We quickly began planning our "girls getaway" weekend and training for the race. The time just flew by and before we knew it, the weekend was upon us. We met in Springfield, VA on Friday afternoon, where we were parking our cars for the weekend. Michele had driven up from NC, and had driven down from PA. We took the metro into the city and headed to our hotel, The State Plaza Hotel, which is located in the Foggy Bottom section of DC. It is a great location, just 5 minutes walk from the metro,and 15-20 minute walk to many other DC attractions, including the National Mall. Plus, with the marathon there was a special rate which made it affordable for the weekend.
Friday night was spent catching up, and enjoying a nice dinner at Tonic Restaurant. This was within the George Washington University campus, so casual yet trendy. We enjoyed burgers, tator tots and beers. Very tasty!
Saturday morning we headed to the "Expotique" in Georgetown. We were there early enough that there was no line to pick our numbers. The expo was a bit underwhelming to me. I thought the ones in San Francisco (and at other large races for that matter) were much better. My favorite part was the Nuun Hydration stand. They had two representatives from Nuun, plus several flavors mixed to try. I also picked up some cool drink coasters and tattoos. Michele tried Nuun for the first time, and she was very impressed. We were both excited to have Nuun on the race course the next day!
We didn't partake in the Paul Mitchell hair styling, the makeup application, or trying on Nike shoes. We did stop at the Luna Bar display and grabbed a few samples. The only place you could by any race essentials was outside the expo, in a separate small tent. We went there to buy some Nuun (tubes were only $5 each, plus if you bought 2, you would get a free "Run DC" waterbottle).
We were not that impressed with the merchandise at the Nike store, and we were both hoping that the race t-shirt would be cute enough to be our souvenir for the race. Plus, Oiselle has stolen my heart, and I don't buy any other running apparel. :)
|Really worth the hype!|
|This is in front of the Science Museum|
Sunday morning we were up early (4:45) to eat a bagel, have a coffee and some Nuun before heading to the metro at 5:45. We arrived at the race site at 6:10, and got in line for the porta potties. There were not nearly enough for all of the runners, so the lines were ridiculous. We ended up standing in line for 40 minutes!!! That is completely unacceptable at a race this size. By the time we finished, the announcer was telling everyone to get in their corrals in five minutes (6:45) because they were closing the corrals. We attempted to make our way to our corrals (7:30-8:59 and 9:00-9:59). We could not figure out how to get up there. There was no entrance to that part of the start. The only place there was an entrance was at the 10:00-11:59 pace corral. We had no choice but to stand there and wait for the race to start. I was pretty frustrated, knowing that I would have to maneuver around thousands of people to get to my pace. I tried to keep a happy mood, but inside I was pretty stressed. It was not easy to be unhappy though. The energy of this race was great, as have all the Nike races I have done. They play great music, get you pumped up before the race. They were announcing Shalane Flanagan and Joan Benoit-Samuelson at the race, and everyone was cheering. Next, there was a minute of silence for all the victims of the Boston bombing. You could have heard a pin drop in this large crowd, as everyone was solemn and respectful. Then the national anthem, and before we knew it, the race started.
We shuffled, and shuffled, and shuffled forward for at least 9-10 minutes before we crossed the line. I started my watch, started to jog, and then was stopped again. We were so bottlenecked, that there was no chance to move forward. This was the case for the first 3 miles!! I would just start going, and then we were down to a walk when the road narrowed. There were so many walkers, even in the first mile. There was no race etiquette in this race. Many people had lined up way ahead of where they should have been. My first miles were 9:46, 9:32, 8:46. I was finally able to move into a pretty good pace. I knew at this point that I wouldn't be able to make my sub 1:50 goal. I was feeling pretty negative for the first couple of miles, swearing under my breath ( F***ing GO!), etc. Finally, after the 3rd mile I decided I would let go of the negative energy and just try to enjoy the race. I was feeling great physically, I knew I could hold a pretty good pace, and this is just a feel good kind of race. The crowd support along the course, and the music were great. I especially liked the drummers that performed in the tunnels that we ran through. Talk about palpable energy! Amazing! Once I let go of my "A" goal, I was able to try to enjoy the race. I didn't worry about my pace. I just ran by feel, just pushing but not going "all out". I settled into an average pace of about 8:15-8:30. I felt great and very strong physically, which was so empowering. I really enjoyed running along, and I passed SO many people. It actually began to feel pretty fun! By the time we went up the last incline around mile 12, I decided I would run all out and finish as strong as possible. I crossed the finish line with my hand over my heart in honor of the victims in Boston, and moved into the finish chute. My time was 1:55:12. Not a PR, but a positive experience for me as a runner.
I collected my "little blue box" with my Tiffany necklace from a nice guy in a tux, and kept moving to get water, fruit, Luna Bar and finisher t-shirt. Michele and I had agreed to meet at the "stretching tent", so I headed that way. That is another thing I like about these races. If you need to get down and stretch at the end, they have mats to sit down on, foam rollers, and even someone directing you with stretches. I didn't need it this time, but it is great to have. Some ladies were getting their hair and makeup done at the end of the race, but this seemed a bit silly to me. Just give me a hot shower and a chance of clothes please!! There was a huge line for the "finishers boutique" where you could buy more Nike apparel from the race, but why would you want to do that? The t-shirt we received was a very nice dry fit shirt in very nice colors. Good enough for me!
Michele finished in just over 2 hours, and we lined up for some photos. Unfortunately, there was no official photographers at the finish, or even along the race course, as we found out later. So, we just took photos of the ladies in front of us, and they repaid us the favor. Good thing for cell phones. Michele and I did a really dorky "jump" photo, which cracked us up. Great memory from our race!
So, all in all, we had a great day. These Nike races are really geared towards women, and especially to a "girls get-together" type of weekend. I couldn't imagine doing one without at least one friend. It would seem pretty isolating to be on your own. Michele and I had a great time the whole weekend. We have many great memories to take with us. And the Tiffany necklace is a special bonus! Makes it all worth it. I would recommend this race to anyone who likes a "girls" race. It would be ideal for a first half marathon, when a time goal may not be an issue.
Did you run the Nike 1/2 in DC, or any of the ones in SF?
Have you been able to move forward from negative feelings during a race when things weren't going your way?