This past Sunday I had an amazing opportunity to go on a challenging run with Nike in San Francisco. The plan – run five miles along the Berkeley Marina, hop on the Nike bus and travel to the heart of San Francisco for a seven mile city run to the Palace of Fine Arts. Stop for a short break to refuel and grab water and continue on a six mile run across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. Refuel and relax with friends both new and old at Barrel House Tavern along the waterfront. Total mileage for the day – 18 miles.
I was looking forward to this run all week. Can you blame me? I was a little concerned about the heavy mileage since I have been training for shorter distances, but I am always up for a challenge. I have run marathons and the Hood to Coast relay in the past so I knew what to expect as far as mileage. After a restless night on Saturday due to my excitement, I woke up a 6am on Sunday morning, got together my Nike gear and headed over to Berkeley.
I arrived at the Berkeley Marina at 7am and spotted the Nike Bus right away. After some brief introductions to other runners we boarded the bus to find a personalized Nike tank and the New Flyknit Lunar 2‘s to try out for the run! The excitement on the bus was electric. Nike sure knows how to treat their runners right. I have loved running in my Flyknit Lunar 1’s, so I was excited to lace up the new version and I loved the updated design. The sole felt a bit more supportive to me and they updated the tongue of the shoe so it slides around less. Two thumbs up from this runner.
I laced up for run number one and we headed out along the Berkeley Marina. With magnificent views of the water, the run was the perfect way to start the day. I settled in with the slower pace group and we chatted along the water. I didn’t want to start out too fast and burn out on the final miles of the run. This run was an out and back five miler and when we arrived back at the bus we hopped on for some snacks, water and recovery with a massage roller. I love my carbs and the blueberry bagel with cream cheese tasted so good. I was fueled and ready for run number two!
On our way to San Francisco we were treated to some history of Nike and the Just Do It campaign that launched 25 years ago. This run was created in part to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the creation of a campaign that has had an incredible impact on athletes around the world. We were invited to take part in a run to challenge us and show us how to live the Just Do It motto. We were pushed out of our comfort zones and into a place where we accepted the challenge and surprised ourselves. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when someone believes in you and stays with you through the challenge!
We headed into the city and started our second run in the heart of San Francisco. I love running through the city and exploring new places and we could not have asked for better weather. It was sunny, clear and warm. A perfect day for running a dream run. We stopped for a few photo opportunities and conquered some hills before ending at the Palace of Fine Arts.
From here I felt the excitement from everyone running brewing. A few runners were starting to feel the distance in their legs, me included, but no one was going to miss the final epic run across the Golden Gate Bridge into Sausalito! Now was the time to put that Just Do It motto to work!
We left from the Palace of Fine Arts and ran past Chrissie Field and up to the Golden Gate Bridge. The day was picturesque and gorgeous. There was a brutal hill climb up to the Golden Gate, but once you arrived at the top those first few steps across the Golden Gate made it all worth it! Photos could not do the view justice. You could see all the way across the Bay. From here we entered the last four miles of our run. The bridge was crowded so we had to weave in and out of tourists, but that just added to the fun and challenging day.
After we crossed the bridge we went down into Sausalito and finished the final few miles on a downhill and then short run along the water to the Barrel House Tavern, our restaurant for the post run chow down! Nike went all out and I could not be more grateful. The meal was three courses of runner fuel and we even had custom Just Do It menu’s!
The meal provided us with a way to reflect on what we had achieved and learn more about the runners we shared this journey with. We laughed and shared many moments from the day and hopes for the future of running in San Francisco and the growth of an incredible community that is willing to take on challenges head on.
I learned so much at this event and have a better understanding of the meaning of Just Do It. I may not have been the fastest runner, but we all had the heart and the drive to achieve what many people would say is impossible. Together we can do so much. This is only the beginning of great things to come and I personally am rejuvenated in my running life. I am looking forward to taking my running to the next level and learning and challenging myself on a continual basis. I am even more excited to become a running coach in April!
As a college basketball player, I was always used to challenging myself in short sprint distances and my transition to long distance running over the last three years has taught me that I can face any challenge head on and learn and grow. Surrounding myself with positive and supportive people has made this transition one I am beginning to feel is what I was meant to do. I can’t wait to run with the Just Do It crew again and meet and challenge many new runners in San Francisco and beyond.
Doubt can be a struggle for me and I was doubting my running this last month. Sunday changed my view of my running and reenergized my desire to challenge myself. My goal this year is to become a faster, more efficient runner and this weekend helped to jump start my belief in my resilience as an athlete and runner.
Thank you Nike, the crew of the Just Do It run in SF and everyone who has supported me along my journey. Here is to many more inspirational and challenging runs in the futures. Never stop believing in yourself and don’t forget to challenge yourself on a regular basis. You’ll learn about yourself and become a stronger person with every challenge you conquer.
If you’re looking for a huge challenge – check out the Nike NTC Tour in LA this March 14-16! I’ll be there and can’t wait to take my training to a whole new level! You can see more details and register here.
Just Do It!