I got into the race!!! I was so happy to see an email from Nike last night! My friend Amy and her daughter also got into the race because we signed up as a group. I was so excited, I made a training plan and I will start in February :)
The race course was AMAZING for someone like me that loves to run FLAT courses! There was so much to look at along the race, I really didn’t need any music. This was the first race I ran by myself without an iPod and it was kinda refreshing. I’ve been doing a bunch of my training runs without music, so I was used to it. I started out running faster than expected, but that is normal for a race. So when I was in the 8′s for my pace, I didn’t get too excited. The only downfall of the race was some Garmin-drama… but what race isn’t complete without a little drama from the watch we all depend on so much?? (Well, I do!)
We went under a large highway tunnel (I think during the first mile) and everyone lost satellite reception on their GPS watches. The tunnel was dark and pretty long, so I took off my sunglasses. There was someone on a drum set and it was LOUD… too loud for me, especially when we had to run right past him. When I got out of the tunnel, I saw the satellite message on my Garmin, slightly freaked out and then knew my first mile would be off. It beeped at 8:08 soon after the tunnel. Then I realized it was about 0.14 mile off from the mile markers. It wasn’t a huge deal after that.
After I hit the first mile marker, I realized I was running just under a 9 min mile pace. I figured if I felt comfortable, I should just keep up my pace. After I hit the second mile marker right around 18 minutes, I tried to hit the third at 27. When I did, I made the decision to try to hit 9:00 minute miles at every mile marker. Since my Garmin was a little off, I tried to just use it for the pace and do my 9 times tables in my head when I hit the mile markers. I started getting really excited around mile 4 or 5 when I was still holding this and felt fantastic. This is not how I was running for my long training runs. I was struggling to hold 9:30s before! I do think doing some mid-week speed work on the treadmill helped me a lot… and wearing my walmart super-tight, old lady compression socks to bed all the time helped too!
Around mile 9 I looked behind me and saw the pacer holding the 2:00 finish sign and I started thinking. I picked it up just slightly to get a little more ahead of the pacer. I had a lot of time to think without music! This was also the first race where I read all the spectators signs and noticed everything around me. It was refreshing!
Around 9.5 miles, I started feeling the first signs of tired legs. I turned around and saw the 2:00 pacer group getting closer to me. My 10th mile was a little slower and I just couldn’t pick it up at that point. The pacer group passed me and I tried to not get upset. I knew I was still going to have my best race time, because my last half was a 2:07! I thought, maybe I’ll get a 2:02! That would be wayyyyyyyyyyyy better than anything I ever expected for this race!
Well, wouldn’t you know it but around mile 11 or 12 we got near the finish and it was an out and back. Just before that, I had stopped at a water station and gotten my 3rd cup of water. I only took water because I knew I wouldn’t be a fan of the Nuun and didn’t want to upset my stomach at all. The other two water stations (There were a ton but I skipped most of them) I just slowed down a bit for second while I gulped what I could. At the station near 11, I stopped to a fast walk and probably walked about 20 seconds and I finished the whole cup of water. Soon after that, I ran past a large group of spectators and heard Colby yell my name. I knew I could pick it up for the end, but didn’t want to fall apart too close to the end. When I had a mile left, I started looking at my Garmin and realized I was still really close to going under 2:00! I picked up the pace and started regretting that last water station.
The last stretch of the race was deceivingly long, but I just kept pushing and hoping I could keep that clock in the 1-hour range! I looked over to my left and past the standing spectators was Colby running! I motioned over to him 2 with my fingers to say under two hours!! He just pointed to the finish and I knew I had to pick it up!! He was really worried about not finding me at the finish line, so I knew he was just trying to keep track of me. I crossed the multiple mats and clicked my Garmin after the last one. It was 2 seconds longer than my official time of 1:59:56!!!!! I COULDN’T BELIVE IT!!! Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could go under 2 hours for this race! I had even said to Colby before that I didn’t know if I could ever go under 2 hours. I was on cloud 9 and my stomach was great! I didn’t throw up at the finish line like my last race!! (full marathon last spring… throwing up Gatorade everywhere… nasty)
I picked up that blue Tiffanys box from all the guys at the end and was practically jumping for joy. Colby was still following me on the outside of the race area until the fence ended. There was lots of bananas, bagels, Luna bars, etc and we even got a big Tiffanys bag to put our stuff in! In the finishers area, there was a tent to buy even more finishers gear… so I got in line with Amy and Colby. Amy did 1:56!! She is so fast :)
I ended up getting a finishers sweatshirt and put on my necklace in line. We also got Tiffany blue finishers t shirts that were really cute.
They had areas where you could take your picture, so Amy and I had a short photo session. I think both of our eyes are closed in this picture, but hey! We were tired! There were also hair and makeup stands from the sponsor companies, but I was super salty and in need of a shower!
Silver finishers necklace at the top of my collage :) Overall, great race! Besides running my best time, it really rejuvenated my love for running. The course was FLAT, the weather was perfect, it was a BIG exciting race and super girly. I will most definitely enter to race again next year! Although I don’t have any plans for upcoming races yet, I think I will be focusing on shorter/faster runs this summer! In the past I’ve been so obsessed with mileage I think it will be a nice change to shorten things up and try to work on this speed that I might be gaining!
I also have BIG fitness news coming up soon!! I have a different kind of goal that I made a quick decision to go for last week. Can you guess what it is by looking at my Exercise Log?? :) :) :)
Last Saturday Colby and I drove down to DC with my parents for my big race! We drove directly to the expo and found a parking garage. It was really exciting with tons of people out and about for the race!
First stop was packet pick-up. We kinda panicked when we saw the ridiculously long line to get into the packet pick-up tent, but it went surprisingly fast. My parents walked around while Colby waited in line with me in the nice weather. When you got inside the tent, they have tvs on the wall with race facts and tables with dozens of volunteers checking everyone in.
We went for some lunch after that… Colby was really hungry after fitting in 14 miles early that morning! Have I mentioned he is training for a Half Ironman? It is in Maryland in June :)
After lunch, I practically ran up the road to get to the new Nike Georgetown store. This is where all the merchandise for the race was and I realllllly wanted this grey t shirt I saw on their Facebook page to wear for the race. They had a huge sign outside the store saying “WE RUN DC” with every runners name! I found mine in the big C!
Inside the store was a madhouse but, I was on a mission to find my shirt and possibly get the infamous “Tiffany Nike Shoes”.
They were there and they were beautiful. My Mom was feeling generous and got them for me! They are Nike Free 5.0 shoes with race date on the tongue of the shoe, on the insoles and under the silver nike charm on the laces. They only had smaller sizes left, and I was lucky to have small feet :)
After getting the shoes, my grey shirt (!) and another t shirt, we headed back down the hill to the expo.
The expo was crowded and had few companies. I guess I can’t blame Nike for making it really a Nike-only expo. The other vendors were women-friendly like one of my favorites: Bare Essentials and they passed out tons of free sample moisturizers and were doing makeup for people waiting in line. Luna and Nuun were there too.
That night I tried on my outfit, pinned on my bib and laid out my gear for the next day.
This was my first race in a skirt and I LOVE IT! It was so comfortable and looks way better than shorts! I bought a pack of two Nike headbands at the expo and decided to wear the chevron one for the race. The red wristband was for our corral groups. I put down 9:00-9:59 min pace when I registered and so did Amy. I had my ipod ready to go, but decided against wearing it the next morning! I also used NO nutrition! I was going with less is more… and boy did it work!
The next morning we walked over with Amy’s family to the start of the race at 6am. Had to stop for a few pictures along the way. The weather was PERFECT! NO WIND! It only took us 15 minutes or so to get to the start of the race. The race started at 7am and you had to get into your corral by 6:45. It was already looking pretty crowded.
Amy and I got to the corrals and said goodbye to our families and made our way to the start! It looked really crowded by then, but when we entered the right side of our corral and just walked over to the far left near the stage. We were at the very front of our group and never got pushed back so we stayed very close to the front! The stage had a few Nike girls do warm ups, but it was kinda crowded so we stayed pretty still. Shalane Flanagan was introduced and we could see her very well! I was excited, but if it would have been Kara Goucher I would have freaked!
I ran with no nutrition, no music and no iphone. Colby was worried about finding me at the end, but we planned a meeting place just in case. Amy and I stood next to each other as we waiting for the race to start and once the gun went off, it only took us 13 seconds to pass through the start line! There were multiple mats down and I never know which one is the right mat so I clicked my Garmin at the first one I passed. Icona Pop’s “I Love It” started blaring and it got everyone pretty excited! My Dad filmed the start and it is just a full pack of racers crossing the start line for 10+ minutes! Crazy! I was really happy to be so far forward to start early. The corrals in front of us weren’t that big, so I guess that is how we were able to start so soon.
This post is already pretty long, so I guess I’ll continue tomorrow about the actual race!!