*Disclaimer: if you are not a runner, could care less about race reports, only look at my blog to see pictures of my son and/or dog, etc, this post WILL bore you. But please feel free to scroll through and admire my new bling and a couple pictures of G$…and like my post on facebook b/c it makes me feel special. OK, thanks. xo
On Sunday, I completed my 7th half marathon. For many reasons, this race may have entered into the category of favorite races. Let’s be honest though, it doesn’t take much to beat out sweltering and/or freezing temps in Virginia Beach, leaving your running bag in Richmond when your race is in Nashville, having a baby several weeks before your race,
simply not training, etc.
The Nike Women’s Marathon and Half Marathon is a race to benefit The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It gained its popularity in San Francisco and has become one of the biggest races to raise money for LLS. I’d be lying if I said this is what attracted me to the race. I think it’s great and I wish that I had it in me to raise money with Team in Training for LLS, but (selfishly) what really got my attention was the fact that the finishers’ medal is a Tiffany’s necklace. It even had me considering doing a marathon 7 years ago when I first started running. This was the first year Nike brought the race to DC – or anywhere other than San Fran, for that matter! It was kind of a big deal. Or at least Nike made us all think it was – and I believed them.
The race weekend started on Thursday when Graham and I went to the expotique. If there is one thing that Nike is good at, it’s marketing! Everywhere you turned in Georgetown you were met with the bright green We Run DC posters, neon running gear, and tiffany blue running shoes! The packet pick-up was really well-organized – I was in and out of there within minutes (I heard that wasn’t the case later in the weekend, but it worked for me). The expotique was great, too! There weren’t many vendors like most expos, but what was there was nice – Nuun sampling (which I LOVE), Luna bar hand-outs, a chance to get your hair done with Paul Mitchell stylists, and a “make-under” with Bare Escentuals. There were plenty of other little prizes too – and lots of loud music. It was like walking into a club. Big party.
Saturday Race Preparation: nothing says half marathon like a good glass of wine:
And you’re never really ready for a race until you’ve laid out your clothes and taken a picture:
Saturday night, Steve drove me into DC so that I could stay the night with my running buddy/teacher friend/Ragnar teammate, Michelle. Her boyfriend had agreed to waking up extra early to drive us and another running buddy to the start line (brownie points). When we arrived we were engulfed in a sea of pinks and purples, lululemon gear, running skirts, tutus, tiaras, etc. Nike was smart and had TONS of port-o-potties so the lines moved quickly. I’m not one to usually check a bag due to the hassle, but this time I didn’t have a choice and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was! Everything was just really organized – even down to our color coordinated arm bands to show which wave we were in.
Alright, blah blah blah, let’s get to the race! The crowd was pumped as we started the inaugural Nike Women’s Marathon Half DC! There was a lot of fist pumping, waving hands in the air, “woo-ing”, etc. (if anyone still reading has ever watched How I Met Your Mother, you’re probably familiar with what a “Woo Girl” is – there were a lot of them at the race!) The bands on the course were fun- my favorites were the drummers in the tunnel! So good! The spectators along the course were also awesome! Even when we headed out towards Haines Point and the spectators thinned out a bit, there were motivational signs along the way to keep you going. I even had my own little cheering squad set up a couple of places along the course. It gave me such an energy boost each time that I saw Steve and Graham and heard them (Steve) yelling, “Go, mommy, go!” Graham was excited to see his mommy running….but not excited to his mommy keep running past him.
My one complaint was that it was really crowded for the first 6 or 7 miles….lots of weaving in and out of people, shuffling your feet so you didn’t run on the heels of the person in front of you (sorry to the girl in the purple shirt who’s heel I stepped on and almost took your shoe off). I understand that with 15,000 runners, it will be crowded – but maybe to help spread us out a bit more there could be more waves. So if you’re reading, Nike…think about it!
With my bum knee I had been encouraged to start slow. With the crowding, I didn’t have a choice, so that was good. By the time I finally had some room, I was warmed up and was able to pick up the speed a bit. I managed to PR even with the old lady knee and a potty break! It wasn’t the PR that I had hoped for, but I’ll take it! Sub 2:00s, I’m coming for you!! You will be mine.
Would I “run DC” again? Probably, if I made it in the lottery. Would I be totally bummed if I didn’t make the lottery? Probably not. Would I run San Fran? Yes, but only b/c I’ve never done a race there. Nike puts on a good show. And really, what girl doesn’t want a necklace from Tiffany’s?!