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Download the app. The Credit Union Cherry Blossom smartphone app for iOS and Android devices offers bib lookup (trust me, this will be save you a few minutes at the expo), weekend timetable, course maps, live results, real-time tracking for spectators, event maps and Run Pix results.
The Metro opens early on race day. WMATA will open its doors at 5 a.m. to help runners get to the race with plenty of time to spare. The closest metro stations are as follows: Smithsonian, blue and orange lines (.25 of a mile from the starting area); Federal Triangle, blue and orange lines (.4 of a mile from the starting area); L’Enfant Plaza, blue, orange, green and yellow lines (.8 of a mile from the starting area); Metro Center, red, orange and blue lines (.9 of a mile from the starting area) of a mile from the start; and/or Archives, green and yellow lines (.9 of a mile from the start).
Bike to the race. If you want to avoid the metro crowds, take advantage of the race's bike valet service! From the race website: “Two Wheel Valet will provide a bike valet service on race day adjacent to 14th and Independence Ave., SW. You may drop off your bike starting at 6:00 A.M. and retrieve it after the race, or leave it and enjoy the cherry blossoms, then retrieve it later in the morning. This service is free to participants. NOTE: The bike parking area will close at 12:00 noon on race day, April 12, so please be sure to retrieve your bike by then! You may NOT leave any belongings attached to your bike. If you want to leave any belongings, you will need to place them in the clear plastic bag you will be given at packet pickup and then take it to the bag check area on race morning.”
Don’t let the morning cold fool you. You should think twice about wearing that long-sleeve shirt. Depending on the weather, that extra layer may drag you down when the sun starts to beat on you during the last few miles in Haines Point. If you’re worried about shivering at the starting line, all clothes discarded at the start line will be collected and donated.
Join the morning warm-up with Gold’s Gym and use their pacing groups. In addition to leading pace groups in every wave group (finishing time hours/min-1:10; 1:15; 1:20; 1:25: 1:30; 1:25; 1:30: 1:35; 1:40; 1:45; 1:50; 1:55, 2:00) Gold’s Gym also hosts a free warm-up near the starting line with energetic music and moves to get the blood pumping.
Enjoy the flat course but be ready for the finish. This course is designed to be fast. Take advantage of that but also be ready for a slight uphill near the end after you pass the Jefferson Memorial.
Go green. Help the race achieve a gold certification for sustainability. Currently, the race holds a silver certification for sustainability through the Council of Responsible Sports but this year it’s is going for gold! The race is shooting for recycling, composting and donating at least 75% of the waste generated, which is an 8% increase from 2014. From the race website: “Almost everything you receive on race morning, including heat sheets, can be recycled or composted. We'll make it easy to do so.”
Grab a heat sheet to stay warm at the finish. Even if you don’t think you need it right away, it’s still a good idea to grab one in case you get a little chilly after standing around for a few minutes. And when you’re done with it, be sure to recycle it at the race!
Plan a meeting spot in advance. The finish area turns into a huge cluster very quickly. I usually scope out the grounds before starting the race and tell my friends and family where the best banner or landmark is to meet for after.
Brunch afterwards! You freaking earned it. Here are a few suggestions: Capitol City Brewing Company has a great brunch and is located just one mile from the finish line (opens at 11 a.m.); Matchbox Pizza is also within close proxmity of the race, their brunch starts at 10 a.m.; Bullfrog Bagels is a little further from the race but is definitley worth the trek for the perfect post-race meal (open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.).