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The San Francisco Marathon Ambassador (with codes!)

Super excited to announce that I’m a San Francisco Marathon Ambassador this year! In 2014 I ran the 2nd half for Nuun (hooray!), and last year I ran the 1st half, completing the Half It All Challenge and earning my extra medal (all about the bling!)  In November 2015 I also ran the Berkeley Half Marathon 10k.  TSFM and the Berkeley Half are partner races, and it’s so nice to have awesome local races put on by the same great people.

I’ve worked with both races closely over the past couple years through Nuun, worked each expo, hydrated the masses and sampled out at their Run 365 Training Runs (honestly, that’s what got me hooked on the race!)

Code: TSFM2016SHEENA  Discount amount: $10 off
Race distances: full, 1st half, 2nd half

Code: TSFM2016SHEENA5K  Discount amount: $5 off
Race distances: 5K

Happy running! Let me know if you decide to register for a race – I’ll be joining you on the 2nd half marathon course!

Rock n Roll San Jose 1/2 race recap

Another friendiversary weekend!  Kat and I celebrated our 12-year friendiversary with her flying up to San Jose early Saturday morning and me driving down there after work on Friday night. I stayed the night at my cousins and left early Saturday to pick her up from the airport. Let the fun times begin!

(Warning: This is going to be severely picture-heavy because I waited way to long to write this and I can’t remember a lot of the race haha)

We tried to get to our hotel, but forgot the San Jose is one of the RnR races where they have the double medals – run a 5k or 10k on Saturday and the 1/2 marathon on Sunday and you get an extra medal. Because our hotel was RIGHT next to the start, we couldn’t get in (or so we thought).  We drove around for awhile, trying to figure out what we were going to do, attempted multiple u-turns to try to get into the side street where the hotel parking lot was, only to be stopped by blockades and cops. We drove around to the other side of the Convention Center, paid to park in a lot, and went to the expo that way. We walked around afterwards for awhile, went to check into our hotel, so at least our room would be ready for us, took a “nap,” went back to my car and drove it back to the hotel when the streets finally opened – we later learned that everything was shut down and blocked not because of the race, but because the Prime Minister of India was in town and staying at the hotel right next door. They had to do a million hour sweep of the area before he could check in. While we were walking around looking for her, football and food (hello, our favorite things), there was more security, cops, SWAT, dogs, guns, everything you could think of, than I’ve ever seen (even more than when Obama was in San Francisco). Turns out there are a lot of people not so happy with him, based on the number of people protesting at his speech a couple days later at SAP Center.

Kat went back to the hotel and I ran back to the expo before it closed to meet with Laura and Ross (shoutout to fellow Bay Area runner and Twitter friend Ross!) – this was the first time Laura and I were meeting Ross, even though we had been Twitter friends for quite some time.

We still had quite a few hours to kill and were antsy, so Kat and I decided to walk from out hotel to San Pedro Square to grab some pre-race dinner. Luckily for us, there was live music in the square and the weather was absolutely perfect! (and so welcoming of the runners, courtesy of the sign they put up!)

Heretic is actually a local brewery in the town I live in (Fairfield, CA) and their Petite Rouge is one of my favorites! The place we bought the beer at has all local (or at least California) craft beers, mainly IPAs (both of us don’t like), and I was SO excited to see Heretic in the fridge!

We grabbed a giant beer to share (and maybe ended up ordering another one because it was delicious and we were enjoying the music)
We’ve been friends now for a little over 12 years and for both us, nights like this are our favorite. It’s a perfect way to spend an evening – good live music, great scenery and awesome friends (and delicious drinks were a bonus!). Beer is totally carbo-loading, right?

We headed back to the hotel to start laying our stuff out for the next morning (#flatkat and #flatbean of course) – staying right next to the start, if you’ve never done it, is amazing! This is one of the first times I’ve ever been this close and it was SO convenient to be able to walk to dinner, walk to the expo, walk to San Pedro Square, etc.

Color coordinated and we didn’t even plan it!


  Since we were only 2 blocks or so form the starting area, we were able to sleep in much later than ever before (hallelujah!), and pee in a clean toilet in our hotel room as many times as we wanted before heading to the start line (can I get an Amen!?).  We met Ross and Laura at the start, took a million photos (you’re welcome) and headed to the corrals.

Bay Area Twitter buddies!

Laura has been my good luck charm for 2015 races :)

Team Katbean!

Off to the corrals we go! It was surprisingly more difficult than I think any of imagined to make our way into the corrals, and we ended up having to squeeze through the bars in the barricades in order to get in anywhere near our pace.

It wasn’t long before the corrals started moving, and they got everyone through pretty quickly. I don’t remember having to wait long between when the gun went off, and when it was our turn to head through the chute (we squeezed into corral 10)

Yay for amazing friends!

I had no time plans for this race, had run a 1/2 in Oakland the month before, and this was technically the start of my crazy fall schedule: This 1/2 marathon on a Sunday, a 12k the following Saturday, Nike Women’s 1/2 marathon 2 weeks after that, Ragnar Relay Napa Valley 5 days after Nike and the Golden Gate 1/2 marathon 2 weeks after Ragnar, aka #IDie.  I wasn’t necessarily racing any of the above races, but just wanting to have fun with friends, and end my year with a bang! I had already PR’d my 1/2 marathon time at The Town’s 1/2 in August and was really satisfied with my race sin 2015 thus far.  Kat had rolled her ankle a few days before the race and it was still swollen, so we said we’d just run together as long as we could and enjoy it.

We ran together, enjoyed the scenery, talked about whatever, pointed out awesome buildings, restaurants that looked good, what we wanted to eat after the race (isn’t that what everyone talks about during a race?) and just life in general.  I had just chopped off all my hair 2 months previously and thought it would be a good idea to just let my hair feel the air (cuz #curlyhairdontcare). This was the only race I was able to do it in – the rest of the year it was just all kinds of annoying)

We finally parted ways around mile 10.5ish and I tried to pick up my pace. I hadn’t seen Laura or Ross so hoped I’d be able to spot them in the Finisher’s Area after the race, and was hoping I’d be able to watch Kat finish and cheer her in.  It was warm. It was warmer than warm. I usually run pretty warm, and tend to overheat quickly if overdressed. I was in a singlet and shorts for this race, so there’s no way I was overdressed, but the heat was still getting to me. The sun was out in full force and even though I had on sunglasses, I really should have had a visor on. Huge thank you to the lady about half a mile before SAP Center that had a cooler full of frozen mini sponges. You literally saved my race. I grabbed one and alternated it between hands as the ice melted. I held it at the base of my neck, on my chest, in between my boobs (they needed air) and on the top of my head, just letting the cold, melting water run down my spine. Literal heaven.

I had zero idea (since I wasn’t really paying attention to my watch) that I was on pace to PR when we parted, but when I looked down at my watch at mile 12, I got SUPER excited at the time I saw. I knew if I pushed myself and didn’t let up, I was FINALLLLYYYYYYY going to break 2:10!!!

It couldn’t have been timed any better. I finished the race strong, knew I PR’s, and before I could even comprehend the time on my watch, I heard someone say my name – Laura and Ross finished just behind me!  We got our medals and water, snapped a photo and I turned around again for some reason – just in time to watch Kat run in. Absolutely perfect timing.
 We grabbed our million snacks and agreed to meet up at a certain time at the open area between our hotel and Ross’ hotel next door (PM of India hotel; you don’t even want to know the security measures he had to go to since he was staying there!)
After the most amazing shower ever, Laura, Kat and I met up with Ross and we headed back to San Pedro Square to grab lunch and celebrate our races.  We all had a great day of running and Kat got an extra medal for being awesome (I mean, I’d give her a medal for being awesome, but it was for running multiple RnR races in CA this year)
Hooray friendship, running and food!

And when the results were finally in….

I had PR’d in August by a little over 4 minutes.  6 weeks later I run this race and not only PR again (this time by another 2 minutes), but finnnaaallllyyyyyyy broke 2:10! Seriously guys, 2015 was the year of all things that make up excellent races. I ran, not to race, but to run and enjoy it. To have fun, listen to my body, spend time with friends, and just kind of go with the flow of it. And you know what? When I calmed my brain and my body, it took over and did amazing things!  For both races where I PR’d my 1/2 marathon, I didn’t set out with a goal to PR. I tried to look at my watch as little as possible and it worked out for me.  I’m so incredibly grateful to have had so many good experiences this year, and to finally be able to share both PR races with friends! (every other race PR I’ve had, no matter the distance, I’ve had no friends or family at the races, so I just sadly walk back to my car, wishing there was someone there to celebrate with haha. Sad panda)

Kat flew out later that afternoon, and after dropping her off at the airport, I headed back to my cousins to spend the night. But first, we watch Sunday football, especially when it involves a Seahawks win! (and a 49er loss at the bottom of the screen haha)

Ragnar Relay: Northwest Passage 2015

… is done! (as in I finished it 4.5 months ago haha)

So proud of myself and my overnight relay packing skills/still need to stop overpacking.

I headed up to Seattle on Wednesday after work (it took me 2 hours to go less than 2 miles in San Francisco traffic. I almost missed my flight!), spent Thursday in Bellingham with Suzanne, got everything prepped and ready for our team, picked up the vans, went to her Crossfit box to do a warm up, and just relaxed – something I haven’t really done lately.  It was an absolutely beautiful day out, and we spent part of the morning having coffee along Bellingham Bay.

This view. Can’t beat it. Oddly enough, the smell of low tide is really comforting and reminds me of my childhood. Gross, whatevs.

We ran around that day, running errands, dropping things off, finding and moving new furniture for Suzanne, did a warm-up at her local Crossfit (potentially mistake as I went a little too hard with the lacrosse ball), picked up the vans and all our vans snacks, decorated the vans and had pre-race dinner with a few of our teammates.  We picked up Robert late that night, as he had also just flew in from San Francisco and then settled in for the night. Thankfully the three of us were in van 2, so we started later, and the first major exchange was just a few miles from Suzanne’s place (local friends for the win!)

Our team was ConBear: Always on the Run.  Think of the movie Con Air, but with bears. Yep, that was us.  One of our teammates has a sweet bear coat that you just can’t say no to (you’ll see a lot of that coat in this post!)  Each of us had a sweet mugshot on the side of our van, complete with our jail name and reason we were imprisoned haha

Obvi had a killer growth spurt, towering at a giant 6’5″ :)

At the very first exchange. Scott was in van 1 and was just walking around the parking lot being awesome, while waiting for their runner #6.  People were clamoring for photos with him. We were celebrities and it was awesome.

See? AWESOME. He’s also a giant, bear-like dude, so it was PERFECT.

BEAR ATTACK!

We even had a parking lot battle.  Who wore it better? HAHA
  Van 2 got all checked in, got  our shirts (that fit only half our team, meh) and tried to take a few photos of our awesomeness before we had to exchange and head out.

8 out of 12 bears. You can see a couple pairs, but each of us had homemade bear ears :) Bear cubs for the win!

Robert was off first as runner #7.  Robert and I have done every single Ragnar (for me at least) together.  He’s also done SoCal on his own since I couldn’t make it down for that race. We both flew up to WA for this race, and it was awesome to be in the same van again.  He is ridiculously fast (i’ll just keep saying it), and any time he comes into exchanges, he turns it up even more and people literally are scared to be anywhere near the path because he’s coming in so fast.

This is literally the only photo that came out of his exchange to Terence. Every other picture, he was just a blur. A BLUR.

I was runner #9, so I had a little bit of time before I had to run, to prep myself. All I remember was that it was already getting warm when we were checking into the first major exchange, so I couldn’t imagine how warm it would get by the time it was my turn. Turns out it just got plain hot.  Running in shorts and a tank top, with a hat to try to shield me and still sweat my butt off. I had to flip the hat around halfway through the run because my head was overheating.  Once the sweat started dripping into my eyes, it promptly got turned back around!

Thanks to my awesome teammates for stopping partway through the leg to cheer me on! They snapped a couple awesome shots.

This one will always be a Ragnar favorite photo. Chugging along, sweating profusely, overheating, and bear cubs stop to cheer next to a sign telling me to “slow down” as if I was going too fast haha

Thankfully I was still able to kill the run even though it was pretty warm. I walked one little section where there was shade (because there was basically none), to try to cool off for a few seconds and then started up again. I was super excited to hand off that slap bracelet to Deling!

Leg 1: 6.1 miles (hard) DONE!

There were a couple awesome vans we kept seeing throughout the race, including this one.  When they would pull into the exchange, they would roll down the windows and play the theme music to Duck Hunt super loud. Thank you childhood!
We sat at that exchange in the shade waiting for Suzanne to come in.  It got chilly quickly (very welcome to everyone who had recently run).  Check out that sweet hat hair!

After handing off to van 1 to complete their “night legs,” we headed to the next major exchange. I had not been feeling well since I had finished my leg, and ended up laying down in the back of the van while runner 12 was out. After laying down for awhile, throwing up, taking some medication, we headed out to the grassy area to try to “rest.”  Sports Authority had set up a bunch of tents in an open field and it was AWESOME.  We used the tent for shade since there was a bunch of sand in it, but the blankets and the pillows we brought were awesome. I probably napped for about 10  minutes, and it was glorious. (everyone was on their phones except me because T-Mobile is the absolute worst and I never have service at any Ragnar I do)
Since our time between major exchanges was kind of at a weird time, none of us really slept at all, and when we got up to start getting ready for the next exchange and to start our night legs, the sun was barely starting to go down.

All the vans at sunset!

We exchanged and took off to meet Robert before he finished (because he’s ridiculously fast) and while going over the water, captured this beauty. I wish my iPhone could have actually done this sunset proper justice.

My night leg was barely uneventful, since it was only 2.2 easy miles. My headlamp was a complete FAIL though and was flickering on and off the entire time. Thankfully it flickered on when I was coming through the exchange so we didn’t get a strike for it (and thankfully it was through parts of town and residential areas that had either street lights or front porch lights. I only tripped twice, but never fell. Whew!).  I also jumped out in the middle of Suzanne’s night leg to run with her for 2.5 miles. Her longest leg was her night leg (and also longest leg of the relay) and over beautiful Deception Pass! It’s a lonely route since it’s full of nature and super dark, so I wanted to keep her company (and having someone jump out and run with you in the middle of your 9.8 mile leg can be motivating so you don’t slow down or walk).

Night legs are always fun because that’s when people start to get delirious haha. The lack of proper meals at regular times, combined with sleep deprivation start to creep in.  Scott’s bear coat was like an awesome waist coat. He’s a million feet taller than me, so I wanted to try it on. It literally went almost to the ground and the arms were a good 6″ too long.

Robert and I both small. How many tiny bear cubs can you fit in Papa Bear’s coat? 2. Literally both of us were able to wear this at the next major exchange and stay warm.

After this exchange we went to get food (who knows where, my memory is horrible 4 months later) and napped a little bit in the van before we had to be up for our final set of legs.

Just after sunrise

Before we started our final set of legs, we all needed a boost, so we stopped by The Woods Coffee to get a growler of cold brew for the fan.  The boys were all over it, but sadly, I can’t have coffee before a run or else the runs ensue, and not the awesome, PR-worhthy kind. Makes me sad because their cold brew is delicious! Thankfully there was still some left after I ran my last leg, so I was able to partake (and drank a bunch more at other times that weekend, not during the race).

Like a champ! Tom looking at him all proud-like :)

In case you’re wondering, climbing atop a homemade wooden saddle (as awesome as it was!) in shorts = not the best idea Tom has ever had. Hello splinters!

My last leg was my longest leg, and listed as very hard, which made me super nervous. It was once again in the dead of heat, so that contributed to the “very hard” factor.  It was partially through the woods, along the road, so sometimes nowhere for vans to pull over to cheer, and you had to watch out for wildlife as well (deer count: 4, almost panic attack from deer jumping out the woods right in front of you: 1).  Even though I was wearing capris, I was eaten alive by mosquitos on this leg on my arm, shoulders and legs (yes, they bit me through my capris!).  I had this issue last year at Ragnar Napa, and for the past few years, I have had a local allergic reaction to any bug bites.  These ones swelled up pretty bad like all the other times and were really hard, hot and uncomfortable.  My van stopped about 4 miles into my run for an impromptu dance party to Eye of the Tiger, and let me tell you, I needed those shenanigans. The bug bites were killing me by that point and I was just plain tired. At the beginning of our dance party, a girl passed me and when we finished, they told me “now you have to catch her. That’s your one job!”

I ran my butt off those final 2.7 miles.  This was the awesome view when we turned out of the woods for the final quarter mile. During that final quarter mile, we were running stride for stride. I somehow had a little kick left in me for the final stretch and when we turned that last corner, I passed her and ran as hard as I could until the exchange. I have no idea how my lungs stayed inside my body.

Leg #3: 6.8 miles (very hard) DONE!!!

It felt so good to mark that final checkbox!
Now it was Deling, Suzanne and Tom’s turn to experience their last run at Ragnar Northwest Passage (while I guzzled the Cold Brew and attempted to cool down)

Van Selfie minus Deling (running) and Tom (getting ready for his last leg) on Whidbey Island!

While Tom was running his last leg, we raced to the finish so we could meet up with van 1 and all run in together. 12 bears running through the finish chute together? EPIC.

We have to get a shot together at every Ragnar. It’s tradition!

The original California 3. Suz, Robert and I ran our very first Ragnars together (Napa Valley 2013). Even though Suzanne couldn’t run Napa with us in 2014 or this year, Robert and I made the trek up to WA to run Northwest Passage with her. Zero regrets. Absolutely beautiful course and we had a blast!

Then on to the “official” Ragnar photos with the backdrop.

And then our true selves. We still have zero idea who Terence is waving to. Fan club?
After the race, we drove back through Deception Pass and got lucky as there was a car pulling out and we were able to snag their parking space (there aren’t that many to choose from right next to the bridge).  It was still hot and absolutely beautiful, so I climbed down under the bridge (in my flip flops, which wasn’t super easy) to snap a couple shots.

Another fantastic Ragnar experience in the books!  I must say, I’ve only done Napa and Northwest Passage, and this one hands down, has the best scenery ever.  I grew up in Washington and it was really nice to be back up there, smelling low tide and the evergreens and running in nature (and you know, just seeing green things. Thanks a lot California drought!)

Trick or Treating with the Hulk

Over a month late on Halloween… Don’t worry, I still have plenty of drafts from the past few months to make myself feel better about this one!  Little dude went Trick or Treating until he was tired of carrying his candy pale, and then we headed to their church for some fun and games (he was more interested in throwing a ball at, well, anything, than the rest of the games and the candy)

So bummed this one came out blurry. Little dude was trying to show his muscles and my hair looked halfway decent!

I don’t know why I was trying to show him what to do – do you see that chicken arm I’m “flexing?!” … also, my left leg is NOT that skinny. So weird to see it look like that.

Hulk SMASH!

The Town’s 1/2 Marathon recap

I’ve been struggling to keep up with blogging (or social media in general) over the last 6 months. Between working longer hours/days and longer commuting hours (up to about 5 per day now), I haven’t had any little breaks at work to scroll through posts and feeds, and I’ve been trying to nap during the commuting time, since I’m still not sleeping well at night.  Race weekends and family time and overall exhaustion has taken over, but this weekend I have some free time (finally!) and am trying to catch up on things like decluttering my room, donating more items, and catching up on the blog!

 

The Town’s 1/2 marathon in Oakland was one I had been looking forward to for awhile.  A nice small race through Oakland was just what I needed – there wasn’t 20,000+ runners crammed into a small area, you would never feel cramped or crowded, the race organizers are fantastic and it’s extremely community-oriented.  If that wasn’t enough, their sponsors are awesome, so you not only get a race-branded mason jar, but Brita really comes through with a filtered water bottle for each finisher! (there were a bunch leftover after the race, so Laura and I were lucky enough to get two bottles each!).  They have entertainment, little carts are wandering around the open space with breakfast items, single cup coffee, all from local vendors.

I met up with Laura in the morning and we drove to Oakland together, getting there with plenty of time to meet up with Steve, who picked up our packets for us the day before (another great perk of the race, they let you easily pick up packets for your friends or family if you aren’t able to make it).  We originally planned to start together, but she’s faster than I am, so I just planned to try to keep up with her as long as I possibly could (or at least keep her in my sights) – it worked for about 3/4 of a mile and then I lost her!

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I kept going at that same pace (it was actually feeling good!) and trying not to look at my watch. I was chugging along, looking at all the sights, and realized at about mile 4ish, that I had just passed her!  That gave me the confidence that I could finish strong, so I kept going, walked part of the hill around maybe mile 8-9ish, and realized at mile 10 that I was in a really good place to PR (previous time was 2:14.12). By mile 12, I thought I could FINALLY break 2:10! I was hustling as much as my heavy legs would let me, but when I crossed the finish line and looked down at my watch, it was 2:10.12 – I was devastated.

All the things I could have done differently started going through me brain: if I would have started running just a few steps earlier on that hill, if I hadn’t walked that aid station, etc.   Laura came in shortly after me and we celebrated our finishes together. Though I didn’t break 2:10, I had just PR’d by 4 minutes, and that is a pretty spectacular feeling.

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We  walked around the booths they had set up, collected our snacks, and stopped by one of the booths (Better Health East Bay) that was giving away a new Garmin watch – it was worth a shot to enter! All we had to to do was take a selflie and use the #WeRanTheTown hashtag to be entered, easy enough!  We rolled around the area they had set up with yoga mats and foam rollers (THANK YOU!), sipped coffee in our new mason jars, and lazed around before heading back to the car to make the drive home.     

Update: I won the Garmin watch! When they tweeted me, I almost peed my pants!

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The SF Marathon First 1/2

One month after, it’s about time for a race recap, right? :)

I ran this race last year, but ran the 2nd 1/2 marathon for Nuun. It was an awesome experience, I helped work the expo on Saturday for them, stayed in the city that night, and ran the 2nd 1/2 Sunday morning. After running the 2nd 1/2, I knew I wanted to run the 1st 1/2 this year, because I’m greedy and like extra bling! If you run the two different 1/2 marathons in consecutive years, you get an extra medal for completing the “Half it All Challenge.” Challenge accepted!

I didn’t get to run this year for Nuun, so when it looked like it was getting close to selling out, I registered quickly. I had run Ragnar NWP the weekend before and had majorly tweaked my left glute and quad. I had low hopes for this race unfortunately, especially after working the expo both Friday AND Saturday. Halfway through Saturday, my feet were dead. Yay smart decisions!

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After the expo on Friday, Laura and I hung out at Fort Mason since Off the Grid was there. There were SOOOO many people! Most of the food trucks had crazy long lines, but the one we ended up at had a short line and the food came out quickly. Gourmet grilled cheese (brie, granny smith apples, thinly sliced almonds) and truffle tater tots? GET IN MY MOUTH.

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The Nuun team in action!

Woke up ridiculously early on Sunday, met Kristina in the hotel lobby and we walked over to the start line (thankfully we weren’t far!).  The “corral change” sticker had somehow fallen off my bib and they were super vigilant about not letting you into the corral unless it was yours, so they wouldn’t let me into the one I had changed to (bummer).  We waited until the original corral, jumped in line, took a couple pictures and were off before we knew it!

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Forced smiles early in the morning!

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Pace through the corrals was actually really good!

Both of us were semi-unprepared, so agreed to run the whole thing together, and we both wanted to stop for a couple photos. Fun, easy race, chatting with your friend the whole time? Yes please! It’s exactly what I needed. Even though we weren’t running it fast at all, the mile markers seemed to fly by!

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Karl the Fog was working that morning.

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Thanks to the awesome volunteer who took this photo for us!

We stopped once for a bathroom break, a couple times for photos, and once at the bridge turnaround because I had achilles blisters that were starting to really bother me (shoes i wore during the expo, even though they’re completely broken in). Thank you to the aid station who helped me take off my shoes and socks to put a giant bandaid on both achilles, and for helping me tie them back up! #TeamWork.

At about mile 10, my left quad (that had been slowly nagging for the last few miles) finally completely locked up. I had to pull over to a post and start to stretch and rub it out. Super painful but I got it loosened and we started out towards Seacliff/Outer Richmond. I knew Kari would be out in front of their apartment cheering on runners, and REALLY needed the motivation at that point. Thankfully we weren’t diverted and once we got onto 27th, I heard them. HOORAY!

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Stopping for a picture, hearing people scream your name and having juicy watermelon = the business. Exactly what I needed!

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In their apartment window! Scott was working on his computer (video games I think haha), but when he heard Kari yell my name, he popped out for a cheer as well.

After the cheer station, we had less than 2 miles to the finish. Both of us were ecstatic to be almost done (also we just kept talking about breakfast. Talk about motivation!).  We continued down 27th Avenue (forgot about that little hill at Geary, rude) and finally turned left into the Park at Fulton. The smell of GG Park gets me every time (no not typical SF urine smell, but the amazing smell of nature!) and we pushed as hard as we could into the finish.  Once in the park, we were able to see the 2nd 1/2 marathoners who were just starting their race and we cheered them on as we ran in.

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Just finished the race and going to pick up snacks, my regular and Half it All challenge medal and my gear check. I would like to punch Gear Check in the face this year. It took almost an hour to locate my bag (and a bunch of other peoples as well), because a ton of bags that should have been in my truck had somehow been put in the wrong truck (but they couldn’t tell you what other truck they were in, so after waiting in our line, they simply said “so can you just go check the other trucks? It’s probably in one of the first 3 trucks.” The first 3 trucks had at least 50 people waiting in line).

FINALLY found my bag and we peaced out for breakfast.

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Double medals!

Now I’m trying to talk Kristina into running the 2nd half next year (it literally runs right in front of her apartment around mile 8ish) so that she can get the Half it All Challenge medal, too!
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My FitBit started vibrating before I even hit mile 5 of the race, we walked to the start line, walked a bit after the finish, AND I ended up running from our hotel to the full finish line and back after the race. Because I’m ridiculous. I ended the day with SO MANY STEPS!IMG_9248And a little sneak preview from the real race photos:

race_1085_photo_22616224The race also offers another Challenge: the 52 Club. Run both 1/2 marathons in consecutive years, and then the 3rd year, run the full marathon. I don’t think I’m quite ready for my first full yet!

This is one of my favorite races here in San Francisco.  The fact that it offers multiple races, is extremely well-organized (except for the gear bag snafu), has great bling, treats at the finish line, offers free race photos (HELLO!), Nuun is the hydration sponsor (the only thing my sensitive stomach will tolerate during long runs and races), and generally just care about the local community.  Last year while getting ready for the 2nd 1/2, I was lucky enough to work a few of the Run365 training runs with Nuun. RUN365 is the official training program of The San Francisco Marathon races and The Berkeley Half Marathon. It’s a great bunch of people that just love what they do.  This year I was able to do the same, and join them for a fun run with Dean Karnazes (he gave me a high five and said I was awesome, no big deal).  The people that run the show are awesome, work hard and love what they do.  Their partners are also great (I have a FitBit so it was pretty cool how they integrated it into the race; obviously I love Nuun; Lululemon hosted some activities at the expo and had a post-race party as well. I participated in a focus group for them in conjunction with the SF Marathon and was really happy that they actually listened to what we had to say and integrated it into their plans!)

They have an ambassador program that I’ve been eyeing since last year. I somehow spaced out and missed the applications last September, but am anxiously awaiting the beginning of September and when they’ll open up applications.  Now having run both half marathons with them, participating in some of the RUN365 events and the Lulu focus group, I’m ready to contribute big time to the ambassador program!

Saying goodbye to the Brooks Fanatics program

When I started running again just after college graduation, I had super old, hand-me-down tennis shoes from my cousin (literally, I think they were shoes for tennis).  But I ran in them, camped in them, hiked in them and didn’t know any better.  I probably had them for about 5 years, and who knows how long she had them before me.  Then at the very beginning of 2009, I realized I needed new shoes after some knee and foot pain.  I researched online, tried different brands on in store and read reviews of not only the shoes, but the company themselves.  What was the final pair I chose? The Brooks Adrenaline 9’s.  I ordered them online and when they arrived, it was like Christmas!

The next year I was accepted into the Brooks ID program and advocated the company and products to anyone who would listen (and probably some that weren’t!).  When they refined the parameters for the ID program, I unfortunately didn’t make the cut, but was placed in the newly formed Brooks Fanatics program in 2011.  It was a small group of awesome runners, many from the ID program who just loved to run and loved Brooks.

The Fanatics group grew and grew, especially as the parameters for the ID program were refined even more.  We were each others support systems, talked about injuries, great runs, not so great runs, accomplishments, failures, vacations, family, you name it.

It felt really awesome to be even just a small part of an awesome company.  I was able to volunteer at events for them, and even run two consecutive years of the Rock n Roll San Francisco 1/2 marathon thanks to them. I made some great online friends and even met a couple in real life.  When I flew up to Seattle to run the Rock n Roll Seattle 1/2 in 2013, I was able to stop by Brooks HQ for a private tour and lunch.

Midway through last year, we all found out that the Fanatics program wouldn’t be moving forward in the new year, and as of December 31st, 2014, we would no longer be Fanatics (except we will always be Fanatics, even if there is no official program!).  It’s been a weird almost 8 months without the posts, group chats, photo posts, etc.

Thank you Brooks for 5 amazing years and I can’t wait to see what you come up with in the future!

Forever a Fanatic,
Sheena

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015

YES! I know the Women’s World Cup isn’t as big globally as the Men’s World Cup, but it gets me super pumped!  For men’s soccer, I’ve always been a Germany fan and supporter, but women’s soccer? USA all the way!

I remember watching the 1999 Women’s World Cup with the dream team: Brandi Chastain, Kristine Lilly, Julie Foudy, Briana Scurry, Tiffeny Milbrett, Shannon MacMillan, Joy Fawcett, Christie Rampone, and maybe someone you heard of, Mia Hamm?! It was hosted by the US, so it made it super easy to catch all the matches, with only a few hours time difference (also, I was 13, so I had all summer to do nothing but fun things like this). I remember sitting on the living room floor at my grandparents house, glued to the TV every time the US team played.

And then maybe you remember the penalty kicks? And the now infamous image of when we won:

BC World Cup 99

It’s a pretty powerful image.  Brandi Chastain celebrating by ripping her shirt off after scoring the winning PK, and her teammates rushing in to celebrate their World Cup victory.  Still gives me goosebumps every time I see it!

My favorite numbers growing up, especially when I was playing sports (and even to this day) were 6 an 13 because of Brandi Chastain and Kristine Lilly.  Mia Hamm has always been a star and an incredible player, but there was something about these two ladies that really pulled me in.

In 2012 I went to Europe on a month-long trip in between jobs, to visit friends, visit the small town I studied abroad in during college and to celebrate my 27th birthday in a big way: the London Olympics.  I was checking out some websites of fun things to do throughout the city during the Olympic Games and came across a Q&A panel with the amazing Brandi Chastain and Summer Sanders, both amazing athletes from my childhood, and both California girls.  And then I got to meet them both. I DIED. Definitely a highlight of the trip.

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Ugh, bring me back to my super tan days!

 

Are you guys as wrapped up in the action for this World Cup?