2017 Wilson Bridge Half Marathon Recap

This weekend I ran my third half marathon of the year–the 2017 Wilson Bridge Half Marathon. While I still love 10 milers, I am getting used to the half marathon distance–just in time for the “off” season. 

2017 Wilson Bridge Half Course Map

Even though I’ve never run this race, the route was familiar–5 miles out and back along the George Washington Parkway, and then 1.5 miles across and back across the Wilson Bridge. 

Pre-Race Logistics

Packet pick-up was a breeze–and held at the Patent Office! There was no expo, and no vendors–just no-nonsense get your bib and your shirt and “Good luck!”

2017 Wilson Bridge Half half-zip

I do love this half-zip.
I think it’s nice enough for casual Fridays at work.

Deciding what to wear was a bigger challenge. Since my last run was in Phoenix, I haven’t had to get dressed for any cold weather runs yet this season. I was debating layers, but when I realized that the temperature would be about the same as it was for the NYC Half (mid-30s), I decided to wear basically the same thing. 

I also wore gloves!

Wilson Bridge Half Marathon Recap

Because the race was so close and my husband was driving, we were able to leave the house @ 6:15 for the 7:00 am start. We were treated to a spectacular sunrise as we walked two short blocks from our parking spot to the race venue.

Wilson Bridge Half Sunrise

That’s the Wilson Bridge looming above.

Because it was so cold, I kept my coat on until 6:55, when I handed it off to my husband and lined up for the start–another advantage of a low-key race.

The start also was low-key. There was no national anthem, but the announcer did thank veterans and service members for their service. 

I started out at an 8:20ish pace, and held that more or less until the hilly section at miles 4-6, when my pace dropped to the 8:30 range. While I kept my eye on my Garmin, I wasn’t focused on maintaining a certain pace or achieving a certain finish time, although I figured I was still good for a sub-2:00. My pace felt comfortable, and I enjoyed the scenery, which really was beautiful for the first 10 miles. 

I knew the 3 miles across the bridge and back were going to be hard, which is another reason I didn’t go all out when the course got flat again. 

Wilson Bridge Half

The elevation gain is small, but the bridge ends with a short steep climb. 

I was happy when I still felt strong at mile 10, and wasn’t bothered when my pace fell off as soon as I hit the bridge. I knew I hadn’t trained for this race (more on that later), and was grateful to be feeling good for 13 miles at any pace. 

Although the climb at the end of the bridge was cruel, the last stretch to the finish was a legitimate down hill. I spotted my husband on the sideline, and could tell he was taking a video. 🙂 

When I saw the finish clock at 1:52:xx as I approached, I thought it was wrong. I was expecting much closer to a 2:00 finish, but I clocked 1:53:04 on my Garmin. 

Wilson Bridge Half

The entrance to the bridge.

The finish also was low-key, with a self-service table of water bottles and bananas, and no one handing out medals. (I heard they were “delayed” but didn’t stay long enough to find out if they would arrive soon or in a few days.) I figured my husband had endured the cold long enough, so we headed right to the car–and Starbucks. 

Weekly Wrap

When I said I knew I hadn’t trained for this race, it was true. After I ran the Runners World Half October 22, I spent the next week participating in Orange Theory Fitness Hell Week, where the workouts included about 15 minutes on the treadmill. Then I headed to Phoenix for my work retreat, where I did 4-5 mile runs at various paces on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. That’s really the only running I did to stay in shape for this race.

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Monday I went for a 5 mile hike in Phoenix, Tuesday I flew home, Wednesday I did a strength workout at home and one mile on the treadmill, Thursday I went to CycleBar, Friday I went to yoga, and yesterday I went on an easy 20 mile bike ride. 

I think I have to credit Orange Theory for making my 8:20-8:30 pace feel comfortable. My “push pace” at OTF is 7.0 mph (8:34 mm) or higher, and my “all out” pace is 8.0 mph (7:30 mm). Those 15 minutes of intervals really do add up and pay off! 

Thanks to Holly and Tricia  for hosting the Weekly Wrap link up!

My next–and last–race on the calendar for 2017 is the Jingle All The Way 15K on  December 10. If you’re local, you can join Deborah and me there! 

Do you have any more races on your 2017 calendar?

How low-key is too low-key?

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26 Responses to 2017 Wilson Bridge Half Marathon Recap

  1. Nice job girl! Maybe running less does agree with you! It was cold out there this morning. I heard there were a few logistical issues with the shuttle and the medals which is unfortunate

  2. For not training, you did really well! But I’d be sad to leave without a medal!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Sometimes You Just Gotta Suck it Up and GoMy Profile

  3. Sara says:

    Great job!! That’s an awesome time! Love the pictures looks like it was a really pretty course. And that half zip! Great race swag!

  4. I do think late fall and early spring races are always the tricky ones to dress for. I definitely was over dressed for NYC this year and that is a lesson learned!

    You had such a good time for this race,,,woo hoo! Did you ever find out what the medal situation was? My friend and teammate I ran the Baltimore marathon with could not find the tent where the medals were so she ended up leaving without one and I felt so bad about it.

  5. Wow, nice pace for not really training! Great job! Bummer about the medal situation – will they mail it to you?

  6. carla says:


  7. Kimberly G says:

    I love the half-zip that you got for the race! Great job on your race!
    Kimberly G recently posted…Weekly Wrap: Staycation StyleMy Profile

  8. Teresa says:

    Great race Coco!! I really don’t mind, and often prefer, low-key races …but, when I run 13.1 miles, I want a dang medal when I cross that finish line! 🙂

    I really, really need to give Orange Theory a try!
    Teresa recently posted…Marathon Training Week 10My Profile

  9. Rachel says:

    Sounds like a great race! I love the half zip and I LOVE low key races. They’re my faves. Congrats, Court!!!
    Rachel recently posted…Hot Cider Hustle 5K: Review and Recap 2017My Profile

  10. I think once you’re trained up, as long as you maintain your base, you’re pretty much golden. At least I find that to be true for me at this time of year.

    My 15k was my last “big” race, but there will probably be a couple more shorter ones — one for fun, one a last PR chance for the year (if it’s not crappy weather in which case I’ll probably skip it).

    That’s a great job, Coco, and a truly beautiful sunset. I’m pretty good with low key, but dammit, I want my medal! Even thought I’m not a medal whore. I don’t need it for less than a half, but I want my half medals.
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…Angry Running: 11/6-12 Weekly WrapMy Profile

  11. Laura says:

    Wow! Great pace! It’s really nice to be surprised like that at the finish line… and those intervals are definitely paying off!

  12. Kim Hatting says:

    Awesome job! Although you didn’t “train” for this particular race, you are in constant “training mode,” and all of that keeps you in tip-top shape for anything. Way to go!

  13. steena says:

    I love a low key race like this! I envy the speed you maintain on minimal training! Congrats on another solid race!
    steena recently posted…Madison Marathon 2017My Profile

  14. Awesome pace and finish time! Congrats!

  15. HoHo Runs says:

    I think I prefer the low key races. It certainly sounds like you did enough alternate and OTF training to knock this one out of the park! Congrats. I hope they will mail everyone’s medals. But, at least you got the cool half zip! Thanks for linking.

  16. Congrats on your race! Thats awesome especially for not having trained for this. Sounds like Orange Theory must be a great workout!

  17. Congrats on running a strong race! It definitely sounds like all those OTF workouts are paying off!
    Kathryn @ Dancing to Running recently posted…Finding a Healthy Life BalanceMy Profile

  18. Jenn says:

    Great splits! Love that OTF is helping you out so much!

    Someone else I know ran this race and was really annoyed about the timing and the medal situation.

    I don’t mind low-key, but I do still like things to be organized and as advertised. That might have been a little too much for me 🙂

    I have about three more races this year: our local Thanksgiving 5k, the Space Coast Half Marathon and then either a Santa or NYE run. Then there are lots more races to come in 2018.
    Jenn recently posted…weekly wrap: 11.5.17 – 11.11.17My Profile

  19. Paul says:

    If you ask me I think you did pretty awesome! It is sad though that those medals were delayed because I feel it is really rewarding to finish a race with a medal. Hope they send it soon! Keep up the good work

  20. Mary says:

    The logistics were easy, the scenery was beautiful, you didn’t have a specific time in mind but could just run– it sounds lovely and as peaceful as an event full of lots of people can be. And downhill to the finish! I’m glad your time turned out so well, you must have been very pleased. Shows what cross-training can do.
    Mary recently posted…Vegan Broccoli SaladMy Profile

  21. Toni says:

    Great job on the race. IT’s funny how we think we are doing so much worse than we actually are, guess that means we are working hard for it.

  22. Karen Bayne says:

    Congratulations!! what a strong run! What a gorgeous sunrise you had to enjoy 🙂 you have had a great “off season” lol
    Going from Phoenix to the cold must have felt strange lol
    The one random cold day here was race day and I struggled because I have not had a cold run yet!

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