NWM Half DC Part 1: Leading up to the race

I’m going to cover my first half marathon experience in two parts so you don’t have to read one long blob of writing all in one sitting.  In this first post I will discuss the days and moments leading up to the race.

I left off with my last post discussing Thursday’s run club, the expo, and all the thoughts that were running through my mind.  I want to first address the expo again, because I only briefly mentioned it before.

I intentionally went earlier in the day so it wasn’t all that crowded.  I walked to it from Virginia Ave, so when I arrived to the expo at the waterfront I had a lot of trouble actually finding where the bib pick-up was.  All of the signs away from the expo said Exit to the Nike store but none down by the expo pointed towards check-in – apparently they expected everyone would arrive from the K Street side and so would see it first. Actually picking up my bib was easy though since there were no lines.  There were no assigned bibs, which was a little strange but made sense with this being the first time for the event and it not being an elite race.  The expo itself was small, mostly an extension of the Nike store really.  Luna, Nuun, Bare Minerals, and Paul Mitchell were the only other retailers present, providing samples and quick makeovers.  Based what I had heard previously about other race expos, this was a little disappointing. Although since it was my first time, it was all exciting to me so I was satisfied with just about anything.  That being said, yes I am a woman, but that does not mean that getting a makeover interests me in the days before a race. Thanks for enforcing gender stereotypes in a room full of athletes! (Sarcasm.)

On to Saturday:

Saturday was a “shakeout run” at run club. I woke up at my usual 6:30am and ate before heading out. Saturday’s run club was again more of an event than usual with Shalane Flanagan, Joan Benoit Samuelson, and Maggie Infeld gracing us with their presence. Unfortunately, this meant that we probably didn’t start running until closer to 8:30.  It was also probably our biggest group of runners participating in a run club run to date.  Maggie Infeld complimented my VFFs before the run (not really sure who she is, but it seems she was a big track athlete at Georgetown and is now training for the Olympic trials). Unintentionally, I was running towards the front of the pack, right behind our guests the whole time. It’s pretty cool to be able to say I’ve run with Shalane Flanagan and Joan Benoit!!  Once our “2 mile” run, which ended up being 1.2 miles, was over we drank the complimentary Jamba Juice smoothies and hit the expo again.  Then I headed home to get some rest and prepare for the evening ahead.

I made myself a large portion of roasted vegetables with rice as my “big” lunch. It wasn’t even that much food relative to those giant pasta dishes people try to carbo-load on, but it’s so hard for me to over-feed myself anymore.  I ate as much as I could, watched a movie, and then hit the shower.

The Ellie Goulding concert was set to start at 6pm, so I headed out around 4:45 to take the metro and catch the complimentary shuttle to the 9:30 Club. There were free snacks and water provided, which was awesome since I wouldn’t be able to have a small dinner until I got back home afterwards. The venue was not very packed since this was an invite-only concert and I’m sure some people with tickets may have chosen not to go because of the race the next day. I have to say, I was very impressed by Ellie Goulding.  Not only did she fly out in the midst of an exhausting European tour to do this concert and run the race, but she also seemed truly happy to be here and excited by the energy of all the women who were going to be racing the next day as well.  She is a great performer, very personable, quirky, and overall has both a great personality and stage presence.  She was comfortable and fun at the same time, and it didn’t hurt that her vocal abilities are extraordinary as well. I am very glad I went and don’t feel that I lost sleep or rest in any way because of it.

When I got home (closer to 8:30 than 8 because the metro wasn’t running very frequently) I prepared a little dinner for myself. I settled with a small veggie wrap and a good smoothie. It was enough to fill me and at the same time was digestible since it was so close to bed time. I had hoped to get to bed around 8 or 9 since the night before it took me like 3 hours to fall asleep and I didn’t get enough rest because of it. I think I fell asleep some time by 10 since I was very tired, although my roommate came home and turned the TV on around 11. This of course woke me up, my worst nightmare the night before a race, and I had to put the godforsaken ear plugs in to fall back asleep again.

Sunday morning I woke up at 4am and prepared myself some breakfast. Once the bread defrosted, I had a piece of toast with peanut butter and a sliced banana. Then I hijacked the blender and made myself a smoothie in my bedroom (where it was hopefully not as loud). I listened to Spotify, updated the music on my iPhone, washed my face, and got everything ready to go for the race. I made it out about 10 minutes late by 5:40 but with everything I needed and fairly stress-free. I waited for the girls at the metro and then off we went!

Check out my post tomorrow to read about the race itself ☺


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