Category Archives: NWM

Nike Women’s Half Marathon: Race Recap

On Sunday I ran the Nike Women’s half marathon in San Francisco. This was my second year running it. You can see my recap from last year’s race here.

This year, I decided not to really race it….it was going to be more about having fun and enjoying a big race with lots of women! Plus, Leslie and Kara were also going to be running, so I thought it would be fun to catch up with them.

I didn’t attend the expo, since I picked up my packet in Sacramento the previous week.

From last year, I knew that the streets before the race were going to be packed with people!! 30,000 runners is a lot! If you are in the faster pace corrals, they seem to be a little less crowded…at least comparing the back of the 8-8:59 pace to the 9-9:59 pace…but maybe the others are too if you are toward the back. I met up with Kara and Leslie about 45 minutes before race start. Bag check and bathrooms were easy to get through and pretty well organized. I didn’t check anything, but the other girls did.

{Thanks Leslie for the pre-race pic!}

We started right on time at 6:30am! Check out this photos from Nike of the start of the race. I love seeing images like this!

{Image from Nike Facebook Page}

Leslie and I planned to run together as long as we could. Kara’s goal was to run a sub-2 hour half, but she started out by running easy with me and Leslie. It was nice to chat and catch up — I don’t usually get to talk to people while I’m out on a run. It really made the miles fly by! Kara sped up and went on her way somewhere around 1.5 miles. Leslie and I chatted about all sorts of things along our way.

We stayed together through the first few hills, but lost one another around mile 8.5. We had already discussed that if we got separated at some point and couldn’t meet back up, we would just run on our own the rest of the way and meet up afterward.

Quick side note: I kind of love running the hills early in the morning in SF during this race. Everyone who was previously talking gets quiet. There aren’t really any spectators in this area in the Presido, so it is really quiet. Both last year and this year it was very foggy. It makes for a really cool experience….running with many other people trying to make the same goal of getting up a steep incline….listening to only the breathing of yourself and the other runners around you.

{image from Nike Facebook Page}

Once Leslie and I got separated, I decided to pick up the pace and make the last 4.5 miles a little faster than marathon pace. We averaged the first 8.5 miles at 10:05/mile. For the last few miles, I think I averaged close to an 8:30/mile pace. Another nice thing is this part of the race is also mostly down hill. I had so much fun this entire race! I mean, check out the smiles in my race photos!! LOVE!

After the finish, I met back up with Leslie and Kara, and we picked up our necklaces and shirts. They are pretty!

{Nuun in the background!}

This was a fun way to get in some hilly training and enjoy the race environment with some friends, even if I didn’t actually race it. So much fun!

Race Recap: Nike Women’s (Half) Marathon

Sorry about the quick post yesterday. Hopefully I can make it up to you with some nice long recaps the next few days!

Sunday’s NWM Half was pretty amazing. As my first race with 25,000 people between the half an full marathon distances it was incredible.

Not only was this my first race where Ryan wasn’t also running, but with so many people I definitely had a few extra pre-race jitters! Since I was getting all nervous in the evening/morning of the race, I ended up not bringing my camera, like I had planned here. But, I did get a whole bunch of photos during the race and after with Ry waiting near the finish line!

Let me jump back a little before getting into the details of the race…packet pickup on Saturday was a little chaotic. The line to get in to the expo was wrapped around Union Square in downtown San Francisco almost twice! Luckly, it moved along pretty quickly, and the volunteers really were on top of things for the check-in process. Ryan came along with me. We didn’t spend too much time inside, although it seemed like you could probably spend hours there if you wanted with giveaways, bra fittings, yurbuds headphones, Nuun samples and Neutrogena prettying people up. We did try out the Safeway trail mixes, and ran on the hamster wheel that was powering a cellphone charging station.

On the morning of the race, I got up just before 5 and headed over to the start around 6am. This was my first NWM experience, and overall I have to say that I think this year was pretty well organized. I had heard in the past that sometimes the pace corrals got a little crazy in the morning and some of the faster paced runners had to do a lot of weaving around slower paced runners. While there was a little of that going on, it wasn’t anything too outrageous, and I didn’t see any falls or injuries out of the starting gates.

The weather was also really nice this year — the morning was overcast, not too warm or too cold. We had some fog along the beach so you couldn’t see the Golden Gate Bridge, but it was still a beautiful day to be running.

With my training routine, I didn’t fit in much time on hills, so I was a little nervous to see how I would fare. However, based on my performance at the Urban Cow Half last weekend, I was feeling generally positive about my training, and ready to race again this weekend! I ended up walking the water stations, and just a tiny bit of part of the hill at mile 6, but ran the rest of the race.Those hills are seriously tough!

My pace slowed down a bit near around mile 10, but I tried to keep my head in the game and keep pushing with a 5k left to the finish.

The best part was seeing Ry and Jesse with 0.25mi left to go! Sprinting it to the finish.

I finished in 2:00:36. Only 30 seconds slower than last week’s race, which I think is pretty fantastic considering the difficulty of the course. My body definitely noticed a difference too, seeing as last week I wasn’t that sore, and this week my quads are angry.

At the finish, I grabbed my swag including the beautiful Tiffany’s necklace and t-shirt, then searched around for Ryan. We had a 3-mile walk back to our friend’s place (and a shower, and post-race food), so I didn’t spend too much time exploring the finisher’s area.

Even though it was a tough race, I am proud of myself for a strong finish and staying in it. It was incredible to run with so many women!

Running races back to back weekends

This Sunday I’ll be running my second half marathon in seven days (Urban Cow Half last weekend, and NWM Half this weekend). Racing on back-to-back weekends can be difficult on the body with the increased speed and intensity of the race environment.

In a previous post (here), I mentioned that I wanted to take the NWM Half easier and just enjoy the experience. Sometimes if you are planning to run two races back to back, it can help to plan to race harder at one over the other.

This article also sites a few other ideas of ways to be well rested and ready for a second race, including:
-massage (to flush out lactic acid, and aid recovery)
-keeping mid-week runs easy, shorter and more aerobi
-engage in other cross training (bicycling, walking, eliptical)
-listen to the body in the week between races to be sure you are adequately prepared for the second race (be flexible with your plans)
-continue to eat well (with familiar foods) and get lots of rest
-be sure to be adequately trained to run two consecutive race weekends (be mentally prepared)

Since I ran so well last weekend, I am considering really racing the Nike Women’s race as well, but my key will still be to have FUN! I think my legs feel pretty fully recovered, but I will see how things go during my last easy run tomorrow morning. I’m working on staying hydrated, stretching, and keeping my runs easy. Hopefully I’ll be ready to go Sunday morning!

Three Things Thursday

1. Yesterday I got a pedicure with a friend, and it was fabulous. My little piggies feel rejuvenated. I think they need to be rewarded every once in a while for putting them through the pounding of run training!

2. I’m still pretty pumped about how well the Urban Cow Half went last weekend. I know it wasn’t a PR, but I had been feeling a little unsure about how well my training would prepare me for a half marathon since so many of my runs were slow paced with a low heart rate.

3. The Nike Women’s Half is only a few more days away. Training has been tricky to fit in this week with a busy work schedule. I’m planning to get in some light yoga on Friday, another short run on Saturday morning to stay loose. I’m really looking forward to the weekend, as well as the race. Two friends are running a new distance for them. I get to see a girl friend I haven’t seen in almost 4 months! And Ryan and I will be relaxing in Napa on Sunday and Monday just for a little date getaway! Awesome.

Upcoming Races: A Plan

Today is a rest day. Mostly because I have to work late, and also because my legs are feeling pretty dead from Monday’s leg day at the gym. Sometimes I forget how long it takes for the body to return to normal after a good hard workout. 

I’m looking forward to lunch with a friend today. After we eat, we’re getting cupcakes for dessert at Let Them Eat Cake! YES! How can you say no to cupcakes?!?

<– By the way, please again ignore the messy room behind me in this photo. I promise I will clean my house this weekend!

In running news, I’ve mentioned this a few times in the past week or so, but I will be running two half marathons in the next two weekends. I wanted to document some of my goals for these races here.

Urban Cow Half Marathon — Sacramento
This weekend, on October 7, I’ll be running the Urban Cow. The last half I ran in July didn’t quite go as well as I hoped, likely due to a lack in training as well as high heat, and possibly the first run I’ve done at night. For the Urban Cow, I want to make sure I run a good, solid race. This will include consistent pacing, and ideally a negative split.

Nike Women’s Half Marathon — San Francisco
On October 14th, I’ll also be running the Nike Women’s half. As a student I was able to guarantee registration way back in April at a discounted rate. For this run, my goal is to just have fun and enjoy the atmosphere. I haven’t had a chance to practice too many hills, besides on the treadmill so some areas of this race could be difficult.

I’ve noticed it seems like quite a few bloggers run with their camera or take photos with their phones on runs. I would like to use this race to try out taking photos while running, especially since I will be having fun and seeing SF at the same time. I’ve also never done a race of this distance with so many people! So, I’m interested to see what that’s like — especially on the hills!

Is anyone doing either of these races?

What’s the biggest race you’ve done? For me, the Run to Feed the Hungry significantly tops the charts. This is such a huge race for Sacramento’s Food Banks.

Anyone have tips on running with a camera or taking photos while running?