Bay area girls already know that the annual Nike Women’s Marathon (and half marathon) is one spectacular event. Ladies (and men) of all ages take to the city streets and steep hills battling the elements to reach the finish line. This year 30,000 men and women participated in the marathon and half marathon combined. The event has become so popular over the years there is a lottery in order to enter. I was one of the lucky lottery winners who got chance to run the half marathon.
Here’s my experience, start-to-finish, on my first half marathon!
Leading up to the race:
I had always wanted to cross running a half marathon off my bucket list. When the lottery opened back in June, I entered the lottery convincing myself it was up to fate whether I’d run. If I was selected in the lottery, it was “meant to be” and I would have to run. If I wasn’t selected, I’d try again the next year.
I remember receiving my lottery results. And I clearly remember the words “Oh shit” crossing my mind. I was now committed to running 13.1 miles in a half marathon. I couldn’t back out even if I wanted to…unless I felt like flaking wasting a solid $200!
At the beginning of July training began for the mid-October event giving participants about 12 weeks to prepare for battle. With the aid of all the Nike apps, we had the opportunity to train and work out to be fit for race day according to a pre-planned training plan. In a perfect world, I would have trained every day–no buts. BUT of course, life got in the way.
Months passed by. I’d think to myself “Hmm…maybe I should hit the gym today” as I’d sit on the couch eating ice cream. The super fatty kind.
I started to get nervous and quite anxious towards race day. The only “workouts” I had completed in my training were rest days. Maybe a mile run here or there, but nothing remotely close to the training I should have been doing.
Finally race day came.
If I had to pick one word to describe race day, it’s surreal. After going to bed at 8pm the night before and getting up before the crack of dawn at 3:30am, I was probably still a little tired.
The air was crisp.The city streets were slick. And ladies in exercise clothing littered Union Square, waiting to start the race, all by 5:30AM. There were about 5 groups organized by pace (how long it takes you to run a mile on average). I was thankfully placed in the slowest group whose average mile time was more 11:00+.
After a cramped warmup and 45 minutes of waiting, we finally rushed to the actual starting line. As you can see, the sun started to come up:
And we were off! Here are some of the photos I took while running/walking the course:
Running by the piers along the Embarcadero. We are in the middle of the 2nd mile.
Running by Crissy field, getting close to the Golden Gate Bridge.
In the middle of walking up one of the steep hills, a little past the Golden Gate Bridge.
A well-earned downhill slope (did you notice everyone is running?) nearing the end of the race.
Running that last mile in Golden Gate Park.
Would I do it again? Probably yes.
Even through the pain I experience the week after, I want to say yes. Overall it’s a great experience. It was a great experience for me because I pushed my body to a limit that I hadn’t before and got out of my comfort zone.