It didn’t take long to make the decision to sign up for Nike’s inaugural women’s half marathon in DC. Weekend in DC, check. Flat course, check. Tiffany & Co. necklace handed to me by a firefighter at the finish line, are you kidding me? CHECK. The waiting for the weekend to arrive however, seemed to take ages. But here I am blogging about the weekend, post finish line with a bea-u-ti-ful silver necklace around my neck.
So let’s start with the good stuff. Here’s the sweet man who handed me a blue beauty of a box.
Now let’s take a few steps back, pre starting line (all puns 100% intended and accounted for).
What does one do when they hear about such a race? Sign up for it with three of your best girlfriends of course. I was joined this weekend my three of my closest college friends, the kind who live in different cities, yet still manage to find the time for trips like this (seriously, one lucky girl right here). Three of the four of us were half marathon veterans (one now training for a tri and another setting her sights on a fall marathon) and my sweet roommate who conquered her first half marathon with awesome success.
We got to the city early Friday morning, dropped off our bags and proceeded to play tourist for the remainder of the day. There are some cities where you want to try to blend in (ahem, NYC) and there are others where you feel free to flaunt your star spangled, I’m new here flag, and boy did we make our nation’s capital proud.
A few highlights for you viewing pleasure (because no one wants to read about this kind of fun).
1. A stop at the Lincoln Memorial
2. Could you ask for anything more beautiful than this weather? I also had no clue DC had so much green space, I was in love.
3. Another stop to visit the Vietnam Memorial, absolutely breathtaking and even more special as Michelle found her Grandfather’s name.
4. The White House (well the back of it). As we were admiring Bo’s backyard, we were quickly ushered off of the sidewalk. We naturally stuck around on the other side of the street waiting for something super exciting to happen (like for Michelle to make an appearance). Sadly, it turned out to be not as cool, likely a diplomat (which yes, is still pretty cool). I am glad I opted not to take thirty minutes of video footage during this time as some of my fellow tourists did. I did however take plenty of photos.
Motorcade + snipers on the roof. Check.
My “something big is happening” face.
So now that we have covered off on the tourist end of this post, back to the race part (I know this is getting long, bear with me, there are more photos to come, I promise).
On Saturday morning we headed up to Georgetown to take in more strolling and to head to race packet pickup. The line was LONG. It moved rather quickly, so that was certainly a plus. It was also along the river where there were various sporting events taking place, so that helped pass the time. After running much larger races, (cue Atlanta’s 60K Peachtree Road Race) I was a bit surprised they didn’t have this part down to a science, but we were in no rush.
Excited faces for this thing becoming real.
As fate had it, we walked into the expo just as Kate’s Tweet was appearing on the live Tweet wall…thanks for the positivity running powers.
There was also a pretty neat “Why do you run” signing wall among other interactive elements and plenty of fun stops like free makeup and hair prep (not sure you need that race day, but the pre-race pampering was pretty cool).
Finally, we LOVED the giant “We Run DC” sign just outside the Expotique. It was a bit of a race to sneak in for a photo, but of course we tackled that.
This pretty much brings us up to race day, or close enough as we spent the remainder of the day with pizza and an early bed time.
Race morning, we made our way to the starting line and I said my goodbyes to my sweet friends in our awesome #RunforBoston shirts, compliments of my talented frieds (DIY FTW), as I was planning to run in a separate start wave.
After arriving in my corral, I was blown away by the view and the red carpet. The speeches and appearances by some of running’s leading ladies were just icing on the cake. I made a new friend at the starting line (as I was planning to run alone) and ended up sharing stories for the first five miles (seriously, runners could not be a better group of people).
The no humidity, no hills thing was rather fun, living in Atlanta I can’t say I’ve EVER run in such conditions. To top it off, with various marching bands from different backgrounds along the course, the entertainment was endless and fantastic.
By mile six, I was feeling great and decided to take it easy and enjoy the day. I told myself going into the day that I wasn’t here to set a PR and try to kill myself, and I’m happy to stay I stuck to that.
I ended up finding a new buddy in the 1:50 pace group leader who was FILLED with motivation, including mile marker group chants and encouragement for all. I stuck with the group pretty much the entire back half of the race, which was great. It did cause for things to get a little bottlenecked, which reminded me of little sheep following a Shepard.
It was a little like this madness.
When we hit mile 11, I saw the capitol. Knowing we started and ended there, my brain thought “sweet, finish line”. Oh no. Not the finish line. As I saw ladies running past me in the opposite direction, I was ready to call it quits. Done, this was it, I was protesting.
This pretty much sums up miles 11-13.
But alas, that didn’t happen. I kept running, AROUND the capitol and back in the other direction At mile 13, I thanked my running motivator, to which his response was “only 400 meters to go, sprint it!” Gotta love that kind of dedication. So I did. Coming in just under 1:50, not a PR, but pretty darn close and feeling great. I could have held a conversation the entire time! Probably because of these antics I’ve been sporting lately, file it under crazy.
And waiting for me at the finish line, these beauties. Success.
Seriously, could you ask for anything prettier? I’m in love.
Oh and I’m also in love with these three.
So there you go. DC, conquered. Cheers to a great weekend, great memories and an amazing weekend. Thanks Nike, we shall see you in San Fan (fingers crossed).