Well after months of fundraising and training I finally completed my 9th half marathon and my first with Team in Training, The inaugural Nike Women’s Half in DC.
First things first if you ever get a chance to do a race with Team in Training I would HIGHLY recommend you do it! Now I understand fundraising is not for everyone, I get that. But for me, I found it very fulfilling to run an event for a cause rather than to simply run for myself. Its been something I have been thinking of doing for a while and I am glad the right opportunity came about for me.
I almost didn’t get to DC
In my case the planning for the trip became almost as big of a challenge as the fund-raising! My husband was supposed to be home for the race. However, an unexpected deployment changed that. After a mad scramble and a bunch of dead ends in regards to child care for my 3 kids, my wonderful neighbors and church friends stepped up to make my weekend possible. Without their help I would not have been able to complete my journey to DC. So a HUGE THANK YOU to my friends!
Off to DC
Cara (Running in Sanity) and I left Saturday morning for the drive into DC. We were joined by two lovely ladies (and TNT alumni) Donna and Cindy for the trip up to DC. From home its about a 3 1/2 to 4 hour drive. We decided to head to the expo first thing rather than check into the hotel. Our TNT inspiration dinner was at 4 pm so we wanted enough time for lunch, packet pick up, hotel check in and a little refreshing before the dinner.
We got our packets, grabbed a quick-lunch. And headed to the expo.
Cara, me Cindy and Donna
I have heard different takes on the Nike expo, or expotique as they called it, from “Loved it” to “Hated it” I would say in MY opinion it was disappointing, actually I think I used the word “lame:. It was just not the kind of expo I am used to. It was:
- Very small, it was literally held in a large tent
- I personally like a lot of different booths / and new running related items to check out
- It was strictly Nike based (understandable) with a few other vendors like Nuun (the course hydration) Paul Mitchel and bare minerals. Admittedly I am not much of a high maintenance girly girl, so that may be part of my issue too)
Apparently there were some other things going on Friday night but we missed those. However packet pick up for us was a breeze and I would say we were in and out within 10 minutes. We did have a special check in for TNT runners and that saved a bunch of time. I have heard there were very, very long waits at other times. (up to 2 hours)
The location of the expo was great! Downtown Georgetown is very pretty and we enjoyed walking around checking things out. The perfect weather didn’t hurt either. We visited the Nike store and Baked and Wired, our first cupcake stop where we purchased our post race cupcakes for Sunday. YUM! Thanks to another Sweat Pink Ambassador we were directed to Baked and Wired, and she was right, these were the best cupcakes!
Nike also had a huge board that listed all the runners by name. Much like Disney Did for Princess. Can you find me?
The Inspiration Dinner
The Inspiration Dinner was great, there were tons of TNT participants, 2000+. So many in fact that there were actually 2 different dinners and 2 different locations. It would have been great if we could have all been in the same location, but size wise that just couldn’t happen. The guest speakers were Joan Benoit (she is super tiny! And a great speaker) and a survivor whose name I apologize I do not remember. She was however a brilliant speaker, very smart, well spoken with an inspiring story. She emphasized that without the support for TNT she would not be here. During her cancer relapse she had received a new drug that LLS had helped fund. Five years earlier that drug did not exist, without it they do not feel she would be here today.
Our Race Day Outfits
The weather was P E R F E C T!! I mean you could not have asked for a more brilliant day, seriously. I have been lucky weather wise with most of my races but this one was number 1 on the list. Nike did take a moment of silence for Boston which I also thought was great. Cara and I wore blue and yellow bands from Running Happy in honor of Boston.
I loved the course, nice because it wasn’t totally flat like it can be in Virginia Beach. The great support from Team in Training cannot be beat. My ONLY complaint …..Nike did NOT do a wave start. We were separated into corrals but when 7 AM came we were all off…at the same time. Miles 1 & 2 were sometimes a people jam. I was forced onto the sides (grass and curbs) to pass people and even forced to walk a few times. I am fairly sure this cost me my PR, which I missed by 20 seconds….ughh, seriously, ughh. Other than that I think Nike did a wonderful job.
I have to say this was physically one of the best races I have had. I felt great, never really breathless or tried until mile 12 when I realized if I really pushed I might PR again. I was running great, my pace was above my average and things just were spot on. I believe I could have beat my PR by minutes if all had gone well in the first few miles. However I am very glad to say I definitely found MY HAPPY PACE in DC. I was so in the “zone” that I forgot to look around, I tend to do that, I had to remind myself to take in the monuments around me. I did take a pic of one of the t-shirts Nike had, it lists all the places we passed on our race.
And yes I did get a Tiffany Necklace, but honestly I forgot about that until I saw people getting their little blue boxes. Each Finisher also received a really nice Nike DC Finisher Tee in Tiffany Blue and yellow.
After the race Cara and I walked back to the hotel showered, fueled up and decided to walk back to Georgetown. Walking after a half is actually a good thing! We hit the Lululemon, Athleta and Nike stores.
We enjoyed a nice late lunch at Serendipity with a HUGE Frozen Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate, I ate a bit…ok I pigged out, because we all know CALORIES DON’T COUNT AFTER A HALF OR FULL MARATHON Hey you can’t eat like that everyday or every training run but after the race it’s on! Besides according to Runtastic I burned over 1200 calories just at the race.
We decided to do a cupcake tour of Georgetown, because well we run for cupcakes for goodness sake! We had our fabulous cupcakes from Baked & Wired (mine was “Pretty Bitchin’” Peanut Butter) they were FANTASTIC, by far the best cupcake I have ever had, and I have had a few We also hit up Sprinkles Cupcakes and purchased a few there. We visited DC Cupcakes but the line was out the door and down the street. We never did make it in ……. next time they will be mine.
“Pretty Bitchin’” and “Chocolate DOOM “cupcakes from baked and wired. Oh and our little blue Tiffany boxes
So all in all I give Nike DC an A+ . Fabulous location, fabulous weather and a wonderful meaningful race with TNT! Go Team!
I have a feeling I will be doing another race with TNT very soon.