The big #20 is done!
It went exactly as it should too… surrounded by so many friends, running through the amazing city of San Francisco, running side by side with my favorite running partner Kristin and crossing the finish line with a big smile on my face. What more can you ask for?
After a heavy week of workouts and not really “training” much for this race, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was tired, my legs have been working hard, and I knew the course was really tough. Kristin and I chatted about running together since we run together a lot which sounded perfect to me! Neither one of us were taking it too seriously, but we did hope for a sub 2 half, which seemed pretty reasonable based on our weeks and training. You never know how things end up panning out come race day.
We drove in to SF together and were parked and to the packed start area by 6am. After dropping our bags off, using the bathrooms a couple times, we made our way to the start corrals and had to sneak in so we weren’t stuck way way back. Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan were there on stage which was so awesome, and Union Square was buzzing with excitement from 20,000+ runners.
We crossed the start line just over a minute after the gun went off and were immediately weaving in the standard NWM fashion. This race is notoriously known for being crowded and having to constantly weave around runners, especially in the first mile. There were walkers in the middle of the street and people everywhere and we were running all over the place!
Our splits ended up being a point of laughter during and after the race because they are seriously all over the place!
We wound our way through the financial district and were dropped off at the Embarcadero. I know when my Garmin said 1.06 at the 1 mile marker it was going to be a long morning.
Mile 1 – 8:32
We continued our way along the Embarcadero enjoying the people watching and trying to have fun. We were both really warm to start off and it only took a couple miles before we were soaked with sweat. We made conscious efforts to slow down and just keep the pace easy since we had never-ending hills coming up and because we were just both feeling “meh” for lack of a better word.
Mile 2 – 8:33
Mile 3 – 8:32
We climbed up and around Ghiradelli Square, then up and over into Fort Mason with views of the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. We wouldn’t be running over it today though!
Mile 4 – 8:50
Mile 5 – 8:35
By this point my stomach started talking to me and I knew I might have to stop. Sure enough right around mile 6 I knew I had to stop and pulled over to the porta potties. The only other time I have stopped during a race is during the first time I ran Nike! This race must be jinxed for me for bathroom trips.
Mile 6 – 9:36 (bathroom then hill)
After the stop, we had the big hill to climb. This is the hill that goes up to the Golden Gate Bridge and then continues on through the Presidio. This hill goes on forever and we weren’t very excited to be on it. The last time we ran it was during SFM but at least at that point in time we had been running on hills.
Mile 7 – 10:54 (hill)
Finally we got the long downhill with views of the ocean. If felt good not to be climbing but I knew running the downhills hard might hurt later.
Mile 8 – 8:23 (downhill)
After the long downhill we had more big climbs, followed by more downhill… it was like a rollercoaster! We started doing a run walk thing on some of the hills and just kept on going. We saw Page, Katie and Jessica at Mile 8 which was a great boost then continued on to the worst hill of the race.
Mile 9 – 10:15
Mile 10 – 9:26
We kept on running trying to stay positive and just trying to enjoy ourselves. There are tons of spectators out at this race and the crowds were awesome.
Finally we wrapped around the long downhill on the Great Highway which meant we were getting close!
Mile 11 – 8:31
We made our way into the park for some more hills.
Then were able to turn off from the full course. We were both so happy to be turning right!
Mile 12 – 9:06
Finally it was the last mile, we knew we were close to sub 2 and luckily the last mile has a lot of downhill in it! We used it to our advantage and picked up the pace.
Mile 13 – 8:09
Then we were making the final turn onto the Great Highway with the finish line straight ahead. We took off, my lungs were burning but we flew past tons of people and crossed the finish line just under 2 hours.
Last .32 (per garmin) 2:17 (7:08 avg)
Garmin: 13.32 miles/1:59:42/8:59 avg pace
Joan Benoit Samuelson was at the finish lining and I got a high five from her! Then we made our way to the Tiffany’s boxes and got our beautiful new necklace. It definitely helps to erase the memory of the previous 13 miles.
We hung out the rest of the day waiting for all our friends and cheering on the full from the best seat in the house.
On our way out we happened to be walking by the stage just as the awards ceremony was over and I happened to catch a glimpse of Kara Goucher. I told Page where she was and we ran up to get a picture with her! Sadly no one would take the picture for us (?!) so Page did a arm extended self portrait and I barely made the squeeze in. This was definitely a great moment of the day.
Nike is a tough, tough course and I still think it’s the hardest half I have run. We had fun out there though and made the most of our day! This is not a race that I am dying to run every year… maybe again in a few years if I get the itch for another Tiffany necklace.
It was a great day though and I am always so happy when I can spend a race having fun and running with my friends, especially Kristin! Congrats to all the million other women I knew out there running today, it was so fun to share the experience with you! As always I leave days like today feeling so blessed to have so many amazing friends and such an awesome running community.