Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Nike Women Half Marathon DC Race Recap

I kept putting off writing this recap because I didn't know what to say. The race didn't go well, although it wasn't a disaster, I guess. It was only 1:51 off my NYC Half time (although I was sick for that race). I just didn't know what to write. 

Then I had coffee with Carrie this morning (well, coffee and hot chocolate because City Bakery has the best hot chocolate in the city). We have something really fun to share that we'll be posting about tomorrow -- stay tuned! -- but in the midst of our brainstorming, I mentioned that I didn't know how to recap this race.

Carrie said I shouldn't try to detail the race itself, since I'd already written about my feelings during the race on Monday, and instead just talk about the weekend and how the Nike race experience was. So, thank you, Carrie! I now have a direction for this recap :) 

First, I'm going to share my splits, because they honestly tell the whole story. Given my fabulous run two weeks ago, starting out at the speed I did didn't feel like going out crazy fast, but as I mentioned, both my body and mind just gave out partway through. I'm sure you will see that based on my splits!

Mile 1 - 8:46
Mile 2 - 8:50
Mile 3 - 9:07
Mile 4 - 8:57
Mile 5 - 9:09
Mile 6 - 9:20
Mile 7 - 9:13
Mile 8 - 9:30
Mile 9 - 9:20
Mile 10 - 9:48
Mile 11 - 8:35 (??? I think this was because of the tunnel)
Mile 12 - 10:14
Mile 13 - 8:56 (AKA I just want to be done, end this torture please)
Mile .25 - 8:21

Story told, right? Okay, let's move on to the expo and the post-race festivities.

The Expo(tique)
I drove down to the race with Lynette (who ran her first half-marathon!) and Julianne, and Lynette and I split a hotel room at the Dupont Circle Hotel. While the complimentary wifi was terrible, the hotel was quite nice and I'd recommend it to those traveling to DC if you don't need wifi. 

So... yes, Nike called their expo an "expotique." However, you couldn't buy Nike gear there and had to walk 1/4 mile up a hill to the Nike store in Georgetown for gear. I wouldn't have minded this if we hadn't also had to wait in line for 30 minutes to pick up our bib (and I heard others waited as long as 50 minutes). It was a hot day and being on our feet that much wasn't ideal. 

The line to pick up bibs in one direction. The red building was where the bib pick-up tent was.

I also did not love the fact that the expo was so "girly." Don't get me wrong, I love a good blowout or makeover, but the bulk of the tent was devoted to Nike products that you couldn't purchase there, bareMinerals makeovers, Luna Bar with fiber bar samples (runners, back me up, extra fiber is not what you want right before a race!!), and Paul Mitchell quick hair-dos. There was a nuun stand that was gorgeous, but the line was very long. The entire tent was dark, warm, and quite crowded, so Lynette and I got out of there pretty quickly.

In order to get actual running items, like shot bloks or gels, you had to exit the tent and go to a small stand behind the expo. It was the only place selling actual race necessities like fuel or body glide, and we snagged the last body glide around 2:00 PM.

I've read some other reviews by people who loved the expotique, and I think if you went on a day other than Saturday it would have been a better experience. I just wish Nike hadn't placed the emphasis on the pretty aspects of women's racing and instead had included more running-oriented booths. 

Shakeout run smiles by the White House. Sadly the Obamas did not invite us in.

Lynette and I grabbed a late lunch / early dinner at Pizzeria Paradiso, which was delicious, and checked out the Nike store, which was a madhouse. Then we headed to our hotel, ran 1.9 miles to shake out our legs, and finished up our day foam rolling and laying out our race outfits. 

Oiselle winona top, Oiselle stride shorts, Brooks Adrenaline GTS shoes,  pink Sparkly Soul headband, and pink Pro Compression marathon socks 

I really enjoyed wearing this outfit, and at some point I'm going to write a post about the body image triumph that wearing the stride shorts was. 

At 4:45 AM, we woke up, I did some yoga, we each ate half a bagel with peanut butter and half a banana, then headed to the start line. We arrived around 6:30 AM and found things to be a bit crazy, but bag drop was quick and I was soon in my corral and ready to go. I even got to meet Krissy in real life, looking adorable in her Breakfast at Tiffany's costume! I saw her again on the course with Ashley, although I sadly couldn't keep up with them since that was during those nasty lead-leg miles.

Shalene Flanagan ran the race, so they introduced her at the beginning, which was amazing. I also saw her pass on the bridge turnaround -- seeing Shalene in action was so cool!! I love her and Kara Goucher. 

Blah blah blah, the race experience wasn't great for me. I will say, though, that there was amazing crowd support almost the whole way. I'm not used to 75% of a course having people cheering along it! That was really cool. 

It's funny, though -- it spoke to the fact that I think a lot of those cheering were new to the whole cheering game. They were standing there, some holding signs, but not always making noise! I think the announcer said that about 6,000 of the 15,000 runners were running their first half-marathon, so it would make sense why their supporters might not be experienced "cheer-ers."

As soon as I crossed the finish line, all I wanted was water. I grabbed two water bottles, picked up my Tiffany's necklace, and took the customary photo with the tuxedoed man handing out necklaces. Thanks, dude with red sunglasses! 

Apparently there was a stretching booth and a finishers' boutique, but I didn't check either out. I was exhausted and feeling sick (was it the heat? unclear...) and just wanted to pick up my sweatshirt and find Lynette.

Funny story -- her phone broke so we couldn't communicate! I texted her, getting worried that something had happened despite having seen her cross the finish line, and eventually headed back to the hotel since I couldn't find her. Thankfully, she found her way back to our hotel!

Overall, the weekend was fabulous. The race didn't go as I'd hoped, but I had so much fun. Traveling for a race with friends is awesome because even if you don't have a great race, you still get a great weekend away out of it.

Have you traveled for a race before? What's your favorite kind of girls' weekend?


  1. Beth @RxBethOnTheRunMay 1, 2013 at 8:06 PM

    I'm so proud of you! I know how much sub-2 meant to you this season and you knew to be smart and throw in the towel and recognize that your body needed the rest. That sub-2 is 100% yours come fall; I just feel it! You should be proud of yourself! You have become such a smart, strong and determined runner. Here's to an incredible fall racing season!

  2. Hey, that's me! I definitely would've taken issue with the "Expo(tique)" and the super-girly everything. I minored in Women's Studies in college, and for one of my final projects, I did a rhetorical analysis of a non-profit running group designed for young girls that's notorious for using only pink and girl power messages. Basically, the underlying idea of creating a girl-friendly atmosphere is great, but I have a huge problem with corporations co-opting these messages and making a profit off of them--which sort of sounds like the Expotique.

    Anyway, back to running. ;) You're so close to going sub-2, and there's no doubt in my mind it's a matter of "when," not "if." Once you rest and totally recover from your super-long training season (I *still* can't believe you've been going since August!), you'll be able to attack those workouts and execute on race day.

  3. Ughhh. Pink is nice but that would have just made me sick. It can be girly AND functional guys! I'm sorry again for the crap race Jen, I have the tendency to burn myself out too. Something about wanting to run a race every weekend is great when you sign up... But it gets old real quick.

  4. So sorry the race didn't pan out as you wanted. Confident you have sub 2 there - rest up take some time off and regroup and refocus. The mental burn out is killer.

    I love traveling to races! I've headed down to Miami twice in the past 6 months to do so...but then do shorter traveling as well.

  5. Bummed you didn't have the best race, but so glad I did get to meet you and run with you for a bit :) Cannot wait for your stride shorts post because your outfit was awesome!!

  6. Looks like you had an awesome race, nice work Jen!