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NWM Half race recap

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It’s been a week and I think I have recovered, but I don’t really know as I jetted off to Belgium for a work event right after the race. Maybe, beer, chocolate and waffles ARE the best race recovery food after all? But more on that in a later post.

So, I have run the Nike Women’s (Half) Marathon now 4 times:

  • 2009 – NWM full marathon
  • 2010 – NWM half marathon
  • 2011 – NWM half marathon
  • 2013 – NWM half marathon

And I can truly say that this year’s run was my strongest and – I just checked – even my fastest on this course. I beat my 2010 NWM Half by whopping 4 seconds. I didn’t train for speed. I just wanted a happy first half marathon after I broke my foot early this year. Mission accomplished!

I think I already gave it all away. LOL. But here is a more detailed recap.

Before the start line: I abandoned my Greater Bay Are Team in Training team after the early morning team photo and send-off to stay a little longer in the warm hotel rather than to go to the start line an hour early. That turned out to be a great move. TMI alert! I did the smart bathroom routine: line up, get out, line up, etc… All in the warm hotel.

The start line: I eventually made my way to the start line, which was appropriately “Taylor Street”. I ran this race in memory of my running buddy Jay Taylor who ran my very first half marathon with me and lost his fight against cancer earlier this year. Two of my Austin Team in Training friends found me in the corral and we started the race together.

Mile 1: I am not even trying to run my intervals. It’s very crowded and dark. I am wearing my sunglasses in the early morning darkness, because the sun will come out eventually according to the weather channel (the weather channel was wrong…).

Mile 2-3: I am feeling great! I am sticking to a slightly slower speed as I am not running intervals and feel like I am on top of the world.

Mile 4-6: I see some of the Team in Training staff members from Austin and Denver (friends I know from previous Team in Training seasons). I missed the Greater Bay Area staff. It’s so great to hear your name being called out in a group of 30,000 runners and see familiar faces on the side cheering you on!

Mile 6-7: The dreaded hill. This is my slowest average mile. That’s ok. I never planned to run this beastly hill. I think it’s somewhere around mile 6/7 when a volunteer shouts out that we will be rewarded for the hills with a beautiful view. Unfortunately he stands with his back to the Bay and is not seeing the clouds and fog barring any view. I applaud his enthusiasm though.

Mile 8-10: I am losing my running buddy Rob here somewhere. But nothing spectacular happens here. More hills, which I don’t remember being here at my last race. The mind forgets what it doesn’t want to know…

Mile 11: I am still feeling great! I am kind of surprised how strong I still feel. My training is paying off. I see my Team in Training coach and tell him that I finally agree with his training method (I was doubting preparedness as we had very few long runs…) and he just laughs. So I tell him I may be on his team again next season.

Mile 12: The Chocolate Mile! It’s about time though I don’t feel like chocolate, but that’s what spibelts are for: take the chocolate and keep it there for later.

The finish line: OK, I now know I could have run faster as I am still feeling way too strong, but I am not going to get upset. I didn’t run for speed, I ran to have a good time on the course and I did. THIS Tiffany’s necklace is well deserved!

After the finish line: This was a disaster. Dear NWM planners: It took me 40 (forty) minutes to get through the finish line. Very poorly organized. Though I am a big fan of Whole Foods, I wasn’t impressed with the post-race food they provided. I want Safeway back as a sponsor. Also, having the photo-op-firefighters standing in the middle of where ALL runners tried to get through wasn’t helping. Dear NWM planners: you used to have photo booth back after necklace/shirt/food pick-up. Why in the world did you move the photo-ops into the finish line? That was stupid!

My verdict: The running was awesome! Team in Training coaching and support was awesome! Race organization was poor specifically at the finish line. A LOT to be improved upon. And really put a damper on this race. The NIKE NWM app was crap (excuse my language). Race info was hard to find. No, NIKE, I do not want to scroll your Facebook page for race info that is hidden in some comments. Get over it and build a proper race page like all other race organizers. It’s about time after 10 years…

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Author: tatjana.k

explorer | runner | hiker | marketer | with opinions | coffee-lover | seeking adventures in everyday life

7 thoughts on “NWM Half race recap

  1. That “dreaded hill” was so rough, I wanted the race to be over right there! It was my slowest mile as well, and I’m sure that’s true for most people. I can believe it took 40 minutes to get out of the finish, I felt like I was in a heard of sheep. Luckily, I was out fairly quickly so I didn’t really have a bad experience. I’m with you on the food, I wish they had included a bagel or something. Sounds like you enjoyed the course though, and the necklace was well worth it! Congrats on another race!

  2. Amen, sister. To all of the above points. I was feeling good most of the way through the race. The hills were beastly, but I wasn’t feeling so bad at all during the last couple miles. Finish line was AWFUL. Nike really blew it. And I’m right there with ya on the website / app / Facebook page / crappy communication. They nailed the gear (I guess that is their REAL business), but it was like they hadn’t a clue how to actually run a real sporting event. Hopefully they’ll get it together next year.

    • Not sure there is going to be another NIKE SF for me. So many other races that need to be checked out. I have already found us a substitute race for next October in sunny Cali. It involves wine.. ‘nough said… I am sure you agree. 🙂

  3. Congratulations fellow TNT athlete!

    I too, stayed in the hotel longer than the rest of our team. Definitely a good move.

    You are spot on with the review of the NWM. That finish line was brutal. It was so bad I didn’t even want to stick around and enjoy what in other races I’ve done is a great after-race experience. I didn’t browse any of the vendors or race apparel. I just wanted to get away from that crowd.

    And why doesn’t Nike have a proper web page? I can’t stand that I have to go to FB. So mickey mouse! You’d think they were planning a family gathering. And have you read any of the answers they give to questions? Very vague and unsatisfactory. I’m really surprised they have no proper website.

    This was my first NWM, and it may be my only since I have to travel to get there. My next half is the Vancouver BMO Half Marathon in May 2014.

    Congratulations again! TNT did good!

    • Congratulations to you, Mary! And amazing how you raised over $4000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. That is awesome!! You didn’t miss much at the finish line. Nike kept selling their shirts and offered a new finisher shirt which was crazy expensive. There were no other vendors. It’s a true Nike marketing event. Good luck on your upcoming 10k runs and have fun training for Vancouver!

  4. Those are great pics: congratulations!
    Your criticism of the finish line are similar to mine at the Great Scottish Run this year: you’d think such big races would tackle these things a little better! But glad the overall experience was good!

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