One of the things I appreciated the most about this race was the fact that you could easily access the start from three different metro stops each on a different line. I get nervous enough about race day without having the added stress of public transportation. The metro was full of women with the green Nike bags ready to run. I had a slight moment of panic when I noticed a D tag on a girl's shoe, but after a quick scan of the metro realized that no one else had one and she probably had it from an earlier race.
Once I got to the race site I was relieved to find two long rows of porta potties. If you've read past posts, you know of my weak bladder and temperamental stomach, so it was nice to know I was covered. Soon after I arrived my nice friend's sister and I found each other and headed to the corrals. We had to wait for a while (the corral was ridiculously packed and we had to wait until all the other corrals had passed before we could start) so I waited for my Garmin to find a satellite and shed my AE warm up (I hope you found a good home, old friend. You had slightly raunchy innuendo, but you must have been important to last so many years in the back of the closet).
My Garmin finally connected when we crossed the start line and we set off to see the sights of DC. It was a really fun, flat course. The start was a little slow and we had to weave a lot, but once we got going it was hard not to appreciate everything that was put into the design of this race. Nike didn't disappoint and had lined up different entertainers throughout the course. It's really hard to pick a favorite because they were all amazing, but I think the drummers in the tunnel pumped me up the most. I felt the need to dance along to the beat as they echoed throughout. My nice friend's sister was running her very first half and said that she wanted to try to run a consistent pace throughout, so we made it our goal to just keep running. I've gotta say that we ended up being right on (the slower miles were the ones where we walked through the water stations) and I'm proud to say that we ran the entire time minus the time we were drinking water. I don't know how people run through the water stops. I would totally miss my mouth. There was one point in the race where we had no choice but to walk because the merge onto an on ramp was really congested, and while the race never really opened up too much, we didn't have much trouble finding places to run after that. At mile 4 they gave out my beloved Clif Shot Bloks and I really appreciated that they were cut open ready to eat. I took both shots they gave me at mile 4 and then one more of my own stash at every water stop after that. I definitely learned my lesson after some of my previous races! They were passing out mini Luna bars around mile 8, but I just didn't think I could stomach it and didn't want to have to carry it the rest of the way so I passed it by.
|Check out that 10:05 at mile 12!|
My legs were feeling pretty good the whole race and by the end when my running buddy said she thought she could push a little more we picked it up and started picking out people to pass until we got to our final sprint at the end. I was so proud of her for finishing her first half and having such a strong final push! We ended up finishing the race in 2 hours and 34 min, way under her initial 3 hour goal time.
As promised, a hunk in a tux gave us our blue Tiffany's box and even agreed to take pictures with us. I hope they paid that poor guy a lot, because no one needed to get that close to my sweaty self! After our photo ops, we headed to grab Luna bars and our finisher's shirts and hung out for a few minutes before heading back to the metro. The finish line was a little too crowded so I'm sure I missed out on some of the things it had to offer, but the lines just didn't seem worth it.
|Thank you for not running away.|
The metro didn't have any seats available at first and I joked with another girl who had run the race (the Tiffany's bag and sweaty shirt gave her away) that I didn't want to lift my arm up to hold on to the rail because I was scared people might pass out. I ended up talking with her and another girl the rest of the ride home. I think Mike Cassidy said it best in his article about Boston:
"Runners share an unspoken bond, a spiritual affinity that runs deeper than age or race, nationality or religion. Show me a runner, and I’ll show you a friend. Running identifies."
Although it was definitely not my fastest half, I had a really great time. It was fun having someone to run with and it was an absolute gorgeous day. I loved running by the different monuments and looking around seeing all the happy runners. The weeks leading up to the race I was upset because I thought I wasn't going to be able to run very much of it (my training runs were pretty much nonexistent after I got sick), and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I can do a lot more than I believed. It was a definite confidence boost and gave me the push I need to start gearing up for Zooma in June (once I can get off this couch that is..).
Congratulations to everyone who rocked the Nike Women's Half Marathon DC! I hope everyone had a blast! The race raised over $6 million for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and it doesn't look like Nike is giving up on their support of LLS anytime soon!
Have a happy week!