I never thought it would be possible to fall in love with a race, but it happened. Sit back, relax and enjoy my recap of my favorite race to date: Nike Women's Marathon San Francisco.
Saturday morning my sweetheart and I drove up to Union Square for my race bib and shopping fun at NikeTown. We arrived just as packet pick-up was opening so we were able to be in and out in about an hour - even after shopping and stopping for pictures.
On Sunday morning I left the house really early in order to be able to drive to SF and find parking on Mission - not very far from Union Square. I arrived so early I was able to sleep in the car for an hour before walking to my corral. (Which is better than arriving so late you get caught in traffic or can't park at all.)
While waiting for the race to start I met a ton of really cool ladies, some of them NWM first-timers, many of them repeat runners. All of them NWM fanatics. I didn't realize what a big deal it was to get into this race since I never bothered with the lottery. I was able to sign up at the last minute thanks to entries made available to Nike Fuel users. In fact, I am not even a fan of Tiffany jewelry (I'm a Cartier woman) so I wasn't running this race for a necklace. I was running this race because it was in San Francisco, and the start line was where my parents had met over 3 decades ago. If it hadn't been for Union Square - I wouldn't be here. I couldn't wait to run this course!
Off we went early in the morning through Union Square and downtown San Francisco towards the Financial District on our way to Fisherman's Wharf. Running through the city so early in the morning with SO many people cheering us on was nothing short of amazing. San Francisco is a special place to begin with, but add the electricity of thousands of runners, their amazing families and the eclectic locals and you've got a great event.
I was keeping a great pace and feeling fantastic due to the cool weather and misty air by the time we reached this hill. In fact it was after this hill that my pace slowed down, and only because I had to pee. I waited in line for almost 5 minutes to use a bathroom which was a real bummer. I don't understand why it takes women so long to use a porta potty!? It's nasty in there. It only takes me a matter of seconds because I can only hold my breath for so long.
After mile 7 I was still feeling great. I think I may have run this entire race with a perma-grin. I was having a blast! Fun fact: before Sunday I had never run up a hill in my life.
Before I knew it I was at the finish line - feeling extremely proud of myself for being spontaneous and signing up to run this race - whether I was prepared or not. The course was gorgeous, the weather was perfect. Yes, the hills were challenging - but that's part of the grand reward and the feeling of deep satisfaction I felt when I crossed the finish line.
Waiting for us at the finish
line were gents in tuxedos holding silver trays adorned with the coveted
little blue boxes. I graciously accepted my necklace and made my way over to the snack area where I picked up a banana, water and a Mylar blanket.
Then I picked up my checked bag where I had more food and a change of
clothes. I stood in the photo line and then finally made my way to the
bus line. The bus (make sure you pre-pay during registration for
transportation back to the start line) line was long. It took about 30 minutes to get on a bus, and once I sat down I didn't want to get back up. I was exhausted! Once the bus dropped us off at Union Square I walked back to my car and made the drive back home.
If you ever have the opportunity to run the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco - JUST DO IT!