Race morning started with a 5:00 am wake up call. I quickly got dressed, grabbed all my gear and then was on my way to the metro by 5:20. I ate a bagel on the short metro ride over to the race start. I was so worried about getting stuck in the long lines getting off the metro that I ended up getting to the start area by 5:50. Once at the race start I headed over to the incredible VIP tent. I spent some time getting ready before I headed out for a rather unsuccessful warm up.
I didn't want to run too far so that I didn't get lost but staying close to the start just ended up with me trying to unsuccessfully navigate some really crowded sidewalks. I ran for about 10 minutes before heading back to the VIP tent to get in some stretching and go to the bathroom one last time before heading over to the corrals around 6:45. The corrals were insanely crowded and I had to hop a fence just to get in because the line was so long.
The race started right on time and around 7:04 I was crossing the start line. I quickly realized just how crowded this race was. I felt like I was walking and couldn't get around anyone. For the first mile I ran whatever pace everyone around me was going and tried to avoid weaving. I thought after the first mile the crowds would start thinning out but part way through mile 2 when things were just as bad I knew I needed to get moving if I was going to meet my goal.
Around miles 7-8 I started to get a tiny bit tired but nothing too bad. I really tried to hold my pace and focus on running consistent miles. I knew there was a hill coming up around miles 9-10 so I wanted to save some energy for that and my last 5K. I remember doing so much math in my head at this point trying to figure out if I was going to be able to break 1:50. Not being very good at math I thought I had no chance.
I don't remember what happened or what I thought in each mile at this point because the scenery was all the same but I remember growing more tired and my hip that's been bothering me started to get really cranky. The hill at mile 10 was really not much of a hill at all but it was a welcome change from the flat or slight downhill of the rest of the course. I tried to pick it up as much as possible but I was really hurting.
I realized around mile 11? that I hadn't taken the last 2 of my shot bloks. When I went to get them out of my pocket I ended up dropping them. I debated whether or not to go back and grab them but ultimately decided against it. The last two miles were a fight both mentally and physically. I wanted so badly to be finished. When I could finally see the finish line I started to sprint but then realized that the finish line wasn't as close as I thought.
The last maybe half mile or so was slightly downhill and I knew it was time to go. I remember screaming at one point because my hip hurt so badly. I don't know distance wise how close I was to the finish line, but I looked down at my watch and saw 1:47:XX. I knew I was going to be very close to 1:50. If I had any chance of going under 1:50 I needed to move.
From that point on I ran with all I had left while keeping a close eye on my watch. With maybe 10 yards to go I knew I was either going to be just under 1:50 or a few seconds over. I also knew I would by bummed if I missed going under 1:50 by so little. I crossed the finish line and stopped my watch. I think my heart might have stopped also. I looked down at my watch not knowing if I had done it or not.
I almost started crying I was so happy. For more than 12 out of those 13 miles I didn't think I had it in me to go under 1:50. I had dreamed about seeing 1:49 when I crossed the finish line during training but I really didn't know if it was too ambitious of a goal. All those times that I fought during training and told myself it was for the 1:49 were worth it.
Official time 1:49:59
Avg pace 8:23
Splits: 9:21, 8:29, 8:22, 8:14, 8:13, 8:04, 8:07, 8:04, 8:10, 8:19, 9:12, 7:32, 8:00, 1:50 (.25-7:18 pace)
(miles 11-12 got messed up because of the tunnel)
As soon as I stopped running my hips started cramping up. I hobbled to get some water and almost forgot about the little blue box waiting for me. I wandered around the finish line still in a daze for a few minutes before getting my finishers shirt and then heading over to the VIP tent and meeting up with my parents.
One of the first people I saw when I went into the VIP tent was Shalane Flanagan. I got some more water, stretched out and finally got to talk with my parents. They were amazing and walked all over DC to see me along the course. We sat down for a bit and then went to see Shalane Flanagan and Joan Benoit Samuelson speak before heading back to our hotel.
Who else ran the Nike Women's Half Marathon this weekend?