Blog Archives

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?

Into the Fog

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?

Goals for June (and beyond)

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.

What are your goals this summer?  What tips and tricks do you have for sticking to them?

Dearest exercise

Please do me a huge favor and find your way back into my life. Seriously, I miss you and want you back. I’ll do anything. Really! Don’t make me grovel…

Honestly, although I love working out, I just haven’t in the past three weeks. What does this correspond with? Well that would be the starting of the school year. Since beginning classes I’ve given up control of most other aspects in my life and given myself over to the program. It is rigorous. My sleep pattern has suffered, I’ve had minimal time to meet new people, and, worst of all, my running is going on the back burner.

This weekend, when I was given the opportunity to have a few hours off, I chose to go to a party in San Francisco. This in itself is not the issue, the issue is my decision to stay out late and drink too much so that I could not pull myself out of bed to go for a long run in the morning. Instead I got restless sleep for a few more hours and spent the entire day working in my office. I did manage a short run this morning, but I know that I need to pick it up a notch to prepare for my marathon in December.

The issue I’m finding is that I feel inappropriate leaving the office early when so many of my fellow grad students are staying in the building to get work accomplished. In fact, I can honestly say I felt guilty when I left the office to go play frisbee this week. If I could manage to get out of bed by six every morning then maybe I’d be able to have the time, but this would also require me to leave the office before ten each night. Sigh, what did I sign myself up for?

How do you make the time to workout? What sacrifices have you made to exercise more frequently?

This is what I spend my time doing these days... (Did you know art is hard?!)

Note: More positive posts to come later. Maybe. If I can find the time to write posts.

Orientating Myself

Graduate student orientation officially began this past Sunday. Hurrah? I’ve found that the events are often overwhelming since there are more than 1,000 new students and the rooms for each event have a much smaller capacity. Although I’ll admit that I have skipped many of the (less than necessary) sessions and attended more of the socialization events. I forgot how nerve wracking it is to meet people, but I’m glad to say that I’ve managed to bypass the alcohol and (slightly) overcome my group shyness.

Of course every event comes equipped with free food. I’m trying to stick with my action mantra and remind myself that just because it is free does not mean I need to consume it. (No Free Food!) But it is tough. I must admit that I did cave at one event, but I’m doing my best not to continue the trend. My program orientation provides us with lunch and dinner most days, so I have no choice but to consume their offerings. Planning for the rest of the week, my goal is to select the healthier options and keep my portions down.

This morning my program began with a bang. I had a difficult time determining what to wear and boy was I off the mark. My JCrew chinos and Banana Republic top made me the most overdressed individual in the room. And after a quick round of introductions they sent us off for a scavenger hunt. It was a fantastic time, I even got behind the seat of a cop car, but boy is it hot out! My outfit was a poor choice as I shvitzed through my top. (I’m hoping not everyone noticed…) Now that I know how the other folks are dressing I think I can be more comfortable in jeans and a nice top, no use in overdoing it on a daily basis.

The rest of the week will be intense. They have us scheduled to be in our offices everyday, including the weekends. Unfortunately this means I’ll have to miss out on the Fitbloggin’ Local event that I had been looking forward to, but I hope it helps me become closer with my fellow Loftees (the Loft is my home for the next two years). It seems this year will be a rigorous and rewarding experience, let’s just see if I’m ready for this ride!

How has your week been? What new and exciting things have kept you busy?