Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Race Recap: Nike Women's Half Marathon DC

You probably know that I love the Nike Women's Running Series races.  This was my second Nike Women's Half Marathon DC.  I have also run the Nike Women's San Fran as well. 
Setting: Washington, D.C.
Expo: The Expo-tique was great but slightly less involved than last year.  This year still had a hair station by Paul Mitchell (yeah for a free hair style) but no free make overs like at last DC and at SF.  I definitely missed that.  I love having someone else do my make up.  They had the Nuun Hydration tasting station, Nuun Hydration commemorative water bottles (totally bought one to add to my collection!), Luna Bar tasting and free sign making, the giant wall to sign, gait analysis, etc.  it wasn't as fun or set up as well as last years expo though.

The Name Wall at the Nike Flagship store a few blocks from the Expo-tique. 

Having fun at the Nike Flagship store!

I was so bummed to get there on Friday night of the expo though, only to find out that they were sold out of the limited edition Nike Lunarglides for the DC race.  Bummed. 

Having fun after dark at the expo.  This year, they moved the sign away from the waterfront, so though you can't see it while driving in from under the Kennedy Center anymore, it does make a really cool background shot with the buildings behind it.  It's fun to take pictures of it at night because it glows and also there is no line! 

This year they changed it up with the shirt and you received it at packet pickup.  Last year, you received it at the finish line.  I tried it on Saturday morning just to make sure since they would be doing size exchange on Sat night.  Fit like a glove! 
So many people came into town for the race, I unfortunately didn't get to catch them all!  We did a big group lunch at Meridian Pint with many of the Distant Runners from the Boston Qualifier Seeking Group and my two cousins in town as well. 

Then I headed back to the expo.  Shalane Flanagan (course record holder at Boston Marathon for an Anerican woman) had tweeted that she would be speaking at 3pm so I hustled back to get there by 2:30pm to be the first at the stage.  Then they announced it was pushed back to 4pm.  So I went out and sat by the water to enjoy the beautiful day.  I came back in again at 3:45 to get right up by the stage.  I got my front row pic!  She waved at my daughter twice! 

I loved all the motivational signs up around the expo-tique tent. 

After meeting Shalane, we quickly headed back up the flagship store and I bought the tank top for the race as I had in San Fran.  I ran into a reader of the blog who stopped me to say hello!  It was so awesome! 
Then we headed home.  I made a dinner of brown rice pasta with vegan kale and spinach pesto with arugula on the side and we headed to bed early.  I got my outfit laid out and I was ready.   I had no idea how the race would go.  I hadn't gotten in the winter training I had wanted to between teaching, having the full blown flu and the awful weather. 

 We got up early and headed to the metro. 
We took it down with all the other runners and made our way straight to the porta-potties.  The line was a longer wait than last year because they werent easy to find and we actually cut it pretty close.  I got into the sub 8:00 corral only moments before the announcements began. 

The opening ceremonies included a pep talk and send off by Shalane Flanagan and Joan Beniot Samuelson.  She had mentioned at the expo that her quad was bothering her from running the Boston Marathon only the week before.  Then that morning she said that she would meet us at the finish line, so I was under the assumption she was not going to be running with us. 

To my surprise at mile 3, ahead of me I saw Shalane!  I sprinted up to catch her and run by her side and even thank her for running with us.  She wasn't very talkative back...I think her quad was hurting.  I kept up for a while and passed my husband and kept pointing in her direction.  He got her picture but not with us in the same shot unfortunately....I couldn't keep up! 
My tiny cheerleader:
I didn't run the smartest race.  I am really happy with my splits the first half and I was feeling GREAT.  When I passed the half way mark, Nike had a giant jumbo tron set up that you could watch yourself run by on that said "Smile, you are half way there".  I gave a huge smile and an arm wave because I was way ahead of pace and was going to earn my sub 1:45 honor!  I was feeling so great and in the heat of the moment did not take my humagel fuel that I always take around mile 6.   This hurt me later.....miles 8-13 I slowed down considerably and lost it. 
Mile 1: 7:08
Mile 2: 8:23
Mile 3: 7:38
Mile 4: 7:57
Mile 5: 7:53
Mile 6: 7:59
Mile 7: 7:56
Mile 8: 8:15
Mile 9: 8:13
Mile 10: 8:19
Mile 11: 8:21
Mile 12: 8:23
Mile 13: 8:37
Mile 13.1: 7:37

I was happy to get my blue box at the finish line and add a third Nike Women's Tiffany Necklace to my collection. 

My cousins were in town for the race and we took a finish line photo together.  I tried to catch another friend at the finish line but it didn't work out sadly.  I did catch a friend I hadn't seen since college at the finish line and that was really neat! 

We headed away from the crowds and took the metro a few stops to do brunch at Busboys and Poets.  I had a delish tofu scramble with veggies and a mimosa of course! 

I really like the changes that Nike made over last year.  The changes to the course that have us running towards the capitol in our first mile I really enjoyed.  The finishers bag with almonds was awesome!  That was my feedback from last year and they delivered!  FREE race photos was an awesome perk as well!
I definitely think that they should have a bigger finish line was so hard to see as you came down the final stretch.  I also think Nike should do a coast to coast challenge for those of us who run both DC and SF in the same year. 

I really enjoyed myself.  Something about these races just make me really happy.  I am already looking forward to next year. 

Did you run this year?  What did you think?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Nike Women's Half Marathon Runners' Guide to DC!


You are headed to DC!   Your months of training are finally coming to an end.
To help out-of-town visitors, I've created the Nike Women's Runners Guide to DC!  See you at the finish line and don't forget to enjoy yourself in our beautiful city!  Read my review of the race from last year so you know what to expect (here).
Look for Expotique Perks: Last year had lots of free samples, free blow outs by Paul Mitchell stylists, dance parties, gait analysis and more! 
Washington Harbour, Georgetown 3050 K St. NW Washington, DC 20007 Get Directions
    Hours: Thursday, April 24: 12:00PM – 8:00PM Friday, April 25: 10:00AM – 8:00PM Saturday, April 26: 8:00AM – 6:00PM
Getting to the Expotique:

Check Out Your Name on the Giant Runners Wall:  Before or after heading to the expotique, don't miss the Nike Flagship store in Georgetown, only a short walk away.  It's so fun to find your name amongst the thousands of runners (it's alphabetical)
and there is lots of great NWM DC gear inside, including the limited edition NWM DC shoes!
3040 M St. NW Washington, DC 20007 Get Directions
    Hours: Thursday, April 24: 9:00AM – 9:00PM Friday, April 25: 9:00AM – 9:00PM Saturday, April 26: 9:00AM – 9:00PM Sunday, April 27: 9:00AM – 9:00PM
Restaurants while in town: You will need to eat while you prepare to crush 13.1 miles!  Some of my favorite DC restaurants are:
Meridian Pint which has a to-die for lentil burger and great rotating beer list.  Get off at Columbia Heights Metro stop on the green line.
Pizzeria Paradiso with locations near the Expo in Georgetown and in Dupont Circle this place has authentic wood fire pizza and you even get a bowl of olives to start your meal! 
Dean and Deluca (Felicity Fans anyone?)  This place has a great coffee bar, great bakery and a hot bar to customize your own meal and is not far from the expotique/flagship store.  It has a great enclosed patio that often has jazz musicians playing.
Matchbox Pizza with locations in Chinatown and Capitol Hill you have two to choose from.  Great brick oven pizza and an awesome (healthy) kids menu! 
SweetGreen has 10 locations through out DC, including one in Georgetown.  This is a great place to go grab lunch or a quick dinner.  Lots of customizable healthy salads, soups, and wraps. 
P.O.V. Lounge to be honest, the food isn't that great, but the view is!  Use this location for happy hour or an after dark drink with your crew for some great views of the Washington Monument and the White House!  We even sat next to Corey Booker once! 
Race time: 7 AM 
Start/Finish  Pennsylvania Ave. NW & 9th St. NW  Washington, DC 20004 Get Directions


Find your corral:  

Best Metro to Take: Archives Station, although Metro Center and Federal Triangle are other options. The Metro will open at 5 AM on Sunday. Parking won’t be available.  Find the best stop based on your corral:  
Popular Cheer Points: If your family and friends stick near the monuments they will be able to see you multiple times along the course- Lincoln Memorial, Independence Avenue, Jefferson Memorial, and Pennsylvania Avenue.


Fuel Up Beforehand: Most hotels will have food out for the runners in the morning, but double check with your front desk just in case.  Otherwise, grab some bagels, granola bars and juice for your room. 
Finish Line:  Try to agree on a place to meet up with your friends and family at the finish line.  With so many people mulling around, cell service will be next to nill.  You could always agree to meet under the marquee of the National Theater to regroup and then head into the finish line shop if you wanted to buy some additional goods, or just head out to brunch from there. 
Head to Brunch to Refuel!  There are so many great restaurants in DC.  There are a lot within walking distance to the finish, but with so many runners and so many spectators, the lines for the closest restaurants will be LONG!  If you are able to, consider taking the metro away from the crowds and eat closer to your hotel or just completely branch out!   
Some of my personal favorites are:
 Busboys and Poets at 5th and K.  Get off at Judiciary Square metro stop on the red line.  They have amazing sweet potato pancakes, fresh squeezed juice and lots of options for vegans/vegetarians. 
Founding Farmers not far from the finish line and 3 blocks from White House.  This is where we ate last year post race, but the wait was at least an hour. 
You can check out this list from the Washingtonian to see if anything strikes you!   50 great breakfast and brunch spots in Washington

Check out all the great museums and sights!  My favorite museum is the Newseum (it's not one of the free ones unfortunately, but totally worth it!)  All Smithsonian Museums are FREE, including the National Zoo.   I love the beauty of the Reflecting Pool and Memorials, and I love paddle boating in the tidal basin.