Monday, March 17, 2014

Rock N' Roll USA: Expo

Friday afternoon K and I headed to DC for the Rock N' Roll USA Expo. They had put out some info before saying that a lot of people were flying in on Friday afternoon, so it might get busy. I know how busy the RnR events can get (getting knocked over in SD, for example), so we wanted to get there as early as possible. I printed out our waivers, double checked to make sure we had IDs, and we were off.

The Expo was at the DC Armory, as most races in DC seem to do, and there was free parking in Lot 8 and Lot 3. When we got there, around 1, there was very little traffic on the way from Baltimore to the Armory, parking was easy to find, and the lines to get into the Armory were short. Since this an active military post, you do have to go through security to get into the building. It's not quite airport standards, you can still bring a full water bottle, but I'd recommend leaving your machete at home. There is a separate line for military ID holders, so we both breezed through.

Once inside the expo area, there was a large red carpet directing us down stairs to the packet pick up area. It was organized by bib number, so I'm glad we printed out our waivers in advance. There were no lines at any of the tables, even though there were lots of people milling about, so we quickly headed back up the stairs to t shirt pick up.

The shirts this year were black Brooks shirts with a pretty cool guitar logo on the front and back. I guess there have been some rumblings about too much red white and blue at this race? In addition, the race swag bags had the RnR USA logo on them, rather than just the RnR logo like they did last year. Cool for us, inefficient for them :p They also had tables full of free samples like PACKETS OF PERFORM, which is my new favorite thing. Also, eye drops.

Some of my race swag
Right out of the shirt pickup area was the Brooks store with all the cool logo'd stuff. I did buy a cool green 26.2 shirt, and K got his shot glass. I really liked how not-crowded it was! Note to self: go early more often.

After this we ventured out into the expo floor, which, again, was not too crowded. It was busy, but it was very easy to navigate, no lines for anything, and not too loud. I was hoping to find a few fuelbelt flasks since I lost my 10 oz ones, but no luck. We did enjoy picking up more free stuff (lots of Gus, granola, healthy chips, peanut butter, the usual). I also won a free shirt at the Westin booth (I am seriously dying to try their VIP race package at another RnR race, I almost cracked and did it this time but I live so close it wasn't logical), and broke down and registered for the Zooma Annapolis half marathon, so I got a free shirt from them too! I also won a tri towel at the Skirt Sports booth (I kind of wanted hair ties, but I'll settle for a better tri towel).
More swag!
And of course I tried to get a cool picture of the two of us with a cool background, since we didn't stop during the packet pickup area.

We picked up our prepaid parking pass for the next morning as well, since we planned on parking right next to the finish line instead of metroing to Greenbelt. It was a little pricey, but the next day I was sure i'd appreciate it. I also picked up some discount codes for other races, like Rev3. I really like when races give out codes rather than only offer at-expo discounts. I don't have time to check my calendar at an expo! After all this, we headed out to drop our swag in the car, then headed in to DC for afternoon tea. Obviously.

That night I spent a good deal of making sure I had everything just right. We got some Irish food for dinner, which means lots of potatoes! Also, surprisingly good fish tacos. My ipod was charged and loaded, my yurbuds were properly fitted, I laid out socks and shoes, packed my checked bag with lip gloss, face wipes, and flip flops. I made sure my breakfast was ready to go. I debated my race outfit, since the weather was a little chillier than I had anticipated. I laid out my nutrition plan and made sure I had enough gels to hold me through. And then I let K watch comedians on netflix, even though they weren't funny.

I'm really glad I didn't have any classes this day, because I think that added stress, plus going to the expo when it was crowded, would have made me a little too stressed out right before a race.  Instead, I was relaxed, had fun, and got ready to run! 

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