I traveled. I ran. I PRed at the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in DC.
Saturday morning I got up and hopped on a bus with my sister and Katherine and set off for DC. I was so excited for this race because my last two half marathons were plagued with injury, but for the most part I had no major concerns. Finally I could run healthy.
We arrived in DC with perfect sunny weather and headed to the expo in Georgetown, a little town that I absolutely fell in love with and want to go back someday to explore more! Packet pickup was near the Georgetown waterfront which was great, but the line was insane when we got there. Hundreds of women were standing waiting to get into a small tent. The crowd control definitely needed some work, but I’m giving them some credit since its the inaugural DC race.
Anyway, eventually we got our packets and headed to the expo. Same overcrowding issue there too. We didn’t stay very long inside because there were so so many people but scored some luna bars and cute Nike bracelets for using Nike apps. They also had an area where you could get your makeup done and get a bra fitting, too but again the lines were too long. I did like the atmosphere at the expo though, it was exciting with good music!
Official Nike race gear was being sold at Nike Georgetown up the street from the expo, so that was the next stop. When we got there, we saw that every runners name was on the wall outside! So cute!
After all the excitement of the expo, we relaxed at our hotel, got a quick dinner at an Italian place in DC, laid out our clothes/gear and headed to sleep early(ish). The beds were so comfortable I didn’t know if I would even get up for the race! The three of us had a great time laughing and exploring a little bit that day, but I couldn’t wait for the morning.
I did get up for the race Race morning was pretty painless since our hotel was relatively close to the start line, so we got dressed (I sported blue/yellow for Boston), walked over quickly and stretched out (with extra focus on stretching the IT Band and plantar fascia). The excitement in the air was amazing! Music was blasting, women in neon clothing were smiling and laughing, and they were giving out Nuun everywhere you looked.
In general, people seemed to be relatively near their assigned corrals but the system wasn’t enforced too strictly so we all sort of bunched up in the corrals right before they blew the horn. After a moment of silence for Boston and a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem, we were off! At the start of the race the road we ran towards the Capital building was super wide, which reduced the usual bottlenecking pretty well (although there was some that couldn’t be avoided).
The course itself was great: super flat with great scenery. It ended up being sort of a series of out-and-backs, but didn’t feel monotonous at all. In fact, I absolutely loved the course route. We got to run near or past the Jefferson Memorial, Washington Monument, Capital building, Lincoln Memorial, Kennedy Center, and Arlington Cemetery! Like I said, the scenery was amazing.
The on-course support was great too. I loved that there were a ton of Nuun and water stations and Clif bloks, although I wish they gave out the bloks later on since I ended up carrying mine for a bit. The bands and live music all throughout the course were super fun and kept everyone smiling. I actually think the bands and music were my favorite part of the whole race!
I ran the first 6.5 miles or so with Katherine (my sister had already sped off in front beforehand), and we had a great time chatting, enjoying the course, and taking photos while running. Eventually though separated and I finished off the end of the race alone. I ended up picking up my pace around the half way mark since my legs were feeling strong. I guess having pretty much no hills to run up really makes a difference!
Somewhere around mile 11-12, as we came out of the tunnel and headed towards the Capital, I realized I was capable of beating my previous PR at the NYC Half (2:06). I didn’t plan on a PR, but decided to go for it since I was so close. At this point it was the awesome and huge crowds that got me through! I thought “I can’t stop and walk when all these people are watching, that would be embarrassing” so I kept pushing even though it was getting harder.
The homestretch away from the Capital seemed like forever by that point, but the closer I got the more I realized I was definitely going to PR. And I did!
Final finish time: 2:03.21. A new Half PR!
Katherine and my sister did great too. My sister even ran a sub-2 that day, and it was her very first half marathon ever! I am so so proud of her for such an amazing accomplishment. And Katherine ran an awesome race too despite injuries that plagued race day and her training. I have amazing friends
After the race we picked up our beautiful Tiffany’s necklaces (which I still can’t take off) from men in tuxedo, got some food, and picked up our finisher dri-fit tees. The finisher expo line was, again, insanely long so we skipped out on that. But we had a great time at the race finish celebrating and talking about the race.
Afterwards we walked back to our hotel and still had time to put on our lovely robes and use the whirlpool and steam room before check out. I love early morning races! My muscles for the most part feel great now so I credit the post-race pampering to my recovery since I totally forgot to eat any protein until a few hours later.
Overall, this race was a fantastic experience. There were some issues throughout with crowd control which I hope Nike addresses in later races, but the course was fantastic which is the most important part. I would definitely recommend this race and am so happy to celebrate my new half PR!
Also, don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a Bestowed box! Ends tonight.
Did you run the Nike Half? How did you do? What did you think?
What did you do this weekend? Run any races?