Don’t worry, you’ll get completely used to my race recaps that come months after the actual race haha
2015 was apparently the last year of the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco (though those rumors didn’t start flying around until after the race). I was signed up to run for Nuun and it was in the middle of a VERY hectic fall (much like Fall 2016 will be!) – Coming off Ragnar Northwest passage at the end of July, a PR half marathon in August, and then Nike Women’s in mid-October, I still had Ragnar Napa the next weekend, followed by Rock n Roll San Jose at the end of October and Golden Gate 1/2 at the beginning of November! Not shooting for PR’s in any of these races, but just to enjoy the experience.
I managed to find my cousins wife, Emily, in the starting corral and she asked if we could run the race together, since she was averaging about 10:30 minutes per mile. Since this was an easy weekend for me, it sounded like the perfect plan.
Even though I hopped in a port-a-potty in the starting corral (and went before I left the house), I STILL had to go to the bathroom by the first mile mark. The first bathroom available was at the two mile mark, and in a race of ~30,000 people (about 95% being women), the first bathroom possibility was a porta-pottie. As in a single one. ONE. I had to wait in line for about 10 minutes, so I told Emily to go ahead and hopefully I’d catch up to her at some point. Thankfully I had the fantastic entertainment (below) while waiting in line. They were seriously a breath of fresh air that early in the morning!
I caught up to Emily finally at about mile 6-ish, shortly after entering the park, but not before running into the best cheer section on course – my favorite Nuunies!
The weather was absolutely beautiful (and even a tad warm) – it was perfectly comfortable in the starting corral, and I was a bit nervous that it would warm up too quickly since it was so nice in the beginning, but the sun stayed at bay for the most part and didn’t get too sunny until after we were out of the park. Since it was so clear, we had to stop for photos!
By this time in the race, we were chugging along and my body was starting to really hurt. Based on the amount of walking we were doing, I knew this would be my slowest half marathon ever, but this was Emily’s first half marathon, and I wasn’t about to leave her. Her leg muscles were tightening up and her hips were hurting her, so we stopped many, many times to try to stretch her out, walked when she needed to, which ended up being just about every 4-5 minutes. During out spurts of running, we were at about a 12-12:30 pace and my knees were starting to ache. But I tried to keep the motivation and positive energy going because I wanted her to have the best race experience ever (so she’d be hooked like I was… I’m running selfish like that!)
We walked between miles 12-12.5, and when I knew the final stretch was coming, I encouraged Emily to give it everything she had for the last .5 miles. The crowds were thick for the finish shoot and everyone was so great in cheering us all on. A fellow bird even yelled “OISELLLLLEEEE!” at me when we ran by.
We finished her first half marathon together, tired, sore and hungry, but we finished and she got that Tiffany necklace that she had earned! We walked around the finisher’s area trying to get signal (that area is the worst when there are that many people around) so that we could try to find my cousin, who was supposed to watch her finish (turns out he underestimated SF parking and didn’t make it in time), stretched out in the grass and soaked up some sunshine while eating our post-race snacks, and then finally got ahold of him. He was still attempting to get there in race traffic, so we walked another 3/4 of a mile to where he was sitting at a red light, dropped her off to him, and I walked back to the finisher’s area, another 3/4 of a mile.
When Nuun is the sponsor, it’s always fun to head over there and hang with some of my favorite hydrators. Worked the booth for a little bit, and got to head over to the VIP area reserved for VIPs and sponsors. I made it over there just in time to witness the last Team in Training participant running into the finish line with a police officer on one side and TNT coach on the other. The ENTIRE group of TNT participants (which for NWM is huge) were there cheering her in. It was such an emotional moment for me, since I completed by first half marathon with TNT when I lived in San Diego, and went on to complete 3 seasons down there as a participant and a mentor. TNT will always have a special place in my heart.
And this VIP breakfast buffet will always have a place in my stomach. BOMB.COMThat’s a wrap! For a race I said I would never run again after the first time (because of how ridiculously crowded and disorganized it was), this marked my 3rd (or is it 4th?). Since it’s not coming back to SF, I can now officially say this was my last!