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This was my third year running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, my first half marathon of the year and my 18th half marathon overall.

All of the Finish Line girls (me, Andy, Evann and Angela) stayed at the Hilton located on O’Farrell St. so we were a little over a block away from Union Square. I had set alarms for 5:00, 5:10 and 5:15 and finally got out of bed around 5:30 (actually I just sat in bed and ate my larabar and banana breakfast). By 6:00 I was finally dressed, and by 6:15 Fit Andy and I headed out the door. We arrived to the start of the race around 6:23, with about 7 minutes to spare. Andy and I were seated in the first wave, however, the entry to our area was for both the 7-7:59 and 8-8:59 waves which made lining up a little bit hectic.

With the sound of the first alarm, we were off! However, we spent the first 2 miles bobbing and weaving through the crowds. We were off to a slow start and even had to walk a few steps within the first tenth of a mile because it was so congested.

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One of the eerie things about this race is running in the dark for around 50 minutes.  By the time we entered Golden Gate Park (around mile 4/5) it was starting to get lighter. If you followed the @finishlineusa Snapchat account, you would have seen that I tried to take a picture of the waterfall. But because I was running (and the fact I hadn’t mastered the art of taking pics while running yet — something I finally got the hang of around mile 8/9) it was blurry 😛

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We entered the Richmond District around mile 8, which had a fairly steep hill lined by typical SF style homes. But the sky was so pretty with a flurry of pinks and blues, and clouds resting on the horizon.

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Around mile 9 we reached the Presidio, and somewhere around here I lost Andy.  At mile 10 we were faced with the biggest and longest hill of the race.  This hill lasts around 1/2 a mile to 3/4 of a mile. However, at this point I felt like I began to experience a runner’s high. I started to get chills from the excitement, the breeze and the view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

The one thing I couldn’t wait for was the downhill. At one point I looked down at my watch and I was running sub 6….I remembered that last year I felt like I should have excelled during this part of the race, but had issues with my knee. Unlike last year, I didn’t run a marathon the week before and felt fairly energized through this part of the race. I paid extra attention to my form, and just kind of let my legs roll. It helped to pick up speed during the downhill and return to a normal stride that ended up being faster than normal pace just because of the momentum of the downhill.

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I think one of my specialities is pacing myself and leaving some reserves in the tank. For the last 2 miles I felt like I killed it. These miles felt effortless and like I had so much left in the tank to sustain a fast and exerted effort. It was so much fun to run pass people that were trudging through the last couple of miles. Usually I feel like I’m really forcing the pace, but this time I felt smooth and mentally strong knowing that I could do and hold anything/pace for ~1 mile.

One of the most deceptive parts of this race is the finish line. You can’t really see it as you’re approaching the end. It’s a straightaway followed by a left turn and a right turn immediately into the finish line. This was something I learned from running the course last year.

I would summarize the course as a mix of street and greenery, with an equal number of hills to downhills.  The scenery is always changing which makes the course seem to fly by quickly. I wouldn’t recommend it as a first-timers course (unless you’re properly trained for it), but it seems to be a favorite amongst all walks of runners.

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Andy and I did not set any goals for ourselves. Our plan was to just have fun and run by feeling. I knew I wanted to run around a 1:45ish safely, and I ended up just doing that.
Towards the end of the race I thought I saw a 1:39 pacer (don’t know why this pacer would exist) but it was actually 1:50. I think my mind was just playing games, mixed with a little bit of wishful thinking.

Although not a PR, I ended up getting a course PR for this Nike Women’s Half Marathon.

Mile splits recorded by my Garmin (1:44:25):
1 – 8:50
2 – 8:32
3 – 8:17
4 – 7:54
5 – 7:54
6 – 7:33
7 – 7:38
8 – 8:03
9 – 8:06
10 – 7:42
11 – 8:06
12 – 7:00
13 – 7:06
Last .28 – 1:37

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Thanks again to Finish Line for the opportunity to run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in SF! #FNLrunsSF!!!

See last year’s recap // See 2013 recap

And we’re off! This morning we’ll be taking the streets of San Francisco. Make sure to follow along on Snapchat as Fit Andy and I will be taking over the @finishlineusa account!  Here’s the gear I’ll be wearing (and don’t make fun of my Hokas!!!).

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–Larabar
Skinfix  Rash Repair Balm
–CLIF Shot Blocks
Garmin 620 Forerunner
–Ipod shuffle
Stance Run Threshold Crew
Body Glide
–Lululemon Turbo Run Shorts
–#FNLRunsSF tank (similar style here)
Hoka One One Huaka

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Here’s my playlist for this weekend’s race.  I’m pretty sure 85% of it consists of Big Gigantic (thanks to Kendanimall and KAABOO when we saw them live).  The rest is kind of electronic/EDM…just the stuff with the higher BPM to keep cadence, rhythm and pace up up up.

What’s your favorite new song to listen to while you run?

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Hi hi.  If you know me and/or you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know I’m kind of insane when it comes to traveling and eating.  Like if it’s not the best thing, earth shattering, insta-worthy meal, don’t put it near my mouth.  Jusssssst kidding….kinda.  That’s why 30 different eating options and itineraries are key!!!! 😉

So as we travel to SF this weekend, I put together a list of “must-eat” places in SF.  Make sure to check it out and give me any other suggestions/restaurants/tips.  Also, same goes with NY because I’ve actually never been there before!

 

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I seriously cannot believe how fast this year has flown by. It seems like just a couple of weeks ago a few of the Finish Line Women (me, Fit Andy, Evann and Angela) found out we’d be running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon. In reality, it was around June, and I felt like I had all the time in the world to get back on the training wagon. And while I’ve still been running (around 15-20 miles a week), ideally I’d like to (at the very least) get back into consistent 20-30 mile weeks.

Even with my best intentions of sticking to a plan, lately I have been “the worst.”  So I’m going to put it out in public… here is my training plan and goals for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon on October 18th!

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Training Plan —
Mon – PM run
Tues – PM run
Wed – PM Yoga Sculpt
Thurs – AM run + AM Yoga Sculpt
Fri – Rest or AM Yoga Sculpt
Sat – Long run
Sun – Rest

Goals —
A goal – Overall PR, sub 1:40
B goal – Course PR ~1:45
C goal – Finish strong in the 1:40-1:50 range.

This will be my first half marathon of the year (yikes! when did I stop racing?!). With this increase in running activity, stay tuned for more running focused posts! (yes this might actually return in a “health and fitness” blog 😛 )

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Thanks to Finish Line for the opportunity to run this race again, as well as Nike and GoPro for hooking it up FAT!!  Stay tuned, hopefully I can share some training runs captured on my new GoPro Hero4 Session!

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Nike recently released 3 new and updated Free models – the Nike Free 3.0 Flyknit (“most natural ride”), the Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit (“a cushioned, natural ride”), and the Nike Free 5.0 (“most cushioned natural ride”).  Through Finish Line I’ve had the opportunity to wear and own the Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit and the Nike Free 5.0.

The Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit is super lightweight and comfortable worn with or without socks.  I just love the vibrant blend of colors and print that the stitching makes.

And since everything else I own seems to be bright and in your face, I like the subtlety of the light purple with the hot lava the for these Nike Free 5.0 Running Shoes.

While I haven’t taken either of these out for any serious runs, I’ve been wearing them for light runs and just out-and-about as casual shoes.  Check out the Finish Line blog to see what the rest of the Finish Line Fam is saying!

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While the weather has been fluctuating lately, it’s definitely been getting warmer.  Proof is in how often we find ourselves spending weekends at the beach.  My spring workout style has definitely taken into consideration these warmer temps with short shorts, loose and airy dry-fit tanks, and lightweight Flyknit trainers.  Head on over to the Finish Line Blog to check out my spring style, what I’m wearing, and why!

Photo credit Danny Chan

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