Monday, April 28, 2014

Race Review: Nike Women's Half Marathon - April 2014

Yes, I know the title says April and we're in June...don't judge me! :P
Random fact...did you know that my race/fitness related posts are some of the most read posts on my blog? I think it's kind of funny because I am by no means a fitness guru, but if you like reading about my attempts at fitness grandeur I'll keep writing about it ;)
The Nike Women's Half Marathon is one of those races you sign up for (months in advance via lottery), then it sneaks up on you when the race day finally arrives. I know I always say that, but I seriously think it's true in this case. It doesn't seem too long ago that I ran the first Nike Women's Half in DC last year. Anyway, this time around I was able to recruit my sisters and two of my friends to join in on the fun.
Although they had early packet pick-up at several suburban running stores, my sisters and I opted to go to the official expo at the Georgetown Waterfront (same as last year). And you know, it was glitzier than ever.
They had a lot of lcool signs like the one my sister's standing next to in this picture below.
They even had a light up map of the course, which was similar to last year's (with a few differences!). Instead, of tackling the U.S. Capitol at the end, it was one of the first stops of the race.

Of course the expo was crowded, but that is to be expected since we came on the last day (during the last hours too)! They had Nike outfit displays, as well as Luna Bar and Nuun tasting stations. They even had a booth where you could get your running supplies (e.g.: GU gels, hydration belts, etc.).

Can you believe we had to wait in line to take this picture? I guess it was better off because there was someone taking it for us and there were no other people blocking our shot.

Here is the wall outside of the Nike Georgetown store with the names of all the runners. It is always fun to find your name on the wall, but this time we just opted to drive by.

The morning of race day Judy and Jill decided to snack on some of the volunteers' food, LOL! I didn't actually take any pictures during the race, it's really not my style (AKA: I'm too busy huffing and puffing I can't focus!) but I can tell you about it!
First of all it was really organized! Although they didn't have multi-wave starts, they did have somewhat of a staggered start so everyone wasn't stampeding all at once. Of course, it got a bit crowded around Hains Point but that is to be expected with the number of runners and the narrow streets. I had to go to the bathroom within the first two miles *wah, wah* so that definitely slowed me down. Not like I was expecting to PR, but still...
There was plenty of crowd support and entertainment along the way. My favorites were the Chinese dragon dancers and the all-female drum band, Batala. There were plenty of snack stations along the way providing Luna Bars, Clif Bloks and even chocolate! I couldn't even think of eating anything while running so I squirreled away all my snacks in my hydration belt.
Speaking of hydration, water and Nuun hydration beverages were available at nearly every mile! You didn't have go very far to get a drink.
But of course the Tiffany's necklace is what makes it worth it in the end! Me and the famous box! 

I have to admit I wasn't as prepared for this race as I should have been. I did train as hard as I should have. I was thinking that this was going to be my last long distance race. But...with my terrible finish time, I feel like I need some redemption. I can't let my running "career" end on low note, can I? I think I might enter the lottery for the Nike Women's next year and if I don't get in maybe run the Marine Corp. Historic Half since they are around the same time.
After the race, the runners, our significant others and our supporters went out for brunch at Medium Rare on Capitol Hill. The tasty food and bottomless drinks were the perfect finish!

Team (minus Meaghan who was there in spirit!)

I really loved running this race. I really liked how they were able to keep it super organized despite the large number of participants. They utilized technology by personalizing video screens with your name and words of encouragement as your ran by. I liked all the hydration, snack, and entertainment stations along the course. The actual course can't be beat either! Since it is relatively flat I'm sure a lot of people were able to PR (not me this time). One thing that I didn't like was the shirt. Although, it was dri-fit, it didn't say "finisher" and only had one screen print color (white). One small negative, in an overall terrific race.

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