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Race Recap: Nike Women’s Half Marathon, DC

Posted May 16 2013 4:03pm

If you know me and/or if you read this blog, you know that I was honored to be chosen as a mentor for my 5th season with Team in Training and decided to fund raise for the inaugural  Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington, DC . I raised the funds, and come April 26th, hopped on a plane from San Francisco and my next Adventure in Running began…

If you know me and/or if you read this blog, you also know I hate flying. Hate it. Last time I was on a plane was for the San Diego Rock n’ Roll marathon and that was just fine as it was short trip but SF to DC takes roughly 7-8 hours, one stopover included. Luckily, I attended a Bon Jovi concert the night before so equipped with one major hangover and 2 measly hours of sleep, I didn’t even have the energy to feel nervous and I think that may just be the key to flying for me!  Ha!

Thanks for a great time and hangover, Bon, baby! (Photo credit: BFF Amy)

Thanks for a great time and hangover, JBJ, baby! (Photo credit: BFF Amy)

Slept in on Saturday morning (no hubby, no kids, no schedule!) and then cabbed it to Georgetown, where the packet pick-up and expo was located. DC is a beautiful city and the weather was very reminiscent of the Bay Area- blue skies, perfectly warm and sunny, with a slight breeze. I waited in line to get my packet- unlike Nike SF where the packet pick-up is withIN the expo, here at DC it was separate so I easily got through the line, got my number, walked through the INCREDIBLY packed expotique then asked for directions to the Nike Town store and walked the 2 blocks to get there.

Nike Wall of Name Fame

Nike Wall of Name Fame

Just like SF, right outside the Nike store was the HUGE wall of the names of all the participants in the race. I love this but I also think it’s pretty hilarious to watch a large crowd of women craning their necks as far back as they will go and nearly falling over while searching and searching to find their name in 4 point font, desperately asking friends, “Do you see it, do you see it??”, and upon finding their name, getting so excited, “THERE IT IS! THERE’S MY NAME!!!” It’s cute. It’s funny. And yes, of course, I had to find my name too:

Tiny and spelled right and everything!

The Nike Store in DC is a lot smaller than SF which meant it was beyond crowded so I went right to the race schwag, settled on a long-sleeve half zip the color of a green highlighter and a NWM DC running hat and got out of there as quickly as possible.

Since I was in DC and had such a limited time, the one sight I really wanted to see was the cupcake store featured in the reality show DC Cupcakes . I mean, I really needed those pre- and post- race treats, after all! The store is actually called Georgetown Cupcake and the line to get in wrapped around the block but I made my way through, got my 4 cupcakes and moved on to see more sights and walk the day away through this great city.

I Run For Cupcakes- especially when they're FAMOUS!

I Run For Cupcakes- especially when they’re FAMOUS!

That night, as always, we have a Team in Training Inspiration dinner with all of the participants, coaches and honorees from all over the country and it is so incredibly inspiring to hear about all that we have accomplished, the money we have all raised, and the medical advancements that benefit blood cancer patients- all due to the efforts of Team in Training. All staff, before the dinner, line up and help cheer over 1,000 TNTers as they walk their way into the dining hall.  I yelled “GO TEAM!!!” and cheered happily with my teammates until my knuckle was bloody from shaking that cowbell for an hour. (Yep, I’m probably the only person in the world who could injure themselves with a cowbell.)

Left to right, team mates Kyla, JoAnn, myself (pre-cowbell injury), and the amazing Coach Al.

Left to right, team mates Kyla, JoAnn, myself, and the amazing Coach Al.

We ate dinner and listened to several speakers and then the emcee started to describe the next person to the podium- Olympic medalist, world record holder, just ran Boston… I turned to Coach Al with my eyes wide and he said, “Settle down now, Laura, hold it together.”  And the next thing I knew, Shalane Flanagan  herself was on stage SPEAKING TO US!!!!  WHA???  I got out of my chair and inched to the front of the room to get her picture but they came out horribly. My team mate JoAnn (above) and I decided to go out the side door and just wait and see if Shalane would happen to come out… we waited… we tied our shoes… we looked at pictures on the wall… la, la, la… and then, THERE SHE WAS! And I KNOW you KNOW I’m not shy:

AHHHHHH!!!!!!

AHHHHHH!!!!!!  Running Royalty!!!

Got our pictures, finished up dinner and headed back to our hotel rooms to attempt to get some good, pre-race sleep…

We met Coach Al in our hotel lobby Sunday morning at 4:45am (which was really 1:45am my time), we pow-wowed as a team then hopped on the Metro to get to the race start. We were so lucky that as TNT participants, we had our own bag check as well as our own tent to hang out in before and after the race. If only we had our own porta potties too because then MAYBE I would have decided to use one before the race. But, I didn’t. We waited in our starting corrals until the countdown commenced…

Maybe it’s just me, and it probably is, but can I get an apostrophe S here people??

Crossed the start line and felt just great!  I decided to leave my watch behind so that I could just focus on the sights around me as opposed to any time goal- I just really wanted to have fun at this race. If only I had taken the chance to pee prior, I would have run right past those porta potties at mile 2 but I didn’t so had no choice but to stop at mile 2 with about 2,000 other people who also forgot to pee and wait in line for 4 entire songs…

Enjoying The View

Enjoying The View (that chick in the pink tank looks exactly like how my bladder felt)

Like I said, I did not have my watch so I can’t tell you exactly how long I waited in this line. The 4 songs I listed to while waiting were:

I Will Survive (This Potty Line) by Cake

Evacuate the Dance Floor (Before I Pee all Over It) by Cascada

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes   You (and Your Bladder) Stronger by Kelly Clarkson

Runaway (From This Porta Potty) Baby by Bruno Mars

Now, I haven’t added up all the minutes but in reviewing my splits, I guesstimate that that potty experience lasted around 15 minutes but it didn’t really upset me, I was just happy to have the opportunity to be in DC and able to get outta the Green Box of Annoying and start running again happily and comfortably.

Passed the Washington Monument, passed the World War II Memorial, crossed the Arlington Memorial Bridge and then, at mile 5, came up on the Lincoln Memorial…

Running past the Lincoln Memorial

Running past the Lincoln Memorial

And then we ran around this large circular area and in my lack of familiarity with DC, can’t really tell you what it is or where this was but I tried my best to capture this really cool round-about- it may look like running and taking pictures at the same time is easy, but it really isn’t! There were a bunch of people cheering around the grass area, holding up GO TNT signs and yelling, “Go Team!” and I thought, “Hey, they’re talking to ME!”, smiled, and happily ran on…

Circle of Happy Nike Runners

Circle of Happy Nike Runners

Now here is where I start to get a tad confused as to where I was and what I was taking photos of. Fact is, I was LOVING this run. Everything felt great. No stomach issues, no blister issues, no chafing issues, my iPod kept picking the perfect songs and I was in such a great zone- I wasn’t really looking at the mile markers, I was just running and taking it all in- the sights, the sounds, the people, and the feeling of immense appreciation for my efforts, my team, and my family who- without their support- I would never be able to do a race as fantastic as this.

I have no idea what this is or what mile this was- I was just enjoying the moment and running my heart out!

I have no idea what this is or what mile this was- I was just enjoying the moment and running my heart out!

I gotta be honest, I was having such a great time that there isn’t too much to say about what happened as nothing really did! My body was functioning PERFECTLY! So perfectly, that I didn’t take in much water, did not eat a gel, did not even mess with my iPod as I was feeling great and didn’t want anything to jinx it.  So I just ran and ran and ran…

Less we forget what we have to look forward to...

Less we forget what we have to look forward to…

Maybe it was mile 7 or 8 or 9, I’m not really sure, but for at least a mile there both sides of the race course were filled with blood drop signs giving shout outs to Team in Training, reminding us to run strong, to run for those who can’t, to hold our honorees in our hearts- and I did. I thought about the last 5 seasons, my personal connections, my amazing coaches and teammates and it took every ounce of my willpower NOT to weep after seeing blood drop sign after blood drop sign… just told myself how blessed I am to be here and alive and willing to help fight for this cause… and on I ran…

And then, just like that, I came back to reality and saw the 10 mile marker. “Oh no!” I thought, “It’s almost over!!!!” and stopped briefly to ask a TNT coach to snap my picture:

Only 3 miles left to go! :(

Only 3 miles left to go! :(

After that I thought I should probably go slower in order to eek out all that I could from this beautiful course but I didn’t, I just found the happy place within my pace and headed toward the finish…

Past the US Capitol at mile 12

Past the US Capitol at mile 12

Around mile 12, a TNT coach (one I did not know but he knew me due to the iron-on letters spelling out my name across my singlet) looked at me as I ran by and with the MOST sincere look and tone, pointed his finger at me and said, “Laura! Thank YOU for all you do for the team- thank YOU.” And, again, I almost broke down but miraculously didn’t and ran and ran and ran past the capitol toward the tuxedo-ed gentlemen holding my little blue box…

GOTCHA!!!

GOTCHA!!!

And there you have it! It was a really fantastic race! My finish time is 2:34 which makes me laugh because that’s 4 minutes slower than  Santa Cruz , which I ran on a twisted ankle and walked a TON. During Nike DC, I felt absolutely fan-freaking-tastic and only stopped twice the whole race- darn that porta potty!!!! So, in my head, I am subtracting that 15 minutes and wearing my gorgeous new necklace with pride.

Here's the bling for doing the damn thing!

Here’s the bling for doing the damn thing!

If you are able to enter the lottery and get the chance to visit DC and run this race, you really should! I only wish I had one more day in DC to explore and sight see as there is SO MUCH to do there! I am hoping to get the chance to go back with my family some day in order to run this one again- I am a Nike (and Team in Training!) devotee! GO TEAM and THANK YOU for yet another great running adventure!

FRIENDLY REMINDER: today is the last day to enter my Mother’s Day Giveaway for a chance to win one of 3 free race entries to- another fantabulous women’s race- the See Jane Run 5K/Half Marathon for Chocolate and Champagne in Alameda on June 8th! Winners will be announce here on the blog tomorrow, Friday the 17th!


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