Thursday, August 15, 2013

NWM Half DC recap

In April, I ran my 5th half marathon - the Nike Women's Half in Washington, DC.  Here is my long overdue recap!

M and I drove up to DC on Friday night and headed to the "Expotique" on Saturday morning.  I feel a little bad saying it, but my reaction to the expotique was "ugh."  First, it was on the water in Georgetown - highly inconvenient to get to.  Second, the expo seemed to be geared towards girls who happened to be running, not runners who were majority female.  The booths seemed to mostly have hair and makeup stuff - not running stuff!  And, because it was a Nike race, there wasn't really any running gear - just signs directing you towards the Nike store a few blocks away.  I guess this just demonstrates that I am not a huge fan of "women's races."
Saturday was a busy day. We had the puppy with us, and lots of people to go see.  Also, Isis has some difficulty sleeping in new places, so we really didn't sleep much on Friday night.  We did manage to carb load a decent amount with Sabrina and Mike, who we stayed with on Saturday night.  Saturday, Isis was even WORSE about sleeping, despite having a full afternoon of playing with her new friends, Titus and Frankie (Sabrina and Mike's dogs).  Thanks to the puppy, I probably slept less than 5 hours pre-race.  Ugh.
Isis wants to play, Titus wants to sleep
Frankis is slightly more willing to play with Isis
Morning of
Despite being extremely tired, we made it into the city in plenty of time.  The setup was great: the bathrooms and pre race hydration (water and Nuun) was available right when we got off the metro, which was only about 1/2 a block from the corrals.  We got a pre-race ADPi photo, which I was super excited about, and then warmed up with some jogging and stretching.  When it got closer to start time, we tried to head into the corral... but it was full!  What the heck?  There were easily over 100 people standing at the corral entrance unable to get in.  So, we basically had to stand on the sidewalk and wait for everyone in front of us to start before we snuck in the back of the corral.
Pre-Race ADPi Photo!
With 3 Duke ADPis I advise!
And we're off!
Given how crowded the corral was, you can imagine that the first mile was crowded - but not so terrible. Shortly into mile 1, we headed into the E Street tunnel.  In theory, it was kind of fun that we ran through the tunnel... but in practice, it. was. AWFUL.  It was so hot and sweaty and disgusting - packed with thousands of runners - I literally felt nauseous while I was in there.  On top of that, there were two musical groups playing drums, which echoed like CRAZY in the tunnel.  I'm sure plenty of people thought that was a cool effect, but it just made the hot sweaty mess even worse for me.
Despite jogging to warm up and attempting to stretch, my calves felt tight almost immediately.  Then, by 1.5 miles in, my RIGHT anterior tib started hurting.  SERIOUSLY?  Because, people, it was my LEFT anterior tib that was injured, and that I had been rehabbing for about a month.  AND NOW MY LEFT HURTS? Damn.  Knowing it would probably just hurt worse and worse until I stopped to walk, I took the first water break as my cue to walk/stretch, and Marissa said goodbye.
No idea how I managed to smile for the camera all morning.
During miles 2 and 3 I tried to walk and stretch a lot to ease the injury.  Honestly, though, I was just pissed. I had a GREAT last long run the week before, completing 8 miles at a pretty good pace, with no pain!  It seemed totally unfair that this was happening to me.
Luckily, somewhere around mile 4 or 5 the pain started fading and I was able to get some decent miles in.  I don't have much to comment about on the actual race for the first 5 miles.  The first 10 miles are nearly identical to the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, and I love that course... so no complaints there.  One thing I didn't like: they had Nuun and water instead of Gatorade at the aid stations.  I know Nuun is great for you, but it's kind of fizzy and does not sit well with my stomach DURING runs.  So I had to stick to water, but that also meant I was taking in significantly fewer calories than I usually would during a race.
Somewhere around mile 7 or 8, the bottoms of my feet started hurting... kind of like they do after a full day of walking.  You know when your feet are really wrinkly from being in the pool for too long?  And then it kind of hurts to walk on them?  That's exactly how I felt.  Which made me think - are my feet sweating so much that my socks are soaking wet?  Gross.  Also, I'm wearing Brooks socks that I thought were made for running, so why is this happening to me?  SIGH.  The only thing that helped me push through was that  the bottoms of my feet hurt equally running and walking... so I figured, might as well run and get it over with sooner, right?
Sabrina's husband is a fantastic photographer
It was also around the 8 mile mark that we ran around Hains Point.  Hains Point is nice and flat, but also a spectator deadzone, so it can get pretty boring during a race.  To compensate, Nike decided to have a bunch of "encouraging" signs.  Although I'm sure many participants loved the signs, and some of them were fine, I was not a fan.  Now, I was already pissed about my feet hurting and my bad time at this point, so I think I was primed to spin down into a hate spiral.  But one of the signs said "Run faster than your mascara." Not a fan.
Although I was totally prepared for having 3ish miles to go after Hains Point, it still hit me hard when I got to the end of it.  The Cherry Blossom 10 Miler ends about 1/4-1/2 mile after Hains Point so I FELT like I should be almsot done.  But I wasn't.  Womp. Womp.  I was really struggling with my hate spiral, when somewhere around mile 10 I spotted one of my sorority sisters Justine!  Justine is a few years younger than me and was there supporting one of the girls from her class, but had been watching for other ADPis.  It was SO great to see her - she actually jogged with me for 5ish minutes before turning back to watch for other sisters.  RACE SPECTATORS: BEST IDEA EVER.  Having someone jog with me for a few minutes to help my morale was amazing.
Excited to see my cheering contingent
The last few miles were pretty - we ran down Pennsylvania and right by the Capital building.  I was really trying to push myself to finish in under 2:20, but it was too late.  I think I finished in 2:22, but I honestly didn't care how bad my time was.... at least I finished!  I crossed the finish line and got my Tiffany necklace and finisher's shirt.
Let's be real, this is the REAL reason I kept going.
Post Race
I knew so many people who ran this race, so we had a pretty big post-race meet-up party.
fake cousin Katie, Sabrina, Marissa, Kimmy, and I - all finished!
I also had quite the cheering crowd - Karilee was with Scott and his mom.
MIL and husband, #1 fans of my running 
Diamond Sister love - Karilee cheered for us both!
My uncle and dad actually came too, but they mistimed their travels and only made it to the post-race meeting area to see me afterwards.  It still was awesome that they came though, and I am so grateful for all of the support!
My dad and I!
Overall, the course was relatively flat, which was a plus.  The entry fee was pricy, but I love my necklace.  I learned that I probably want to avoid "women's races" in the future.  I think of myself as a runner and a woman - and the race felt very much geared towards girls who happened to run.
Showered, in matching finishers shirts & Tiffany necklace's.  BBQ Time.
Also, after this race, I knew I had to take some extended time off running to really rest and rehab.  Back to physical therapy I went... but I'll save that for another post.

1 comment:

  1. Sara, was glad to hear your perspective on this race. I would NEVER run it again. I thought I was in the minority for people disliking it though. I HATED the tunnel. It was too loud, and was a total bottleneck. I also was so frustrated with the corral situation at the start. Also, this was my first "big" race, other than doing Cherry Blossom once a few years ago, and I'm sure this is pretty standard and there isn't much they can do about it, but it really peeved me that so many people who were walking within the first 1/4 mile were in the 10-11 minute pace corral. I saw a girl who had a walking boot on her foot in front of me...seriously? Kudos to her for still completing the race, but I really don't think she had a chance to do it at 10 minute miles.