When I put two and two together that I would be in San Francisco during Nike Women’s Half-Marathon SF I knew I had to somehow get a bib. I get race envy and would just be annoyed looking at Instagram all weekend if I didn’t run it. Nike doesn’t let you transfer registration blah blah blah, but with a quick Google search (*cough* at the bar Sunday night *cough*), I found someone selling theirs and had a bib for the race this weekend (maybe something I should consider for SeaWheeze next year since I just completely forgot about registration).
I absolutely loved Nike Women’s Half-Marathon DC. Things in my life were at a completely different stage six months ago for that race than they are now so maybe that was part of it. Also, Nike races are amazingly well produced and the gear is the cutest. Oh, and Tiffany’s medals. So I knew I wanted to run Nike Women’s Half-Marathon SF but when registration opened in May, I just didn’t know where I would be in my life in October (irony) and knew I wanted to do a fall marathon (more irony) so I didn’t apply.
This race was basically the same, production wise. There was an amazing expotique (I didn’t have to pick up my bib so I just did a quick run-through to try and change my pace bracelet… no luck, but more on that later), finisher’s celebration, etc. etc. Shalane Flannigan was there (again). I thought about asking her for a picture when I walked by her Sunday morning but then also felt weird about it. She is so pretty in real life and just has this really strangely calm energy about her.
I always want to PR but also wanted to focus on just running a race to have fun, not to feel disappointed at the end. I had a lot on my mind, had spent the past two-ish weeks crying every day about something and oh yeah, trying to find an apartment in SF is a nightmare. Emily texted me to say good luck (and more importantly to have fun) and after chatting with her while walking from the hotel to Union Square, I got in the “have fun” mindset.
The girl whose bib I bought was in the 10:00-10:59 corral but I needed to be in the 8:00-8:59 minute corral. I spent a lot of time feeling bummed about them not letting me move forward (when you’re stressed you focus on the. dumbest. shit) but on Sunday morning, I just walked in the 8:00 corral and no one stopped me.
The course was really great and I wanted to use this race to a) get a long run in for the week b) check out some running routes in my new city and c) have fun. It started in Union Square, through the Tenderloin, Alamo Square and into Golden Gate Park. From there, you run through Richmond, into the Presidio, past Chrissy Field and into the Marina Green, AKA my new backyard. My dad and I joked that if I run it next year I’ll be able to walk home.
The temperature was perfect (duh, it’s SF the temp is always perfect) but it was super foggy out. I felt really good starting out and also noticed that other people who should not have been in the 8:00 corral were in the 8:00 corral. People, please – go to the pace corral you should be running in. It’s net time, not gun time, so please please stop making everyone weave around you when you stop to walk 1/2 mile in.
Around mile two I spotted the 1:50 pace group. I ran a couple miles with them but then fell back… I was watching my watch and their pace was a little aggressive (now I know why) and I didn’t want to kill myself knowing there were some intense hills near the end of the race.
So, since I didn’t have my name on a bib I couldn’t look up my time (totally forgot to look up my bib number and threw it out!), I went by my watch. According to my watch, the course was 13.29 miles (and I noticed a lot of photos tagged with #werunsf also had that magic 13.3 number…) and I ran that distance in 1:52:07, so a PR of 50 seconds or so. It was an 8:26 pace which I was happy about.
Most of my miles were low 8:10s and 8:20s, one sub-8, and then two slower miles: a 9:24 on mile 11 with that insane hill in the Presidio (which would have been beautiful if the fog had burned off by then) and then my last mile was an 8:38 because I was just so beat by mile 11.
MORE IMPORTANTLY: I had fun. I was smiling most of the race, even on that awful hill in the Presidio (Ragnar DC, you taught me well). I think I hit that runner’s high. So this year out of five races (not counting the AEO 5K I ran a PR in – 24:59 haha), I really only had one race I was miserable during (minus the last three miles of Pittsburgh due to my hangover).
It was weird though… I was so happy about my PR but not elated like I was at the end of DC. It didn’t even feel too special to me after the race. I kind of just went through the motions then went to find my dad once I finished. I didn’t take many photos or even any of me post-race (but I looked terrible). I just got up that morning, didn’t overthink anything and ran. I don’t know if I’m just so used to races now (this was my 11th half-marathon and 4th this year) or if I was just so preoccupied with everything else going on in my life that the sparkle was gone. Really hoping it’s the later.
A note though: I was really sore Tuesday. Monday I felt okay, went to yoga to stretch out, thought I was fine. Tuesday, DOMs set in and hard. My recovery run Wednesday hurt until about two miles in (but all of my runs hurt until two miles in, let’s be real).
Chat with me:
Do amazing things ever begin to feel routine to you? Have you ever run a Nike race? (You should.) What things do you get envious if you’re missing out on?