Rock ‘n’ Roll DC 2015 Half Marathon Race Recap

Hi friends! As you know, I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Half Marathon over the weekend with my college friends Kathleen and Sarah! Despite the cold, rainy day, we had a blast. This was our second year in a row running this race together. :) Love these ladies!

rock n roll dc 2015

My training wasn’t exactly stellar for this race – constant snow and ice derailed a lot of my runs and speed sessions. The girls had the same issue (as I’m sure many of you did, too!), so we decided instead of racing the half we would run for fun and not worry about pace at all. Sounded good to me!

We met up bright and early, and as always on race mornings, when my alarm went off I questioned my sanity. Luckily, the excitement of the starting line quickly reminded me why I do this so often. The energy is contagious! Plus, I was sporting the latest in Target trash bag fashion. Pretty sure this is really hot in Paris right now. I know you’re jealous.

rock n roll dc 2015

The ladies were sporting similar attire. ;) They actually used dry cleaner bags, since there’s already a built in hole for your head – genius!


I ditched the bag just as the race started, so I still got wet, obviously, but at least it kept me dry while standing around and waiting for the race to start!

The girls and I also sported matching compression socks (accidentally, great minds think alike) for the occasion.


Despite the rain, everyone seemed pumped. Sometimes I think running in the rain is even better than the sunshine, because it automatically gives you all a “we’re so bada$$” bond.

rock n roll dc 2015

And we’re off!

rock n roll dc 2015

rock n roll dc 2015 half marathon

The girls and I settled in to a comfortable pace and started chatting to pass the miles, taking in the views as we went. I spy the Washington Monument!


And the Lincoln Memorial!

rock n roll dc 2015

Rock ‘n’ Roll DC is unique in that instead of doing loops down along the National Mall and Hains Point like most of the other DC races, it does a short loop down around the monuments and then takes you up into the neighborhoods. I love this because it means more crowd support and local character – and because it’s fun to see some of my favorite neighborhoods on foot. :)


A couple nutrition notes:

  • Before the race, at home, I ate a piece of toast with nut butter and a whole sliced banana.
  • From miles 3 to 6 I slowly ate an Espresso Love GU. (40mg caffeine FTW)

gu espresso love 

  • From miles 8.5-ish to 11 I slowly ate a Pineapple Roctane GU (yum – never tried this one until the expo!)
  • Plus lots of water from my Nathan Intensity Vest! I never drink enough water if I reply on water stops, so I always wear this during races. I know it adds some weight, but it also saves me walking through the water stops, so I think it evens out. :) Plus, I love having it to hold my phone/camera/fuel!

Back to the race! Around mile 5, we came upon the dreaded Calvert Hill. Going up into the neighborhoods from Rock Creek means quite a steep incline! This hill is no joke, and it was tough, but we powered through. :) There are usually a good amount of spectators at the top cheering you on, so that helps!

rock n roll dc calvert hill

Made it to the 10k!

rock n roll dc 2015

Knowing the big hill was now behind us, we charged on through Adams Morgan.

rock n roll dc 2015

One thing about it being such a gross day was that there weren’t quite as many spectators as usual – and I don’t think there were quite as many bands, either. I know my usual favorite drum band was missing, which I was sad about! It made us really appreciate those who were out there even more, though. :) As always, a BIG thank you to the volunteers and spectators for being out there to support us, especially on such a rainy day!


A lot of the row houses had people out blasting music/partying, so that’s always fun and a nice boost! Our favorite was a guy with a sign that said “Champagne for Champions!” We declined, but were tempted. ;)

rock n roll dc 2015

Before we knew it, we were at mile 11! The race went by really quickly! Sorry about the blurry spots – my camera was getting wet. (I used a new waterproof camera I bought recently – the Olympus TG-3 – perfect opportunity to test it out!)

rock n roll dc 2015

At the half and full split around mile 12, we saw Chelsea, who was out volunteering. Hi, Chelsea! (She’s in the gray coat in the middle below.) Seeing people you know always gives you a nice boost during a race. I also had the pleasure of meeting quite a few of you guys out on the course – thank you for saying hi! I hope you all had fun, too! :)


rock n roll dc 2015 half marathon

Love this enormous blow up Brooks rock star! I remembered him from the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon last year. :)

rock n roll dc 2015

We made it!! There’s nothing like seeing the finish line in a race. We picked up the pace to finish strong, big smiles on our faces. :)

rock n roll dc 2015 finish line

rock n roll dc 2015 finish line

We did it! Another half marathon under our belts! This was my 13th half marathon, which is kind of insane/awesome. Clearly I’m addicted. :)

rock n roll dc 2015 half marathon medal

Our official time was 2:02:20, average pace of 9:20 minute/miles (my watch was off on the distance and therefore pace – guess we didn’t run the tangents!). Could we have run faster? Yes, but our goal was just to have fun and not worry about trying to push it/stress out about pace. Goal: met! :)


The ladies and I were extremely fortunate to have VIP bracelets from my friends at Rock ‘n’ Roll, so we headed to their tent after the race to hang out. I wish the weather had been better because hanging out after races is usually so fun, especially since I had a lot of friends there! But once we stopped running we were all FREEZING because we were soaked. We hung out for awhile and then hightailed it out towards home and hot showers. Here I am post-race with my blogger buddy Theodora! We got brunch after we cleaned up/warmed up, too. :)

IMG_1615 (1)

All in all, a great race and a super fun morning, even with the crummy weather! A huge thank you to Brooks for giving me a free bib for this race as part of my Run Happy Ambassadorship (they are the main Rock ‘n’ Roll sponsor). I’m honored to be a part of their blogger team!

I have quite a few races coming up this spring, and after not really running a race for speed for a couple years now, I’m thinking it’s time to give a new PR a shot. (I simmered on the speed while doing full marathons – the Richmond Marathon and the LA Marathon – and then was burned out on training). It will be tough (my current half marathon and 10 miler PRs are both at around a 7:53ish minute/mile pace; 1:43:44 and 1:18:46, respectively), so we’ll see! Here’s what’s coming up this spring:

  • Cherry Blossom 10 Miler (running this one for fun with friends, no pace goal)
  • GW Parkway Classic 10 Miler (first time running this and planning to race it – I hear it’s not too hilly and that it’s a great race/course! Matt is running it too which will be fun)
  • Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon with my fellow Brooks Run Happy blogger ambassadors (most likely planning to run alone/race it this year)

Here’s to spring running season – my favorite!

Who else was out there on Saturday? How did it go?


  1. 1

    I was out there, too! But it was by far my worst race experience. I was running solo, so the lack of crowd support and the miserable weather didn’t make for an ideal race day. I powered through until about mile 8, and then I think I became aware of how water logged I was and my body just decided it wasn’t feeling it. But I’m also doing the Cherry Blossom and GW 10-milers, so here’s to a spring of running redemption!

  2. 3

    When should you wear compression socks vs compression sleeves? I recently bought both, but can’t seem to find a clear answer on the best ways to use each of them.

    • 4

      It’s really up to you! I mostly just decide based on the weather – if it will be hot, I’ll do sleeves since I’ll get some air flow around the ankles. If it’s colder, or wet, like this race, I’ll do socks to keep me warmer and/or to minimize chafing.

    • 5

      Also, if you tend to get foot cramps, wearing the socks can help with that since you get the compression on the feet, too.

  3. 8

    that weather looks nasty! yuck. but yeah, it makes you feel like a badass. awesome job out there! i miss DC seeing your photos. but i don’t miss calvert hill :)

  4. 9

    That stinks that you guys had bad weather but it looks like you made the most of it. I would think that overall, running in a race with bad weather would be the pits.

  5. 10

    Great job enjoying the race even in the rain! I have a number of friends who PR’d this weekend and I swear that the rain makes you think about everything EXCEPT the pain!

  6. 11

    Awesome job! I think I saw you at the expo late Friday, but by the time I realized it you were gone! I ran the full marathon Saturday and finished in 4:15 for a 45 minute PR-I really credit the post you just featured regarding proper fueling for how great I felt! I always struggle at the ends of races, and after reading that post I decided to eat more carbs than I typically would Thursday and Friday, and during the race. Thank you for the information!

  7. 13

    This was my 13th half too! I am amazed at how quickly the time went by even with the miserable weather..I thought it would be a long hard slog, but it was actually really fun!

  8. 15

    Its great to read you had a great time despite the rain! I wanted to travel down to DC for the race, but I’m glad I didn’t because I like would have melted. Awesome races coming up – should be a fun spring!

  9. 16
    Chris Anne says

    Great job Anne! I’m impressed on your half dedication, 13!!! WoW!! I ran in the rain on Sat and for some reason rain and snow make me have great runs!!! While I am still dealing with Achilles tendonitis in my right leg and shin splints in my left leg, I am planning on doing the Diva 5k run on 12 April in Myrtle Beach, SC. Can’t wait! (They give you PINK tutus to run in!!!) They also have a DC race (5k & half) and I hope to do the 5k then, but it’s not until Sept. ( And I have a couple of other races for the summer.

  10. 18

    I ran this race as well, it was my first marathon! I unfortunately lost all my fuel at the Gear Check before the race even started, so ran the entire thing without fuel, but it was still AWESOME and I love how organized Rock N’ Roll races are.

    Rain and all, it was still a blast!

    • 19

      Oh man, sorry to hear about the fuel! They were giving out GU at mile 10 – did you miss it? Glad you still had fun anyway!

      • 20

        My body reacts really poorly to Gu, my entire stomach cramps to the point where I can’t move! I so badly wanted to grab it but knew that I could either finish slowly, with no fuel, or take the fuel but probably not be able to finish. The lesser of two evils at that point. But it ended up being okay, and still a blast!

  11. 22

    How do you make your GU last three miles? Is there a benefit to doing that? Whenever I’ve used it, I’ve taken it all at once and washed it down with water, but even if I tried to make it last I can’t imagine I could stretch it more than 2-3 minutes.

    • 23

      I usually just take a little bite, then put it away and have another little bite later, etc. It only works because I have my hydration pack to take sips of water with it. I don’t know if there’s any benefit, I find it’s just what works best for me! Spreads out the glucose a little bit. :)

      • 24

        Ah, that makes sense! I use a handheld water bottle on long runs but it’s too annoying to fiddle with the cap and stuff, and am planning on using just the water stops in my upcoming marathon (unless, of course, it’s super hot). Thanks for the info :)

        • 25

          Sure! :) Yeah, if you’re doing the water stop thing, I would eat the whole thing at once – need something to wash it down with! Good luck at the race!

  12. 26

    I ran too! My first full marathon and it was wet but amazing. My whole family came to support me and my friend Jessica and we had people there for us every time we needed a boost. The drummers were there! They were at about mile 15 of the full course. They sounded amazing! The night before the race we decided to sign up for our second full – Richmond! Reading about your training for your first full in Richmond gave me the confidence to sign up for my first full – thank you!!!!!!

    • 27

      Congratulations!! :) That’s awesome that the drummers were out! I missed them on the half course but I think you guys needed them more continuing on in the rain, so I’m glad that they were out at mile 15! :) You will love Richmond! Have fun!!

  13. 28

    I ran the full! It was my first full, and it was certainly not the weather I had hoped for! And the hills from 21-24 were NO joke! It wasn’t quite the time I was hoping for, but between the horrible weather and a late season injury, I’m still pretty happy about it.

    Congrats on your 13th half!

  14. 30

    I love reading race recaps! That’s an awesome time, despite the rain. I just finished the SD half last wkend, and I’m searching for a new one for fall. Would you recommend the Rock and Roll series? I’m considering their new Brooklyn half!

    • 31

      Yes, I really like Rock ‘n’ Roll! The events are HUGE so that does mean crowded, but that large of an organization/race also means lots of crowd support, bands, post-race fun, etc., and cool medals. :) I have heard of a ton of people signing up for the new Brooklyn race already – sounds fun!

  15. 32

    *High five*! Good job friend! There was a spectator who was cheering “yeah runners! Run over that hill!!!!” I yelled out “what hill?!” Haha! Good lord. A little bit of my soul is left there every time I run this race. :) Calvert Hill is an energy zapper! So glad you had fun though! The weather was crap, but yeah for brunch!

  16. 35

    Anne! Is there an easy to get into race to get into (before May when I leave back for NJ) that would be good to do!?

  17. 37

    I swear you run the funnest races!! AND I Loved your target bag poncho :)

  18. 38

    So glad we got to catch up <3

  19. 40

    Congrats! Yay reading your recap got me excited for my half in May. After my first one I wanted to run them all the time!!

  20. 41

    Yayy I’m so glad I spotted you guys on the course! You did awesome! Despite the crappy weather I really loved volunteering; I would totally do it again! (Hopefully my foot will be better soon though so I don’t have to ;) haha)

  21. 42

    Great job on the race! Running in the rain can be super fun once you stop caring that you’re wet! I am a nutrition student and I want to follow your career path in becoming an RD and having my own practice! Thanks for inspiring a future RD :)

  22. 44

    That finish line guy is so cool. :D I would love to do a rock n’ roll race sometime.

  23. 45

    Loved reading your recap and seeing you at the race! This is always a great race, rain or shine. I live right by the infamous Calvert Hill so it is part of almost all my runs and it doesn’t get any easier. We are due to have a gorgeous weather Cherry Blossom race after this one :)

  24. 47

    Confirmed- your plastic bag style was all the rage at Paris fashion week ;)

  25. 49

    Looks like good fun despite the rain – nice job. I ran about 22km during my beach relay on Sunday. I absolutely loved it, had to climb over rocks / headlands & wade through water, it was hot but the scenery was stunning, best run ever!!

  26. 51
    Roadrunner says

    Great job, Anne! Very well done, and great pics, as always, despite the weather. Now to figure out which race to focus on for a PR! Good luck!


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