Around The Bay 30k

 

This is a must-do race if you have never ran it before! All the cool kids run it! Hamilton’s Around the Bay Road Race is the oldest on the continent, first run in 1894, three years before the Boston Marathon. I feel like it’s a huge run party since I always see so many familiar faces. It’s a great kick-off race for the 2015 season. One of the great things about this race is that the finish is inside Copps Coliseum (now renamed to First Ontario Centre – but I will always call it Copps).

I had planned to run this race as an easy training run. With my first marathon scheduled two weeks after, I could not risk getting injured. I started off at an easy pace and enjoyed the scenery and crowd along the way. If you’ve ever ran this race before, you would know that there isn’t much to see in Hamilton¬†and the first 20k of the race was pretty boring. Things got a bit more exciting and challenging as we ran through the rolling hills of North Shore Blvd. The finish inside the Copps Coliseum is the best part as people are cheering you on and you can look up and see all the spectators. I had a goal time of finishing before 3 hours and 30 minutes and my official time was 3:16:26! Woo-hoo! Not bad for a long easy pace run. ūüôā

Race Registration:

I had registered for this race back in the Fall. This race always sells out so I like to sign up early. I paid $85.32 CAD after taxes for this race.

*Interesting Fact: this was the first year in several years that the ATB 30k race was not sold out. This is possibly due to an extremely cold Winter we had; or that the famous Valley Inn Hill of the ATB route was closed due to construction.

Race Expo:

One of the best race expos in terms of logistics. The Copps Coliseum is a big stadium. If you’ve ever been to any stadiums before, you would know that it is a big circle. You enter at the main entrance and walk in a big circle to all the vendors before you get to the race kit pick up area. I love this idea because all the vendors are in a circle [not various isles], therefore you don’t miss any of them.

Race Kit:ATB1

We were¬†given a bib with timing chip and a race specific long sleeve shirt. I did this race last year and also received a bonus cap since it was the race’s 120th anniversary. Unfortunately, there was no cap this year. ūüė¶ I like the idea of your bib and timing chip and shirt instead of a bag filled with race flyers that you eventually throw out anyway.

Parking:

There was no traffic driving into Hamilton and there were plenty of parking lots and parking on the side streets. I ended up parking at a small park about a 15-20 min walk to the starting line. The weather was nice so I didn’t mind walking to the start. It provided a nice warm up run too.

Pre-Race:

I love¬†race venues with buildings or some sort of shelter you can stay in before the race. The Coliseum is a perfect example as lots of people were meeting up with friends or just staying inside to keep warm. You can use real¬†toilets instead of using the porta potties. It’s also a great place because spectators can sit and wait for their family/friends to finish without having to stand around for hours.

Race Course:

The first 20km of the race is a fairly flat scenic route through Hamilton. The last 10k had rolling hills through North Shore Blvd. The change to the course this year was the removal of Valley Inn Hill due to construction.  Instead, we continued on Plains Rd.  and turned on York Blvd. The finish inside Copps Coliseum is the best part of the race. It feels nice to finish in a stadium with your friends, family and other spectators cheering you on.

Water/Aid Stations:

There were water/Gatorade stations approximately every 5km along the course. I wore my CamelBak filled with water for this race so I only had to stop at a few stations along the way to replenish my electrolytes with Gatorade.

Volunteers:

There were a lot of volunteers at the water stations along the course and a few paramedics along the route. They were all very friendly and was cheering everyone on.

Spectators:ATB2

The areas with the biggest spectator viewing is at the start/finish line and whenever the relay runners change over (10km, 15km, 20km). Other than that, the first 20km is actually quite boring with not a lot of spectator support. When you start heading back towards Copps on York Blvd (after you encounter the Grim Reaper), is where the amount of spectators increase. I was so happy to see my Tribe Fitness family cheering me on and telling me to “catch the pace bunny” in front of me. I did catch her and even PASSED her! It was also nice to see other Toronto run crews out supporting the runners as well – Night Terrors Run Crew and Parkdale Road Runners were all in attendance. Parkdale had a HUGE cheer squad and they definitely pushed me to speed up during that last 500 meters or so. So much support – I love the Toronto running community. #crewlove

Post-Race:

As soon as I finished inside the Coliseum, I could see some of my friends sitting in the bleachers. I headed to the finish area where we were given bananas, water, pita bread, etc. and a bag to put it all in. I think every race should give you bags at the end to put all your goodies in; so much easier to carry than carrying everything in your hand. I lined up to take a photo post race and started my way up to the bleachers to meet my friends and the rest of the Tribe. It was nice to finish a race and be inside instead of in the cold and get to sit down. We sat in the bleachers cheering on the rest of the Tribe until everyone finished.

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Would I Run It Again:

Absolutely! I would love to come back next year and try for a PB. Hopefully I won’t have a marathon to get ready for so that I can really push myself. I don’t even mind training throughout the winter to get ready. We had a really cold winter, but having a race such as Around the Bay and a marathon in the early Spring is a really good motivator to get out and train in the freezing cold.¬†I am not looking forward to running in extreme cold weather alerts or running with frozen eyelashes again; but I know I will have to if I want to PB this race next year.

Run Brag: March was also the highest mileage month I’ve ever ran. I finished with 207.85 km! I’m surprised at how much I ran and pretty impressed that I was able to get those mileage in and still feel great¬†and not injured. I am definitely thankful to be living a life in which I am able to do things that I love. ‚̧

ATB4

May Total Mileage

GetStronger

I know I have not made a blog post in a while…but sometimes, life get busy ūüôā

Actually, I came back from my amazing European vacation and have been busy with races and catching up with the real world.

I also haven’t trained much since my Paris Marathon. My training was the actual races I run every weekend. lol. Even though I haven’t had many training runs until the last week of May, I still feel great. I did my first trail run (race review to follow) and am slowing increasing my mileage again.

My total mileage for May is 120.29 km. That’s still quite a bit (mainly races), so I am happy with that number. I can’t wait to increase both my mileage and endurance and train for the Spartan Ultra Beast in August and the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon¬†in October!

I’ve got a lot of race reviews to catch you all up on so they’ll be coming soon! Sorry for the delay. My longest race streak so far is seven weeks! ūüôā

Polar Rush

 

I completed my first obstacle course race of 2015 and my first obstacle race in the snow on Saturday, March 21st at the inaugural Polar Rush. Polar rush is a winter obstacle challenge consisting of 5km and 12+ obstacles at Horseshoe Resort in support of the SickKids Foundation.

Even though it is a winter obstacle race, the¬†race happened on the first day of Spring. The weather wasn’t as cold and there were still a lot of snow on the ground. During the race, it started to rain and snowed a bit but it made the race super fun. I kept running to stay warm and my toes didn’t start to feel cold until the end of the race.

Race Registration:

I had been wanting to register for this race since I first read about it in early January. However, it is a bit steep for an inaugural 5k obstacle race. Good thing I held off and ended up getting a free race entry from a friend who could no longer make it. Registration cost was $50+ depending on when you sign up for it. The cost¬†includes a¬†finisher’s medal, a t-shirt and a winter toque.

Race Expo:

There was no race expo for this race. We picked up our race kits a few hours before the actual race at Horseshoe Resort.

Race Kit:

Our kit was a plastic bag full of race flyers, Impact Magazine, Centrum multivitamin sample, a bib, t-shirt and toque for the race. Obstacle course races don’t usually hand out anything at the start of a race other than a timing chip and a bib or headband. You usually get the finisher’s t-shirt at the end, when you actually cross the finish line. You are usually muddy and dirty by the time you finish, and therefore your finisher’s shirt will get dirty; so I didn’t mind getting the finisher’s shirt beforehand.

Parking:

Parking was free at Horeshoe Resort and there were lots of parking available. The parking was on site, so that was a good thing. We left our change of clothes in the car nearby so we can change into. Thank goodness there were no shuttle buses to wait for because you are cold by the end of the race. There were lockers available for a fee but it was easier and more budget friendly to leave things in the car.

Pre-Race:

There was a bonfire at the start/finish area to keep you warm. The weather was a bit chilly at the start but once you got warmed up and moving, it was perfect. My good friend Jesse Bruce from Alpha Obstacle Training led the pre-race warm up for the Elite Heat which started at 10:00 am. I was registered for the Elite Heat, but I saw my friend Johanna and she was running by herself (her friend wanted to catch the 10:00 elite wave), so Cliff and I decided to join her at 10:30 and do a slow fun run.

PR1 PR2

Race Course:

The 5km course was a beautiful trail run through Horseshoe Resort. It was fairly flat with a few inclines and a couple of steep areas where I had to sit on my butt and slide down to avoid falling. The obstacles were fairly easy, the walls weren’t too high and the terrain made for a great challenge as well.¬†My favourite obstacles were the Crazy Carpet (actually magic carpets to slide down the hill) and the Tube Run. My friends and I had so much fun at the Crazy Carpet that we decided to walk back up the mountain [good hill train ;)] with our carpets and slide back down again. The first time we slid down on our tummy, face first, the second time we sat upright. The tubing was also fun as well. I have never gone tubing before so that was my first experience. My friends and I held onto each other’s tubes and slide down together. SO FUN! The two obstacles brought me back to my childhood days, just enjoying the snow. Now I really want to go tubing and get a magic carpet to slide down some hills next winter!

Water/Aid Stations:

There was one water station on the course midway which had water and electrylotes.

PR5

Volunteers:

There was one volunteer at the Spiral of Death, one at the water station, a couple at the Rope Rush (climbing up a hill using a rope Рprobably the hardest of all the obstacles and it had an easy or hard route), a couple volunteers at the Crazy Carpet and some more at the Tube Run. It was a small race so the amount of volunteers were adequate and nicely spaced out at the obstacles which required instructions and assistance.

Spectators:

There were spectators by the festival area (start/finish) of the race.¬†The finish area was quite small and off to the side so there wasn’t room for many spectators.

Post-Race:

As soon as my friends and I crossed the finish line, we were greeted with medals by our good friend, Becky. It was so good to see her at the end! We received our medals and got our photo taken by the professional photographer. There was hot chocolate and maple taffy at the finish. I have never had maple taffy before, it was quite good. We started in a later heat and it took us about one hour to finish; so by the end we finished the race, we were just in time to catch the Elite awards ceremony. I stayed for a couple of the age category awards, but I got so cold that I had to go to the car and get some warm clothes to change into.

PR4

PR3

Would I Run It Again:

Absolutely! It was so much fun running through the trails at Horseshoe Resort in the winter. The natural terrain and snow made for great cross training. I had a blast with all my friends and fellow Alpha Obstacle Training crew. The weather was perfect, even though it was cold when you finished the race. Our winter weather can be so unpredictable though, so next year’s race could be either freezing cold or mild like this¬†one. The obstacle were easy and so much fun. This is a great obstacle race for beginners, families and groups. I can’t wait to do it again next year and hopefully get some more friends to join me.

 

 PR6

 

Harry’s Spring Run-Off and Spartan Race Discount Code

Discount

 

Love race discounts? Well I’ve¬†got two discount codes for you today! Well.. one should have been posted yesterday, but life gets hectic sometimes. ūüôā

 

1.¬†Canada Running Series Harry’s Spring Run-Off¬†5k or 8k

Discount code: ‘NGUYEN‘ ¬†to register for $40 registration ($10 off the current registration price).

Enter the code in the ‚ÄúDiscount Code‚ÄĚ box when you sign up at: https://secure.eventsonline.ca/reg/crs/

Until midnight tonight only. Was extended from initial 24 hours due to registration problems. (I know, I should have posted this yesterday, but no time, I swear) ūüė¶

Harrys

 

2. Spartan Race Eastern Canada 

Discount code: ‘winter68‘ for 20%¬†off any Eastern Canada Spartan Race

From now until March 24th at 23:59 EST. (You have two weeks for this one) ūüôā

SR

Building Community Through Running

Maraboli

Three years ago, Canada Running Series¬†introduced a new ambassador program called the Digital Champions. Their goal was to build an online community of support for runners as they trained for the¬†Toronto Yonge Street 10k¬†and the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I am honoured to have been a part of the Digital Champions team. I have witnessed the growth of the running community in Toronto – from Running Room groups to the vast running crews we now have. I used to run by myself around my neighborhood; now I can always find someone to run with. It’s more motivating when you have someone to run with, especially when it’s cold out or when you need to get a long training run in. The Toronto running community is such an inspiring community of runners both online and off and you can always find someone or¬†some crew¬†running on any day of the week.

Through running, I¬†have met so many wonderful runners, who have become some of my closest friends. They have become my run buddies, my role model and my inspiration. I have¬†also grown to be a better runner. I have learned everything from which gels and chews to take to what kind of stretches I should be doing and clothes I should be wearing. Gone are the days of wearing regular Nike’s (not even the running ones) and cotton everything. Much is learned through my personal trial and error; but a lot is learned from my fellow runners.

The running community also challenges me. I am continuously learning and setting new challenges and goals for myself. Seeing, hearing and reading about everyone’s training for their various goal races inspires me to keep training to excel in mine. It motivates me to try new races and new distances. Perhaps a triathlon or an ultramarathon one day…? ūüôā

I am excited and honoured to announce that I am now a Canada Running Series Community Leader! Alongside 11 other ultra inspiring runners and friends of mine, we will be year-round ambassadors of Canada Running Series. We will be out in the community all year long, sharing the CRS mission of “building community through running” and hoping to continue to¬†inspire other runners. Catch us at the CRS races in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver; and connect with us anytime online via social media.

Check out all the Canada Running Series Community Leaders here and a more detailed bio of everyone here.

The running community has inspired me so much and I hope¬†that be living the best version of myself, that I can pay it forward and inspire others to live the best versions of themselves. ‚̧ xo. LN

InspirePeople InspireOthers

 

Training For My First Marathon: 6 Week Countdown

GetStronger

With the prospect of completing my first marathon looming around the corner; ¬†I decided to write a weekly recap of my training and my road to STWM. Not for others to follow, but for myself. So that I can look back and see how far I’ve gotten, how much I’ve grown and how strong I’ve become, both as a runner and person.

Six weeks to go¬†and I am getting excited and nervous. I’ve had so many positive encouragement and feedback ever since I wrote about my¬†confessions¬†of running my first marathon. From family to friends and¬†other runners that¬†I don’t know or will ever have the pleasure of knowing or meeting other than on social media. I just wanted to say THANK YOU! Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and thank you for following me along on this new quest of mine.

With a lot of hard work, commitment and dedication, I cannot wait to finally be able to change my title to MARATHONER.

Weekly Training Recap: Monday, September 1st РSunday, September 7th, 2014. 

MoIMG_20140902_154217nday, September 1st

Thankfully it was a long weekend because I did not have time to do a long run on the weekend. I spent my Labour Day running the Culham Trail of Mississauga. It included hills, trails, gravel and some road. It was nice to explore new trails and push myself to achieve those extra kilometers in my training. I knew that if I did not run more than 30km, I would be behind in my training. This run was a difficult one. Especially since it was a sunny and humid day and running for a few hours in the heat was not how I would normally spend my holiday day off. I guess priorities change as my focus and goals change.

Tuesday, September 2nd

REST DAY (31km was the longest I’ve ever ran, so I figured I needed a rest day to recover)

Wednesday, September 3rd

Cross training and obstacle training day.IMG_20140903_214151

Not only am I training for my first marathon; but I am also training for the Spartan Race World Championship in Killington, Vermont on Saturday, September 20th! It will be my first time participating in a U.S. Spartan Race and it will be alongside some of the Elites from all over the world. I can’t wait!! More to come on the World Championship in a separate blog.

 I do my obstacle training at Alpha Obstacle Training in Toronto.

Thursday, September 4th

IMG_20140905_070502I¬†run with the¬†Night Terrors¬†Run Crew (NTRC) on Thursdays for a #doubledigitsthursday long run. A few of us did a pre run before the official run with the rest of the crew.¬†It was a special run as it was the Night Terrors Run Crew LA’s 1 year anniversary. We had a surprise route that mapped out¬†the shape of the word LA. It was pretty neat. After the run, I ran a little over 2km back to the subway station to go home. Running a half marathon and then some on a weeknight feels amazing. I can already tell I’m becoming a stronger runner. Training for a half marathon before¬†seemed really hard; now I am doing them on weeknights!

Friday, September 5th

REST DAY

Saturday, September 6th

IMG_20140906_162337Alpha Obstacle Training organizes an in house race once a month and Saturday was the Alpha OCR Series #7. I ran the¬†race with my OCR team P4ID. It was a lot of fun and a good OCR fix since the Spartan Race Eastern Canada season ended in July. It’s not hilly compared to a Spartan Race, but it was a good challenge and my ideal way¬†to spend a Saturday morning; climbing monkey bars, flipping over cargo nets, climbing ropes and walls, flipping tires and lots more fun obstacles.

Sunday, September 7th

I try to get one long run in on the weekend and it’s usually on Saturday with my Tribe Fitness; but when I have a race, I run on Sunday with NTRC. Our goal for Sunday was 36km. We ended up beasting 38km and it was my longest run ever!¬†Since training for STWM, every week has been my longest run ever. We ran through trails, road and along the Lakeshore. It was an awesome route and a hot day. By the end of the run, I was feeling the humidity. We picked up the pace the last 2km because at that point, I just wanted the run to be over with. I was hot, tired and hungry. Surprisingly when the run was over, other than feeling hungry, tired and a little sore; my legs felt okay. I was not in pain like during the early days of my long runs and training. With every run, I get stronger. Both physically and mentally.

This week capped of my highest mileage week EVER for me! 105km in 6 days and I feel fantastic!! I won one of my Nike Running challenges of 100km in a month. I have been running over 100km every month since January 2014; but never would I imagine I would run over 100km in a week! This was definitely a milestone week for me. I don’t know if I can run over 100km in a week regularly, or even again; but I do know that I am becoming a stronger runner and that I am ready to crush my first full marathon! ūüôā

IMG_20140907_171711

This was one of our picture¬†points and our view on Sunday’s long run. Toronto! My city! What a beautiful view. ūüôā

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Nike Women’s Half Marathon – Washington D.C.

DC

In November 2013, I entered the lottery to run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon with some of my friends. I was ecstatic when we were selected in December to run the race. It would be my second half marathon and my first big race outside of Canada. This was also a week after my big milestone birthday; so what better way to celebrate, than running a half marathon and getting a Tiffany necklace at the end! This was¬†my main reason¬†to register. A¬†finisher medal in the form of a Tiffany necklace. What girl does not like Tiffany!? ūüôā

Race Registration:

In November, you had to enter into a lottery as¬†either an individual, with a team (max 10/team) or as a college student. I started a team and sent the team¬†link to my friends to join.¬†Although the¬†race name is Nike Women’s Half Marathon, guys could enter as well. I had two guys on my team who¬†I ran the race with. A credit card was required during the registration process but would only be charged if you were one of the 15,000 runners selected. We received our¬†acceptance email in early December. It was an¬†awesome early¬†Holiday gift!

The cost was $175 USD to enter. After conversion, it was almost $200 CAD. I guess that would be an accurate price for some Tiffany bling.

Race Expo:

The flight to D.C. was full of women who were participating in the Half Marathon. I didn’t realize there were some many from Toronto going to the race. I travelled with a friend and as soon as we landed and dropped our luggage off at the hotel, we made our way to the expo. At the ‘Expotique’, we picked up our bib and T-shirt. We met up with two of my friends and team members and took a group photo by the ‘We Run’ sign. The expo wasn’t the same as the expos we have in Toronto. For Toronto race expos, we have various vendors¬†in which you can purchase running related items, sample some fuel or protein/energy bars or learn about other races being offered. In D.C, the expo had no vendors. It was in a tent. You can get your gait analyzed and check out the Nike shoes. There was a¬†station where you can sample stuff like Luna bars and a Nuun station for electrolytes.¬†You can¬†wait in¬†line to get¬†your hair done by one of the hair stylists there. The only line¬†I waited in was to get a custom¬†cheer sign made. You¬†select one of the templates/phrases and can customize the wording at top.¬†After a¬†quick walk around of the expo, we headed to the Nike Georgetown store. This was where you would be able to purchase¬†exclusive Nike merchandise designed for the D.C. Half Marathon. The women’s had a selection of items to choose from while the men’s only had an exclusive T-shirt. On the way to the Nike store, we passed by the famous¬†wall displaying all the participants name. I eventually found my name and took a picture beside it. It was cool that Nike Women’s Runs have this wall at all their races.

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Race Kit:

The kit included a chip timed bib, a technical T-shirt and a wrist band of your corral colour. They had women’s shirts or unisex shirts. No men’s specific.

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Parking:

Our hotel was about a 10 minute walk from the start/finish area. So it was a nice and short walk. Although, the morning walk was pretty cold.

Pre-Race:

This was my first big American race, and boy was it big. The corrals were very spaced out with the break being a whole intersection wide. I wasn’t used to seeing such a huge gap between corrals, but it was nice because you had more room to walk. Upon entering, there was someone there to check your wristbands and make sure you were wearing one and were in the correct corral. The corrals were very spaced out and I did not feel cramped like most races here in Toronto. Washington streets are also very wide. For the pre-race, there was a DJ and speakers along the sides so you could hear the music all the way in the last corral. I actually heard the music before I even got to the start area. I really enjoyed the pre-race because not only was the music so loud at 6am in the morning, but it got you pumped up for the race. Most races here, I can barely hear the announcer if I am in the later corrals. There were some Nike Training Club members leading stretches and you could hear them over the speakers. This is one of my favourite pre-race so far.

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Race Course:

The 13.1 mile race course ran along most of the Washington monuments. From The White House, to the Monument and various Memorials, to the University and along the waterfront. It was such a scenic and beautiful course. My friends and I decided to run the race slow and enjoy the views. There were many school bands and cheerleaders along the course as well. There was even an announcer and a photographer at the ‘finish line’ arc around the 10th mile or so announcing your name and taking your picture as you ran through. I thought this was really neat because I’ve only heard them announce names at the finish line, not during a race. It was fun and gives you that little push of motivation. What was different and fun about this race was that they actually had DJ stations – there was a pole that said DJ and all! With the bands and DJ’s along the route, it was basically a big party that stretched 13.1 miles.

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Water/Aid Stations:

What I really loved about this race was that there was a water station and porta-potty every 2 miles. Since I knew I was going to be running slow and taking advantage of all the water stations, I did not even run with my water belt. This was my first long run ever without a water belt. It honestly felt great and light. Maybe it even made me run faster..? ūüôā We stopped at all the water stations. There was also an orange station with buckets of sliced oranges, and my favourite – towards the end of the race (maybe 12th or 13th mile), there was a chocolate truffle station!! OMG! #mindblown. The chocolates were similar to the Lindors chocolates but these were from Whole Foods. It tasted so good and provided a nice final push. After the chocolate station, there were a few employees with handfuls of chocolates so I grabbed another one. Who can resist chocolate?! Especially at a race where you need some energy in your system. They should have a chocolate station at every race!

Volunteers:

There were plenty of volunteers at the race start/finish area and along the course. It was a well organized event. There were volunteers at the water stations and along the course handing out chocolate truffles and Oreos. Although, I’m not sure if they were volunteers or spectators.

Spectators:

There were lots of spectators throughout the entire course. I don’t think there was any point that I did not hear cheers or people screaming in the crowds. Even along the waterfront, there were spectators. One thing that was common and different than a race I’ve participated in locally, was that spectators were holding blown up faces of their family/friends who were running the race. I thought it was strange to see an oversized picture of someone’s head shot in the crowd. Then I noticed a lot more faces and figured it must be an American thing. ūüôā

Team in Training had a big presence at the race as well. What I noticed was that the coaches would all run back to run with their runners. I passed a few of them running towards me and motivating their team. It was a nice sight to see and not only did it motivate their team members, but it also gave us a push as motivation as well.

Post-Race:

Now this was my favourite part! The part I was looking forward to most – getting my Tiffany finisher’s necklace. Crossing the finish line of this race felt amazing. I felt like I was in a stadium and everyone watching and cheering me on. The roads are so wide in D.C. and they had two finishing arches side by side. Spectators were behind the fences on either side of the road but they were so far away. Comparing this race to one of our local big race – the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon – the atmosphere was the same, but you didn’t have spectators so close to you that you could touch them. At this race, you can hear them but because they were so far away, the cheers echoed through the streets and it really felt like entering a stadium. Once we crossed the finish line, there was a table with a Whole Foods paper bag that consisted of crackers and snacks; we were also given a reusable water bottle, exclusive for the event. I really liked the reusable water bottle idea because it saves them from using excess cups (I’m guilty of sometimes taking more than one cup of water at the finish line), but it was also a nice bottle that I can reuse and work out in and show off my accomplishment because it said Nike Women’s Half Marathon Washington D.C on it. We then had to get in a lineup to receive our Tiffany necklace. There were various lineups and men in suits and gloves handing you the little blue box. You could take a picture with them as well, which I did. Once passed this line, there were optional lines to get some more photos taken with more men in suits – some carrying a tray of little blue boxes. I didn’t wait in this line because it was too long and I already had my photo op with them.

The post-race tent was also my favourite!! I had never seen such a tent that included many post race activities. Upon entering, volunteers handed out Neutrogena wipes (this was an amazing idea!). There were sections with mirrors where you can freshen up and check yourself out. There was another section that had yoga mats and foam rollers where you can do some foam rolling and stretching! There were trainers to assist you as well if needed. I thought this was wonderful because it’s definitely good to foam roll after a race and I didn’t have to wait to get back to my hotel to foam roll. I would probably forget to as well. There was a line for this, but it wasn’t long so I did some post race stretching and foam rolling. It felt so amazing! Another fave is that they had charging stations! Lots of charging docks for all types of phones. Such a neat idea because my phone had minimal battery life after the run due to my Nike Running app being on and all the picture/video taking during the run. I didn’t want to wait for the charging stations though so we left the tent after the stretching.

There was another lineup after the tent and this one was for the merchandise. I decided to wait in this lineup because I wanted to purchase the exclusive finisher’s merchandise. They also had the exclusive D.C. collection in case you didn’t purchase it from the Nike Georgetown store. Once I got to a cash register, they had no more finisher’s sweaters left so I settled on a finisher’s shirt. The prices were the same as what you would pay for a Nike technical shirt. There were no finishers merchandise for guys, just the one D.C. collection shirt.

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Would I Run It Again:

I would ABSOLUTELY run this race again! It’s one of my favourites so far. I had so much fun and the experience was phenomenal. Everything from start to finish was amazing and well executed. It definitely felt like a party than a race. I had such a great time with my friends during the race and touring Washington as well. There are so many sights and monuments to see that we didn’t even fit it all in. I need to go back to see everything I missed. Perhaps for the race again or even just to visit. All the staff, volunteers, spectators and the locals were very friendly and welcoming. The streets were very wide and surprisingly clean too; something I did not expect for a city. I would run this race again but also register for the Nike San Francisco race. I can only imagine how awesome that experience would be as well since Nike Women’s Runs events are so well executed and fun to participate in. It didn’t even feel like I ran a half marathon; and those are the best kind of races. No injuries, no pain, no soreness; just having fun and enjoying the experience.

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