Race Recap: Nike Women’s San Francisco Half Marathon 2015

It’s been a marathon and two half marathons since I haven’t run a PR (the marathon was by default, but still) until today (I ran a 1:55, which I guess I should include in this). I don’t know what was up with my race, but I wasn’t there mentally or physically at the Nike Women’s San Francisco Half Marathon 2015.

I wasn’t set up for success for this race. I haven’t been doing very many tempo runs or any track work. My core/strength-training has went down the drain again. Then I made the executive decision to “run by feel” and not look at my watch. Well, I already know I am a person who needs personal accountability and not looking at your pace is a really great way to not hold yourself accountable.


I aired my frustrations with myself in the group text with my dad and uncles (which is my favorite group text, by the way, because they are all hilarious) and this really resonated with me: “You are repeatedly doing what very few could even do one time.” My dad on the phone later asked my overall place was and when I did the math and still finished in the top 6%, I had to let the shitty feelings go.

Instead of the same sob story of me not putting in the work to get results, I’d like to talk about what this race meant to me. I ran this race last year while in San Francisco looking at apartments (one year ago Sunday, this year’s race day, my dad and I sat at the Intercontinental and decided I should sign the lease for this apartment).

Running has been a huge part of my life for over 12 years. From high school cross country to crossing the line of my first marathon this year, running has defined me for over the past decade. I have days where I love running so much it’s gross and I days where I wish I had never laced up a pair of shoes in my life. Running has been a really integral part of my life in San Francisco. Every inch of this course I have covered on some run in the past year, some parts most days of the week (the final two miles).

Last weekend Chrissy and I did a 13+ loop from our apartments to Golden Gate Park then through the park back to the Marina. I told her it was weird the number of monumental conversations I can acutely real that have happened while running.

So, this race. same course as last year. From Union Square to Alamo Square, where my friend Kitt was cheering on runners after the hill on Mile 2 and who I was so excited to see, down the Panhandle to Golden Gate Park where Emily was with the rest of the San Francisco Road Runners. Golden Gate Park, seeing two of my closest friends in the city and thinking of all the conversations I’ve had in that damn park made me very introspective.


I was just not feeling it in the Presidio, despite being strangely excited to run the hills in the morning. I run down Lincoln a lot on my runs with San Francisco Road Runners so it felt strange to think about how much I just love killing that downhill. I used to really love running to Baker Beach when I first moved here, too. When I was feeling slow I just kept telling myself “head up, wings out” (my mantra from Emily) and thinking about flying.

I knew in the last two miles I just needed to dig in and finish it strong. I couldn’t let people keep passing me in my neighborhood on my normal route. It also felt weird to me to run down Chrissy Field on the road (I usually run up it on the sidewalk then back down on the sand trail along the beach). I had this weird feeling of hating all these other people on something that is typically so peaceful to me. BUT it was super nice because I know how I feel on my daily runs and how much I had left so I knew to leave everything on the course.

Looking at my mile splits, I was more consistent than I have been – just consistently slower. My slowest mile, which was a mile uphill, was 9:38. I had absolutely zero 7:XX-miles, which is a difference from 3-4 sub-8 miles from my past few races.


Things that were great: Race swag (the necklace this year was super cute and so was the tank), organization (people want to say this race was run terribly but I’ve run some terrible races and Nike consistently puts on a good race), the course (hard but super scenic… if you’re coming to SF to run this is the best race to run sight-wise, crowd-support (they had Lincoln Blvd and the hill from miles 9.5-11 stacked with cheering people) and finishing four blocks from my apartment.


Things that could have been better: Communication from Nike (but coming from my background, I know communication is shit when plans aren’t finalized… so there you go), more water stations (!!), finish line things were WAY better last year and at DC… oh, and I miss the “Expotique” but as a marketer, completely get why they wanted to drive traffic into their stores.

Would I do it again? Probably, because I get race FOMO. It’s a little pricey, so hoping by next year some brand wants me to run it on behalf of them (if it’s still in SF, which I’ve heard it’s moving on south to LA).

To end the morning, #brunchedsohard with Kitt and Chrissy at NOPA which is my fave restaurant in the city.


Chat with me:
What situations make you introspective? What does where you live mean to you? What were you up to this weekend?

10 comments on “Race Recap: Nike Women’s San Francisco Half Marathon 2015

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Susie @ SuzLyfe on October 19, 2015 7:49 am

Sounds like you’ve got quite a lot going through your head at the moment, and I always find it interesting when people get like that around races, because I TOTALLY do not. I don’t need the accountability of racing and PRs–part of why I love to run is because it was a chance for me to lift that pressure off of myself after having so much pressure for so long as a rider.
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Sarah @pickyrunner on October 19, 2015 11:33 am

You always make me want to run this race! One day… I’m sorry you didnt’ run the race you wanted but I’m glad you’re still able to look at some of the positives. Sometimes it just isn’t our day and then we have to move past it. I’m having some of those thoughts from the marathon I did a few weeks ago and I’m already looking ahead to my next race. Great job still and the PRs will come when there is no pressure :)
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Dani @ Dani California Cooks on October 19, 2015 1:45 pm

I had a bunch of friends run the race this weekend! They said mile 10 in the presidio was just insult to injury, but that it was pretty epic ending in the marina. Congrats on finishing!! And Nopa brunch afterwards…can’t think of a better way to celebrate.
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Nicole @ Fitful Focus on October 19, 2015 3:32 pm

There have been a few races where I’ve told myself I’m just going to run by feel, but I get too competitive with myself haha. I’ve been bummed that I’ve missed the Brooklyn Half Marathon (my hood) for the past 3 years. I’m determined to tackle that race while I still live here. I love destination races, but there’s something magical about running in your own neighborhood and getting a sweet medal (or necklace) for it. Although you didn’t PR, it sounds like you may have taken away something even more valuable – and that quote from your family texting is right on – you are capable of amazing things. Regardless of how quickly you did it, you did it!
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Ashley @ A Lady Goes West on October 19, 2015 3:40 pm

Hi Cassie! I’d like to reiterate what your Dad was implying — running a half marathon at that pace is NOT easy, nor is it something many people can do. Being a healthy living blogger in a healthy and active city like San Francisco can make you think it’s no big deal. But it’s not. You should totally be proud of your dedication and body’s ability to finish. And I totally get how it feels sentimental to run through your city and think about how far you’ve come and how your life has changed! You are very courageous to have moved out here, and I hope you are enjoying the ride!! :)
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Erin @ Her Heartland Soul on October 19, 2015 4:10 pm

Way to go girl!!
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Ariana on October 19, 2015 4:44 pm

I’m really happy that despite not having your best race you were able to let some of those bad feelings go! If it’s any consolation, your slowest uphill mile is around the same pace as my regular mile ;) And your dad is SO right – so many people have never run a half or are unable to run one…so props to you for completing YET another!
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Ginger Marie on October 19, 2015 6:05 pm

This is so awesome. I love the shirt they gave y’all too! Its so cool that you were accepted for this half!!

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Alyssa @ RenaissanceRunnerGirl on October 19, 2015 8:23 pm

I’m the same way, if I am running a familiar route I tend to be VERY introspective and spend lots of time thinking about life, because running is usually my “thinking time” anyway, and the familiarity breeds that kind of pattern!
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Katie @ 24 Carrot Life on October 28, 2015 11:00 pm

You go girl! I completely agree with your dad and uncle. For me, it would be a miracle to even finish…especially in San Fran with all the hills. But I can also resonate with that frustrated feeling. Congratulations either way!

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