Yet another one to add to the list of races 🙂 So, I’ve spent about five weeks at school and it was time for some family. My mom flew up to spend the weekend with me in San Francisco, but not just for another touristy weekend. Months ago, I had signed up for the Nike Women’s Marathon in hopes that I could complete my first marathon race. I had raced in the Nike Women’s Half Marathon back in 2010 and felt this would be a neat senior year experience. Well, it seems my body felt otherwise because I pulled a groin/hamstring this summer, which completely ruined my training. Then, I started to get shin splints during fall quarter, so I really was not in the best shape to pound out 26+ miles. Literally. So, I decided to run only the half, which being my 6th half, is still an accomplishment. At the time, my mom was going to help me fuel along the race as well as cheer me on. However, at the last minute, I was able to get her a bid and so the both of us spent the weekend gearing up for the half marathon. 🙂
After I picked her up from the airport, we did some much needed shopping and exploring at my local Target. The goal of the trip was to pick up a halloween shirt to sport around campus and it was a success. I can now show my pride for the Peanuts Gang around the halloween season. Who doesn’t love Snoopy? We then picked up my friend Louise and hit the road to check into our place for the night and pick up our race packets.
This was our room in San Francisco. It looks cute and hip and the Days Inn really did the best they could with what they had. Good location, solid price, enough room. Just what we needed. May not have been the cleanest of places, but it’s whatever.
My friends and I had taken the CalTrain into the city and transferred to the Bart last time, but since I had the option to drive, it was much nicer, not to mention, faster. Our room wasn’t ready yet (but pictures below), so we set off to Union Square to battle the madness and pick up our packets. It was an interesting situation because I was attempting to switch from the marathon to the half marathon, and we were hoping to pick up my friend’s bid so that my mom could run. We were successful in doing the latter, but I was only able to pick up my race bib as a “full” participant. Oh well, at least I had a bib to run with.
Here I am with my friends Louise and Sam, who were both running the half with me. I had actually run the half with Sam two years ago, so it was neat to have a full circle experience. However, we knew a lot more of what was going on this time around. 🙂
The line to pick up race bibs wrapped entirely around the perimeter of Union Square. This was insane, but when I remembered that there were 20,000+ people running, it made more sense. Luckily the volunteers worked efficiently and we were in and out fairly quickly. Once that obstacle was crossed, we headed over to Niketown (heaven) to pick up some race gear swag. They purposefully don’t hand you your finisher’s T-shirt with your race bib so that you purchase other items at the Nike Store. Last time I purchased sweatshirt, but this time decided on a windbreaker.
I don’t know how Nike does it. They just seem to always have the best gear and designs. It’s an icon, a symbol, a living. Because we were loyal customers (dropped some cash…), they gave us a little cosmetic case with a headband (which I was able to use for the race, thanks mom!) and a couple of wristbands.
The store was absolutely PACKED FULL! When we were finished making our purchases, we wandered around the city but stayed within a few blocks of Union Square. Our family friends, the Ashfords, were actually signed up for the race as well and were staying at the same hotel, so we decided to meet up with them for dinner. They had suggested Cheesecake Factory, but since it takes an average of 2 hours on a normal night to get a table, adding about 20,000+ people to the city probably won’t help the wait. After resting a bit in the hotel, we attempted to put our name in, found it was over 2 hours just to sit down, which would mean eating at 8 or later…yeah no. My mom had the brilliant plan of eating at the Nordstrom’s cafe, which wasn’t too far away. As I just said, brilliant. We waltzed right in, sat down and had a lovely view of the city and the sunset. Dinner was finished around 7:15, which left us plenty of time to head back to the hotel, attempt to study, and realistically go to bed early, which we did. I really cannot recall the last time I went to bed around 8:45, but it was fabulous!
I saw this dog while we were shopping and I had to take a picture of it. I believe it is a golden-doodle and well, only in the city. I may be attempting to re-create this with my own dog 🙂 Bodie, get ready to rock the shades.
The race started at 7, so we had to be up and ready around 5:15. This allowed for plenty of time to eat something, digest, and walk up to Union Square, where thousands of people were jumping around, taking pictures, using the porta-potties, and doing whatever to prep themselves for what lay ahead.
So, how would you like to see a hill like this? It wasn’t actually that bad, but then again, I prefer uphill to downhill. I just got super annoyed at people who would stop and walk, but not let anyone else run around them. It was as if we were playing Red Rover and had to fling our bodies into the masses steadily climbing the hill.
I actually HATE downhill. As I mentioned, I had run this race two years ago with a couple of girl friends from school and tripped on one of the downhills. We were running separately and I couldn’t exactly call it quits. There was the logistics of finding each other at the end, taking the train home (we sophomores didn’t have the luxury of a car at school) and not to mention my pride. I was only at 6.5, so I kept going. That one trip has left pain in my right leg, all up and down, ever since. So, as I ran the other day, I kept looking for the murky spot, where the mist sets over the pavement and it all becomes too slippery. Oh, I found it and I sure slowed down. There would be no tripping this time, that’s for sure.
My favorite part of racing, especially in these big races, is of course the goodies! When we crossed the finish line, there were firemen in tuxedos waiting to hand us our blue boxes…yes, TIFFANY’S!!! This is actually the main (and only?) reason a couple of my friends signed up for the race. They had never run in any form of race before and thought, Tiffany’s necklace, why not?
We also received a great dri-fit shirt, compliments of Safeway, a reusable bag, countless food items (which were inhaled) – banana, bagel, frozen strawberries, Luna protein bar, and finally some free samples from Neutragena.
Random story…I received a hilarious text message from my friend who is the president of our Triathlon Club at school. He works for Nike in Palo Alto and is one insane runner. This would be his first marathon and where do we see him on Saturday? Working at the SF store. Then when I asked him how his race went, he responded, “It was a great! I led the race but then died at the end.” He got 2nd with a time of 2:58 and this was his first marathon. Crazy kid.
And a shout-out to MADRE! CONGRATULATIONS! I am so proud of you and am glad I could help make your first half-marathon a good one! Hey, you have one amazing necklace to show off. Definitely earned some bragging rights there!
Sorry if this is a little frazzled. Seems to be the story of my life right now. Did I mention this is week 5? Aka…Hell of midterms week(s). On the quarter system you can have a “midterm” anywhere from week 2 to week 10. Thanks professors. (not)
On another note, I am thinking of the next race to run and would love some input on destination races. Any good locations?