Nike Women’s Half Marathon
Two Sundays ago I was lucky enough to join in on a San Francisco tradition, the Nike Women’s Marathon. I’d heard stories of this race, but didn’t really understand how large of an event it would be. Friday afternoon I went into the city to the “expotique”. Fortunately I arrived early and was able to bypass the huge lines. It was a madhouse on Friday, but I hear it was significantly worse the next day. As for my feelings on their expo format, I wasn’t impressed. There were five vendors and huge lines to interact with each of them. Perhaps I was a touch bitter because I wasn’t able to get my legs taped, that or I’m just a traditionalist and missed the onslaught of running vendors.
As I was waiting for a friend, I foolishly decided to walk to the Nike store to find my name on the wall. My name was located just at eye height so it wasn’t tough for me to locate. Still having time I wandered into the store and tried to avoid purchasing any swag. They didn’t provide us with the race shirt until crossing the finishing line, so I somehow justified the purchase of a new sweatshirt. I deserve a new one, right? (Don’t answer that…)
On Sunday morning I woke up bright and early to walk a mile to the start line. Being the punctual individual I am, I arrived seven minutes before the starting gun. Not that it mattered, my wave didn’t cross the start line until 7:26am. I kept thinking that I could have slept longer, granted that wouldn’t have allowed me to be overwhelmed by all the of the individuals at the starting line. Seriously, it was madness.
The first few miles involved a lot of weaving in and out of clusters. Unfortunately the pace groups were very large, so it was easy to get stuck behind slower individuals. Not that I cared much, my only goal was to finish and hit on some firemen… We ran down a similar path as the San Francisco Marathon, so I knew what was coming my way. This meant that I’d tackle some of the same hills and this time I hoped I’d be more prepared for them. And I was!
NWM added some interesting stops along the way and they brought out quite the crowd. There were huge groups of fans along the way which added a lot to the experience. Nothing feels quite as good as having people cheering you on for the entirety of the race (unlike other races I’ve run recently). This definitely motivated me along the course.
Of the entire race, I’m proudest of the fact that I pushed up some hills that I wasn’t able to previously. Granted I didn’t race up all of them. SF has some serious hills and I know better than to push too hard or I’ll be grumpy and frustrated later. Initially I thought that I’d slow down because of the elevation change (over 1000 foot gain), but I managed to complete the race just three minutes slower than San Jose. I don’t know how I pushed it out, yet that won’t stop me from being happy with my performance. Hopefully I can take this newfound energy with me to New York City next weekend when I run the marathon.
Have you ever considered NWM? What awesome races would you suggest?