April 29, 2014

Nike Women's Half Marathon Recap

The NIKE WOMEN'S HALF MARATHON was this past weekend in DC where 15,000 of us took to running the streets in hopes of achieving a personal goal, record, or just to have a great run. I'm extremely happy to say I was one of those women. We were blessed with a truly gorgeous day, unique views, great race-side entertainment and an awesome cheering crowd.

Leading up to the event I took advantage of the NIKE+ TRAINING APP to stick to a detailed training schedule for someone running their first half marathon. I really stuck to it at the beginning and then my desire and motivation to run started to fade towards the end. I ran 12, I could certainly do 13.1 - right? Aside from that, my foot had started to ache, so the 2 weeks leading up to the event I only ran 9 miles total. My lax training schedule toward the end certainly didn't help with my nerves, but I had to listen to my body, so lets see how it all played out...

The Expotique:

This was the largest (and longest) race I have ever done so I'm unable to compare this "expotique" to other expos. But anyways, this was awesome. Nike really knows how to put on a show and cater to runners. Packet and t-shirt pickup were an absolute breeze - maybe it was because I went Friday morning, but there were no lines. Music was pumping, lights were dim - was I back in NYC at a club or on the waterfront in DC? Right, I was in the tent and upon walking in, my name flashed up on a screen with a motivational message. I thought this was a great, personalized touch and walked in and out a few times to watch the message change and because I was too slow with my camera. Eventually I got it.

In the tent you were able to take advantage of exclusive offers, preview new products, and get samples from race partners including Paul Mitchell, Luna, and Nuun. I picked up a limited edition Camelbak water bottle because I'm a sucker for anything limited edition and water bottles (apparently I hoard those). I circled around the tent and signed the wall, took my photo in front of the We Run sign, but completely missed the wall that had all the runners names on that. Bummer.

The Race:

My nerves set in the night before, but after being reassured by many that I would be fine I started to calm down a bit. I made sure to get everything set up the night before so I wouldn't be frantically running around in the morning.

Up at 4:45am to eat, get ready and get out the door, the day was finally here. Wow. Was I ready for this?

I took the metro to Metro Center, along with hundreds of other runners. Immediately upon arriving I got in line to go to the bathroom - lines moved quickly here as well, I was really lucking out - and then headed to my corral, which bracelets were required to enter. While waiting for the metro I learned from runners who did the 2013 half in DC that Nike locks the corrals and was really strict on getting there on time. They were actually locked out last year and were forced to the back of the race where they couldn't start until everyone before them started running. But I digress. Here I took some time to stretch, stay warm and admired the view of the Capitol at sunrise and almost got a little choked up - was it the nerves? I don't know. I didn't know I could get choked up about something that didn't involve dogs let alone a view. Weird.

7am came soon enough and when the horn blew I was ready for it. This is what I had worked for for months. LFG (let's f-ing go)! Here were my thoughts along the way...

Miles 1 - 3: Feeling great. I'm really flying. How am I running so fast? Whatever, if I can keep up this pace I'll be golden. These views are great, I wish I had my camera.

Oh, hi family! Thank god they made this great sign so I could easily spot them along the way.

Miles 4 - 6: Ok, that bridge was a little longer than I thought, but I'm still doing well. I'll see my fam again soon. Boy do I need some water.

Miles 7 - 9: Jeeze, I've really got the chills. And need more water. Must've been the chicken I had last night, why did they throw so much salt on it? My foot is starting to hurt, I hope I can hold out.

Miles 10 - 12: This golf course is long and really boring. The 2:10 pacer just ran past me. Ugh, if I can just stay behind them I'll be fine. Get me to that tunnel for mile 12 and then I'm almost done.

Mile 13: I'M ALMOST DONE. KEEP RUNNING. Seriously Jen, just keep going.

Oh, hey again fam. I can't wait to finish.

The Finish: I DID IT! Give me water. Oh yea, and then I get that lovely blue box from a man in a tux. But really, I just. Want. WATER.

With an overall time of 2:14:28 I was THRILLED. I broke all of my previous PRs - mile, 5K and 10K - go me! The overall experience was amazing and I am so lucky to say I accomplished my personal goal by running in this half. Will I run another one? Perhaps, but it certainly has A LOT to live up to.

If you're thinking about signing up for your first half, this is a great one to do! The course was relatively flat and an overall great race put together by Nike.

Side note, as I write this I am incredibly sore and I hate stairs.

PS - if you're wondering, yes, I waited in a massively long line which surprisingly moved quickly, to splurge on finisher swag. I had to.

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