Sunday, May 4, 2014

Nike Women's 1/2 Marathon DC

After an amazing and very full day in Washington DC with my BRFF Meg, it was time to settle in, get things prepared for the next day’s race, and get some sleep!

This is where everything started falling apart for me! Pre-race I stick to a very strict routine, LOTS of sleep, LOTS of water, and LOTS of bland food! I pretty much threw all of my rules out of the window, and did not prepare for this race in the way I would if I were at home.

After eating a very heavy Mexican meal, I laid out my outfit for the next day, noticing that I had forgotten to pack/buy my very important pre-race food!! ACK!! I was nervous about fueling on different foods in the morning, but knew I needed to eat something! Meg had a package of crackers with peanut butter, and I figured that would have to get me through the race.

I did not sleep very well that night, I was nervous about the run, and my stomach was acting up – nothing new, as it has been a complete wreck for about the last 3 weeks! Grrrr.

The alarm clock went off at 4:30, but we stayed in bed until just after 5am. It was nice not to have to wake up at the butt-crack of dawn for a race! We quickly dressed and made out way to the metro. It was crowded, as I suspected it would be, and we stood the entire ride to the race. I ate my crackers and tried to convince myself that I would be okay without my normal oatmeal and banana!

Things went really fast once we got to the starting line! This was definitely my very favorite and least nervous wait for a race I have ever had! There were so many people to talk to, and so many hugs as friends found Meg and I. It was really exciting, and my normal corral-panic never set in!!

We met the 2:30 pacer group, and had a blast chatting it up with him! This diversion really helped me calm down and not think about the race! I had decided that I would run with Meg and Carolyn for the entire race, I really wanted us to finish together. It would be my first ½ running with someone, and I was excited to have some running buddies!!

It wasn’t long until our corral was at the front of the start line and off on our journey through Washington DC! 

It was a beautiful morning, about 55 degrees, sunny with a cool breeze. I was loving life for the first 3 miles. I was running slightly ahead of Meg and Carolyn, trying to fall into a pace that was comfortable, but allowed me to stick close to the girls.

We had decided on taking “Monumental Selfies” along the course, pausing, but not really stopping for the major sights! I tried to fall back and get in the pictures, sometimes waiting for a short time on the side of the road for my girls!

The first 3 miles flew by! We didn’t walk even once, but I just couldn’t find my stride. My stomach was acting up by mile 4 and I knew a bathroom stop was in my future. Even with the pain I was feeling in my gut, I was loving this race, and the company of Meg and Carolyn!

At mile 5, I decided it was time to stop and use the bathroom. I told the girls to keep running and that I would catch up. I didn’t think it would be a long wait, there were about 10 people in line ahead of me. Unfortunately, the first two people took over 10 minutes to use the bathroom, and I was getting nervous that I would never catch up, plus I really didn’t want to lose anymore time! I left the line and started sprinting, this was probably the second mistake I made during this race! I sprinted until mile 7 according to my Garmin, I was running 9 minute miles!! ACK!!! Sprinting like this is NEVER good during a ½ marathon…..especially when you are only ½ way done!!

I caught up to Meg and Carolyn around mile 7, and we took our first walk break. I was beat and my stomach was screaming at me!! I actually felt sick, I have never, ever felt like throwing up during a race, but I was pretty sure that I was going to make this my first. We walked for awhile, they were so sweet allowing me to catch my breath and relax for a bit, I knew they wanted to get running again.

Once we started running, I knew I would not be able to keep up unless I USED the bathroom!! I was bent over in pain, and feeling so sick!

At mile 8, I was lucky enough to find a REAL bathroom and again told the girls I would catch up! The line I got into was only about 8 people long, YES!! I soon discovered that it was the men’s bathroom and that men were using it as well as the ladies! Haha! Waiting in line, I was in a lot of pain, but it was amusing watching the men run to the bathroom and get nervous when they discovered they would be using the urinals in front of a line of women!!

The line went fast, and I was quickly out and sprinting again (didn’t I learn my lesson?). I still felt sick, but I wasn’t in pain. Sprinting was not as easy as it was the first time, it actually sucked… a lot! I started panicking that I wouldn’t catch up, and that made me feel even worse.

At mile 10 I was finally able to catch up, it was such a relief, but I was shot, I was ready to be done.  It kinda put a downer on the entire rest of the race for me. I didn’t want to hold Meg and Carolyn back, I didn’t want to finish the race without them but I was feeling so awful, I didn’t think I could keep up.

Mile 11 was the Whole Food’s Chocolate mile! Sounds wonderful, right? It would have been amazing, had I not felt like throwing up! Meg and Carolyn enjoyed the chocolate (which was given out the entire mile!! So cool!!), while I tried to get my shit together and finish the race!!

I know Meg was ready to run faster, and Carolyn was looking strong, but again, they were so sweet and slowed their pace for me.

The last mile was run in a tunnel, and this is where I almost lost it completely. In the tunnel there were drummers, and it was loud!! The beat was fast, causing me to quicken my pace, and the constant pounding was only adding to my nausea! I wanted out of that tunnel so fast!!

The tunnel ends at a hill, and even though I had powered up each and every hill before then, my legs were just dead. I had to walk. It was depressing.

I don’t really remember the rest of the race, besides Meg actually stopping before the finish line to wait for me. I was focusing on not passing out in a pool of my own vomit! Meg and I crossed together, holding hands. It was an amazing feeling! I was beyond emotional that she had waited for me, it was a really special moment.

I was so happy to be done! It was finally time to collect that Tiffany necklace!! Woo! We were first handed chocolate milk – my favorite post race recovery – and then we picked up Nike bike bottles of water. There was all kinds of food to pick up, and as we moved through the line, we received space blankets to warm up in.  The volunteer who wrapped me in my blanket, was the only one to see my complete break down! I just started bawling as he wrapped me in my blanket!! I have no clue what triggered that response, but it was such a release of emotions!

I think the epic-ness of the entire weekend hit me all at once, with this man’s kind act of wrapping me in a sliver blanket. It was truly a dream-like weekend, something I never thought I would experience, the wealth of friendship, the ability of my body to carry me through, and the sense of accomplishment. Words fail me when I try to express how much this weekend means to me, it was honestly that awesome.

Luckily, I was able to pull myself together, the sun glasses hid my tears, and no one knew about the embarrassing break down I just had!

We made our way through the finish chute, and collected our Tiffany medals/necklaces! I still wasn’t feeling the best, but I was living in the moment and soaking in the experience! It was so much fun receiving our little Tiffany boxes from the tuxedo-clad men!

We waited in a photo op line to get lifted by two of the men and hold a platter full of Tiffany boxes, this line took FOREVER!! I started feeling sick again, and drank my chocolate milk. I knew the sickness was partly being hungry! I had not fueled well before the race, and it was a good part of the reason I was so sick.  The milk helped, but I was getting impatient and just wanted to get back to the hotel room.

The next part of the finish chute was the ONLY part that I disliked. Finishers were funneled through a “Finisher’s Tent”, and everyone was excited, saying that we were getting finisher shirts, this was not the case, the tent was packed with women using foam rollers, stretching and freshening up at the mirrored stations. We were like a herd of cattle moving through the tented tunnel, it was hot and sticky and stinky!! We did not take part in any of the stations in the tent, and I wished we would have been given the opportunity to walk around the tent. The tent, however was BEAUTIFUL!! Again, Nike really knows how to impress and there were chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, and the atmosphere was really posh/VIP.

After exiting the tent, we got in the HUGE line for finisher’s merchandise. This was again, not the best use of our time, as  we found out (after waiting in line for about 25 minutes) that we could just go to the Nike store (on even online) to buy our finisher’s merchandise!!

We met up with some #Runnerslove ladies, and congratulated everyone on their finish! It was nice to end the race in the way we started!

After saying “hi” to a few more people we know from various facebook groups, we made our way back to the metro and back to our hotel room. Meg showered right away and I ate my cupcakes from the previous day. I was starving!!

We ended our day by visiting the Nike store in Georgetown again, and eating lunch at a WONDERFUL Irish Pub! Yum!!

We then made the LONG (9 hours!!) drive back to Meg’s house in CT. While the drive was super long, it was nice to have time together! J

Overall this race was fantastic!! I made some mistakes that hurt me (not fueling properly before the race, and sprinting!!), but the race itself was amazing! There were water/Nuun stops every 2 miles, orange slices, ShotBlocks, and Luna bars were given out along the course, and then there was the chocolate mile!!

The weather could not have been better and there were spectators at all points along the course. The course was beautiful, and the on-course entertainment was really fun! This is one of my very favorite courses ever!  It was well organized, and the finish line moved quickly!

I am so sad that this race is over, even though I felt really sick on the course, I have quickly forgotten the pain, and only re-live the pleasure it was to run this race! I would go back in a heartbeat!! I highly recommend this race to anyone looking for a beautiful course!  It would make a great first ½ marathon!!

This race has inspired me to put my name into the lottery for the Nike Women’s ½ in San Francisco! I cannot wait!

Thank you to Nike for giving me the ability to run this race, you are an amazing company and I am truly grateful for this opportunity!
I have to thank Meg and Carolyn for hanging in there with me, even when I felt like I couldn’t finish. I had a blast running with you two, and hope we get more opportunities to run together in the not so distant future!!

Meg, my RBFF, you made this weekend so special! Thank you for everything, and for being my friend! You are my inspiration! Love you girl!!

Thank you to all of the #Runnerslove ladies, you are an amazing group of women to call friends! I love you all so much and cannot wait for our next meet-up (where ever that may be!! J)


Dancing to the Finish Line said...

During Wine & Dine, I think I overdid it on electrolytes....and I had the worst stomach pains so I definitely know how that feels! Kudos to you for sticking it out and finishing the race...after hearing about it and seeing all the pictures I definitely want to put my name in for next year!

We Run Disney said...

I understand completely about the need to follow a routine pre race. Missing my banana and English muffin with peanut butter would make me crazy. Great job for gutting out the race and by the way, your race outfits were adorable with the pearls. Love the pearls!

Kristine Barnes said...

Sam, yes! It is definitely a great race and one that should be on your race bucket list!!

We Run Disney, it was definitely a wake up call for me that I need to plan better and take better care of myself pre-race!

We had a great time with the pearls (although they got annoying around mile 10!). So many people yelled out to us "love your pearls!" It was really fun! I think we were 2 of 4 people who wore a "costume"!

Lauren said...

Kristy, way to push through the race!! Running through that kind of pain is not easy at all, you are very strong!! Great job!

I love all your photos, and that is so awesome you and Meg finished the race holding hands! Y'all's outfits are adorable too!!

Kristine Barnes said...

Thanks Lauren! It was such a fun race, even though I was feeling awful, I was having the time of my life!! Such a blast running with Meg and Carolyn!! :)