April 28, 2014

Race Recap: Nike Women's Half Marathon DC

Going into this race, I was a huge ball of nerves. All I wanted out of this race was to run...start to finish...with no knee pain. I didn't care if it took me 3 hours. I just wanted to have a good race.

I knew it wasn't going to be my fastest time, or even close to it. I just wanted to feel good and finish strong.

The race started at 7am. I got there around 6:25 and walked around for a little while. They had tents of Nuun and I grabbed some before making my way over to the corrals.

I had an 8:00-8:59 pace bracelet. I knew I wouldn't running that so I lined up a little bit further back, I think somewhere with the 9:00-10:30 group. The corrals were chaos but once the race got underway, it thinned out and stayed pretty thin through the Finish.

This was my 11th half marathon and in every one of them, I've had with me my Garmin, my headphones and a handheld water bottle.

Going into this race, I didn't bring any of those things. I just wanted to take my time, stop at the aid stations, focus, and pay attention to anything my body was trying to tell me.

The first mile came up quickly. It was great. It was an absolutely gorgeous DC morning and I loved running alongside the Capitol.

My knee was a little bit twingy in the first couple of miles, but for the most part I felt ok. I had a horrible stomach cramp that lingered through almost the whole race.

I made a quick pit stop at Mile 4 and then moved on. I felt like the race was going really quickly as we made our way up and on to the Memorial Bridge. We came off the Bridge and went down the Rock Creek Parkway for a quick turn around. We hit the 10k and I realized that I was feeling good...really good. I knew that this would be a long stretch to the tip of Hain's Point and this was the part of the race I was most worried about but I was feeling great. I had a smile on my face as we came across the steps behind the Lincoln Memorial and I was really excited about how I was feeling.

No knee pain, my stomach cramp had dulled and we were coming up on Hain's Point, which is where I first hurt my knee last Fall. I was ready for my Hain's Point redemption and this was about to be it.

I knew The Pilot would be at Mile 8 and I was so excited to see him and tell him how great I was feeling. Somehow, we missed each other and I made my way forward. Then somewhere between Mile 8 and the 15k mark, my knee gave. It was the exact same pain I had 6 months ago. I pulled over and stretched out for a bit, massaged my knee, tried to get it moving again and started running again. I felt ok, but every couple of steps, the pain would come shooting back.

By Mile 10, I had to start walking. It hurt too much to run. I tried run/walking frIom 10-11 but it was hurting more and more to run and by the time I got to 12, it hurt even to walk. I wasn't about to quit at this point in the race but I was devastated. As we came under the bridge at L'Enfant Plaza, I started crying. I was so upset that this was happening. I didn't care that I was walking, I didn't care about my time or that I was moving slow, but it devastated me that this was happening.

Shortly passed Mile 12, my knee buckled. I almost fell over. I just kind of stopped in the middle of the road not knowing what to do. I tried to keep moving and two girls came over to me, told me I was going to be fine, that I could do it. One of them was having really bad foot pain. We chatted for a little bit and then, we could literally see light at the end of the tunnel with a wall of screaming spectators and a giant TV screen showing the race. One of the girls said, "There it is, that's the finish! Keep going!" So, I started to run. It hurt. Horribly. Every step I took was sending shooting pains through my knee. I wanted to stop, but I couldn't, I was so close. I saw my friends just before the turn off to the Finish and I pushed on. At this point, I was biting my lip because it hurt so bad. I saw the Finish and while, sprinting wasn't an option, I just pushed as hard as I could until I crossed.

I have to say, the Finish Line was spectacular. Aside from the men in suits with tray's of Tiffany's necklaces (the biggest draw of the race), they had a Refresher station complete with yoga mats, foam rollers, trainers to help you stretch, a phone charging station, mirrors, dry shampoo, lip gloss and face wipes. Yes, this race was expensive, but the amount of detail that went into this race was unparalleled and went above and beyond. I was definitely impressed and would definitely run this race again...if for no other reason than redemption.

I finished in 2:25:55. It was under the 2:30 that I thought I was generously hoping for. According to my splits, I was running a 10:14 pace to the 5k and a 10:07 to the 10k. Maybe I should have worn my Garmin because in all of my training runs, I've been averaging about a 10:30 and I wonder if I just went out too fast.

I'm crushed. This race went exactly the way I feared it would. I don't care about my time or pace. I'm happy that I finished but I wanted this to be my comeback race. I wanted to cross that Finish Line with a smile on my face and finally feel like I'm back. I just signed up for another half in 4 weeks. Now, I feel like I'm back where I started. Am I going to be out for another 6 months now?

I haven't had knee pain like this in 7 months. I took 5 months completely off, spent 3 1/2 months in PT, and did everything I could to come back the smart way. I ran my long runs of 6, 8 and 11 miles and felt good or great through all of them. So what the hell happened?

I have no idea what's next after this. Obviously a lot of rest/icing/anti-inflammatories this week. Probably a trip to the PT, possibly a trip to the doctor.

So there it is. That's how the race went. I've said before not to call it a come back. I guess I was being smart. 


  1. Wait! You had me at Tiffanys necklaces! haha
    So glad you were able to make it through and listened to your body! DOesn't matter how you finished!

  2. BUT YOU MADE IT AND I'M SUPER PROUD OF YOU. And next year can be our official redemption. We've got this.

  3. BUT YOU FINISHED AND I'M SO SUPER PROUD OF YOU!! Next year can be our redemption run. We got this.

  4. Gah!! I'm so sorry, Christy!!! I'm hoping and praying for you that it's a quick fix and not another 6 months! I can't even imagine how you are feeling. :( Rest up and try to stay positive, I'll be thinking of you!

  5. Gah!! I'm so sorry, Christy!!! I'm hoping and praying for you that it's a quick fix and not another 6 months! I can't even imagine how you are feeling. :( Rest up and try to stay positive, I'll be thinking of you!

  6. Congrats on finishing, but I'm so sorry about the heartbreak of your knee. Being injured is difficult, especially when you have done everything right! Hopefully a doctor will be able to figure out what is wrong :/

  7. oh no, I was thinking about you yesterday and was hoping you would feel good. It seems PT helped to make it feel better temporarily, but the root issue was not found. I hope a new doc can figure it out. hugs!

  8. That is so discouraging. I feel your pain. You've done what you should and it didn't work. If only there was a magic ball to tell you what would work.

  9. Ditto what Jen said! Also, the necklaces are sooo much prettier this year!

  10. I'm sorry my love. But, you finished. I'm so sorry. I'm proud of you for hanging with it, even in pain!

  11. So happy you finished and I'm sorry your knee has been bothering you again. That race is definitely on my bucket list. I hope your knee feels better soon!

  12. I was thinking about you during the race! I'm sorry your knee gave out but I give you major props for finishing it! xo

  13. I started to tear up at the end while reading this--I'm so sorry you were in such pain :( But, even with the walking and stopping, I think your time is really great!! I didn't even do that with my first half last year, so I am completely in awe of you!!! Just take it one day at a time now. You *will* get better, I know it!!!!

    So, basically, you have to get better so we can run this together next year because I want that necklace :-P

  14. Just read this and have to say, I'm proud of you for completing the race!


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