Sunday was the inaugural Nike Women’s Half Marathon DC!
But I’ll back up a bit…
My sister-in-law and I are working with Team in Training to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We walked in two events this season and raised more than $4000! We are still raising so if you are interested in donating or learning more about how to run for a cause on your own, just leave a comment below!
Back to this weekend. TNT booked us for one night at the Omni Shoreham in DC. We had the option to pay and say additional nights, but Heidi and I decided not to. We also had the option to each have our own rooms (pay extra), but seriously…what’s the point. We are sisters-in-law so its not a problem at all to share a room.
We woke up bright and early Saturday morning. I picked up Heidi around 745 and then picked up two other car-poolers before making our way down to DC. The trip went really well, except for the end where it took about an hour to go 5 the last five miles due to a bridge closure and detour (womp womp…)
We got to our hotel around 11a and checked in. Our room wasn’t ready yet so we left our bags in my car and went to the expo. Whoa…seriously Nike, this could be improved. The location, the set up, the organization…all were just not up to par with other events, especially other Nike events. Since it was the first one, I find it very easy to cut them some slack, but they seriously need to take the constructive criticism to heart for next year.
Anyway…after fighting our way through the expo crowds we walked up the hill to Nike Georgetown to pick up some race insignia gear. Wow! Crowded! But we got some good stuff.
Next up was the TNT Inspiration dinner. This was my third TNT event dinner and definitely the worst. The Food wasn’t very good (was cold). There was no protein, only carbs and the organization just seemed off. Very un-TNT like. But again, maybe next year will be better. Also, 4p…too early for dinner.
Speakers were good and we were very inspired by the top fundraiser who raised more than $53,000 on her own. Her husband passed away a few years ago from a form of blood cancer and she vowed if she raised more than $50k she would shave her head…and she did.
After dinner we headed back to the hotel and dropped our bags in our rooms. We had a chapter meeting at 7p where we got all our last minute details and pointers. Then Heidi and I headed off to get some ice cream with our new TNT friend, Stephanie (told you 4p was too early for dinner).
We zonked out pretty early after some quick showers.
I slept miserably (always do when I’m away from home) so the 4a wake up call was not welcomed. I quickly showered and got Heidi up. We headed out of our room and were down in the lobby by 5a for our meet-up and team picture. 50+ strong representing Central PA! Go Team!
The race started at 7a and we crossed the start line approx 4 mins later. We were in the 12-14 min pace group so 4 mins isn’t so bad. I heard a bunch of ppl had trouble getting into their correct corral because they closed them early so ppl were pushed to the last corral.
The course was beautiful and I have to give mad props to TNT for the awesome representation of coaches along the course.
I started out strong, but lost Heidi and Stephanie way too early (around mile one). It was just a very congested race almost the entire length. Not so bad you were stepping on ppl, but def wasn’t alone like I have been in other races. I caught up with another TNTer around mile one and mentioned I was trying to hold up for Heidi and Stephanie, but she said with the congestion of the course, I was better off just going for it and pushing forward, so I did (so hard to convince me, haha). I kept up a walk/run, but was impressed by my ability to run for quite awhile. Although I’m slow, the running form is much easier on me.
There are several areas along the course where you do an out and back and have the opportunity to see runners in front and in back of you depending on which side your own. I normally don’t like this, but with so many Central PA folk and having been separated from Heidi it was actually nice to see people I knew and wave hello.
I was holding strong until somewhere around mile 10 when my foot started hurting. I have been having problems with my foot for several months but, like usual, had been trying to ignore it or just stretch and ice. By mile 10.5 my foot was aching and I was forced to do a bit more walking than running. By mile 11.5 I was doing a little hobble walking thing because my knee and hip started aching. That’s when I ran into Coach Larry who insisted I stop and stretch my IT band. …I didn’t want to stop, but I listened. I ended up stopping and stretching 2 more times before the end of the race. Seriously…mile 12.9 the road was COVERED with sand like someone had puked or several someones had puked. Other runners just plowed through, but I side stepped to avoid it (no puke on my shoes!). From about 12.8 on, the finish line seemed to get further and further away. I finally rolled into the finish and crossed the line with my best time EVER!
Okay, I know… I’m a slow-poke. I should probably actually get my butt up and train and I wouldn’t hit walls or have foot/leg pain during the race. I would also probably be considerably faster. But seriously, my Princess time was 3:33 and change. My Nike time in San Fran was somewhere around 3:45. My time for this race was 3:13 and change. 20 mins!! in just 8 weeks with very little training. I’m proud my body can do that. And now that I know it can, I want to do it even faster. I have some goals in mind for my next half in September, but I’m keeping them hush hush for now.
Overall, I was pretty happy with the race. The course was nice, volunteers were awesome and the info is easy to find. I especially like the Tiffany Necklace handed to you at the finish line. Oy…the little blue box makes you feel instantly better, haha.
We hung around a bit and caught up with my dear cousin Jess and her mom and also my dear friend Jess. Heidi’s feet were aching and icky with blister so she stopped at the medical tent before we headed back to the hotel. We hurried up and got showers and then hopped back in the car for the ride home.
Seriously took us an hour to get out of the city. And then a bunch of traffic slowed us even more. We ended up stopping in Maryland for some lunch/dinner at a Panera and then headed the rest of the way home.
Overall a pretty nice weekend, but I’m wiped!
Here are my pros and cons for this race.
Here are my overall gripes:
Too long of a line for packet pick-up
Packet Pick-up organization seemed off (going in diff directions, not pre-assigned bib numbers)
Expo had nothing useful to runners
Expo tent was too small for the race size
Expo and Nike store were too far apart.
Expo and Nike store were too far from metro stop (about a mile…)
Not enough port-o-potties along the race course.
Could have used some more volunteers to help fill cups at the water stations (I approached several with no filled cups and runners filling their own).
Didn’t like the Nuun drink being the only electrolyte option.
Finish area was too small so it was very crowded.
I like when races have ice easily accessible and you don’t have to go to the medical tent to get it. So many runners need/want ice and don’t really need medical attention or want to get in the way of the people who have serious issues.
TNT inspiration dinner needs some serious improvement.
Would like runners to be able to pre-register for limited edition items like the Tiffany blue sneakers..
AND no photogs along the course or at the finish line was a MAJOR bummer. I think this may have had something to do with safety after the Boston bombing, but had I known I would have made arrangements for DH or my brother to come down to see us along the course and take some photos.
Positives (b/c I like to end on a high note):
Race course was gorgeous!
Nike gear was awesome! Colors were super bright and the designs were goregous
The necklace design is beautiful! I will wear it a lot!
Great support along the course.
Awesome signage along the course (both Nike and spectator made)
Great entertainment (lots of drums!)
TNT did an awesome job with the on-course support.
Finish line area was much improved from my last nike race (where i didn’t get any food because the teenage volunteers were too busy chatting and texting to notice I had finished and was standing there.
Funniest part of the weekend: seeing a homeless guy try and steal luna bars before the race started. I felt bad for the guy, but it was seriously funny to see him try to negotiate with the volunteers. How’d he even get into the corral?
Alright…here’s some pics!