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?
As of last week, I officially live in San Francisco. I made the decision to move into the city so I could have a shorter commute and finally take advantage of what the city has to offer. Of course it was more than a pain in the neck to find an apartment for three months, but fortunately I paired up with another intern and we found a great place. Best part about it? I’m two blocks from Golden Gate Park! The park offers some fantastic fields, museums, and, most importantly, running routes.
I mentioned earlier in my goals post that I wanted to make the most of my time here and I made sure to do that this week. On Tuesday, after a long day at work and grocery shopping (which is more troublesome than I had imagined), I returned home, suited up, and went out toward the park. Unfortunately I got a late start so I entered the park as it was getting dark out. Foolishly this didn’t stop me… I followed the trail out past the Conservatory of Flowers, up to the Academy of Sciences, around a few soccer fields and back the hill to my apartment. It was fantastic, except for the part where I was scared by my own shadow. Apparently this happens to me when it is dark out, I honestly thought someone was following me for a second until I realized it was my own shadow. I’m brave like that.
Then on Thursday, after having cocktails at work (it was seriously for a job assignment), I was dragging. I had no desire to go for a run, especially when I found that the park was covered in a thick, cold fog. I had no idea that my new apartment was in the foggiest part of the city (whoops?). But I suited up anyway and pushed myself out the door for what was the best run I’ve had in a while. A speedy four miles. And it turns out the fog can be more refreshing than I had expected, it kept me cool and spritzed the entire time.
It seems there are advantages to this weather. Although it can be a downer to drive into the fog, it feels great to be cooled down by it on a long run. Yes, it means that the area is ten degrees colder than my usual Stanford temperatures, but I must remind myself that I have always enjoyed the cold more than the heat.
How do you feel about the weather in your hometown? How does it affect your exercising?
Now that school has officially ended (as soon as I hand in my research proposal) and the summer is truly beginning, I feel it is only appropriate to set some goals for myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had goals throughout the entire year, but they focused on doing well in school for the most part. Since I’ve made it through successfully, I feel that it is the right time to focus on my body and my running. So here are some of my plans for this upcoming summer:
1. This summer I will be running the San Francisco Marathon and I would like for it to be my best yet. Thus far I’ve completed three hillier marathons, so this should fit right in with the elevation changes. This means that I need to start focusing on hillier training and completing my long runs on schedule. I’ve used every excuse not to complete long runs for the previous two marathons (school and such), but now those are not viable reasons. In fact, I am aiming to join a new running club that will keep me honest and remind me what it is to wake up at 7am on a Saturday.
2. Although it isn’t something I discuss much, I’d like to focus on putting better foods into my body and perhaps dropping a few pounds. Life will still be hectic with my new internship, but I should have more time to cook and select healthier options. The main goal is to drop 5 pounds and return to my high school weight. As a reward I’m planning to buy some more “adult” clothing from Anthropologie (I need to stop dressing like an engineer all the time…).
3. I’ll be moving into the city in a week and I want to make the most of what my new home has to offer. This means running in Golden Gate park, visiting some of the local farmers markets, and spending more time outside of my apartment. I haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy the nightlife SF has to offer, so that is a major goal of this summer. If you live (or find yourself) in San Francisco and want to grab a cup of coffee, hit me up!
4. Read more! During the school year I’ve only had time to read a few books here or there (and plenty of psych papers). This summer I’m going to take some time to enjoy the books I have piling up on my shelf. Does anyone have some good suggestions?
I’m sure there are other things I’ll want to accomplish, but these are the most salient. And if I have the time I plan to travel, even if it is just to Marin or Napa.