Tag Archives: half marathon

Nike Women’s Half Marathon– Race Report

This weekend I headed out to San Francisco for the Nike Women’s Marathon event to run the half marathon (‘recovery’ from last week’s Chicago Marathon!).  This event is a lottery-based event that has some key perks:

  • Run in the beautiful city of San Francisco
  • Participate in an empowering women’s event
  • Receive a beautiful medal at the finish

I’d entered this lottery a few years ago, and didn’t get in, so when my friend Lilian mentioned an interest in entering for this year, I was all on board, even though it would be only a week after my fall marathon.  Apart from running most of the race course backwards when I was in SF in June, I didn’t really think about this event too much as I was focused on a longer distance. 

So last week I took some recovery time after the marathon, and did a short shakeout run on Thursday to feel out any lingering aches & pains.  I didn’t have any, and was feeling pretty great on a 2 mile run.  I took the rest of the week to relax, chill, and catch up on drinking some pumpkin beers. 

Saturday morning, Lil & I met up for our flight, and embarked on a fun mini-vacation!  I’ll post pictures from San Fran later, as well as a review of the Expo (it was interesting).

This race started similar to most large races, and I started about 10 minutes after the timer started. Key item of note:  I did not use a packing list, so I packed everything necessary for the trip except my Garmin.  After evaluating all my options, I decided to use a pace band and just the official race timers to gauge my performance.  I was either going to be amazing and run easily, or I’d want to enjoy myself and not push too hard on a fun weekend.

I started the race feeling great, and even though I stopped at a port-a-potty early on, there was no line for it, so it was a quick stop. Running was easy, and we were going through touristy areas that I was familiar with from previous trips.  The Embarcadero, Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Square. 

At Ghirardelli Square I breeze through the first hill, and the second one up Fort Mason.  We then cruised along the Marina & Crissy Field before heading up more hills into the Presidio.  This is when I had to make a decision on if I was going to push beyond ‘fun’ to try for a PR, or if I would just try to enjoy the day.  Arguably I did have a bit of a busy rest of the day/week planned:  seeing my sister in SF after the race, cocktails/dinner w other friends & to celebrate Lilian’s full marathon, a flight back to Chicago on Monday morning.

I decided to end up enjoying the experience, rather than potentially pushing myself to the ‘death face’ place.  I just didn’t want to sour my overall experience for this San Fran race, and it was a lot more hilly than my current half marathon PR

And hilly it was.  A few more hills once we got out of the Presidio and into neighborhoods, and we were headed toward Golden Gate Park for the finish.  By this point every little hill was a challenge for me, but I enjoyed the views and smelling the pine in the air.  (Pine – I will be back!  Thanksgiving 2012!)

The finish was crowded – a much more abrupt stop & walk slowly than in the Chicago Marathon the week prior.  We passed through to get the t-shirt (for finishers only) and then to be handed our “medal”: 




A Tiffany necklace on a silver platter, handed out by firemen in tuxedos!  This was one of the big draws for me to this race, which I’d first heard about in 2006 when training for my first marathon

I felt pretty horrible after the race finished, and when I began to take in more fluids than just water.  I felt more nauseous than I’ve been on any run, and actually began looking for the medical tent.  I ended up finding some more water (2nd & 3rd bottles post race!), and that helped to calm my body down.  Down enough to take advantage of the stretching station & finisher’s store!  Picked up some goodies for Lilian and I there. 

I’ll probably do another post w/ more pictures once I download them off my phone, and perhaps a full review of the race & experience.  Overall it was fun, I did pretty well given I was a week off the marathon, travelling & in maybe the hilliest city I’ve run in! 


Chicago Half Marathon Giveaway!

I’m so excited to be able to run a half marathon that I haven’t had the chance to before! 

When I first moved to Chicago, I wasn’t running at all much, and I heard about a half marathon that was happening about two weeks after I officially settled into the city.  I was intrigued – I’d only done one half marathon prior, and I thought this might be something I’d want to go watch and potentially run again in the future. That race was the Chicago Half Marathon. And in 2008 (when I moved to Chi-Town), it poured ALL DAY LONG.  I stayed in my garden apartment and was afraid of flooding, but no way in he** that I was going outside to watch people running for 13 miles. 


The race has redeemed itself over the past several years – I’ve gotten better at running, less afraid of rain, and I actually know people who’ve run it and not drowned!  So I’m really excited to be running this half marathon this year, as a tune-up for the Chicago Marathon, and for free!

I’m also pleased to announce that I have an entry to give away to one lucky reader!

Chicago Half Marathon Giveaway Rules

  1. One reader will receive a free entry to the Chicago Half Marathon. 
  2. Required to enter the giveaway: tell me your favorite pre-race  food.
  3. Bonus entry:  if you tweet, facebook or blog about this, then you will receive an extra entry! 
  4. This giveaway is open until 5:00 PM CST on Tuesday July 24.  I will announce the winner on Wednesday July 25. 
  5. This giveaway is open to anyone who can make it to the race on September 9th!

Vacation!! And an upcoming half marathon

So excited!  This week has been about wrapping things up at work and getting ready for our annual vacation!  I love that Mike & I have made it a priority to travel somewhere fun each year. Right before I settled down in Chicago, Mike met me in the Dominican Republic (I was finishing up managing a volunteer program down there).  First year of living together, we went to Greece.  Last year we travelled to Vietnam.  This year we’re headed to Holland & Belgium!

Not only am I excited for this vacation and relaxing, but I’m also looking forward to the Amsterdam Marathon – we’ll be running the half!  (I considered running the full, but didn’t want to be sick on vacation like after an earlier marathon this year). 

So we’ll arrive in Amsterdam on Friday and then Sunday is the big event! I’m excited to see what it’s like to run in kilometers! 

We’ll see if I can post a quick update from Europe following the event… maybe in between beers & cheese Smile

I’ll miss everyone in blog-land! 

Disney Princess Half Marathon Race Recap

On Sunday I ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon! I’m catching up on posts due to my Disney Vacation! Look forward to a few more

Read more about my race preparations and race expo visit and my current marathon training goals!

Sunday morning was the big day!  If you’re new to reading, I travelled to Orlando to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon with 7 other awesome ladies, most from the Chicago area.  Thanks Jenna for introducing me to everyone!  We signed up back in August to run this race and have some fun on a destination race trip.

I had a stressful week last week, and as soon as I got off the plane in Florida, the warmth melted my stresses away.  I spent a night hanging out with my Aunt Fitzi & Uncle Paul and their bulldog Wilson. He looks so sad, but seemed to be happy!  He loved to follow people around.


Saturday morning headed out to meet my co-princesses! After the Expo, Jenna & I hung out by the pool for a bit before we got ready to go out to dinner @ Downtown Disney.


Then it was off to bed because we had a super-early wake-up and start time


The race started at 5:45 AM (my earliest yet) and we had to be on a shuttle from our hotel by 4 AM.  After getting dressed and some primping, I put on my bad-ass hoodie and headed out into the florida air to board the bus.  Apparently hundreds of other people had the same idea – and we all waited in line together.  It was dark, but see all the people waiting in line?


Jen & I took a photo while waiting


Finally, we boarded a bus & made it to the race start! There was the required stop at the port-a-potties

IMG_1391and then a looong walk out to the race start.  We all had different start corrals, and magically merged into Corral C (I had placed into corral B).  We met up with the rest of our princesses:


Princess Courtney, Princess Lauren H.C., Princess Heather, Princess Jenna & Princess Lauren (me)

I got to start the race with our Birthday Princess, Heather!  It was her birthday on race day 🙂   Heather & I run at similar paces, so we started together. However, I had some minor stomach issues (nerves, not my standard dinner or breakfast), and I told her to feel free to go on whenever she felt she needed to.  We started and ran the first half mile together:


IMG_1400There were fireworks at the start, and it was super dark out.  I took some photos during the beginning of the race, but they didn’t turn out well because it was so dark and I was also running. 

As the sun rose, I took some more photos along the race course. 


Around mile 3.5 I began to need to use a bathroom.  I repeatedly saw some great examples of female comaraderie during this race: runners popping off two-by-two or in small groups to go to the bathroom in the woods.  I never saw a lonely runner walk off into the woods. 

My bathroom break was about as ideal as it could have been:  passed a set of port-a-potties that had a long line. I swore I’d run to the next set and go there. Just around the corner, there was a lone port-a-potty. Only one person was in front of it, and she was waiting for her sister, who then promptly exited the stall.  I went in and did my business, and only lost a minute in all of this! 

Then we entered the Magic Kingdom:

IMG_1407   IMG_1409 I stopped for one photo opp (almost no line), and then got back on course.  The rest of the race was pretty fine – I felt comfortable running although I knew I didn’t want to push myself for a PR given my nerves & being out-of-whack with food & lack of rest. It was an entertaining course, and I felt great — until mile 12. 

At mile 12 (and a little earlier) the course began to go onto highway on-ramps, which had pretty steep grades and “hills”.  My quads screamed out! At 12 I also began to feel a funny pain in my right foot.  Not sure what it was, but I tried to run through it, and forgot about it for the final stretch! Ran it hard as I could into the finish, where we ran through parts of Epcot. 

After the race, I forgot to stop my Garmin.  I passed through medical to get some of the biofreeze they were hawking along the entire course, and slathered it all over my legs.  I also got my medal, some photos & food, and met up with the other princesses who had finished.  Our birthday princess, Heather, had gotten a major P.R.! She ran 2:14, which was 15 minutes faster than her first half marathon in October!

We chilled out and waited for more princesses to file in. Check out this photo that Jenna took:

image  When we all finished, we congratulated each other, and then took photos!

IMG_1413 We then headed for some grub…. Downtown Disney here we come!  We made it there and headed to Planet Hollywood just in time for it to open.  Check out my fashion statement:


Don’t you love the compression socks with my yellow skirt & sandals!  We fueled up on my new favorite meal from Iowa – buffalo wings & brocolli


Then it was time to head back and recover a little bit before the next challenge… Disney Parks Post Race!  Stay tuned!

Disney Princess Half Marathon – Saturday

This was written on Saturday before the race! My weekend was super-busy, and the hotel I stayed at in Disney didn’t offer free internet, so I’ve been delayed in posting a bit.  Look out for more posts about the Disney Princess Half Marathon!

My – this was an epic week!  After relaxing a bit on President’s Day (bought new running shoes & the rolling stick!), I was super-busy Tuesday through Thursday with work.  Boo.  Thursday was the worst… and I was leaving on Friday for Florida! Last minute preparations included preparing my race outfit:

Disney Princess Half Marathon 002

I ironed on the letters to make my shirt say “Run Lauren Run!!”  

I completed all my preparations and all the errands were done by the time I got on the plane Friday morning. I stayed with my aunt & uncle in Melbourne on Friday evening and had a great time making fish & risotto with them.  Thanks Aunt Fitzi & Uncle Paul!  They have a great huge bulldog named Wilson. 

On Saturday I headed to Disney & met up with the other Chicago Princesses!  Jenna, Jen, Laura & I met at the airport & took the Disney Magical Express (i.e. slow express) to our resort. 

Disney Princess Half Marathon 001 Myself, Laura & Jen

After a quick check that we had all our racing gear, Jenna & I headed to the expo where we met up with the rest of our group.

Disney Princess Half Marathon 011 Jenna, Courtney, Lauren C, Heather, and myself

Our photo was taken with the magic glass slipper/running shoe – see the detail of the cushioning! Disney Princess Half Marathon 005

Now we are off to eat our carb-loading dinner!  Downtown Disney!