“I would NEVER pay to go running!”
“I HATE RUNNING!”
Call me crazy – but I am officially obsessed with half marathons. Back in June, I signed up to be in the Nike Women’s Half lottery. Nike decided to do a lottery to make it fair to everyone who signs up. Sitting in my Boston internship, I thought why not? I was a little skeptical because you had to pay to enter in the lottery and they would only charge your card if you got chosen. I paid the $155 and one month later – I was a lucky winner.
I’ve only heard about the Nike Women’s half marathon a couple of times because my sister in law has done the DC race two times. She told me that all the finishers get a Tiffany’s Necklace. Man, was I STOKED! Back then I had no clue where I was even going to be living! I Just knew I was going to be in San Francisco for the Nike Half the weekend of October 19th.
A couple of weeks later, we received a download for the “WE RUN SF” App. It had everything we needed to know about the race. The biggest thing was the training plan. I used it constantly while I was in training mode. Which was 3 months of training! I started in Boston and okay, 2 miles is fine… Then it was 4 miles.. still fine.. OMG 5 miles?! My first week of training was a struggle. I thought – “HOW CAN PEOPLE LIKE THIS?!” I remember I was supposed to run those 5 miles on a Saturday and I was craving a Jamba Juice so I ended my run early and ran to Jamba Juice by BU. HAHAHA I’m pathetic.
The hard part about training was that I was a nomad for a whole month after I moved out of Boston. I was in NYC for a couple of days, then back to Vegas, then Utah, then Ecuador, then back to Utah, then back to the East coast.. I was all over the place! & when you’re traveling, you don’t want to be running in foreign places! So I was a little chunky that month because I didn’t work out at all. I had about a month of training left. I was pretty nervous for the half marathon because I was NOT ready. When I ran the Halloween Half back in 2012, I rarely trained and it took a toll on my run and I was sore for weeks. I made sure that I could run without having trouble breathing or any other problems.
When I finally had a stable life (AKA a job, apartment, etc.) I was ready to start training. Luckily, my roommates Jaime and Kari signed up for the Snow Canyon Half in St. George 2 weeks after mine, they were training as well. I started running outside and in the gym. I remember 5 miles being sooooo hard where I could barely breathe! Then I went to Gold’s the next day and ran 7 miles and that was a piece of cake! I figured out that by training more, not only was I making my legs stronger, my breathing became stronger. Also, the more I trained, the more I LOVED to run. Yes, call me crazy but everyday I wanted to just get off work and go run because I know it would make me better!
Each week, the Nike half marathon app increased my miles everyday. The days usually went like this:
Monday: 5 miles
Tuesday: 9 miles
Wednesday: Cross training (Full body workouts, elliptical, etc)
Thursday: 5 Miles
Friday: 4 miles
Saturday: 11 miles
So that was how the week looked like except for Saturdays would change to increase by a mile every week until you ran a half marathon on your own. I made it all the way to 12 miles which was surprising because that’s so much! I knew after running 12 miles 2 weeks before my half, I was going to be fine. I did this for 2 more weeks until my taper week right before my run. Each day consisted of running around 4-5 miles and then decreasing until race day.
The week of race weekend, somehow everyone close to me was getting sick. I focused on drinking my green smoothies every morning, kept running, and staying far away from anyone who could get be contagious. I was really nervous about getting sick before my race, but luckily I didn’t!
The scary part about my pre-race week: having to drive to San Francisco Friday throughout the night because Jaime couldn’t leave school until 6:30… We did this for South Dakota but we had a total of 4 drivers now it was just Jaime and I. That made me nervous.
We left around 7:30PM when it was already dark and I drove from 7:30PM – about midnight and then Jaime drove from midnight- 4 AM, then I drove from 4AM – 6AM and then Jaime finished the drive until 8AM to San Jose. Yeah, we are CRAZY. We arrived at Ammon’s house in East Palo Alto (where we were staying for the weekend) and immediately I needed to stretch my legs and go on my last training run before the race. It was a 2 mile shake off run. So Jaime and I ran around the neighborhood for 2 miles. Everyone thought we were crazy because we didn’t get any sleep the night before and here we are running.
After the run, Ammon made us a yummy breakfast and then we were off to the city to explore and pick up my race day packet! Ammon’s roommates Nick and Spencer came with us and we first went to Google HQ! I’ve always wanted to ride a Google Bike and that’s what we did!! SOO FUN!
After Google, we went to Union Square to pick up my race bib and packet at Nike Town! There was a huge expo going on to pump everyone up for the race and it was soooo cool. I picked up my race packet and got a ton of free stuff from the expo – protein powder, pressed juices, cupcakes, Paul Mitchell products, and chocolate! I took a ton of pics by all of the Nike signs and Ammon helped sign my name on the runner’s board. hahahah
After the expo, we went to La Taqueria, My favorite taco place in SF thanks to Ammon! Then we went to Seward Slides, Bi-rite Creamery, and then to the Painted Ladies homes!
After our day adventures we headed back to San Jose to go to The Great America! It’s an amusement park, but this weekend was a special weekend for The Haunting AKA a haunted amusement park. It was soooo stressful!!! Because it was so scary. Luckily, all the boys were with us and shout out to Nick Brown for letting me hold on to him the whole way during the Haunted Maze!!!! HAHAHAHAA Jaime and I ended up leaving early because we both needed sleep and my half marathon was the next day!!
I probably got about 5 hours of sleep the entire night. I woke up at 4:45AM, ate a small breakfast consisted of Toast/Peanut Butter and a Clif Bar. I was super nervous. Ammon, Jaime and I left the house around 5AM and headed to Downtown SF. The race started at Union Square on Post ST. I was in Wave 3 (10:00-10:59/mile) so I was way far back. 25,000 runners… SO CRAZY!!! Jaime and Ammon parked my car somewhere and found me in the runner’s street. They were trying to pump me up, Jaime saved me by bringing my deodorant that I FORGOT TO PUT ON SORRY TMI. Each wave started after the other and so I didn’t start till about 7:05AM. We were all inching our way to the starting line and I kept trying to fix my music playlist while inching away and there I was starting the race!!!
I had a tracking link so friends and family could follow my progress throughout the race. Thinking about each mile gives me shivers because it was such a cool experience. I keep replaying each mile in my head like it was a first kiss. SERIOUSLY. I loved it so much. Here’s the course:
Miles 1-4 were in the city. It was in the intermediate level where there were slight hills but not too intense. Miles 1-4 I was just happy the entire time. I could see soooo many heads just bobbing up and down and I’m just thinking “wow, that’s so cool.” “Wow, I’m a part of this.” hahaha so fun! Then Miles 5-8 were located at Golden Gate Park. That was all flat ground which was great! Besides the fact I started getting a ton of blisters on my right foot at mile 6 and all I could think of was “CRAP, I have 7 more miles..” But, I kept pushing. At mile 4, that’s when they gave us water and orange slices. The next mile was granola bars, and basically each mile had water and food. I definitely took advantage of that. At Golden Gate Park, it was soooo foggy. But, super nice because we had a little mist the entire run. After getting out of the park miles 8-10 were hell. Pure hell. Mile 8 was just up and down hills the whole mile. I remember zoning out at mile 8 when I went up the hills. Maybe it was because of runner’s high? At mile 10, it was a huge hill the whole way. I hated that I had to walk it, but I needed to. I sped walk up the hill and at the top there was a huge sign that read “WHAT HILL?” haha I loved that. Throughout the entire race, there were signs everywhere, cheerleaders cheering and even a full on DJ! Some of the signs said “Believe in the run.” “YOU CAN DO IT!” “Remember why you started!!” My personal favorite was a husband and his kids holding a huge sign that says “3 months pregnant?!! You got this!!” That was my motivator for sure. If a 3 month pregnant lady could do it, I could do it. Miles 11-13 were flat and that was the end. Mile 12 was the chocolate mile where they gave us Chocolate truffles from Whole Foods. I took one bite and thought “bad idea” hahaha. The last mile I felt great. There was a line of people just cheering everyone on. I took out one of my headphones to hear everyone chanting and it made me run faster. I turned the corner and saw the finish line in all pink. I held my two peace signs up and crossed the finish line at 2 hours and 14 minutes. Here are my results:
I was placed in the top 25% in my division ages 20-24. I was 6,306th place out of 25,000 runners!!!! I’m really proud of myself because my last half marathon was 2:20 and that was all downhill. I really want to try running that race again and seeing if I could beat my 2:14 because San Francisco had so many hills! After the race was over, my body tightened up and man was I sore. We received chocolate milk post-race and it was soooo good. The best part? Receiving this little blue box at the finish line with the Finisher’s Pendant. Thanks Tiffany’s!
Shout out to my best friends Jaime and Ammon for following me through out my race. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without them! So, to end this.. If any of you have questions about running a half marathon, training, or just about anything with the Nike Half Marathon – I would be so happy to help! This half marathon has made me obsessed with running! I love you all! Stay classy, friends.