The Nike Women’s Half Marathon marks my 12th race to date! I didn’t train much for this race, opting to give myself some time off of a hectic training schedule after running the San Francisco Marathon in July. Nike is a FUN event, so I treated it as a FUN run. You KNOW you are a runner when you get up at 4 am on Sunday morning to run 13.1 miles and call it fun, amIright???
I’ve already written a 2 part review of last year’s expo and race, and much of my experience this year was just the same. The biggest change was the course, and I appreciated the variety. So, here goes nothing!
The Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco 2014
October 19, 2014
6:30 am, Union Square SF
Race Entry Fee: $180 (no full marathon option this year)
Most info for this race can be found at www.facebook.com/RunNikeWomenSeries
Expotique: I was able to pick up my race materials a week prior to the race at an early bib pick-up site. If you are in the area, I would highly recommend this because the Nike Women’s “Expotique” is a cluster eff.
The Swag Bag:
There were a lot of fun things that came with our bib, including snacks, dry shampoo, Neutrogena sunscreen (which I used on race day, and did NOT burn fyi!), a $20 gift card to Nike.com and a Nike tank top:
I love the shirt. I’m used to getting long-sleeved tech shirts that are too warm for me to run in, so a tank is a nice change!
I decided I still wanted to stop by the expo for a full race experience. However, aside from the Tiffany blue color scheme (last year it was red), this year was just about the same as last.
For the expo, Nike sets up a huge tent in Union Square. Inside the tent there is music pumping…
…shwanky Nike gear
…and lines galore. There are lines for snacks…
Lines for beverages…
For photo ops…
Lines for supplies…
There are even lines to get your hair did, if you so desire. My best friend and her fiancé were in town for the weekend, so I only spent a limited time at the expo. Before I left, though, I did have to make a stop at the Nike store in Union Square.
Nike puts all of the names of every runner in the window of Niketown, which is just across the street from the expotique tent.
Just hanging’ out with my name! It is a simple, yet fun little touch!
This race has a no-pressure-lets-just-get-to-the-finish-and-have-fun vibe, and I was a little more relaxed than normal. Even still, I couldn’t wait to line up at the starting line!
Race Day: With my late-night work schedule, I’ve just accepted the fact that I will get little to no sleep before a race. Total sleep before the Nike half: 0 min. Damn, maybe next time.
After getting dressed and packing my breakfast to-g0, I caught the Muni bus at 5:09 and and was back in Union Square with plenty of time to spare!
Nike uses quite a few volunteers, which made it easy to navigate the starting area, especially in my sleep-deprived haze. Bag check was quick, and the porta-potty lines were short. I met up with Taylor, and we waited anxiously for the starting gun. The race started a few minutes late, but soon enough we were off!
Miles 1-3: Nike sent us right in to the hills within the 1st mile. I was feeling good, albeit tired. Not the most visually appealing as we navigated through the least scenic part of the course. Luckily, it was still fairly dark! Taylor and I stopped for water and a restroom break somewhere before the 5K mark.
Miles 3-8: Golden Gate Park. This is such a pretty park to run in, and a welcome change from the dinginess of downtown SF and the Tenderloin. I’ve run one too many times in the park, though, and it can get a bit monotonous for me.
However, we finally had some downhill relief, and there were some fun drum groups and cheer squads along the way. There were 3 water stops in the park and we walked though all of them.
Miles 8-11: Not sure what happened here as I was feeling great all morning, but my stomach took a turn for the worse. As we ran though the rolling hills of the Richmond District I became increasingly more nauseated, and had to cave in and make another restroom stop. Then, we hit a MONSTER hill just before mile 10. We decided it would be better for us to run/walk the hill and save our legs for the last few, flat miles of the race. Eventually, we made it to the top and swooped down the hill-it was such a relief!
Miles 11-13.1: Fast & flat. We ran the last couple of miles with all that we had left in us. This is one of the most scenic parts of the course; however, the morning fog covered much of the beauty-the Bay was grey and the Golden Gate Bridge was enshrouded in clouds.
My toenails were trying to fall off, so I started involuntarily rolling my feet outward as I ran, which became quite painful. But knowing I was so close to the finish kept me moving forward!
Photo cred: my BFF
The crowd support picked up toward the end, and we finished along the Marina.
Done and done!
Taylor and I finished with an official time of 2:12. This is one of my slowest half marathons to date, but I think we accomplished our main goal of getting a good run in on a Sunday morning and having fun!
At the finish we received a water bottle, chocolate milk and a bag of food from Whole Foods. And of course the Tiffany Finisher’s Necklace:
Which is beautiful!
Sadly, the necklaces were not being handed out by firefighters, like they were last year. It turns out, you had to wait, of course, in long lines to get pictures with the promised firemen! I opted out, and instead celebrated at the finish with my cheer squad:
Up and at-em early!
And some ladies from back home in Arizona:
Run bloggers are some of my favorite peoples!
I should also mention that the race photos taken along the course this year were free! This is the second race I have run in SF this year that has provided free photos, which is a nice change.
Some good, some bad as usual!
All in all, Nike puts on a fantastic race. The course is challenging, unpredictable, and the swag is top-notch. I’m torn as to whether I will run this race again. I think I would be more inclined to if they ever decide to add the full marathon option again. But I now have 2 years of great memories that are sure to last a lifetime!