Race Recap: 2013 Inaugural Nike Women Half Marathon DC

Pre race, courtesy of Ashley.
Pre race, courtesy of Ashley.

This weekend was one I had been looking forward to ever since I first hear the whisperings of an expansion of the Nike Women Marathon event to include both coasts (San Francisco and now, Washington DC). I was fortunate enough to be able to register under their ‘College Program’ which meant that I was not only allowed guaranteed entry (for the general public, it’s a lottery) but a price break as well ($125 vs. $160).

After a fabulous month of racing (April 7 – Cherry Blossom 10-Miler, April 20 – Blue Ridge Half Marathon) this was the last stop on my road map! Hubs and I headed up on Saturday to packet pickup in Georgetown.

I have to admit – this was the least magical part of the weekend:

50 min wait...yikes!
50 min wait…yikes!

First off, when we got down to the waterfront area (where the Packet Pick Up and Expotique were located) it was MOBBED. Yes, the expo started Thursday – but for those of us traveling from out of town, Saturday was really the only option. We arrived a little bit before 3 PM and were misdirected toward the expotique (mistake) which we wandered around for 5 minute before I stopped to ask a volunteer where the packets were – yup, we were definitely in the wrong place.

Once we were in the RIGHT place, I could NOT believe the line – it stretched on…and on…and on. In all, we waited about 50 minutes…but the volunteers in the tent were AWESOME, so I couldn’t be perturbed for too long 😉

After a quick pitstop at Baked and Wired, we were back on the road to Northern VA to stay with my friend Allie. We had a low key evening – her awesome parents made us a great dinner and we chatted until 10-ish so we could get up bright and early for the drive in to DC.

Pre-race setup!
Pre-race setup!

Race morning, our battle plan was this: hubs would drive us into the city, he’d find a parking spot, then we’d rendezvous with him later. I had posted my completed costume online so I think I was pretty findable 😉

Costume selfie!
Costume selfie!

I had to meet up with Anna (I had picked up her packet) and then Danielle (who I’d be running with) and that went smoothly as well. Before long, we were filing into our corrals and we lined up (D, me, Ashley and her friend Rita(?)). IT WAS SO CROWDED! It was announced that Shalane Flanagan was in the front but we were so far back we didn’t see her. Oh well! The race started and we were off on the streets of DC.

Now, I have PLENTY of friends that PR’d today (BIG CONGRATS) but D, A and I were out for one thing only: SUPER FUN. We are all at different points in race training, so it was a day to just soak it all in and enjoy. The original loose goal was 8:30s to 8:45s, but we were packed in so tightly, the first few miles clicked off closer to the 9 minute mark. Not like we were worried!

Pic courtesy Andy.
Pic courtesy D’s hubs, Andy.

We chatted about all things running, random and fun through all 13.1 miles. The course was very similar to the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler, but with a few extra parts to add in that extra 5K. I know D would totally roll her eyes to hear this, but I definitely feel like the miles just clicked off in this one, especially since my Garmin was all jacked up from the tunnel and it starting about .1 miles late due to it timing out before we crossed the timing mat 😉

Final official time – 1:58:35 (apx 8:50ish pace)

A few notes on the course:

  • About halfway through the race, we stopped in real bathrooms in Hains Point. They had a line, but it was more important for us to stick together so it wasn’t a big deal.
  • I LOVED HAVING NUUN on course!
  • I also grabbed the mini Luna bars on course, but didn’t eat them, just stuffed ’em into my running short pockets. I ate one on the way back to Allie’s house afterward.
  • I DID take one Hammer gel as fuel (carried with me) and have to say: APPLE CINNAMON IS AMAZING. Thanks, Kris and Mindy for the rec.
  • There were lots of…errmm… inexperienced racers on course – read: not the best etiquette – and I definitely had elbows thrown into me, a cup of water dumped onto my foot (yay squishy shoe) but we just rolled with the punches so NBD.

Because really? This:

Tiffany blinggg.
Tiffany blinggg.

That little blue box, coupled with the memories of just running and feeling free and happy outweighed any of the other drama of the weekend. Sure, I think there’s definite room for improvement (organizationally-wise) but with it being an inaugural event, that was to be expected.

And again:

Close-up of the finisher necklace.
Close-up of the finisher necklace.

Today’s race was the PERFECT way to cap out another great month of running and racing – especially in the wake of events that have really shaken up the running community. Events like today’s showed just how strong we all can be when we stand (and RUN) together and I couldn’t be more proud to call myself a runner.

What’s been your best running memory of April 2013?