Tuesday, April 30, 2013

We Run DC

If you have been following my blog for a little bit, then you know that this weekend was the Inaugural Nike Women's Half Marathon in Washington DC. You also know, that I got into the race through a random lottery, and therefore I was ecstatic to be a part of making history. Let's just start with saying how beautiful of a weekend it was, and how I could not have asked for better running weather.  Ok, now onto to the race. We went down earlier Friday than originally planned because I had signed up to volunteer at packet pickup. This was my third half marathon, and I feel that it was the most organized when it came to packet pickup. 
Yes, it had it's own tent. You walked into the tent with your race confirmation and photo ID. Your confirmation was scanned you received your race swag and your number was randomly assigned to you.There were about 50 people checking you in. There was never a long wait, and no delay with waiting to find your name, your number, yadda yadda yadda. The other volunteer were so awesome, and most of us were volunteering for the first time. I believe I checked in people from Alaska, Ontario and Nova Scotia to name a view. Everyone was so eager and excited to run the race. At the end of the tent, was your first photo opportunity
Needless to say, M was getting as excited as I was!
After the packet pick up they direct you to the Expotique. I have to admit, I didn't know what to expect, but based on previous experiences (medium sized local races) I thought I was going to be amazed. I was so totally disappointed when I wasn't amazed. It was either too small or they  just didn't control the flow of people very well. I get that it is Nike, and they don't want other vendors there who sell the same stuff as them, but they really didn't give you a lot to look around and see. They took a Nike store and transferred it to a tent. Worse than that, you couldn't buy any of the stuff there, except outside the tent they had another kiosk type tent that sold the essentials. If you wanted to buy anything, you had to go to Nike Georgetown. They did offer bra fittings, which I did experience. The ladies there were so much fun, and were so knowledgeable about the products. Unfortunately, that was the only part of the expo I experienced. They had NUUN hydration there to offer samples, but they only had 3 people working the stand. I was not going to wait in a line that long. So, needless to say, I was slightly disappointed. My husband couldn't even make a sign for race day because the lines were too long. As we were leaving the expo, there was a huge sign that they told everyone to write on if you wanted. Of course, M did...
She wanted to help me write it!
We then left the expo after like 10 minutes and because one of the Nike expo workers had told us to check out the wall at Nike Georgetown to find my name, we headed to the store. I didn't realize how many hills were in DC, but the weather was beautiful, so I didn't mind. Once we got to Nike Georgetown, we saw the writing on the wall. After I figured out how the names were arranged, it took less than 5 minutes to find this...
Now, it was really setting in. I was about to run this race that I have trained so hard for! We went into Nike Georgetown and it was like a Nike store I have never experienced. More about that later. 

Race day....the day that I have been waiting for all of these weeks. I woke up at 4:45 knowing that I was ready to do this. 
My clothes were all laid out, I was ready. I was wearing green for Lymphoma and was running this race for my friend. I wanted to make her proud. Most importantly, I wanted to have fun and enjoy the race! I had met another runner the night before and we decided we were going to meet at 545 to head to the metro. On the way down, I met another runner on the elevator and she joined us as well. We took the metro to our stop at Federal Triangle and that is when it hit me. This was happening. Here, is where I took of my sweatshirt so that I could check my baggage in. A process that I began to despise because of the logistics of it all. Anyway, I hurried to check in my baggage and rushed to my corral just before 640 when they closed the corrals. At about 620 my corral was full! My group was the largest group and they had given us the least amount of space. At 630, they had moved our corral up to allow for more people, but at 640 when the corrals closed there were still a ton of young ladies still on the sidewalk. I believe they had to wait until all the corrals ran through in order to start. Anyway, we did a moment of silence before the national anthem to honor Boston, and then some lady had an awesome voice and sang the National Anthem.
And then we were off! The excitement from the crowd even at the beginning was awesome! Everyone cheering for everyone, all the runners supporting each other! I knew it was going to be a good race! The first mile clicked by, and when I saw what my current pace was (under 10:30) I knew I had gone out to fast too soon. I tried to wheel it in, but it felt like the more I tried to wheel it in the faster I went. But, my paces stayed consistent and I was happy. I was on the path to running a 2:30 if not faster half. After mile one we went into a tunnel and I wish I would have thought to take a picture at this point. It was awesome seeing all of the runners inside a tunnel with a band and their music being deafening because of the tunnel. It kept you charged up. The more we ran the more I got lost in the scenery. The first monument I saw was the White House, and while we didn't run directly past it, you got to see how it overlooks all of DC. Then we ran past Washington and Lincoln. I also believe we ran past the National Archives. We would be running past these again. At about mile 5 we headed across a bridge onto an Island. Still LOADED with spectators and still being charged by them. At mile 6, the first race hiccup started. I got to the water station, they had NO water prefilled. I had to grab a cup and wait for a water jug to fill my cup. But, who couldn't use a little extra rest right?!? I knew that this was going to slow me down, at this point I was ok because I needed to make sure I had some left to finish. At mile 7, I had a wardrobe malfunction and my sports bra broke. I tried to safety pin it, but it kept coming undone. At mile 7.5 I got sick of it and put another on one top. (It's a long story about why I had another one and I will tell it later). At this point, my head was out of the race and I just wanted to finish in under 3 hours. I knew that my chance for PRing was now lost. The fans were still everywhere! We ran past the monuments again and headed back in the direction we came. Back through the tunnel, and back up an on ramp that I didn't realize was a hill. I was trying to tell myself to trust my training, and I was trying. It is hard to get your head back into the game when it checked itself out. I was doing some walking at this point, and I knew that it was OK. You don't have to have a pretty run all the time, but you do have to finish it and have fun. I was. I told myself to not worry about my time, to just enjoy it, that not every race has to be a great race. At mile 12, my app told me I was finished, so I turned it off.  Just in time for me to see the Capitol building...
And here is my attempt at getting a photo of me in front of the capitol...
But, I knew I was almost finished. I knew I had to finish. I was this close. It wasn't a pretty run by any means, but it was a run none the less.  At the finish line, I was greeted by this...

And all was right in the world!
I may not have PR'd, but I wasn't dealt a hand to. I enjoyed the race, and am so glad that I had the opportunity to run it.

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1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh! I can't believe your sports bra broke on the course!