After I finished the Pittsburgh half marathon two years ago, I swore to myself that I would never run 13.1 miles again. My knees and back hurt for a week, I wasn’t properly trained, and it didn’t seem like I would want to do one again. Two years later, I ran back to back half marathons. The draw for this crazy feat? A Tiffany & Co. finisher’s necklace and a free race entry. Holla!
Despite a nagging ankle problem (blog post forthcoming), I felt ready for the inaugural Nike Women’s Half Marathon DC race. The course route was familiar and flat, my goal was 2:45:00, and I was excited for the little blue box.
The race weekend started with packet pick-up on Thursday, and I must admit, the Nike Expotique was not what I had come to expect from large-scale races. They had hair dressers, makeup artists, bra fittings, and gait analysts instead of vendors with running gear, nutrition, and shoes. I was underwhelmed by the entire experience, with the exception of my honest gait analyser, who recommended I wear a neutral shoe with my orthotics and told me that under no circumstances should I run in a pair of Nikes given my foot structure. (Now, that is honesty!)
On race day, the start seemed crowded and chaotic, but the energy level was strong. To meet my race goal, I wanted run with a pacer until at least mile 10. I found the 12:13 pacer (Christy) and I planned to stick with her as long as I could. The first three miles were slow, and I was shocked that many people were walking within a half mile of the start line. We came to a complete stop several times, and it took us almost 45 minutes to get to the 5K mark (10 minutes slower than our intended pace!).
Around mile 3.5, we had a nice crew of 4 or 5 runners and we picked up the pace to make up for lost time. I felt pretty awesome until mile 7, but I could tell I was starting to lose energy. I kept up with the pacer until mile 9, and then I needed to stop to walk. Two minutes later I had lost my pacer and I was on my own. Unfortunately, this happened on Hanes Point where there were fewer supporters and cheer teams to keep me motivated.
Between miles 9 – 11, I started to worry that I wasn’t going to be able to make my race time. I was taking many more walk breaks and when I was running I could feel it was slower than before. However, when I got to Pennsylvania Ave. and could see the Capitol building, I rallied for the last two miles.
Ultimately, I finished in 2:46:33, a minute and a half off of my goal time (boo!) BUT it is a whopping 30 minutes faster than my last half marathon! And I received my Tiffany necklace!
Post-race wearing my finisher’s shirt and Tiffany necklace, rewarding myself with some P.F. Chang’s!