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…