Race Recap: Nike Women’s Half Marathon DC
I had the race of my life (so far). That was my mantra for approximately 10 or so miles of the Nike Women’s Half Marathon DC this past weekend. Every sacrifice up until that point was worth it. I beat my PR from the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon last year by five minutes – which was my PR by TWENTY MINUTES last year. I beat my PR for every distance in this race other than my 5K (okay, so then just my 10K and 10 mile times). I ran a 1:52 because I wanted it so badly. This also earned me a spot in the top 10% overall. Not too shabby for a Sunday.
Alright, humble brag moment over. Let’s talk about the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in DC. It is now officially the most organized race I have ran with the best perks. (My friend Alexis commented they had the best snacks – agree.) Maybe I’m biased because I ran my PR, but the course was amazing and who doesn’t like Tiffany’s?
The expo wasn’t that much, but cool. Nike does so much cool digital/tech stuff – when you had their “app” (aka a website you sign into then add to your home screen) open when you walk in, they displayed a motivational message on the screen. They had a braid bar sponsored by Paul Mitchell and you could try all the different Nuun flavors. I actually bought Nuun to take with me to Nicaragua and really liked it, especially because it’s 8 calories.
The race started at 7 a.m. and since I was in the 8:00-8:59 pacing corral, I got to leave in the first wave. As I’ve said before in my Pittsburgh EQT 10-miler recap, it’s a very different race in the front. People are running for a PR or for a time and you’re in the same pack most of the race. You don’t have to weave in and out of people who are walking by the first half mile.
I used to have a bad habit of pacing myself off of other people but I focused on running my race. I also have another bad habit of not pushing myself on my long runs. Last weekend I decided I wanted to make my last 12 mile long run a tempo run and run 9-minute miles. My first mile was dreadful, my second mile was dreadful and I felt discouraged and stopped timing my miles. I was nervous for this race because I wanted to PR again but thought I might not have it in me.
My first mile was around 8 minutes. I told myself just to back off a bit – my goal was 8:45 miles (which I decided that morning because previously it was only sub-9). The second mile I clearly did not take my advice and ran a 7:30 which I have no business running in a half-marathon. Finally after mile three I found a good rhythm and other than a slower couple middle-end miles (typically 8-10 are my hardest, after 1-2 because I take a while to warm-up) and I was running around 8:30-8:40 consistently. I was feeling amazing. I was having fun, telling myself I felt good and enjoying the experience.
The only true rough part with my race was how fatigued my legs felt early on. I don’t think it was from not tapering enough, but rather, the glucose stores weren’t there since I don’t eat simple carbs and I really don’t eat any added sugar. I’m running the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon this weekend and while I’m not trying to race it, I think I’m going to add some honey to my oatmeal in the morning to see if that helps. I had to take a gel at mile 4. Even though I “thought” it was too early, I’m glad I listened to my body and took it. I only had two gels but they gave out Clif Blocks, which I’ve used in the past so felt comfortable eating, and that really saved me. Next race I’m going to take three gels just to be safe.
Mile 11 was the “Whole Foods Chocolate Mile” where they handed out truffles. At this point, I thought a sub 1:50 was possible (because I was doing math poorly in my head… I spend entire runs doing math in my head, does anyone else do that?) and I wasn’t about to eff with chocolate, even though I thought the sugar might have helped. I really need to take advantage of eating/drinking weird things in races because I also didn’t drink the wine during the Virgina Wine Country Half-Marathon last summer… but it was probably a good idea because I was twenty kinds of dehydrated (it was seriously my worst race ever and the hardest course I’ve ran, including high school cross-country courses).
Around mile 12 I was confident I was going to set a new PR. I almost backed off a little just because I was hurting, but then pushed through just to get it over with. All I could think about was mimosas at brunch and how excited I was to get my Tiffany’s Finishers Necklace. When I crossed the finish line, I got a little emotional (re: cried) because I beat my PR by five minutes. I already had texts from my family and friends telling me how I was killing it and how proud they were of me which made me even more emotional.
The Nike Women’s Half also had the best after-race amenities. Once you got your reusable water bottle and snack bag (full of gluten-free goodies), you were given the Tiffany’s Finishers Necklace by ROTC officers in tuxes – so fun! Then the Finisher’s Tent was amazing too – they had a “refresh station” with dry shampoo, lipgloss and wipes then an awesome “stretch/foam roll zone” with foam rollers and yoga mats that I definitely took advantage of.If you’re thinking about running a Nike Women’s Race, just do it (pun intended). Yeah it’s pricey, but you get what you pay for. Hopefully I’ll see you in San Francisco.
Chat with me:
Are you a runner? If not, would you ever run a half-marathon? What do you want to humblebrag about this week?