Monday, April 28, 2014

NWM DC Half Marathon Recap: That time I met Shalane Flanagan!

So I ran the Nike Women's DC half marathon again and liked it more than last year! I have lots of photos for this post so sorry it's so long! They had tons of advertising in metro stations near the race course and expo which was cool. I still think it's annoying to have to trek out to Georgetown for the expo but understand how it fits their race image.  
 I was rushing around on Saturday morning to catch a train from Baltimore down to DC, knowing how last year I had to wait about an hour in line to grab my race bib. I forgot my race fuel and socks when I was packing so had to pick some up in DC, whoops.  I managed to get to the expo and wait in line for only 5 minutes before I had my bib-win! They also gave you the race tee with your bib pickup, instead of after the race like last  year.  I forgot that the Nike women's sizing runs small though so my size small shirt is cozy. 

Photo: Ready or not, here I come DC! #werundc @bakeryonmain #truebarfueled #imfitpossible #run #runbaltimore #NWMDC

The expotique as they call it is still a big, fancy Nike show. It seemed less crowded then last year, maybe due to extra packet pickup days or something.  They had lots of places for photo ops (with waiting lines), including the light up course map and huge "We Run DC" sign that was later placed on the course.  

You could get your running stride analyzed on a treadmill (and be persuaded to buy some Nikes!), sign a giant sign that was also displayed on the race course, or get your hair braided at a Paul Mitchell booth. They also had a huge screen that displayed a motivating message with your name when you stepped up to it which was cool but crowded. I got a few photos snapped and of course, stopped by to say hello to the Nuun booth where you could sample all the flavors!


 Of course then they had the giant wall outside of the Georgetown Nike store where all the participants names are displayed and tons of race merchandise that people were buying up.  I grabbed a hoodie after the race because it went so well, but unfortunately most of the merchandise is overpriced.  


I walked around Georgetown a bit afterwards and grabbed a Sweet Green salad (PLEASE come to Baltimore!) before I trekked out to a bluegrass festival to meet up with my friend. Sadly walking all over with all my bags in the warm weather left me tired and with blisters on my toes. Just what I need before a race.  I ended up sleeping pretty well and waking up around 5 AM to get dressed, eat a banana and raspberry chocolate Truebar, chug some watermelon Nuun, and head out to catch the metro. 

I planned on wearing arm sleeves but the weather was already too warm by 6 AM. I looked great in my blue Truebar shirt though! I got to the race area pretty quickly and checked my gear. It was set up just like last year and I was in the sub-7:59 pace corral which was not very crowded. It was kind of nerve-wracking being right up in front at the start line! Shalane Flanagan and Joan Benoit Samuelson were there to speak and run a little bit again which was inspiring.
  
at the start line
I didn't really have a game plan going into the race. I have run the course before so that helps and thought I should stay around the 7:30-7:45 pace I've been running for longer races.  I ended up finding the 1:40 (7:38 min/mi) pace group and stuck with them pretty much the whole race.  I thought I had hit start on my Garmin but realized around mile 2.5 that my watch was not on! I started it then but decided to not use it much and focus on the pace group and the mile markers of the course. I liked the crowd support and the entertainment on the course. They had drums when you go in the tunnel towards 395 that I remembered from last year which sound awesome with the sound bouncing off the walls.  

The course is overall pretty flat, so the couple little inclines were easy to push through. I'm not sure around which mile (4 or 5?) I saw Shalane and Joan running with a Nike lady and ran next to Shalane for about 30 seconds!?! I I  can't believe I ran next to the lady I saw kickass in Boston the Monday prior!  Nobody was even saying anything to her which amazed me! Anyways eventually they were going faster than I wanted to so I snapped a quick photo as they went ahead of me. SO COOL.  I even heard Shalane say she likes Nuun! 

Shalane on the left!
 The weather was warm during the race, and I was glad I opted for the visor and a shorts/short sleeves combo.  I decided to fuel with some Clif strawberry shotbloks instead of my Gu or anything during the race, which worked out because I could just take a block when I needed it. The race had a few photographers this year which was nice.  I was bummed when they didn't last year, especially because of the price tag.   

Around mile 9 my legs were starting to feel it, since I haven't done a longer run in a few weeks. The blisters I could feel on my toes now didn't help either! I hate the stretch from miles 7-10 along the waterfront because it is just straight and flat and feels like it goes on forever. I know the same stretch is in most DC races, and it's always tough mentally. Miles 10-12 were tough for me. I was determined to stay with the pace group, but by mile 11 I felt like my legs couldn't move any faster. I usually like to give it all I've got in the last mile, but this race I had to just focus on keeping a steady pace. I also seriously need to buy a travel foam roller to help me out. 

I managed to finish and felt great. I knew my time was near my PR  (set at the same race last year!) so I was sore but happy. I wanted to slap hands with Shalane like I did last year but noticed she was just kind of standing around and talking. I was flipping out so I just awkwardly went up to her and told her how inspiring it was to watch her in Boston and how I'm trying to qualify. Then I awkwardly asked her to take a selfie. It was sunny, and I was nervous so we have this  as a result: 


Not my most flattering photo, but I MET SHALANE FLANAGAN. I'm SO inspired and in awe. It completely made my day! I was impressed with the after-race experience. I got some more Nuun in me and took lots of photos with my Tiffany's box. 
post race bling and Nuun!
 They also had a finisher's tent with a "refresh station" with lipgloss and face cleansing wipes, foam rollers and yoga mats for stretching, and a DJ playing music. Foam rolling for 5 minutes was a life saver. Very chic post-race digs. 
people stretching it out. 
Finisher photo!
At first I checked the preliminary results and saw I was a second off my PR set at this course last year. Later in the evening I check and it looks like I tied my PR down to the second of 1:39:49. How crazy is that to get the same EXACT time on the same course? Clearly I haven't gotten any faster, but it has made me a believer in running less.  It's a bit of a confidence booster to know that I can run the same speed on a course now, even though I feel a lot slower lately and had sore legs and blisters on race day.  Taking more rest days and doing more cross-training such as November Project doesn't mean I'm getting slower or less in shape. Running less does mean my legs were super sore all afternoon and today though! I've got a date with my foam roller tonight!

 I want to give a special thanks to Truebar and Bakery on Main for fueling me through my spring races and training and allowing me to represent them at the NWM DC Half marathon! 



I spent the rest of the day brunching and catching up with my best friend and one of my favorite cheerleaders-Norah! Overall I liked the organization the race had this year, the course, and the perks. I still think it's a hefty price tag for a race. Also I wish the focus was more on the sport and running rather than just doing this event to get a necklace, take lots of photos, and buy lots of stuff. While girls like pampering, there is a lot of blood, sweat, and tears involved with running too! It was an exhausting but great weekend. 


24 comments:

  1. I'm glad you had a good race and the photo with Shalane is great! I was impressed with the organization from a volunteer standpoint too. There were a couple little hiccups but I think that's almost inevitable in a race this size.

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    1. Thanks so much! Glad it seemed to run smoothly as a volunteer too-and thanks for volunteering it's so important to runners!

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  2. Great job! and SO cool that you got the selfie. I spoke to Shalane at an event before the NYC marathon and she was so down to earth and sweet. I was really cheering for her at Boston. Nice to tie a PR if you felt less prepared, too! Anytime I get under 1:40, I am very psyched! :)

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    1. Thanks! I was literally flipping out about Shalane. She was so chill and nice!

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  3. So funny you got the exact same time! Your finisher photos look MUCH emptier than things were when I rolled through!

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    1. Thanks, I heard it got really crowded a little bit after I finished!

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  4. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!! You are amazing and I'm so jealous you met Shalane. One of my friends that graduated a few years ago had dinner at the same restaurant as her the other night and he texted me to tell me. SO jealous. You had a kick ass race. I'm really kicking myself for not running. This race sounds amazing on so many levels. Maybe I'll need to come back for it next year...

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    1. Thanks! We should run it again next year!

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  5. Awesome job! So cool you got to meet Shalane. I really really want to do the Nike Women's Half one day :)

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    1. It's a splurge race but super awesome and has great perks!

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  6. Glad you had a good race! I feel similarly about the whole pamper you, feel good, necklace aspect of this race. I love the course and it was really well organized this year (the packet pickup changes seem to have made a huge difference), but I'd rather spend the money that this one cost and run two other races. Now, maybe if I'd met Shalane, I'd feel differently LOL.

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    1. Glad you feel the same! The price is my biggest con of the race for sure! Race prices are already getting too expensive!

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  7. Awesome job! That is SO COOL you met Shalane Flanagan!! I ran this race on Sunday as well, and I just loved it (it was my first Nike Half event) - gorgeous course!

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    1. Thanks so much! Glad you had a great race too. I was so happy the weather was nice!

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  8. Congrats on your T-PR :) What are the chances?! I am glad you liked the race better this year. I decided to volunteer vs. signing up for the lottery for the reasons you outlined. While it was lovely to participate last year, I decided the fees are a bit $$ to run every year (plus I can sign up for two more races for the price of one hehe).

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    1. I know right? That's awesome that you volunteered-thanks for your time!

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  9. Great job and congrats! Like I told you on twitter, I ran the exact same time on the same course twice..its so weird! Mine was 4 years apart though, but the only 2 times I ran in the Baltimore half.
    That's so awesome that you met Shalane!!

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    1. Ah yes it's such a strange coincidence! Thanks for reading!

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  10. Congrats! Amazing that you ran the same time! And the Shalane selfie is the best selfie. I really enjoyed this race.

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    1. Thanks, any selfie with Shalane would make me smile. Glad you enjoyed the race too!

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  11. I totally should have tried to meet up with you!! Great time, BTW - don't know if I'm more jealous of that or the fact you ran by Shalane. Oh, and totally agree about that last straightaway - DYING!

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    1. Definitely!-try to meet up if you find out we're running any other races together. I usually race solo so I'm awkwardly hanging out in the race area or corrals before the race! Ugh that straightaway killsssssss me.

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  12. Awesome recap! I am so jealous you got to meet Shalane, she is such an incredible runner! Great job on your finish, HUGE CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!

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    1. Thanks for reading! I still can't believe I met her and babbled on about how inspiring she is!

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