I did it, guys.
I survived another half marathon!
Aaaand there were firefighters in suits at the end. #notcomplaining
Before I forget everything, I want to go through my day before/morning of prep, the Nike Women’s Half Marathon itself, and thoughts afterward. For the record, my thoughts after my first half marathon and before this one were that I would probably aim to run 2 per year going forward. Before I had even gotten more than halfway through my training for this race, I decided that was probably unsustainable. I will definitely run more half marathons, but 2 per year might be a bit excessive 😉
The Day Before
On Saturday, Russell and I began our trek to the Bay Area with a stop at my grandma’s house in Marin County. I decided several weeks ago that, because I was running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, I wanted to dedicate my race to one of the most important women in my life: my Grandma Mary.
There is no lack of reasons why my grandma was my choice of a woman to honor. She was a PE teacher and counselor for many years, appropriately making her a big proponent of exercise. But beyond that, has been one of my biggest cheerleaders throughout my entire life. She is also one of my most avid blog followers and I am always happy to hear when she follows my wine-filled running adventures. I love you Grandma!
When we visited, I showed her the back of the shirt I had made for the race. The front featured my blog logo, and the back honored Grandma Mary. I told her I would be thinking of her every step of the way, and that was the truth!
After lunch, lots of good conversation, and whooping Russell and Grandma at a game of Sequence, Russell and I headed into the city to figure out race day logistics with my college friend Meghan, and then we headed to the last bit of the official race Expotique at Union Square.
Funny story about how I totally didn’t realize there was a 30-minute long line of women waiting for photo ops with this sign, and totally cut in front of ALL of them. Ooops!
Most of the stuff at the Expo was not free.99 like I hoped, and the lines were crazy. So we went and checked into our
roach motel hotel and wandered around looking for food.
We settled on a little cafe that Russell found on Yelp called Little Griddle and it did NOT disappoint. I loved my burger with bacon, bleu cheese, and BBQ sauce. Russ wasn’t crazy about his, but I finished every bite. I needed the fuel!
The Morning Of
Laying out everything for an Instagram pic the night before is totally productive and time-saving, amirite??
In addition to the shirt I designed on Cafe Press, I wore my trusty Asics, and a sports bra and leggings from Victoria’s Secret Sport (which I got through an Influenster campaign!) — both of which were perfect.
I ate half a banana, a Detour SMART bar, and some of my Vega Pre-Workout and I was ready to go!
We woke up at 5:30am (it was still dark!), aiming to get me to the starting line between 6 and 6:15, and Russell to the bus stop soon after so he could get to his first cheering station.
Race time was at 6:30am sharp, and I had a spot near the front of the first wave, which meant I was amazingly off right away: we took off at something like 6:37.
Spoiler alert: This course was HARD.
It started off with a few short undulating hills over the first couple of miles (plus I ran my first mile wayyyy too fast with my friend Lindsey), which didn’t feel great since I didn’t get much of a chance to stretch beforehand. At the first few water stations, I decided to take a couple of seconds to stretch as I drank water. This was actually a great tactic, since I did the same thing at water fountains during all of my training runs.
I slowed down after mile 2, spotted Russell holding this sign around mile 2.5 and ran up to him and gave him a huge smooch (the guys next to him thought it was hilarious and he had them convinced that he had no idea who I was 😉 ) and miles 3-8 were amazing. They all went through Golden Gate Park, which was more or less flat, and had beautiful scenery and cheerleaders/DJs/you name it.
Russell and Meghan popped up around the end of that section, and Russell said I still had a smile on my face at that point…
And then there was the hill.
On the mile 10 mark (so at the start of the 11th mile), there was a 200 foot climb over about 3/4 of a mile. Everyone slowed down. I walked for about 30 seconds. I went from averaging 9 min miles… to taking 9:50 to run that mile.
I’m pretty sure these pictures were taken during or shortly after that hill:
But I’m positive this one must have been taken after 😉
Who smiles like that?!
Sidenote: I brought sunglasses but didn’t need them because the entire race was foggy. I then made the mistake of hooking them to my waistband, and now it looks like I have a growth on my hip in all of my race pictures. #FAIL
Anyway, what I didn’t account for when fearing the hills of this course was that there were also a LOT of downhills where I made up for the slow uphills. But once we got back down that massive hill, there was still about 1.5 miles of flat space where I couldn’t think of anything but, “WHERE IS THAT DAMN FINISH LINE?!”
I spotted Russell and his neon sign one last time and knew I must be close, so I started darting around people and running as fast as my poor little legs could carry me. Proof:
Take that, #21985!
As I expected not to, I did not beat my previous time, nor did I even break 2 hours this time around.
My final time was 2:02:26, and I am 100% okay with that.
My pace was all over the place. I am 100% OK with that.
We got Tiffany’s necklaces and took pictures with firefighters after. I am definitely 100% OK with that.
When push comes to shove, I ran 13.1 miles. I ran it the fastest I could given the training I did (and didn’t do), and the hardest I could given the difficulty of the course. Every race will be different and amazing in its own way. I wouldn’t have done anything differently, and I again can’t wait to do it again…in at least 6 months 😉
I almost forgot…our post-race meal:
Football, brunch and mimosas at Limelight… obvi.
Have you run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco?
What has been your favorite race ever?