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?


  1. That race looks like so much fun. I tried to get in with a team and sadly we were not chosen. However, I hope to participate in a Nike women's race sometime in the future.

  2. Colleen, awesome recap! I really want to do this one next year. Since I changed jobs, I do not have extended blackout periods that interfere with the race. Keep me posted as I'd love to make a 3-4 day trip down to DC next year, but I'd probably need a place to crash ;)

    Great work as always--you continue to motivate and inspire!

  3. Hey Colleen! Great recap- I was wondering what you thought of the expo, because I was thinking that it didn't seem quite as involved as you had made it sound from last year, but it was still a fantastic experience. I had a great time, and although I was a bit disappointed in my finish time, I know that I shouldn't be... I was tired and not used to the warmer temps (I was SO glad for sunshine and warmth though after the winter we had up here in New England :) I am so very sorry I missed you :( I wish I had just sat down for a bit to cool down, and such, that would have helped me to feel better, because once we got on the metro and I relaxed for a bit, I felt fine. Do you have any other races planned for New Hampshire? I would love to catch up sometime in person :) I'm going to run the Smuttynose Half again in October :)

    Thank you again so much for encouraging me to run the Nike Half!!! It was awesome :)

  4. Colleen, great recap! This was my first Nike race, and my first women's race. From hopping on the metro to a train filled with female runners to the collective spirit of the race - it was an amazing experience. The race definitely left me happy and in high spirits as well!

    So great to catch you at the finish. Hope we can "run" into each other again soon : )

  5. Great Recap! I've done the Nike Women's 1/2 in San Francisco, maybe I'll try for this next year! Thanks!

  6. I ran Nike DC for the second time. This really is my favorite half marathon! I really enjoyed your recap. I'm hoping to get in again next year and also run SF next year :)

  7. It is really great information have to share with us and I have to appreciating about it while Marathon is really great event for health. max international team