Monday, April 29, 2013

Nike Women's Half Marathon

Wow, so much to tell! First and most importantly, I had a great run, I took 5 minutes off my old half marathon time. It was hard, but totally worth it, especially for a Tiffany's necklace. That's great motivation for any girl. 

We started bright and early, not wanting to get stuck like we did with the ten miler we left at 0530 for the metro, and arrived at the race start at 0600. So with an hour to waste I hung out met up with my friend AL and her husband and eventually got down to race clothes (because it was really chilly and I didn't want to take my coat off until the last possible second. 

That turned out not to be the best idea, the corrals were PACKED! We couldn't even get in! There were a really unpleasant volunteer not letting anyone else through the 2' gap in the fence. The worst part of that is the volunteer shirts were not especially... notable, grey with lettering down the side, I had no idea, I just assumed she was some angry woman on a power trip. 

Once the race officially started all the runners were able to push into the corral and start the walk up to the start line. 

And we were off! Well sort of. I had the warning ahead of time from Nikki that the NIke marathon series brings out a lot of Team in Training, who run in packs and stop to walk a lot. The first two miles or so were spent running around people who had stopped who I was actually faster than, I don't get that experience a lot being on the slow side myself, so I was ecstatic! A little annoyed with the people who stop with no warning, but I felt like a speed demon. 

I saw my friend Maura and her husband in mile two and I was SUPER excited to have people cheering for me. 

Didn't see anyone for a while after that, we headed up past the Lincoln Memorial, then across Memorial Bridge, I made friends with a TNT runner and chatted with her for a half mile or so. Next it was up Rock Creek Parkway past the Kennedy Center, there were some awesome drummers, but I was too focused on not slipping on shot blocks that people had dropped on the ground to take a picture. We had a turn around and then down to Hains Point (pretty much the same route as the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler). At mile 6 I stopped and had half my energy chews, kept chugging along and then we hit the motivational signs. 

There were lots of great sayings then one sign that basically said "If you don't make the 9 mile point by 9 am you're getting on a bus and not finishing." I think that's motivation of another sort. 

Saw Maura and the hubby again in mile 10 and gave out some big sweaty hugs, and looked like a total idiot some more. 

Back through the tunnel under the mall, which I've never run before so that was a fun new experience. They had more drummers set up, this time I took a picture. 

Coming out of the tunnel was the mile 11 marker, which is when my "just two more miles" chant to myself started. I saw Nikki right around the mile 12 marker, and she got a big sweaty hug as well as a picture of me looking like a spaz going in for the hug. 

After I saw her we crossed in front of the Capitol Building Reflecting Pool and I noticed that I didn't have music any more, AAAHHHH!!! Queue panic. I tried in vain to get it working again by stopping and starting iTunes, but short of turning off my phone I really had no idea how to get it working. I figured I could handle one mile without music so I sucked it up and kept going. Right after the 20K point I thought I wasn't going to make my goal time because the timer at that point looked like I had already missed it (I wasn't paying attention to the official time as I crossed the start line). Thank goodness for Nikki once again. She ran over, told me I was on pace to beat my PR by 5 minutes and to keep on pushing myself. So I did! 

I know I'm in better shape than the first one because not only did I beat my time, I didn't feel like I was going to die afterwards. We didn't stick around for the boutique because the line was tremendously long! So I just grabbed my Tiffany's, ate a banana, chugged a bottle of water, and started searching for my running buddy. We met back up at bag check and took off. I could not deal with that stressful crowd for one minute more. 

The bow was so pretty I didn't want to undo it. 

Very proud of my box. 

The necklace, I was a wee bit nervous about the design, but I really really like it and I wore it the rest of the day. 

Celebratory bottomless mimosas with brunch. A great way to finish a race. 

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