2016 Navy-Air Force Half Marathon Report

This post is out of sequence. I ran the Navy-Air Force Half Marathon  on 9/18/16. I've now run this one three times and blogged about it three times (the post you're currently reading, as well as the ones from 2014 and 2015). In looking back at the previous race reports, I discovered the following:
  • Race-day weather can really vary this time of year.
  • This race is still not well-attended by spectators, and has no on-course entertainment, so expect to entertain yourself.
  • The medals are consistently good, and different every year to match the theme of the t-shirt.
  • Each year I see more wounded warriors on the course, as well as Team RWB runners and spectators. The military comes out to support their own.
I went to the expo on Saturday, which was back at National's Park this year. As usual, not many vendors. The Team Geico booth was there and I asked if they would have their massage tent at the finish for team members. The answer was no, so I knew I wouldn't be wearing my Geico shirt for the race. I did get my photo taken with the Gecko.

My buddy the Geico Gecko (umm...wrong race, Geico)

Because of Metrorail's ongoing track work, no one would be able to take the train to the start at Smithsonian. The race encouraged people to pay for parking in advance or to take Lyft, one of the race sponsors. I just got up super early and was able to park on Constitution Avenue a couple blocks away from the start, so no biggie. Unlike in past years, I'd have my car handy for a quick getaway post-race.

I was completely prepared this year, unlike last year when I left my gels in my checked bag. I had more than enough on my person this year, so I wouldn't need to worry about that. I had my energy drink, was hydrated and well-fueled. And I was decked out in my new scarlet & gray Sparkle Skirt, so I was looking good too.

Sporting my new skirt

Look how overcast at the start 
Start/finish area tents in front of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture which opened the following week

The course was slightly different than in past years but not by much. We did run across the Tidal Basin  bridge and as I was taking a photo of the Jefferson Memorial, I heard a familiar voice behind me. It was Kristen! I had also run into her on the course last year. Kristen was pacing a friend of hers who was doing her first half marathon. We said hello, but didn't stick together.

One of my favorite monuments, even on a gray day

While I was prepared for the race this year in most respects, I was not ready for the weather. It was not terribly hot at the start, but it was overcast and extremely humid. The dew point must have been 1,000 (kidding). It was really uncomfortable and I felt like I was dragging from the very start. Later in the race the sun came out and burned off the moisture, but then it was hot and we were running in the direct sunlight. I hated the weather and didn't push myself in this race. It was the longest distance I had run in a while, so it was more of a training run for the following week's half marathon, which I would be pacing.

I didn't take any photos on the course after my first one of the Jefferson Memorial. For one thing, I'd seen and photographed all the sights many times over. And for another, I just didn't feel like getting my phone out. I wanted to focus on just finishing. And eventually I did finish, a little faster than last year. I collected my medal and post-race snack box. I didn't see anyone I knew. I didn't stick around long. I had checked off another half marathon, my third of this race. I probably won't do this race again, not because it's a bad race, but because I think I'm bored with it. I like new scenery and new-to-me races.

I liked the shirt and medal, but don't know why they went with a cotton shirt this year 

By all means, if you've never run this race, do it. But be warned that the weather could either be delightful or suck miserably. And also don't expect any food or gels on the course. This year they had UCAN fuel in a liquid form, but it's not the same as more solid (or even gel-like) sustenance. I didn't even try it.

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