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!