Do you remember that time where Lauren, Steff, Kelsey and I drove almost 6+ hours to DC (on a drive that normally takes maybe 4.5 hrs), was delayed so much we almost missed the chance to pick up our race bibs and then ran a half marathon in chilly pouring down rain? Oh, you don’t? Well let me tell you about it…
The ladies and I had been planning this weekend for quite some time! We were really looking forward to a girls weekend and a fun race. We booked the hotel, planned the travel arrangements, bought liquor and made sure we were all registered for the race. Lauren had planned to run the 5k, where as Steff, Kelsey and I had singed up for the half marathon.
The plan was to leave at 12pm on Friday. Well, we didn’t get on the road until sometime after 12:30pm. Oops. Oh well. We didn’t really think anything of it. I knew we’d hit some type of DC beltway traffic, but we we all thought we would get to DC by 5-5:30pm, have time to check into the hotel and then plenty of time to hit the expo. Boy, were we wrong!
The expo ended at 7pm. Well, it was about 5:00pm and that is when we were just starting to hit the beltway and STOPPED. DEAD STOP. All of a sudden, we were looking at google maps and it was saying we were an hour out. CRAP. CUE CRAZY RUNNERS FREAKING OUT! Even with the beginnings of our freak out, we still thought we could drop the car at the hotel, race the mile to the convention center and have time to pick up the bibs.
Well, Lauren’s GPS told us to go over the wrong bridge. Then we ended up in Georgetown and it was maybe 6:20 on a Friday night in DC Traffic. At this point the goal was to just get to the expo on time! I even called the RnR offices and the woman who picked up basically said good luck and if we miss it we might be able to pick up our bib at the solutions tent Saturday morning (Note: this isn’t the answer to tell 4 freaked out runners). Somehow, some running God somewhere got us to the expo around 6:40pm. Lauren pulled up along the curb, stayed with the car and Kelsey, Steff and I ran into the expo.
We were able to pick up the bibs, but really had zero time to enjoy the expo. I was pretty disappointed in this as it was something I was looking forward to. I did immediately look for the Altra Running Shoe booth and was able to spend about 3 mins there. They had CHEAP shoes on sale but unfortunately nothing in my size. The rep did tell me the Torin 2.0’s are coming out in May, so I guess it’s time to start looking for my shoes and stock up! After that, I went to the RNR booth to try and figure out my tour pass status. With the announcement of Brooklyn last week, I am planning on signing up for RnR Philly and Brooklyn now. I was told I had to sign up before I ran my first RnR race, so I was worried if I didn’t get this straightened out, I would lose the opportunity. Luckily, I was able to talk to the person I was working with and by this week I should be all signed up!
The last thing I was able to do was stop by the RaceDots booth. About two weeks, I did my review on Racedots and when I saw they would be at the expo, I was really excited to meet the owner. I picked up Lauren a package and found out that my giveaway winner, Kim, was able to pick up her RaceDots that day as well. Then the lights went out. Seriously. They turned out the lights. WHAT?! We all just looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders and eventually just left. However, as we left there were so many people running down the stairs to still pick up their bibs. I hope they were able to pick them up!
We made it back out and headed back to the car to meet back up with Lauren. It’s probably about this point where I also almost hit a biker with Lauren’s car door. The faces everyone made, even the biker, were quite priceless. The biker wasn’t hurt. I promise! He literally just came out of no where! I am an avid biker and I swear I would never ride like those bikers in DC!
Finally we were headed to the hotel. It easily had to be 7:30pm at this time, if not later. The hotel was pretty close to the convention center, so we got there in no time and easily checked in. The hotel upgraded us and getting the bigger room was nice since we had 4 ladies and a bunch of stuff.
We all started getting out race clothes out and getting our “flat runners” together and then we realized we should probably eat dinner soon. We ended up asking the hotel concierge and he recommended District of Pi. He said it was pasta dishes and pizza – perfect! Well, when we got there we found out it was just pizzas, but we ended up staying and I am glad we did.
The place was huge and for a Friday night, they were able to get a party of 4 sat within 5-7 minutes. Kelsey and Steff decided to split a plain cheese pizza and Lauren and I split a pizza with goat cheese, prosciutto, arugula and tomatoes. These pizza were so yummy! They were a perfectly baked thin crust and about zero grease. I had zero guilt about eating pizza the night before a half marathon.
After dinner, Kelsey talked us all into seeing the White House. Steff had never been to DC, so we thought it would be fun to see, especially at night. We walked over to see it from the South Lawn and as we were getting pictures, Kelsey and I noticed we were pushed further back and there were a lot of blocked off areas. I am nosy, so I found a secret service officer and asked why were were pushed back further and was this a permanent change? He was very nice and simply said it wasn’t and the area would be cleared in 30 minutes.
Thinking nothing of it, we decided to walk around and head to the other side and then back to the hotel. Then it hit us. The President MUST be coming back into town! We knew he had taken off from LAX earlier in the day and with the blockades and amount of police, we figured a motorcade was coming. Nosy me decided to ask yet another officer what was going on. He had the WORST poker face. Essentially his answers to my questions was that the view to the White House looked really good in the middle of the Ellipse and the way to get that was two sidewalks down. He also said by looking up, you can also get a really good view. No motorcade then, he was coming in on Marine One.
Taking all politics out of this, seeing the President come back into the White House is a very cool thing. We waited what seemed like 15-20 minutes and the process leading up to the event was amazing. So many police, streets blocked, helicopters circling with spot lights looking at buildings and armored cars in different spots. Finally we spotted Marine One. It was over in just over a minute and it was pretty surreal. We all waved and watched it land on the White House lawn. Finally after the big event was over, we slowly headed back to the hotel.
We knew it was way past our bedtimes, so we finished getting ready for the race. Weather was suppose to be in the mid-40’s but they said it was to RAIN the entire time. We were not looking forward to this, but at this point what could we do? We knew it would be for one crazy adventure and the 6am alarm was going to come very soon.