Every year since 2011 I have taken part in the Nike Women’s Marathon or Half Marathon in San Francisco. This year was no different and I could not have been happier to have been a part of it all! This year Nike moved the race from including a full marathon and a half marathon to only having it be a half marathon. They also changed the course. I heard mixed feelings about the new course, however, I loved everything about it. I felt like it had more rolling hills and a lot more down hills that kept it from getting too stagnant. I loved seeing new views and running new places in San Francisco that I normally wouldn’t get to experience.
For me the race weekend started on Thursday when I drove down to San Francisco. I was lucky enough to be involved in a focus group with Nike Women designers and help to give my feedback. I took part in this for about 2.5 hours and then explored the expo in Union Square. I love everything about the Nike expos, from the Nike+ Runner Services, to the runner’s gait analysis, beauty areas, Nuun booth and Whole Foods snacks. The expo layout was a bit more open this year and catered to more free-flowing movement. My first stop was at Nike+ Runner Services where I was told I was a “Super User” for how much I had used the Nike+ Running App, Fuelband App and Nike Training Club app. I received a limited edition Nike Metaluxe Fuelband, just one of 150 made. Thank you Nike! It pays to use their products in more ways than just fitness gains.
The following morning I headed over to Nike Union Street to participate in another Nike Focus group and then headed back over to the expo to meet up with more friends that were coming in all day. It is so fun to meet up with runners from around the US and the world at events like these. We are bonded by a shared love of running and I just love the energy of these events. You could just feel the excitement in the city.
Friday evening I was able to meet up with running crews from around the world. Roco Runs, Concrete Runners, Night Terrors Run and many more took part in this shakeout run and photo opp. These girls are beyond inspiring and to have everyone meet up in one place is amazingly fun.
Asheton and I explored San Francisco and the expo together all weekend. You just can’t separate birthday buddies and girls with similar dreams, aspirations and a love of all things Nike!
Instagram meet-ups are some of my favorites and I was so excited to meet up with this girl! Rosa was a huge Instagram inspiration and runner and she even found me on course! I was struggling with injuries and she definitely helped brighten my mood during a tough part of the course on Sunday. Can’t wait to run with her again soon!
Sunday morning came quickly and I was prepared. I laid out my race outfit and gear the night before and made sure I had everything I needed. Of course I ran in my favorite gear from Nike Women and made sure to represent my favorite sock company, Feetures! A big shoutout to Pocket Fuel for powering my through this race as well!
The race morning started out foggy and cool, perfect running weather. I really love the fog in San Francisco and it provided a really fun atmosphere to run in. I did not have my ideal race, the morning just felt off from the beginning, however, even through I did not have a PR, far from it in fact, I managed to enjoy every moment I was on the new course.
One thing that is really great about this race is that the photos are provided for free just a few days after the race! Race photos can be expensive, so this is a great feature to have. While I never really like my race photos (I just never look very attractive), I still love documenting the journey! I crossed the line in just over 2:13 and while it is far from my personal best of 1:53, I can’t complain. I didn’t train as well as I should have and was suffering from IT Band issues. December and January will be my recovery months and 2015 will be my year of the 1:45 half marathon!
The second great feature of this race is the finisher’s necklace provided by Tiffany and Co.! I especially loved the design of this year’s necklace. The design incorporated a lot of the iconic areas of San Francisco, like the Golden Gate Bridge in a tasteful way. The chain was also longer than previous Nike Tiffany Necklaces and is great for layering when displaying my past achievements.
After I finished I checked out some of the finisher’s area booths, food, stretching and of course, the finisher’s gear tent! I was lucky enough to run into the amazing runner, Savannah Fisher, who you may remember from my previous blog feature on her! It was so great to finally meet her in person! We met Friday and Saturday morning, but somehow forgot to get a picture until after the race. She also ran an amazing race! You go girl!
Following my exploration I made my way back up to the start and the VIP Finisher’s Tent area where I was treated to some amazing food and met up with many of my friends from around the country and awesome Nike employees who put on this amazing race. Check out that plate of food! Nothing like a maple donut to cap off a great experience!
I stayed in the VIP area for a few hours just lounging, stretching and chatting with friends both new and old. I even saw Olympic Gymnast Shawn Johnson, who ran the race, in the VIP area. She is such an inspiration! I got a few group photos with my amazing SF friends, NTC trainers and new friends from across the country. So great to meet you, Jessica! But finally, it was time to head back to the hotel, pack up and go home.
Race weekend in San Francisco was fantastic. A big shoutout to Nike Union Street for providing me with an entry to this race and allowing me to experience all that Nike has to offer. I also really would like to thank the Nike Women’s team from Nike WHQ for holding focus groups and valuing my opinion on their products! I hope I was of help to you! A big thanks to Nike Running for the encouragement and inspiration via Twitter and Instagram along the way. And a final shoutout goes out to everyone who encouraged, inspired and motivated me along the way! I hope to see you all back again next year for another epic adventure.