Just one week after Portland I snagged a spot and registered for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Fransisco. This was a last minute addition that I could not pass up. Any Nike race would have gotten me excited but #WeRunSF is total bucket list status. Running this race was extra specials because after Portland, I decided my new goal was to complete half marathons in 10 different cities. San Fran is city number 5 and half number 11 for me, which is so crazy considering I ran my first half fall 2013.
I flew in to San Jose Friday morning and had a late lunch with Chance’s family before his match. The next morning we drove to San Fran and I hit up Loho Bride to try on some Rime Arodaky gowns that I have been CRUSHING over on Instagram for months. We sipped champagne, danced to Kygo and I tried on a handful of gorgeous gowns. (You’ll have to wait 14 months to see what dress I chose!)
Because this was so last minute, I did this one alone. I missed my KC Run Squad but I was super lucky because Chance was able to make the trip with me and be my photographer for the weekend. After Loho, we explored Union Square and got my packet. Nike nixed the expo this year and went a more interactive route with a scavenger hunt. Unfortunately, I was late to the game and missed out on the limited edition earrings (so sad). Most of the exciting stuff was winding down so we went to see the Golden Gate Bridge. This was my first time to San Fransisco so I was ready to explore!
On Sunday I woke up at 4am for a 6:30am start. I like to wake up early so that I can fuel and hydrate in a stress free manner. We went to bed at 9pm so I felt pretty rested. After getting dressed, I headed to the start line in Union Square. My hotel was literally right outside from the corrals so I had no issues. I was in the black corral (8-9 min pace). I found the 1:50 pacer and lined up for the National Anthem. About this time I got chills. There’s something about 25,000 women all racing together that makes a girl emotional.
The gun went off and we started up a gradual hill. We zigzagged a lot through downtown. I think this is what made my tangents a little off. It was also dark and the streets were wet so you really had to pay attention to where you were stepping. Kansas City is hilly so the first few hills during the race weren’t all that crazy but still challenging.
Mile 4 went through Golden Gate Park. The scenery was so beautiful that it was easy to zone out and just run. I was really worried because I had little recovery time between Portland but my legs actually felt pretty good. After that we hit a colorful neighborhood and some more hills, which started to affect my pace a little so I had to give myself a pep-talk. At mile 10 I knew I was approaching THE hill that I heard about at packet pickup. OH MAN was it a hill. I ran the entire dang hill but I have to admit I got slower towards the top. The view was “on point” though! I even jogged backwards a few times to take some photos. I loved that they had Nike coaches on the hill to pump you up and get you to the top!
Mile 11 was downhill and you can tell from my splits. It felt amazing on my legs to sprint downhill after that climb. The final stretch toward The Marina was pretty flat. For me this was the most difficult part of the race. For once, I wasn’t climbing or descending. I really had to focus.
The finish line at The Marina was well executed. Whole Foods had great eats and Nike had lots of fun selfie signage. I also got my little blue box from Tiffany & Co. The Nike pop-up shop had finishers gear, which you better believe I purchased.
My watch time reported 1:48 but my official chip time was 1:51. I finished before the 1:50 pacer so either she was slow or my chip time was off (just saying!). All in all this was such a fun experience. It definitely exceeded my expectations. I’m convinced the best way to explore a new city is to race it. I can’t wait for my next race adventure. Comment below and let me know where you think I should go!?
All images are my own unless noted. Others via Run Nike Women Series. Photo of Loho show room is from Brides.com.