This was my second Nike Women’s Half Marathon. The first one I ran was in San Francisco back in 2009. It was also my first distance race ever. When I heard that they were adding a new location this year I was excited to enter the lottery and kept my fingers crossed I’d get the chance to run it. I was lucky enough to get a spot and have been looking forward to this race ever since.
I stayed with a friend that lived about an hour (by metro) outside of DC. Race morning was a very early start to ensure we’d get there on time.
As soon as we got to the race we tried to get in line for the port-a-potties, but the lines were way too long. With only 30-ish minutes to spare we decided to make a run for the Marriott. I got back with just enough time to run to baggage check and get in my corral.
There was a moment of silence for Boston and both Shalane Flanagan and Joan Benoit Samuelson said a few words. They ran this race in matching Boston shirts. It was touching.
A few more words from the announcer and we were off.
The weather was perfect. A little bit cool but it warmed up, very quickly. The course looped through most of the major monuments around DC.
I decided my strategy for this race would be to find a pace that felt comfortable and try to hang on, hoping it would be somewhere around 9:00-9:15.
I settled into a 9:20-ish pace for the first few miles and decided to just go with it. I wanted to enjoy the course, the city, and the energy of this race.
5k Split- 29:13
There was a ton of unique entertainment on this course. All types of bands and music popped up throughout. Since I rarely run with headphones I appreciated the pick-me-up I got from each one.
The temperature was starting to warm up and the lack of humidity was giving me really bad dry mouth. Something I haven’t experienced during a race before. The water stations seemed to be spaced a little over a mile apart and I got water at most of them.
10K Split- 57:56
One things that made this race so special was the spectators. I’ve heard stories about how incredible the support along the course is for other DC races. I was glad I was getting to see firsthand just how supportive this city really is.
The best was the signs. Oh, the signs. People are so darn creative. One of my favorites was a guy in a Darth Vader costume holding a sign that read “May the course be with you”. There were tons of other funny ones too…“Hope that Imodium worked”, seriously – the spectators rocked.
Just passed the 10K split I stopped for the bathroom. There were real bathrooms along this part of the course and I decided I’d better stop now. Since I didn’t really have any specific time goals I decided being comfortable for the rest of the race would be a better idea. It totally was.
15K Split – 1:27:55
We continued to loop around the monuments and I continued to take in the city. When I checked my Garmin I noticed my pace had slowed a bit. I didn’t feel like I was bonking, but I was slowing down. I didn’t really pay too much attention to it. I was enjoying the course and that was all that mattered. If my legs wanted to slow down a bit, I was going to let them.
During this time I also realized that my Garmin was a full half-mile ahead of the course markers. I’d reached the mile 10 marker and my watch was reading 10.5. There are a lot of tunnels on this course so I guess during the time that I lost satellite signal I’d thrown off my GPS.
20K Split – 2:00:13
The last two miles wrapped around the Capitol Building and back toward the finish line. As with most races, this part seemed to drag on forever. I don’t know what it is about that last mile of a race that makes it feel so much longer than the 12 before it.
Crossing the finish line of this race was like something out of every girls dream. There was a red carpet with men waiting in tuxedos. Each of them carrying silver trays full of little blue Tiffany’s boxes.
Seriously Nike, well played.
Shortly after I finished I was able to catch up with a few friends who had also run the race.
This is one of my favorite parts of any race. Hearing everyone’s experience with the same 13.1 miles you just ran.
Everyone I spoke to had enjoyed the race. It was a beautiful day in an incredible city, what’s not to love?
Thank you so much Nike Women’s Race Series for putting on an incredible event.