2014 Nike Women’s Half Marathon Race Recap
I honestly don’t know how I feel about how I did at this race. I am happy to have finished my second half marathon, but I am disappointed that all my winter training didn’t pay off with a big PR for me. However, with a bad race comes lessons learned and one of the biggest lessons I need to actually learn and act on is that during training I need to push myself more and try harder and stick to my routine more.
First though, let’s recap this amazing race, which despite my time, I had so much fun doing!
My mom came in town late Friday afternoon and we headed to Georgetown for the Nike Expotique to pick up our packets. We found parking to be easy enough for 4:30pm on a Friday in Georgetown, particularly since I came in on the lower level (K St) and went to a parking garage across from the packet pickup. It was $8, but the rate was fixed and we didn’t have to worry about anything.
Before pickup, we made a slight detour to Baked and Wired for the most amazing cupcakes ever. Seriously, hands down, the best. Get one if you are in DC. Don’t give into the Georgetown Cupcake fad, go to Baked and Wired.
We flew through pickup and had our bags and tshirts within 15 minutes and most of it was walking and my mom talking to every stranger we passed. Then we headed to the Expotique to see what that was all about while waiting for my cousin to get off work and come down to pick up her packet. Since we had plenty of time, we did the gait analysis on the treadmills, which was really cool. You talked about your running habits and then they have you try on a minimalist Nike show (flyknit…maybe?) and run on the treadmill for about a minute total. A Nike employee films you from the back and the side on an iPad and then you watch the video afterwards and with some cool computer tricks, I was able to see the angle at which I was running and how I really run.
Verdict: neutral slight heel striker. Unfortunately, I know that I overpronate a bit, but maybe not in the first minute of running.
Mom and I then went to make signs at the Luna bar station, sign our names on the Nike “Just Do It” wall, strike a pose at the End Cancer photo booth, and try some of the Nuun at their station. There was also a Paul Mitchel station where you could have your hair braided and be all fancy, which looked fun! Confession: neither of us like Nuun and we don’t want to offend anyone, but our tastebuds just do not enjoy it. I’m sorry, but give me Gatorade or Powerade any day.
My cousin ended up coming pretty late to the Expotique and not feeling well at all. She barely made it through packet pickup before she left. We found out the next day we had food poisoning.
Mom and I headed out to grab pasta at an adorable and tasty family restaurant in Old Town called Pines of Florence, not to be confused with Pines of Italy in Arlington, which my phone tried to take us too. This restaurant is also right across from the Pacers in Old Town, so we were able to pick up Gus and such for the race. I ordered calamari linguini and my mom got a pizza with mushrooms and pepperoni…and some Chianti to share.
Saturday was filled with Eastern Market shopping, seeing The Other Woman, and then watching Redbox movies while relaxing on the couch for the rest of the evening.
Sunday morning we woke up at 4:50, partly because of my paranoia, but also because my mom is late to everything. We had laid out our outfits so dressing and getting ready was relatively quick. My cousin ended up feeling much better and came to meet us at around 5:15 with her boyfriend to head to the metro. I drove like a crazy person to try to make it to the metro on time…and because I was worried my secret spot near the metro would be taken. But we were in luck and there was a large free parking spot. A two block trek to the metro and then…we waited for forever.
I had decided we would take the yellow line instead of blue because I get motion sickness so bad that I can’t be on the metro for too long, but for some reason the yellow line wasn’t running as consistently as the blue. (Sidenote: THANK YOU NIKE FOR OPENING THE METRO EARLY). But best surprise ever…the yellow line lets off at Archives about 20 feet from where the corrals begin, which was fantastic for us.
Two more bathroom breaks and we all split up for different corrals. I made small talk with people around me and got excited for the race to begin…and nervous.
I think I was in the third wave (apparently Nike didn’t do waves last year and it was crazy, so I am very appreciative of the wave start).
Shit. I have to pee again. But the bathroom lines were long, and how bad did I really need to go? I thought it was just nerves, so I sucked it up.
Am I going too fast? I was probably going too fast, but I was trying to hold back and run comfortably. I wasn’t breathing hard and my legs felt fine. I enjoyed the tunnel that we ran through with drums that seemed to reverberate throughout my body as I ran through.
This is when we hit the bridge, which I was slightly nervous about. I shouldn’t have been the bridge was easy, a slight uphill, but the wind held off and I wasn’t being pushed around.
My bladder is really starting to bother me now, but look at the lines for the bathrooms. This is where I started looking at every single bathroom line. This is also when my pace fell dramatically.
I need to pee. That’s all I could think of. That and that my goal was slipping away from me. Around mile 9 the 2:20 pace group paced me and I wanted to cry. Holding in my pee hadn’t helped me…it had probably hurt me. And the girls doing it were just talking and running so easily it made me angry. There was no reason to be mad at them, I had made my choices.
I decided here that a bathroom break wouldn’t hurt anymore. We were in Hains Point and during this part there are actually a couple of park bathrooms before the turnaround with men and women’s restrooms. So you know what I did? I thought about waiting in the women’s line for about 15 seconds before running to the men’s side and announcing myself walking in. It felt amazing to pee and I am sorry to any men I made feel uncomfortable.
I came out thinking I would feel loads better, and I did…until my stomach started cramping. Despite my margarita Shot Blocks, I wasn’t getting enough sodium in my system because the heat was zapping it right out of me. I was covered in salt.
During these miles, I was all in my head. I couldn’t believe I let the pace I was going at slip through my fingers. But I kept pushing through. Everything was hurting and my stomach hurt. There were actually a few times I felt like I was going to throw up. I was disappointed because I had done 12 mile training runs, even a 14 mile training run, but that didn’t seem to matter.
Despite the negative thoughts, I finished. I was so relieved to be done. I had completed my second half marathon and learned a lot of lessons to take into account going forward to triathlon season and my next half in November.
I don’t want to make it seem like I didn’t have a good time. I had a FANTASTIC time. The crowd support and the drum lines and DJs and the city were wonderful and I could not have asked for a better race to do so terribly in, which is why I still enjoyed myself. All of those things kept me pushing forward and kept me going.
I walked through the finish to a chilled water bottle and then goodies from Whole Foods and chocolate milk. I know some people were complaining about no bananas or bagels…but to be honest, I really loved the munchies in the bag and the chocolate milk.
Mom and I then headed home to relax, eat Chinese food, and take a shower so we could wear our beautiful and well earned Tiffany’s necklaces.
I tried out heart rate training earlier during my half marathon training, and I think that trying to keep my heart rate low and in a certain zone prevented me from being able to maintain a faster speed than I think I can during a half marathon. I don’t think I should push it really hard during a long run, but going at what feels comfortable to my body.
I also skipped a couple of long runs for various reasons and I think I need to be more vigilant about getting in certain workouts.
As always, food and eating healthy and losing weight will be important to improving my time.
For now, I am going to bask in the glory of another half done and that my longest training runs for awhile will be at most 10 miles.