This weekend is, by far, my favorite work trip of the year. Last year, we had a big group of influencers come out to support Finish Line and NTC at the Nike Women’s San Francisco Half Marathon. I was in the middle of training for an ultra this weekend last year, so although it was technically a training run at that point I remember it being SUCH a fun and beautiful race + weekend!
Spoiler alert: This year I nearly crawled to the finish line.
The course was still absolutely beautiful, but I was riding the struggle bus HARD the last two miles. Let’s start from the beginning.
I stayed at the Marriot Union Square, which was less than a 5 minute walk from my corral. I lined up at 6:30, and when the gun went off I was ready to roll!
Miles 1-3: The first 5k passed by without much effort — I felt great! I rarely run with music anymore, but a 2 year old running playlist (from when I was running my first half!) added an extra “oomph” to my stride. These miles run through the streets of San Francisco — including a few steady inclines — before dropping down into Golden Gate National Park… my absolute favorite part of the race!
Miles 4-7: I still felt fantastic at this point. I loved running in the park and taking in all of the sights and smells of San Fran after being in a hectic part of the city for the majority of the weekend. I was definitely in my element and felt like I was in a groove. The only thing that was bothering me was that my left trap/upper back started to cramp. WUT?
This started to trickle down to my lower back (only on my left side). It was incredibly annoying and uncomfortable (not painful!), but I tried to run with jiggle arms for a bit and try to loosen them up.
Miles 8-10: It didn’t loosen up. I lost it mentally at this point and really started to struggle as we made our way out of the park and onto the hill of death. Coming from Colorado, hills usually ain’t no thang for me as I typically run on trails.
Truth be told, I walked up the entire hill. I was SO over it at this point. Although I was a bit disappointed in myself that ran up the entire hill last year (so I KNEW I could do it…), I really didn’t care too much at that point and was ready for this f-ing race to be over with.
Miles 11-13: Probably the worst miles of my entire life. My head wasn’t in the game and I was walk/running probably every quarter of a mile. The competitive/stubborn/driven person in me was being hammered down by the fact that every muscle in my body hurt, I really had to pee, and I just wanted this to be OVER.
Lo and behold, it was all worth it. After running into the finisher’s chute (I made myself run the last .5 mile and wanted to die), I chugged a bottle of water and let my heart rate settle down. No matter how many races I complete — no matter how many of them suck — I still get emotional when I think of what I have accomplished and what opportunities have presented themselves to me over the course of the last few years.
I’ve been one lucky chick to be able to race in a multitude of different cities, states and environments. Heck — I’m lucky that I’m even able to run! Although sometimes your runs suck — your workouts in general suck — it’s pretty dang cool to know that you accomplished something with your own body and mind.
And hey, I should probably be thankful that although I had a crappy race, I had views like THIS to distract me.
All photos are courtesy of Run Nike Women Series. I took some iPhone pics… but they look like iPhone pics. So here ya go.