Nike Women’s Half Marathon Race Recap

I wrote this 2 weeks ago. Yup, still a slacker!

After dropping out of Chicago due to a strained popliteus (so weird, don’t get me started) I was able to rehab and make it to the starting line of the Nike Women’s Half in San Francisco. It had been 5 years since I ran this race and was eager to get back.

I flew into SF on Saturday and went straight from the airport to The Westin to pick up my bib. Packet pick up was a breeze! Thank you volunteers! I took my sweet time and walked around the outdoor event in Union Square (lots of samples, photos, earring scavenger hunt location, booth to buy last minute needs, etc) and eventually made it over to my hotel to get checked in. I know the city well and stayed within walking distance to everything I could need for the weekend. Including the start line. I got settled in, chilled out for a bit, and then met my girlfriends for dinner.

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The race started at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday. I was able to sleep later than most given the start line was directly outside of my hotel and headed to my corral around 6:10. The weather was so nice; 62 degrees and no fog! Beautiful compared to our warm, humid SoCal mornings.

I had no intent on racing (Was released from PT one week prior. So bummed as my original plan was to just go for it) so I moved into the the middle of my corral (wave 1) and waited for the gun.

At 6:30 sharp we were off!

I was stuck in what felt like a slow moving pack for a long time and just went with it. The hills started right away but man, it was beautiful.

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Around the time we entered Golden Gate park (5k mark?)  the race started to break up. There was a lot more room and overall it was a lot more calm.

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I grabbed a honey stinger gel along the way and took that around mile 6.

At mile 9.5 we started the climb up the Presidio and got a stunning view of the Golden Gate bridge. Nike Run Club was out in full force encouraging people to make it up the tough climb. So great to see the community support. Way to go NRC!

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I cruised downhill to the finish (picking up salted caramel chocolates along the way, yum!) and crossed around 1:49 and change. It was such an enjoyable race. You can tell in my photos that the effort is easy and that I was having fun. I loved it!

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After I crossed the finish line I was handed a pink Nike water bottle, a reusable bag filled with food and a little blue Tiffany’s box. Someone handed me chocolate milk as I waited to meet up with friends.

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The finisher’s village had men in tuxedos out in full force with lots of sweaty ladies swarming for photos. There were very short lines at that time so it appeared to be going quickly. There was also a boutique that had finisher gear for purchase (all available online and in stores). I whizzed through to take a look as I am a sucker for grey and Tiffany blue. I didn’t check gear but saw people grabbing their stuff and it looked to be organized. There were large signs for the shuttles and folks making their way out. I opted to use public transportation because I am cheap and will never pay $20 to get a ride back unless there is no other option. The Muni is $2.25. Win.

The course was beautiful and well organized and overall I had a great weekend.

So for the $200 reg fee I got:

A gorgeous race

Tiffany’s Necklace

Tank Top

17 race photos!

Reusable Bag

Reusable Nike Women Water Bottle

Food at the finish

It’s a crowded race with a high price tag, but a lot of fun to do with friends. It’s cheaper than Disney with a later start and the necklace is so pretty.

Would I run this again? Sure. It’s not a priority since I’ve done it twice, but it is fun. I love the city, the vibe, and the weekend away. The race is well organized and not as crazy big as some of the Rock N Roll races I’ve done. Is it a “must do?!” For me Boston was a must. NY was a must. Chicago? YES! This is more of a “fun run with friends weekend away.” Does that make sense?

I have had such a chill year when it comes to racing. I PR’d in the 10k and ran my first 10 miler but other than that, not a whole lot on the race front. I have one half marathon left this year and, if I train right, may push to break that 1:38 hanging over my head. I’m due. Just need to put in the work…and then we will focus back on 26.2. Maybe. Ok, probably. Who am I kidding.

Until next time…

“Life is so much brighter when we focus on what truly matters.”

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Dusting off the blog…a look back at 2014.

It’s been months. Months. As time passed I found that writing about Boston 2 Big Sur was no longer relevant and New York, well, that too has come and gone. There is such a small window of time to recap a race and once it’s missed that’s it. People just aren’t interested. So much changed in 2014 and sadly I just couldn’t find the time to fit in blogging. After long days of work travel and family fun I just didn’t have the energy to stay up late and write. Lazy? Maybe, but sleep has become more of a priority these days.

My love of running (and yoga, strength training and good eats) hasn’t changed but racing in 2014 just didn’t happen. My training became more of a run-when-I-can-and-or-feel-like-it-plan which is not conducive to running a strong race. Weird right? 🙂 Next year is going to be different. As I start to goal plan I am going to go back to basics and focus on what motivates me. What can I do to get myself back on track? Where do I need support? I find that writing these things down is helpful so that I can remind myself of where I want to go. This applies in life, work and athletics.

So with that I will recap my year as I prepare to ring in 2015 with all of you. I can’t wait to see what the new year has in store!

January:

Happy 2014! I ran the Carlsbad Half Marathon to start the year. This is a local race for me so it was a no brainer really. I have run both the half and the full and highly recommend both.

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February:

4 weeks into my Boston training and I just wasn’t feeling it. Weekly mileage was low and the thought of running a 20 miler made me want to poke my eyes out. I just remember feeling exhausted for all 28 days. Coffee, however, never sounded better 🙂

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March:

Birthdays galore. So many family parties in March makes for an awesome month!

Carlsbad 5000- All day 20k. This used to be a 25k so kinda bummed that they removed a race and didn’t decrease the entry fee. I get that they want people to stay for the elite race, but throw us a bone!

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April:

How did I celebrate turning 35? By taking a week and a half long family vacation to run 2 marathons on 2 coasts.

Boston- Emotional x1000. You’ve seen the video. There aren’t words. I worked my butt of to qualify and will be back there again one day.

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Big Sur- Beyond beautiful. I ran this 5 minutes faster than Boston. Backwards, I know. If you haven’t run this race is a must. So many different distances but the marathon and the 20 miler get to experience all of the beauty. Do it. Now.

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May:

A transitional month for me. My baby turned 7 and I was contemplating a career change that had landed in my lap. It was also the one year anniversary of Mama Kay earning her wings so it was tough.

June:

Started my new job in a totally different field within my industry. A very scary and rewarding leap of faith!

July:

I took my first work trip across the country and did some exploring in New York. Spent the 4th of July with family and celebrated summer!

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August:

Back to school. My littlest started Kinder this year and my big guy is in 2nd grade.

September:

September was a blur. I was all over the place. From SF to Chicago my bags pretty much stayed packed.

October:

Can you say ORANGE OCTOBER?! I went to the World Series and celebrated my Giants winning their 3rd in 5 years. It was incredible.

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Off to NYC for Halloween and the NYCM. There is nothing more fun than family vacations. Or dressing up like a banana. Just because.

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November:

NYC has my heart. I had a bad race (worst marathon time since the beginning of 2012) but I loved every minute of it. I would do it again in an instant. Love, love, love New York.

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Disney Avengers Half. What can I say? Windy conditions and a whole lot of fun!

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Turkey Trot 5 mile race. Determined to redeem myself I finished in 36:xx. While not a PR (not even close) I needed to find proof that I could get back to where I was in 2013. This was it. If I can run 7:20s with no training/speed work I will be back in the high 6’s for short distance in no time.

December:

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Filled with lots of love and family fun (and one last trip to SF). I ran the SD Holiday Half and surprised myself with a 1:42 finish. That was all heart as I had not run a distance longer than 6 miles during a 3 week span. The race organization started out wonky (bag check disaster and a 30!! min late start) but once we got going all was well. It has a lot of fast downhill (net loss of 711 feet or so) and is a PR course for sure. Well, not for me this year but for those who train for it should smash it!

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So there you have it.  Sayonara 14. It’s been fun. Here comes 15 and it’s going to be bigger and better than ever. I can feel it.

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”  Proverbs 16:9

B2B- A few thoughts

I finally made it back to Southern CA late Sunday night and have been trying to find the right words to recap the past week. It was more than I imagined it would be in a totally different way than I expected.

Here are a few quick thoughts…

When I arrived in Boston my first reaction was that I didn’t belong. I was out of my league. Everyone around me had “been there done that.” Most were up early running each morning; sporting their jackets from years past and mumbling about PR’s. While each morning I was still in PJ’s,  adjusting to East Coast time, drinking coffee and making plans to explore the city.

The night before the race I cried. It was probably a combination of things (I’m such a girl). The high emotions of a come back race after tragedy paired with my own self doubt. I worked so hard to get to this great city and then completely let my training fall apart. I did not have one single 20 mile training run. Many weeks I was so tired from work that getting any run in was a miracle. More than one weekend I skipped out on a long run completely. I was kicking myself. Too little to late.

I woke up on Monday April 21st and couldn’t eat. I was nervous. I got dressed, met my Mom in the lobby and made the walk to the bus loading station. As the bus pulled away and headed toward Hopkinton I had no idea that this race was going to change my love of running. And that going to Big Sur in the following days would give me a confidence I never knew I had.

Recaps are coming, for now a few photos from the trip.

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Fenway

Our trip to the expo yesterday was pretty quick given the kids were not feeling it. It’s big and set up like IKEA with numbered aisles and all kinds of stuff!

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After picking up a few goodies we dropped off our stuff and headed to Fenway for the Red Sox game. A lot of photos are on my regular camera so there will be much more to post once I am home!

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It was pretty cold in our seats since we were in the shade but we had a blast. The kids actually got photos with a lot of the players but they aren’t in my phone! Dang it. I can’t believe I forgot my camera cord.

This was my first time at Fenway and I loved every second. Really cool to be in a ball park filled with so much history. Loved being around fans that are so passionate about baseball! Not as fun or cool as Giants fans, but pretty darn cool 😉

After the game we headed down to the finish line to take some photos before heading to dinner

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Now it’s time to celebrate HIM! HE is what this weekend is really all about.

Happy Easter my friends! More to come!

Boston

I cannot believe I am here!

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Lots of photos. Lots of video. Lots of everything to come. The road to Boston has been an emotional one. So many of you have been through so much with me. My heart is so full and I cannot wait to share this adventure with you.

I always wanted to get to Boston and now I’m here. And so is my family.

It’s going to be one awesome weekend

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Hope you all are enjoying this GOOD FRIDAY! See you tomorrow from the expo and then the Red Sox game!!

“Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with ME in Paradise.” Luke 23:43

My brother’s first marathon- my recap

Long Beach. I had no idea what to expect. It was my brother’s first marathon and I knew that no matter what we were getting across that finish line.

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Since we were staying at different hotels I sent Joe a text to let him know I was on my way to the start around 5 a.m. We decided to meet at the portapotties since it was well lit and made it easy for one last bathroom break.

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We made our way down to the start and shoved out way into the crowd right behind the 4 hour pacer. I figured that would force us out slow so that I could try to help keep an even split (goal) and if Joe had anything left in the tank we could try to pick it up at the end.

A few minutes before the gun went off I got to meet Sandy. We have been at so many of the same races and always miss one another. Really cool that we found one another in the dark in a large crowd!

Gun went off and away we went.

Goal was to go out nice and easy and then get comfortable around 8:50-9:00 pace. Based on Joe’s training runs I knew that would be a great pace and it could mean a finish right around that 4 hour mark. The weather was abso-freaking-lutely perfect and we tried to get into a groove pretty quickly.

Mile 1: 8:58

2: 8:48

3: 8:53

4: 9:01

5: 9:06

6: 9:05

As we past the 10k mark we celebrated being 25% done. We were right alongside the water and it was nice and flat. Beings that there is no such thing as flat in my hood this was a sweet change!

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Mile 7:  9:02

8: 9:01

9: 9:00

10: 9:01

11: 8:58

12: 9:16

13: 9:05

We crossed the half way point under 2 hours and at that point it was looking like we had a solid chance of staying on track for that 4 hour finish. I remember we high fived and just kept chugging along.

Mile 14: 9:14

15: 9:21

I remember Joe telling me he needed the bathroom but when we passed the portapotties there was a long line. I knew he didn’t want to stop and wait as that could be a recipe for disaster. I think it was at 15 that he finally got to go to the bathroom? I just remember taking his water bottle to fill it up and then we continued on.

16: 9:32

17: 10:12

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At mile 18 is when things took a turn. I knew we had been slowing down so I went into motivational coach/cheerleader. Seeing my sweet, hard working brother hit the wall was one of the hardest things I have ever gone through. I felt helpless as we rode the roller coaster of emotions. There was nothing I could do or say to make it better but I just kept trying. We decided together to move onto a 5:1 plan to try to help get through. Run 5 minutes, fast walk a minute and transition back to running.

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Mile 18: 11:31

19: 10:47

20: 12:56

Around 20 I started to use my talk to text on my Iphone to let the family know where we were and how we were doing. I’ll give Siri some credit for doing a decent job of getting it right. Seriously, I talk to text messages to my best friend A LOT and Siri royally jacks them up.

21: 12:19

22: 11:40

Around 22ish there was a group of boyscouts handing out otter pops. We hoarded them! Every race should have otter pops. I’m serious. I think we talked about how good those otter pops tasted for the rest of the race.

23: 13:03

There was a hill at this mile and we ended up in a sea of walkers. Hills in the late miles can be soul crushing. I wasn’t going to let the hills destroy our race. We went into run the flat walk the hills mode and it worked. Well, worked as well as it could, right Joe?!

24: 13:19

The last few miles of a marathon are always hard. Always. I think these miles were especially hard because Joe wanted his legs to go so badly but the mental battle makes it tough. More than once we held hands as I told him we were almost there. He was almost done. He was going to be a marathoner!

25: 12:33

26: 11:24

.2: 8:39

This is when we saw our family. They were at 26.10 screaming and shouting and holding up signs. They were the motivation that pushed us through that last .10

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We crossed the finish line together in 4:28. Joe did it. He battled through all 26.2. We hugged and cried and took pictures. We reunited with the family and celebrated a finish that was 24 weeks in the making.

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My brother hated running. Loathed it. And now he is a marathoner. All it took was a little courage- and believing that there is so much more after that first step.

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“But if what we hope for we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” Romans 8:25

Now it’s time to gear up for Boston training. I.can’t.wait.

Ready ready ready ready…ready to ruuuuuuuun

It’s pouring. Like real rain. Lightening and everything.

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This is my view while sitting in traffic on the way home. I love the rain so if I have to sit in a sea of cars at least I get to listen to raindrops. In ridiculous news I saw 5 accidents within 4 miles. I’m not kidding. When it rains in these parts people totally lose their minds.  FACT: I am over my commute.

The rain is due to be gone by tomorrow and the forecast for Sunday is looking pretty darn sweet:

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That’s right. It’s time for me and my baby brother to run Long Beach

After 24 weeks of running, running and more running he is SO ready

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We plan on having a lot of fun. Yes, it is possible to have fun for 26.2 miles. Especially when you have a running partner like me who raps, rocks and can tell hilarious stories for hours on end. Like the time I called the cops on a kid I caught tagging the freeway. “Siri, call the sheriff.” Yes that happened. And I’m laughing as I type it. But really, if you are going to deface property don’t do it at 5:30 p.m. for everyone to see. Especially me, keeper of the peace.

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But back to Long Beach.

If you are out there please say hi. Give a high-five. Run with us. Whatever floats your boat. We will take all of the motivation that we can get!

For now, I’m out. Need to catch up on Nashville and Parenthood..oh, and sleep. Yeah. I will be blogging from the LBC when we arrive on Saturday! WOOOHOOO! Run strong, run smart, have fun!

Oh! And just because it’s October, this is my favorite picture of my boy from 2007. I hope this makes you smile…

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See you in a few days 🙂

SD Rock N Roll Half Recap

A week late but here it is. This eye injury is bothering me more than I thought it would (we can discuss later).

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Beings that this race was one week after M2B I wasn’t expecting to run as well. I just wanted to go check out the new course and see if this was an event worth running again. If I ran well great, if not no big deal.

I got up around 3:20 a.m. and was able to catch a 4 a.m. train down to San Diego. I thought I would be one of the only peeps at the coaster station that early but to my surprise it was pretty busy. I ended up seeing a friend that I used to work with so we chatted the whole way down to SD. The train ended in Old Town and there was a shuttle waiting to take us to the start. It was seriously so easy.

The starting area was buzzing! From runners to coaches to supporters there were people everywhere. Bathroom lines moved faster than expected, got my bag checked and headed to the start line.

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I ended up in corral 5 next to the 2 hour pacer. At that point I had to make a decision to either just chill and go with the crowded flow or expend energy and go out fast to get out of the madness.

I think it took 4 minutes to cross the start and we were off. Dude, it was CROWDED.  At that point I went with the decision to just go out fast. For the first mile I just tried to focus on getting through the crowd. I knew the street opened up around 1-1.5 miles so I would get some room to move. I remember passing the 1:45 pacer and knew I should probably put the brakes on a bit. That’s when I met Juan Fernando (John). This dude was freaking fast and there was no slowing down.

He was visiting from Mexico and spoke very little English. He asked if I understood Spanish and I said yes. From that point on he spoke to me in Spanish and I replied in English (or Spanish if I could). It was awesome. As we climbed a few short uphills we talked about races, strides and pacing. Around the 10k mark he told me he was gunning for better than a 1:36. He started in corral 3 so he had time to make up. At that point we were running 7:15-7:20s and I told him my brain was not ready to run better than a 1:36 and off he went.

Around the 15k mark we had another sneaky uphill that I just didn’t have the energy for. I made it up and over but at that point my mental state was just hang on. We hit some really fast downhills that I didn’t take advantage of but it did feel good on the legs.

As we made our way through downtown I heard the winner of the marathon finish. That was awesome. As I passed mile 13 I sprinted toward the finish. My last .10 was at a 5:43 pace (goes to show you I had a lot left physically, just not mentally!).

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I crossed the finish line in 1:38:40, 7:32 avg pace (hooray for a positive split, lol).

When I crossed the finish I took a quick picture and silently celebrated my 1 min PR. One week after a marathon PR I pulled a half PR out of my hiney. Awesome. I saw my new friend Juan and he showed me his Garmin: 1:35! He said he couldn’t believe it and I told him I knew he could do it. He ran a strong race!!

I grabbed my goodies and medal and headed to bag check to grab my stuff. I quickly changed my clothes and hopped on the trolley to get back to the train station.

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The finish line was super organized and easy to navigate. I had no problem grabbing my stuff and getting out of downtown. I’ll do a race review this week but I will say now that this year was a HUGE improvement for the half! HUGE!

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I’m looking forward to race downtime for a few months. I will likely run on the 4th of July but next half isn’t until August. Time to just go back to running with no plan for a few weeks and just enjoy the scenery. With one eye. So ridiculous. Welcome to my world.

Anyone else run the new half course? Thoughts?

–  I loved the downtown finish!