National Women’s Half Marathon in DC: May 3-5, 2019

Social media has been the source of many fitness friends, both locally in Chicago as well as around the country. Jess Hook has been one of my running buddies for the last few years since the original VirtCHAARG days, and I was so excited when she suggested we run a destination race together. She lives in Pennsylvania, and we thought Washington DC would be a fun place. She visits frequently, but it would be my first time. There were several races to choose from, so we selected the National Women’s Half Marathon in the beginning of May. Hopefully perfect weather for a spring getaway girls’ weekend!

Friday, May 3, 2019

After a close call, I flew to Baltimore from Chicago early Friday morning. And by that, I mean that I was still in the security line at 6:50am when boarding closed at 6:55am. I refused to check my watch after that for fear of crippling anxiety attack, but after a half mile sprint through O’Hare, I was the last person on the plane at 6:54am.

I like to live life on the edge, but mostly I despise being early.

Jess picked me up from the airport and we drove another hour to DC. I was surprised that since there are so many hotels in DC, hotels are actually cheaper than even mediocre Airbnb’s. We stayed at a Hyatt right by the Capitol on the National Mall, and it worked out perfectly for the weekend.

We settled in and walked to get lunch. We ate at Farmbird… then I was still hungry because veggie, so we stopped at the Whole Foods across the street to get more food.

We walked the Mall in the hot, sunny weather. I’ve been fighting sickness for the last month in Chicago and hating every cold, dreary day, so this felt amazing.

We explored the Museum of Natural History as well as the National Archives. Seeing the Declaration of Independence was awesome, and it made me want to be back in junior high practicing all my flashcards.

For dinner, we ate at b, which was all burgers. They were out of Impossible burgers, making me shockingly hangry, but it’s okay because the fish and chips were still good. At this rate, it would definitely be a fishy weekend.

After dinner, we walked to Milkbar. The ice cream is flavored to taste like the leftover milk from cereal. So. Good. I wish I could’ve tried the rest of the desserts, but I shall be back.

We walked back to our hotel, and after spending at least an hour decompressing with our social media scrolls, we realized our shower was broken! It took another hour for someone to fix it, and suddenly our early night was not so early. By that point, we passed out.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

I forget it’s possible for me to sleep in with blackout curtains, and it’s awesome. I ran a couple miles around the Mall to shakeout before the race and Jess walked. We showered and ate brunch at Busboys & Poet. I would love to see this place on a weeknight with an event. They seem to be incredibly woke and all about a culturally collaborative space. Love it, and the sweet potato pancakes were da bomb.

We picked up our bibs from Pacers and walked over to Sugar Shack for donuts. This blueberry cake was possibly the best of this kind I’ve ever had, and that’s generally my favorite donut. I don’t say that lightly (but I still haven’t forgotten my Miami donut — still the reigning champ).

We dropped our stuff off at the hotel and then headed to the other side of the Mall to see the Monuments.

We walked to the Air & Space Museum which was definitely my favorite of the weekend. I nerded out so hard over all things space and planets. Fun fact: I went to Space Camp as a kid. This museum wasn’t as cool as Huntsville, but it was close. They were setting up an event for May 4th, and it looked awesome.

We walked to dinner at sweetgreen. I know, I know. I eat this fairly frequently in Chicago. However, it started in DC. And we needed vegetables. And we were borderline hangry. I felt discriminatory not photographing this meal, so here’s a basic bowl.

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel for an actually early night. After checking the weather app all day, we  had finally accepted that it would be raining the entire race. Le sigh. Time to rest up!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

We took a taxi to the Lincoln Monument to walk to the race start. It was already raining, and there was a 100% chance of rain all day. Ugh.

I will gladly run in the cold. I’ve ran in zero degrees before. It’s fine. Hot and humid isn’t fun, but it’s alright. BUT RAIN? No. I hate it.

I was not happy about running, and it took every ounce of my being to not let my inner bitter bitch walk or quit. I tried to distract myself by thinking through all my pressing issues: potential work travel coming up, rescheduling my plans to go home, jobs I’ve been applying for, my ultimate career goal, the direction I want my book to take, balancing my current boys, my workouts for the week, what kind of donut I wanted later — ya know, all pressing issues of equal importance! Bitter thoughts kept creeping in, so I had to force myself to intentionally practice gratitude to keep me going.

I found myself very grateful for technology. My Garmin not only holds me accountable by tracking each mile and my splits, but it also showed me texts from my mom to cheer me on. I was grateful my AirPods seemed to still work in the rain, and their battery lasts so long. It made me start to think about running before iPods… can you imagine just a few songs on repeat? A CD?! A cassette player? NOTHING AT ALL?! This had never crossed my mind before, and that made me temporarily forget about the rain.


I was soaking wet and had stripped all my layers off to avoid the gross, clingy feel of my clothes. This was one of the hardest races I’ve done mentally, and I started to think where I could run next with more predictable weather. Not Chicago, and clearly not DC either!!

I finished at 2:05 exactly which is pretty consistent with my previous halves (according to my watch, it was 2:03, in that case a PR… but idk). I grabbed my food and we headed OUT.

After the best shower and packing our stuff up, we drove to get brunch at Ted’s Bulletin. The wait was an expected hour, so we grabbed Starbucks as we waited. It was only about 30 minutes, and I had some awesome crab benedict. Zomg definitely recommend. I also took home one of Ted’s Tarts, a homemade Poptart. I got a blueberry cheesecake (which I ate in the airport later, and it was super good).

We also passed District Doughnuts, and I couldn’t resist. I was so indecisive, but finally choose a cherry blossom. Very good, very DC.

We went to the Museum of American History, which was super fun. I loved the exhibits of food culture, transportation (lots on Chicago!), and the First Lady’s dress collection. I was surprised Melania’s dress is already in there. They talked so nicely of her, it was weird, but also what else did I expect???

We drove to Georgetown, but it was still pouring rain. We ate at sweetgreen again, but it was even cooler because we saw the original sweetgreen down the street that’s still used as a compost drop off. See it’s fine!!

We stopped at Georgetown Cupcakes. Because of the rain, there was no line out the door, and usually there is a line around the block HOURS before opening. We had to go. What’s a little more sugar?? I ate it at the airport, but the frosting was out of this world. OMFG. Worth it.

I wish we could have walked around more. Super cute area.

From there, Jess drove me back to the airport. I passed tf out on the way back, even after vowing to stay awake so I could sleep tonight. Oops. But that was still hours away!

Overall, it was an awesome weekend in DC. I had so much fun hanging out with Jess. It’s crazy how you can meet someone online and feel like you’ve known each other forever. We’re both empaths that are highly sensitive, but we’re also social butterflies to an extent, so we were the perfect combo. I can’t wait to come back to DC, and hopefully the next race I do won’t be in the rain.

Where should I travel next for another race? Currently editing my wishlist!



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