So…I didn’t realize the race course had changed until Saturday morning. Instead of running out towards the Embarcadero, it basically goes the opposite direction. I really enjoyed the course last year, and I didn’t know how I would feel about a new one. But I ended up loving the new course even more!

Fit Andy and I stayed at Hotel G located on Geary St. so we were literally a block away from Union Square. We woke up around 5:30am, ate a simple banana and Luna Bar breakfast, got dressed, and at 6:20am we headed out the door.

The corral situation is always difficult. We probably should have left the hotel a little earlier due to this, however, the starting line was also set up differently this year due to the new course. We entered towards the back of the 9-10 minute pace and tried to make our way up to the 8-9 minute corral but only got so far. This left us weaving through the people that had already started walking within the first mile(?).

photo 4

The race ran through the city streets first, while it was still dark. When we entered the Golden Gate State park it was light, hazy, and misting. I was worried how warm it was going to be due to the bright and sunny weather the day before, but once again, we received perfect running/racing conditions.

One thing I noticed this year was that there were more notable hills, specially at mile 2, between 8 and 9, and mile 10. However, I felt like I moved effortlessly up the hills (save for mile 10), which then presented some downhill portions (my specialty) to really let the legs roll. For the hills I made sure to keep moving up them, and then crested once I got to the top. I learned that not only running, hills, but running them diagonally, weaving through people, is really something in itself (haha).

I brought a Gu with me for the hell of it and started to feel al title hungry at mile 9 so I took it (plus salted caramel is so good, how could you not want to just eat it?).

Mile 10 was a BITCH (through the Presidio). There was a sign that said only 1,000 more yards until the top of the hill, yadayada, and I thought to myself, wow, this is the big hill? No big deal. WRONG. It kept going and going and just getting more and more steep. At least we were welcomed with a downhill to flat finish, but at some point, right before mile 11, my knee started to really hurt and felt like it was turning out in the wrong direction. So I stopped briefly to try and stretch it twice. I wondered if I would be able to finish, but when you have a Tiffany’s necklace waiting for you at the end, THAT IS NOT AN OPTION! I just tried to focus on my form and just running, and it started to feel better.

By the last mile I had picked it up to a 7:30 pace and felt like I was cruising.

The race went by really fast and I felt good throughout but was worried that I might crash out of nowhere (kind of like mile 24 of the marathon). However, I think after the marathon, I’ve increased my willpower and have realized I can push my body a little more than I think, and just overall, endure more pain.

Takeaway points: loved the new course, it was very scenic, especially when it starts to lighten up (dark start due to 6:30am start time). More hills, so definitely train for them (both up and down). And no firemen to give high-fives at the finish line so no tripping hahah. Nike races are always so special and I’m looking to do this race again next year!

photo 3

Mile splits recorded by my Garmin (1:46:52):
1 – 8:06
2 – 8:00
3 – 8:28
4 – 8:00
5 – 8:01
6 – 7:39
7 – 7:30
8 – 8:05
9 – 8:03
10 – 7:51
11 – 9:14
12 – 7:50
13 – 7:32
Last .37 – 2:27

My chip time was 1:46:48.

Thanks again to Finish Line & Nike Track Club for the opportunity to run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in SF!