Thursday, October 18, 2012

Nike Women's Marathon 2012

I'm going to start by saying that I had read up on this race and most of what I had read was negative.  I don't get people is all I can say, there was not one negative thing about this entire experience!  We decided to go to the expo on Thursday to try and avoid the long lines that I had read about.  We got there, snapped a quick picture and quickly got our bibs etc.  We didn't have to wait in line at all!!  I thought the expo was great, it was small compared to Boston. Then again the race was put on by Nike so of course they wouldn’t have a bunch of other companies there trying to promote their stuff…makes perfect sense to me!!
They had a HUGE hamster wheel so what's not to tell me?!?
We got some free stuff and were off to explore the beautiful city!  We went to NikeTown and found our names on "the wall!"  Yay, I made the wall...I didn't make the Boston poster and I still haven't gotten over it!
Kenna's "Blue Steel" in NikeTown!

Sunday morning we left plenty early and got to the starting line at about 5 a.m.  We weren’t sure what traffic would be like and didn’t want to take any chances.  At about 6:30 or so we took our drop bags to the buses, which I thought was VERY organized, they put a sticker on my bib saying exactly where my bag would be at the finish line.
WOW, I'm super's cool to be greasy trust me!!

26,000 people all lined up was quite the sight!  The first mile we were barely moving, I believe we had a 9:00 minute mile :/, then I saw a couple of people running on the side walk.  I decided they were brilliant and did the same thing.  We ran through the city for a mile or so and then we were down by the Piers.  We ran past Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghirardelli Square.  This is where it started getting really exciting.  Hill after hill, after hill, after hill and then guess what?  More hills!!!  I would say my hill training definitely paid off.  While everyone else was walking or huffing and puffing up the hills Holly and I ran up with no problem at all.

I wish I would have ran with my camera because I can’t even come close to describing the beauty that surrounded us.  It was a very misty, foggy morning!  PERFECT running weather!!!!  The runner’s, and the hills, disappeared into the fog and it looked AWESOME!  It was actually pretty nice not to see how huge the hill was that we were about to climb.  Some of the hills seemed to never end.  The race directors were so smart because there always seemed to be an amazing cheer section on all of the hills.  They were a great distraction and really got us going. 
We ran near China Beach which is where we went exploring a few days earlier.  The houses in this area are AMAZINGLY huge and wonderful.  It was uphill, of course, but I didn’t care because I loved looking at the houses.
Yep, we ran right up that hill!
This picture brings me much joy so I wanted to share!

I felt great the first 10 or so miles and then I started to feel a little crampy.  If you are a man you can skip this paragraph.  Of all the relatives that I wanted to come on this trip with us the only one who showed up was my “Aunt Flo!”  I hate that woman!!!!  I really needed to go to the bathroom and thought that if I did maybe I would feel better.  I stopped really fast and then we were off.  I was feeling much better. 

At about mile 11 the half marathoners split off, that seemed to be a HUGE chunk of the runners which was really nice.  At most races after about mile 3 or so it starts to spread out and you find the people who are your pace.  Until mile 11 it was very crowded.  This is also where my legs started to feel a little weird.  The uphill/downhill running was starting to wear on me.

Mile 13 was for Kobe!!!  We were in Golden Gate Park, I felt like I was in another land!  It was BEAUTIFUL!  Actually the ENTIRE race was gorgeous!  If I ever started to feel tired or weak I just had to look up and take in my surroundings.  I seriously enjoyed every second of this race!
I'm not sure, do you think I was excited to see my cute family?!?  What a DORK!!

At around mile 14 or 15 we saw our families…YAY!!!  That was just the boost I needed to keep going!  Holly was having some tummy troubles so we decided to stop for another bathroom break.  By this point we knew we weren’t going to be setting any records so we figured we may as well be comfortable and enjoy it.
See that windmill in the back...AWESOME!  I had to get a picture of I just need to crop my ugly mug out of it :)

At about mile 17 we ran past a cheer section with cheerleaders from one of the colleges.  They were cheering a bit and then I yelled something and they really got going.  It was so fun to have them there. 
Holly had her phone and snapped a picture of said cheerleaders :)
The next few miles looped around a lake/golf course.  It was a looooong loop but I knew at the end of it we were on the home stretch.  This is also where McKenna’s mile 19 was.  I’m so glad she picked one of these later miles where I really needed to get my mind off of what I was doing. 

At mile 22.50 I started wondering if my little leggies were going to hold up.  The entire last half of the race my heart rate was low, I had great energy but my legs DID NOT want to listen to me.  I kept telling myself that I could go faster, I wasn’t feeling weak or tired at all.  It was just that my legs felt non-existent!!  I tried pumping my arms faster hoping that my legs would follow but nothing seemed to work.  I finally decided to just suck it up and be happy that I was still running…along the ocean. 
We knew we were getting close and I just prayed that my legs wouldn’t give out on me!  I felt exactly like this…
Yes, that would sum up EXACTLY how my legs felt!  I think those ladies are awesome but I can't help but laugh my head off everytime I see this.

Mile 25 was for Jake so I just kept chugging along…no walking, or crawling, was allowed!!
We saw the finish line and our cute little families!  We crossed the line in 3:45:08 (my Garmin said 3:40 without the bathroom breaks), not my fasted marathon by a long shot but then again I wasn’t running downhill like in all Utah races.  The WINNER finished in 2:59 which made me feel better about my time.  We got our Tiffany necklace from a Firefighter in a Tuxedo…well hello there handsome ;)
He told me I earned this...
Hmmm, not only handsome but smart ;)
(This is a disclaimer for Jake...I don't really think he was all that so don't go get all jealous on me ;)

The finish area was beyond awesome!  We grabbed a bagel and banana, got our drop bag and tried to find our families.  Holly and I were stretching a little when I stumbled down a few stairs, I don’t know how I saved myself from certain death ;) I could barely walk straight.  I’m sure it was quite a sight!!!
We found our families and saw that Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan were getting their awards.  YES, I ran with Olympians!!! 
We found the chocolate milk by the “stretching” tent!  I'm glad they got the memo that I MUST.HAVE.CHOCOLATE MILK!!!  So awesome, they had a lady leading stretching/yoga.  They had tons of foam rollers too, we wanted to join in but there wasn’t much room and we had families waiting to get on with the day.   We ended up walking about 5-6 miles in the afternoon which I’m sure helped work out some of that lactic acid.  I am sore but I thought it was going to be much worse.      
I LOVED everything about this race, I LOVE San Francisco and I LOVE my family for coming with me to explore a new city!  I’m so grateful that I was able to train for and run this race with Holly!  This was by far my favorite race that I’ve done and I would do it every year if I could!


  1. Great job! I am insanely jealous! I have wanted to do that race since I was in high school! Haha, my students and I watched that video on repeat 3 or 4 times last year. It never gets old.

  2. LOVED reading your report Steph! It sounds like you girls had a blast and you absolutely deserved every second of it. I laughed out loud 5 times while reading your post. haha you are so funny and that picture of Kobe and your Husband is epic. I think that we need to hangout more often because you are so funny and such an amazingly talented runner. Maybe you can help me get rid of my skinny fat. ;)

  3. Glad you had a great time and you finished in great time for all those hills! That video is almost painful to watch, those poor women, but at the same time so funny!

    This was a great recap and fun to read, great job!