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Getting ready for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon 2014

This is the fifth time I am running the Nike race in San Francisco. My first Nike Women’s race was the Full Marathon in 2009. Then I learned you get the Tiffany’s necklace when you run the half marathon. Hence, with all subsequent races I took the smarter, “I am only half crazy” option of the half marathon.

View my full re-race report on No Heels Just Sneakers – Getting ready for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon 2014.

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US Half San Francisco prep

My next San Francisco half marathon is tomorrow. I am excited about it as I will be running across the Golden Gate Bridge.

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I scooped out the start and finish line today and was a little surprised to only find 14 port-a-potties for 5000 runners.

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I am staying in a hotel a couple of blocks from the start line so hopefully I won’t be needing them.

Race gear is all ready to go. Loving my bib number. This is a winner!

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Let’s hope it’s not going to be too foggy!


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NWM Half race recap

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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San Francisco

This is the fourth time I am running the Nike Women’s (Half) Marathon. We have a few traditions. One of them is a pre-race morning shake-out run the day before the race. It’s just a short run. For the NWM race we run down to the Ferry Building and farmer’s market and take a few photos. 4 of us let the tradition live this year and the views were just spectacular.

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NWM Preview Run

putting on a brave face before the run

putting on a brave face before the run

First of all there were no snakes (and I never mentioned that we saw one wriggling its way through the running trail at the Trail Hog race the previous week and my running buddy L. jumped up 6 feet…).

But we had an adventure nonetheless. Our Team in Training coaches totally missed to remind us that it’s always cold in San Francisco and coming from the South Bay Area you will need an extra layer of running clothes. So as I opened the car door, about to take off my long-sleeved jacket, the wind hit my face and so did the cold. Car door slammed shut and the jacket stayed on. I was crying for ear muffs and gloves.

So we took some brave photos in the cold wind to announce our impending run to the whole world via Facebook and waited for our run start. Our coach gave us last instructions on where to run and where not to get lost, but missed to tell us that it’s uphill both ways… This was our Nike Women’s Marathon preview run. We ran 10 miles of the actual course to be well prepared for the race. Well, I have run NWM a few times before and just enjoyed the scenery again – and the reminder that it can be COLD on race day!

On the way out (uphill), we had some awesome views of the Golden Gate Bridge. I don’t get to see the Golden Gate Bridge in the clouds very often (bar the time you see on my blog header – a lucky shot), so I loved the beautiful views:

At our turnaround point we saw a tiny little glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge.

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a tiny glimpse

We just knew the great view would just be around the corner, so off we went, a little rogue, straying from the designated course. Luckily, I was well prepared for an adventure off-course as I just had a coaching event the previous day about “making your own rules”. Who would have thought this learning came in so handy this fast. LOL. Less than a quarter-mile after the official turnaround point, we were offered this great view of the bridge. It would have been a shame to have missed this photo opportunity as we traveled already so far (remember, all the way from the South Bay… LOL).

Here is our “running rogue” victory photo.

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On the way back (uphill again), the aid station was already packed up. No more peanut butter pretzels for us there. We made it back to the starting point and caught up with the rest of the team by the ocean. You saw the happy team photo already. But before that photo happened, I briefly braved the waters by myself. Yes, it was crazy cold!

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I don’t want to leave you without my second favorite photo of the run. A beautiful view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

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US Half Marathon, San Francisco

My running buddy L. has a very bad influence over me. LOL. Maybe she is just enabling me to get back into my race mojo, so that’s good influence actually. 🙂

After my rant about Nike+ (still sucks) yesterday, I figured it’s time to move on and find new races. In comes the US Half Marathon in San Francisco in November. We will be crossing the Golden Gate Bridge (YEAH!) and are promised beautiful views over the San Francisco skyline, the Bay and national parks. I am loving the sound of this one.

The Nike Women’s Half Marathon will hence become my training race for this one. I am running SF this year! Can’t wait for both races and I am sure I will love both for very different reasons. Before that a few more weeks of grueling training. Track training tomorrow. Hill training on Thursday. And a Nike race preview run on Saturday. Bring. It. On!

“Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must move faster than the lion or it will not survive. Every morning a lion wakes up and it knows it must move faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve. It doesn’t matter if you are the lion or the gazelle, when the sun comes up, you better be moving.”

~Maurice Greene (attributed to Roger Bannister shortly after running the first sub-4 mile)


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I run!

Someone declared that today is National Running Day. Somehow this is the first I ever heard of it, but, hey, I’ll jump on this wagon anytime.

It’s easy to declare my passion for running.

I run…

… to cure cancer!

i-run-for-cancerI have been running for many years (even though I don’t feel like it after I broke my foot in January, but foot is healing) and also for many years I have been with Team in Training raising funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma . Recently I lost another friend to cancer and I do what I can do best: I run to raise funds to cure cancer again. I am raising $2500 for LLS and will be running (or maybe just walking depends on what foot says) the NIKE Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco in October.

Yes, I run!