Nike Women’s Half Marathon DC: Here I Come!

My first goal race of 2013 is the Nike Women’s half marathon in Washington D.C., and I cannot wait! Monday marked the start of my official training plan. I kicked things off with a cross training and strength training day before hitting the hills this morning. I’ve decided to follow the Hal Higdon advanced half marathon plan, but am switching the Monday and Wednesday runs to cross training days. As much as I want to get back to running six days a week, I’m not sure I’m ready for that yet and don’t want to overdo things again this year only to end up re-injured.

I’m a bit annoyed at myself for paying 100 bucks more for this race than my last full marathon (this was $160), but sometimes the experience is worth the cost and I’m hoping that’s the case with this one. It’s the inaugural race in D.C., so I’m excited to be a part of it. I love that Nike partners with Team in Training – an awesome organization that supports the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and also the group I ran my first marathon with. Another bonus…instead of a medal when you cross the finish line, you’re given a little blue box with a Tiffany’s necklace in it!

I ran the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco way back in 2005. I’m not sure why, but I remember less about this race than any other marathon I’ve done, but I do recall it being pretty well organized and a fun event. It was marathon number two for me and I’ve come a long ways since then. I had so much energy in college that I could go out and run a marathon without really training (just very slowly), and I also didn’t really know the right ways to train for a race. I had a basic 3-day-a-week and one long weekend run plan that I kind of, sort of followed as the semester got busier. Unfortunately, it was usually the long runs that I didn’t always fit in.

Race nutrition wasn’t something I’d even heard about. I thought people eating along the course needed to suck it up. I mean going 4 to 5 hours without food shouldn’t be that difficult, right? Oh, I had so much to learn. I’m fairly certain my pre-race meal the night before was at a bar where I had a grilled cheese sandwich and a Miller Lite. OK, it was two Miller Lites. What was I thinking?!

Needless to say, I will be A LOT more prepared for the Nike Half. I learn more with each race I do and can’t wait to put my latest knowledge into action as I take on this course. I love racing in my own backyard and that’s what this course feels like. I know and have repeatedly run every inch of it, which I think will be a huge benefit come race day. We’ll get some awesome views of the monuments along the Mall, do an over and back on Memorial Bridge, pass by the Kennedy Center, brave Hains Point and finish up on Pennsylvania Ave not too far from the White House. I’ll also get to do a dress rehearsal a few weeks earlier at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler which follows a similar course.

My goal for the race is 1:38:15, which would be a 5-minute PR and a 7:30 pace. I’m going to have to really kick it up a notch in my training to get back to running at that pace and be able to sustain it for that long. My fastest pace for a longer distance race to date is 7:40, but that was also “only” a 10 miler, so it’s an ambitious goal, but one I think I can reach if I prep right. I also know a whole bunch of people who are also running this race, which makes it even more fun.

Let me know if you’re running the DC Nike Half as well and what your goal is for the race – can’t wait to see everyone out there on April 28!