54) Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, Washington, DC Mar 10th 2018

Time: 3:04:14 Place: 58/1,883

I entered this one late as it turned out we would be in DC that weekend and I was planning a long training run anyway. I had run this race before and enjoyed running the streets of DC, and the route had changed slightly since I last ran it – removing the section through industrial units North of the Anacostia and replacing it with an out and back on the highway South of the Anacostia.


I didn’t taper at all for this one, other than taking Friday off and ran a tempo session on the treadmill on the Wednesday.

I picked up my race packet from the Armory on the Friday afternoon and picked up an ex demo pair of Altra Instinct 4.0s from the Altra stand at a heavily discounted price. A bargain seeing as I had been about to buy a pair. It led to the dilemma of breaking the number one rule about nothing new on race day.

Race Morning

After my usual breakfast of PB&J bagel, whilst contemplating footwear choices, I plumped for the ‘new’ Altras. Mrs P needed the car so I got to the start line by using CityBikes and running a couple of miles as warm up as it was a cold morning.

The Race

The other change since I last ran this race was that the half marathon started later which meant the start corrals and race start were a much more organized process and this year there were fewer people walking in the first mile.

I set out to run 7 minute mile pace and see how far I could get, accepting that my pace would slow on the big hill out of Rock Creek Park at mile 6. The strategy worked well and I was feeling good through the first half of the course and managed to keep pace until mile 21 when the week of training caught up with me. I slowed my pace a little, and a little more on the big hills through the Anacostia parks that are the kick in the tail of this course. The head wind coming over the bridge back to the RFK stadium made the last mile tough but I was still moving well, a very different finish to my 2016 race where I was cramping badly for the last couple of miles.

Fueling: Gatorade and water from aid stations. Used gels for fuel.

Learning points

I was happy with my time, knocking over 20 minutes of my previous run on the course. It’s not a fast course but I could definitely have run it quicker with a proper taper. A good opportunity to benchmark how far I have come in the last couple of years.

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