC than in Hagerstown. WTF?

After enjoying our meals while watching Who's Line on TV, I eventually fell asleep. I was really surprised at how good I slept even with being so nervous!!! I slept so deeply that I even had a dream (I rarely ever dream...or at least, remember my dreams). I had run the marathon and that it was so unbelievably easy. I finished without pain in 4:44, which would be an amazing time for me since my goal was to finish in under 5 hours.

Then...I woke up. It was 4 am and I haven't even left the hotel to run. Damn...Good dream though

I got ready quicky...ate a banana flavored bagel, some oatmeal, and enjoyed some tea. Then, we checked out of our hotel and drove the empty DC streets to the VIP parking, which I would recommend if you are ever running the RNR USA. You park at the finish line, then your provided a free metro pass to the start.

It was pretty empty at 5am, so we were able to hop on and go with no hold up. As far as I can remember, this was my first trip on the metro (I am a farm girl and no nothing of city transportation), and I found it thrilling!

When we arrived at the start, we walked to the Willard Hotel. That was where the VIPs were invited to have breakfast. Because I did not want to leave Peter, I grabbed a banana and water, then joined him on the couches in the lobby. After about 45 minutes of relaxing in warmth, we walked to the start where I took advantage of the Brooks VIP bathrooms.

I must commend them for moving through the wait line so quickly! I thought it looked very long, but I was moved through quickly, then served peppermints and gels after doing my business. Now that's service!

Then, came the start of the race...

I was still unbelievably nervous, but getting to my corral put me at ease. There was no turning back!

It took nearly 30 minutes for our corral to get going, but once they released us from the start line, my adrenaline was pumping! Especially when they started playing "I Gotta Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas. Seemed to be the perfect starting line song.

Look how happy I was...


 And it surprisingly showed through in the entire race....

I was able to keep a smile on for the cameras. But my hips, knees, and feet were DYING around mile 18! I just had to keep reminding myself not to stop for anything. Bathrooms or exhaustion. I felt that stopping to walk or pee would have destroyed me. I saw this with many runners. Once they stopped, they did not restart. So I decided that the only time I would walk was when I grabbed a Gatorade or water. Even then, was it difficult to get the gears moving again. 

For the most part, I was able to keep a 10-11 minute pace, which surprised me. My plan was to stick to a 11:30-12:00 minute pace. So to exceed that was an accomplishment. It led me to believe if my dream of a 4:44 finish time would actually come true!

As I neared mile 26, Justin Timberlake's "Tunnel Vision" came on. If you didn't know, it is currently my FAVORITE JT song. Because I am an emotional person, I started getting choked up because a) it was Justin Timerlake's beautiful voice on my iPod and b) I was just minutes away from crossing over the biggest accomplishment of my life. 

The photographers got a great shot of my emotional state....

You sneaky photographer, you!

But I managed to finish with the biggest smile ever...

And my finish time...4:47:36! Not bad for a first race!!!

Although I was extremely proud of my accomplishment, everything on my body became instantly sore and it was hard not to feel somewhat miserable at the same time, but I had a long car ride home to let my legs rest a good bit.

...and take pictures of my amazing medal.

I rate the Rock 'n' Roll USA Marathon with a 9! Maybe I am biased because it was my first marathon, but it rocked my socks! Everything was so well organized that I could not complain. My only suggestion would be for them to allow VIP runners to eat with those that came to support them. I had to eat quickly and alone because I was not allowed to join my fiance since he did not participate in the race.

Anyway, today was strictly a rest day. No running. Though, I feel surprisingly decent today. Not as sore as I would have thought. I may run a mile on the treadmill tomorrow if my legs allow it. I want to be able to get some mileage in before my surgery. 9 more days!!!

Who else ran the Rock 'n' Roll USA Half or Full Marathon?

Have you ever become emotional in a race? 


  1. I ran the Rock n Roll San Diego Last June and I was very very very emotional. I cried miles 23 through 26. Maybe its common for the first ones.

    You are such a great runner and blogger, I bet you could be the next Skinny Runner. ( What was up with that btw. )

    1. Could be! I am just an overall emotional person, so to have my favorite song come on as I was reaching the last stretch just sent my feelings into overdrive!!!

      And thank you! I don't know if I really compare to Skinny Runner, but I do miss her blog!

  2. I just found your blog! I'm considering running a spring marathon and know this is an option. A few people have told me they dont like the full because towards the later miles there isn't as much support or crowds? What did you think?

    1. I didn't feel that way at all. After the half marathoners finish, the crowd does dwindle a bit, but there are still people cheering you on. Some areas are definitely less, but when you hit those areas were there are a ton of people, it really keeps you motivated. They have bands every few miles as well and there are TONS of people around those areas.

      You will also have PLENTY of runners around you. You will not be alone.

  3. Considering running the this marathon so thanks for the thorough recap! :-)


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