Friday, May 2, 2014

Nike Women’s Half Marathon Race Recap

If you missed Part 1: Expotique & #RunnersLove Meet-Up Recap

Last Sunday around 5:15 AM, I woke up both excited and curious about how the next few hours would go. I felt great and hoped my knee would carry me through my 13.1 miles that morning. Robert and I made our way to the metro and arrived at the start area without any problems. Nike made sure there were plenty of bagels, coffee, tea, water, and porta-potties in the area – they had a bag check as well, but since Robert was a spectator for the race I did not need to use it. I met up with my friend Karen who was also running and we chatted, stretched, and warmed-up while we waited for the 7 AM race start to arrive. It was a chilly morning for standing around, but I was easily able to keep warm by doing some dynamic stretches, jumping jacks, high knees, and butt kicks!

Nike officials were VERY strict about closing the corrals on time, so they made sure all the ladies (and a few good men!) were lined up by 6:50 AM (if you run this race in the future, you do NOT want to be late). Also, make sure you wear your pace bracelet – it is your ticket to get to you’re pace corral. I was in the 9:30-10:30 min/mile corral. I said good luck to Karen as she made her way further up to the start line, a couple corrals ahead of mine!

Race Start: Photo from the Run Nike Women’s Series Facebook Page

View of the Start Line from the Corralimage

Photo before heading to my Corralimage

Before I knew it, it was time to start! They counted us off at 3…2…1 and off we went, straight towards the Capitol Building. The spectators were incredible, and I saw so many great signs! A couple favorites that I remember are “You run better than our government” and “Keep running if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by Regina George” (I love Mean Girls references haha)!

Picture Robert took at the Steps of the U.S. Capitol100_1061

I wish I could describe in words (or even photos – but I did not run with my phone or camera) how picturesque the course was – there was almost always something to admire. The blooming cherry blossoms were stunning! We ran by the Capitol building (where I saw Robert), the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, across the Arlington Memorial Bridge, and all along the Potomac River. They had a couple professional photo stops, which they even told you were coming up so you could get ready for a pose! There were also many high school and college bands, cheerleaders, and dancers playing music and cheering for all the runner’s. At one point we ran underneath a very long tunnel which was awesome for two reasons – 1) They had the ‘WE RUN’ sign in there, so the tunnel was glowing with a Tiffany blue hue, and 2) There were percussionists playing so the drums and beats echoed throughout the entire tunnel. It was very cool!

Me smiling at Robert – After running through the tunnel on the way back100_1066

My knee seem to be holding up for the most part, for which I was grateful, and I was truly enjoying the experience. I was not trying to PR, but my pace still happened to be on target for a great time. However, around mile 5.5 disaster struck. It began with a twinge and a tweak every few seconds and turned into full blown pain. My entire left leg felt like it was going to completely give out. I held back what would have been a waterfall of tears and stopped to walk, praying to God to just let me finish this race. The pain lessened after a few minutes so I started running again, but with much shorter strides. I suddenly become extremely aware of my posture as well. Concentrating on my form and short strides helped ease the pain immensely and I was able to press onward.

The pain arrived and left randomly, and I stopped only to drink water and Nuun at the fuel stops. My physical pain had NOTHING on my mental strength. The miles flew by and I enjoyed every single moment of that race, painful or not – even at one of the later photo ops I still had a huge smile on my face!

It didn’t take long to arrive into the last couple miles, and around mile 11.5, there was a chocolate station sponsored by Whole Foods! They were handing out chocolate truffles to all the runners which, being a choco-holic, made me very happy! I grabbed three and put them in my SPIbelt for after the race. I continued to run and passed Robert about a mile later, and then again right before the finish. Seeing him cheering for me gave me an extra boost of speed to the end! When I made the final turn and saw the finish line, I felt a lot of contradicting emotions – the course was so incredible I never wanted it to end, and yet I was so ready to be off my knee. Either way, I crossed the finish proud of myself for staying strong throughout the race!

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Crossing the Finish Line

Immediately I found Robert in the crowds to the side and he gave me my phone so I could take a few photos on my way through the finisher’s area. I picked up my water bottle (which was already filled with water), bag of post-race goodies, Mylar blanket, and the beautiful little blue box that held my ‘medal’!

Silly Post-Race Selfieimage

Post-Race Snacksimage

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Once I met up with Robert, we headed to the merchandise tent where I purchased a Finisher’s shirt (I love the color!), and then to the race result booth so I could check my time, which turned out to be 2:11:06 – not bad for an injured girl, haha! That being said, I’m still taking a break from running and racing until I am fully healed.

Race Stats
Overall Place: 5006/15282
Division Place (F25-29): 1443/4010
5K Split: 30:41
10K Split: 1:00:42
15K Split: 1:32:28
20K Split: 2:05:04
Chip Time: 2:11:04 (10 min/mile Pace)

100_1070 image

It almost goes without saying that I would very HIGHLY recommend this race to everyone. It was a beautiful course with incredible spectator support. The organization was top-notch, and the fuel stations were plentiful and fully stocked with water, Nuun, and porta-potties. Clif Shot Bloks were handed out at mile 5.2, and Luna Mini Bars at mile 9.3. I don’t think there is anything they could have done differently for my own race experience – the only issue I had throughout the entire weekend was the lack of restrooms at the Expotique. So with that I say, GREAT job Nike!

QOTD: Have you ever done a Nike race event? If not, is it a race you would like to run?

36 comments

  1. I'm so glad you had an awesome race, even with a bum knee! Now rest and let it heal!

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  2. I'm in love with your running capris and it's even better that they match the Tiffany necklace! I'm so glad that despite your knee you had a great time! I can't wait to run it next year!! This is completely unrelated and I'm sure you already heard, but the new Dwarfs mine ride is going to be open during the WDW so I expect you to not only ride Everest but also the mine ride during your marathon! I will be living vicariously through you :)

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    1. Thanks Courtney - I loooove the capris so much! You are going to have so much fun next year!

      So I saw that WDW Marathon announcement, and apparently they clarified that you only get to run PAST it. I was super bummed when I found that out :0( I really wanted to ride two roller coasters during the race! lol

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  3. You saved the chocolate? The chocolate would not have lasted one minutes around me. I would've eaten it right then and there.

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    1. It was hard to resist, but I had already made two quick potty stops and didn't want to have to worry about another before the end LOL!

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  4. Your recap makes me want to do this race!!!!!
    So glad you're OK & made it through - even smiling & looking FANTASTIC!!!!
    Good for you to taking time to heal up... gotta take care of that body.

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    1. Thanks Rebecca!! :0) You have to do this race, it's SO fun!

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  5. I've been reading NWM DC recaps since the race and this one looks WAY better and more organized than its SF counterpart. Now I'm thinking I might need to come do a DC one!

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    1. Yeah, I think Nike must be learning from experience. This was only the 2nd annual D.C. race for them, and it was almost flawless!

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  6. What a fun race! Congrats on a great finishing time! I've never run this race before, but when we visited DC last year I had a great time running and riding a rental bike all around! Nice finisher's race shirt and necklace!

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  7. Lauren - I got a little teary eyed reading this! First, LOVE the Regina George reference, ha! That was back when Lindsay had so much potential...anyways, congratulations girl. Way to stick with it mentally, you look fantastic in your photos, no one would guess you were in pain. You still rocked the time too. Rest up, take a break and you'll be back at it in no time.

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    1. I KNOW right?! Whoever came up with that Mean Girls race sign is genius. I hope they find this recap and comment saying it was their sign lol!

      Thanks so much for the kind words and encouragement Michele!

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  8. Congratulations! I'm glad you had such a great race despite your knee! I loved the course and would run this race again next year in a heartbeat!

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  9. With or with out an knee injury you had an awesome time girl! I'm so proud of you for pushing through. I love how Robert was there to see you on so many parts of the course! This race is on the same day as Big Sur, so I assume you won't be doing this one next year? I may consider this if I don't make it to Big Sur. When did the lottery open, and how soon after you got selected did you have to pay and commit to the race? Or do you have to give a credit card # at the time of the lottery and if you get in you are automatically charged? I am unfamiliar on how all this lottery stuff works. -M

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    1. Thank you so much Meranda!

      As much as I would LOVE to do this race again in 2015, I've had my eye on Big Sur for a while and I really want to run it next year!

      The lottery for this race opened in early November I believe, and I found out if I got in the first week of December. Plenty of time to get race ready! :0) You put your credit card info in when you enter the lottery and if your name is picked, then you are charged automatically.

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    2. Thank you for clearing that up. I wasn't sure how it worked. I wonder if it is the same way for San Fran? Oh, and where there a 5K associated with this race too?

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    3. I am pretty sure it is the same for SF, though I can't speak from experience. There was not a 5K associated with this race this year, but you never know what kind of changes they'll make in the future! :0)

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  10. It sounds like you had a great race, even with your knee issues. I've never been to DC and would love to visit eventually... sounds like I need to make it a racecation! I hope your knee heels very quickly!

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  11. I'm so glad you posted this (and had a fantastic race)! I've been interested in this half for a while so I'm also glad to hear it's such a smooth running event. And way to go on your awesome time despite the knee pain! That's something to be truly proud of! :)

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    1. Thanks Jewell!! I hope you get the chance to run this race in the future!

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  12. You've got me convinced! What a gorgeous course! Congrats on finishing despite your knee! I hope it feels better for you soon!

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  13. Okay, okay...SOLD! This looks like SUCH a fun race; I totally want to run it next year! Congrats on an awesome time, and I'm so glad your knee held up! I also love that the water stations had Nuun -- LOVE that stuff! :)

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    1. Thanks Jennifer!! You absolutely should run it next year!!

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  14. awe, I missed the Regina George sign! But I did see one that said, "Run like Phoebe" and a girl in front of me actually did! It was great :)

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  15. I have done both the Nike Women's Marathon 2013 in San Fran and Nike Women's Half Marathon in DC this past April. I love each race differently - NWM in San Fran was my first Marathon, so that will always have a special spot in my heart, and the Half in DC was such a special weekend shared with great friends! Congrats on the half, and it was so great to meet you at the #Runnerslove meet-up! :)

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    1. Congrats to you as well! I would love to do the SF race. It was so great meeting you too Danielle!

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  16. Congrats, Lauren! What an awesome race! Love your pics :) I'd love to run a Nike Women's Half Marathon someday too, especially with the Tiffany finisher's bling. I walked the Nike 5k for Kids here at the Nike Campus in Beaverton, OR when my son was a baby. I'd love to run one of their big races someday though.

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    1. Thank you Denise!! I'm not gonna lie, the Tiffany bling is a huge motivator! :0) I hope you get the chance to run one of their big races!

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  17. I just came across this, and love it! Great job! I was actually in DC that weekend and was heartbroken that I (obviously) wasn't running. I loved all the signs they had for it in the subway stations! I hope to run it in a couple of years.
    Do you think you'll ever try to run the Nike race in San Fran?

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    1. Thank you!! I am sorry you didn't get to run :0( Hopefully you can in the next few years! I would absolutely run the one in San Fran, I've heard wonderful things about it!

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