We arrived early on Friday evening and hit the packet pick-up / expotique (who even came up with this name? honestly.) first thing on Saturday. The packet pick-up was really well organized and efficient, I think we were in and out of that section in under 10 minutes, then we moved into the Expotique.
The Expotique was basically a little tent set up on the Washington Harbour that, to be honest, was far less impressive than it sounds. It was a smaller area than I expected and was super crowded with raging female hormones. We spent very little time there, only a few stops to try some nuun flavours that we don’t get in Canada, check to see if I had won anything with my random draw card (I hadn’t). I was overheating and generally unimpressed with the crowds so booked it out of there pretty quickly.
Onto Nike Georgetown to hopefully pick up some Nike threads branded with the race. They had a really cool display outside the store with every runners name contained in it, we found mine! In the store, I found what I was looking for but the crazy crowd in the store led me to decide to come back after the race. You may notice a pattern here, I am terrible with crowds.
Sunday morning, I rolled out of my comfy hotel bed around 5:00 am (BLURG), quickly got my stuff together and was out of the hotel by quarter to six. We hopped on the metro and followed the throngs of female runners to the start area. Can I just say how awesome it is to have someone else carry your stuff and not have to worry about bag check etc.? I did the usual porta potty stop and A stayed with me until about 6:45 when I crammed into my overly packed start corral and played the waiting game with 14,999 other women.
The starting gun went and I was surprised at how close I was to the start line as it only took about 2 minutes to get over it initially and then we were off. It was quite crowded in the beginning but everyone was very polite and moved around each other with minimal problems.
I started off comfortable and was really amazed at how great the men in some of these ladies lives are (including mine). There were so many witty signs and so many men cheering on the ladies in their lives including a whole team of young guys with one of the sponsors holding signs about how beautiful women looked when they sweat. So sweet! We passed the monument and the Lincoln Memorial on a a double out and back type loop through to mile 5. The crowds were great but died off a little around then when we ran around the Potomac River (a spot I recognized from Marine Corps 2011, and it was similarly quiet back then too). Around mile 7/8, my leg really started to hurt, a familiar ache that I’ve been feeling off and on since Around The Bay in March, good old IT band. Bah. From here on out, I really really struggled to keep going, and every step hurt. I just tried to focus on the scenery, the entertainment and the people instead of the pain. I was SO excited to hit mile 12 while running towards the Capitol but hated having to run across and around it and then back down the same stretch again.
Luckily shortly after I started back down that stretch, the finish line was in view and I crossed, hobbling a little, in 2:24:43. Definitely not my best time, but I will take it. I kept on walking to the adorable little guys (they were like early twenties, but that is little to me these days) all dressed up in tuxes with silver platters full of our Tiffany’s finishers necklaces. I grabbed mine and booked it through the rest of the finishers chute, picking up my shirt and some food on my way to meet A. We had originally planned to stay downtown for lunch and some sightseeing after the race but I was hobbling about and in a lot of pain so we decided to head back to Arlington for a little rest and a shower before continuing on our day.
- Oddly enough, I really enjoyed running through the tunnel on this course (once on the way there, once on the way back). While my Garmin lost satellite reception in it, they had these awesome drummers playing that echoed through the whole tunnel which was super cool.
- A marching band on the steps of what I believe was the George Mason Memorial belting out some awesome tunes.
- The Tiffany’s finishers necklace – hard to believe, but its my first piece of Tiffany’s hardware and I feel so proud that I did something to earn it!
- The expotique didn’t feel like anything special.
- The pain in my leg, duh!
Nike does put on a fantastic, well-organized race and I would certainly recommend it once. I probably wouldn’t do this particular race again unless it was with friends, as it is pricey and crowded (and the Marine Corps route is better), though I may still try to continue getting into the SF event in the future, but it is great for a once in a lifetime kind of experience.
For my tenth half-marathon to date, it was a great race to run as kind of a celebration of the races to date, even if it didn’t go as well as I had hoped. I can’t even believe I’ve done that many since I started running, and I hope I’m doing many more!
What’s your next race? Have you ever done a destination race?