Friday, October 25, 2013

On Top of the World

The Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco - or how I rekindled the joy of running... again.


I have been plagued with tendinitis in my left foot this summer. This case of tendinitis was not caused by running,  but by wearing the wrong shoes to work.  No, I didn't wear heels, in fact it was a flatter wedge, probably too flat and not enough arch support or stability.  Wearing those wedges for one 8 hour work day has given me a summer of slow running and a lot of walking the dog.  Knowing that I needed to keep training for my fall and winter races kept me going.  Between the SDTC and Rehab United, I always had someplace to run and someone to run with.  I ran up and down the hill at Torrey Pines State Beach,  local runners know the one,  plus the hills in Del Mar and in my own neighborhood, which made all the difference come race day. 

Hubs and I flew up to San Francisco the Friday before the race only to find that BART was on strike and we had to figure out how to get into the city from the Oakland Airport.  Luckily for us, someone was looking for people to share the expense of a shuttle van.  We ended up sharing the van with six other random people with the same predicament.   We all made it to San Francisco with no issues, and the weather was gorgeous.

From the van going over the Oakland Bridge to San Francisco.
Once we were in the city, and settled in our hotel room, Hubs and I met Norma, a track club friend, and her husband to retrieve our race numbers and swag.  We spent some time roaming around the expo at Union Square and did a little shopping over at Nike Town.


Normal and I - Photo op at Union Square
The race course over at Nike Town --Pointing at the finish.
We even found our names on the wall.

I'm right there!
Hubs was hungry and wanted to eat.  We ended up at an Irish pub, and I can't remember the name of it.  It was OK, but my Hubs was really hungry...

The husbands.  They look so excited to be at a women's event.  LOL.

Later on that same evening, we met Norma and husband and walked over to Chinatown for dinner.  Norma Yelped a restaurant based on the number of stars it had.  We came upon a very unassuming doorway with a stair case.  At the top of the stairs we peeked in and the "hole in the wall" room was packed, and the aroma of Chinese food was amazing.  Even though there was a wait, we stayed.  The food really was amazing.  Good choice.  I thought we had photos, but I guess we were all too hungry to snap any pics of the place or the food.

The next morning hubs and I ate the complimentary breakfast at our hotel, then decided to walk around the Union Square area.  We walked past the Expo area and ended up at the Bvlgari building.  Hubs wanted to peek inside to look at the architecture, and he even told that to the sales person.

When you're married to an architect, you get used to photos like this... lots of photos like this.
As we looked around, the sales person insisted that I try on some jewelry.  I felt kind of weird at first, but it doesn't hurt to try on super expensive jewelry that costs more than any car I'll ever own.

It goes with everything!


We did a little more realistic shopping at Old Navy -- that's more our speed, had a late Thai food lunch/dinner,  picked up some coffee* and granola bars for the next morning, and went to chill at our hotel. It wasn't long after that when I checked my Facebook and had a message from an on line friend, Michelle.  She was in a little bit of a panic because BART was on strike and not running, and BART being down caused a traffic nightmare for the locals.  She was looking for some place in the city to crash.  I offered our floor in our small hotel room, and she took the offer.

Michelle and I know each other from an on line workout support group on  Body for Life  California, then another work out site Muscle Tank, our blogs, then Facebook.  It's funny that we've never met in person until now.  We live in the same state and I know we've been near by our cities several times, but never connected.  It was as if we knew each other (in person) the whole time.  Michelle camped out on our floor with her sleeping bag and gear, and we had a great time talking about all things running and fitness before attempting to doze off.

Michelle's accommodations for the night. Photo by Michelle.
We woke up to the phone alarm at around 5:15 AM.   Being three blocks from Union Square was such a bonus since the race started at 6:30.  No getting up at 3:30AM to be out the door by 4 to beat the traffic at the starting area.  No waiting in lines at the port-o-potties.  It almost felt like sleeping in.  Since Hubs was the designated Sherpa, there was no need to drop off our things at the bag check.  We walked down to the Union Square area with plenty of time to absorb the vibe of the race, and plenty of time to get used to the temperatures.

Cell phone "selfie." 

I still look sleepy, but Michelle looks ready to go!
Almost ready to go - the white t shirt is off!
Making our way to the start!  Look, it's the crack of dawn!
Aaaaaand, we're off.  Michelle immediately took off, and looked really good as she went ahead of me.  She mentioned something about not really running for about 3 weeks, but I never would have known.  This time there was virtually no weaving around walkers.  I ran the entire race.  Even though I slowed down on the hills, they weren't as intimidating as I  remembered.  I took advantage of the downhills and just let gravity do it's thing.  The weather was perfect for running.  The temperatures never went higher than 55 degrees, and it was foggy for most of the race.  As the miles went by, I noted how good I felt, and by the time I hit mile 10, I was still feeling pretty good.  Mile 10 is where I pretty much gave up when I ran it in 2011, and walk/ran the remaining 3 miles because I felt so crappy.  I felt energetic for the entire race.  Mile 10 came this time, and I still felt great.  The last three miles went by easily.  My ETA for this race was 2:40, only because of the tendinitis, but I guess all that hill training and walks with the dog did help.  I finished in 2:27:56, and I was THRILLED with that.  It's not my fastest half marathon by far, but it was 14 minutes faster than when I ran it in 2011.

My cell phone refused to work properly after I finished, (iPhone -  ever since the update I've had issues), so there's no photos with me and the cute firemen in tuxes giving out the Tiffany & Co. blue boxes with white satin ribbons, with the necklace inside. 

The weather was fine for running, but after stopping and the sweat cooled my body, I was freezing.  I did get a mylar blanket right away, but I was chilled.  Hubs finally found me and I was able to put on a warm, long sleeved top. 

Not quite the post race pic I was hoping for, especially with those cute firemen, but I got my bling! I'm happy, freezing, but happy!

Hubs was trying to track down Michelle since he had her gear back containing her warm clothes.  She ended up at one of the Nike concession tents and bought a warm long sleeved pull over t-shirt because she was so cold, but she was still happy to have even more layers once we found each other.


There was Sofia Champagne served in the post race area.  It cost extra, but I really wanted some because it's one of the few bubbly wines that I can drink and not have issues.  Champagne in little cans is actually pretty good. 
FIt doesn't feel so cold after a little bubbly...  Cheers. 
We spotted some SDTC peeps at the champagne area.

Happy finishers!
This was the t-shirt they all wore...  LOVED it!
The finish area was not as roomy as it had been in the past because part of it is on federal property, which the race organizers could no longer use due to the government shut down.  There were about 30,000+ people crammed in a small area.  The line for the bus back to Union Square was a bit long, but it eventually moved.  Waiting in line wasn't so bad, as we chatted with happy race finishers.

The Bling
After a hot shower, some food, and a long nap, hubs and I went out on the town that evening.  We went to dinner at John's Historic Grill for some awesome martini's and steak.  It was a fabulous meal to end a very, very good day.

Cheers. 
Because BART was still on strike, we had to find another way to the airport the next day. We couldn't find a shuttle that was going to Oakland's Airport. All the shuttles were going to San Francisco's Airport. We ended up with a "taxi" which ended up being a guy in a 3 piece suit driving a Lincoln Town Car. We felt special, but it wasn't exactly inexpensive either. We left super early to avoid any traffic, but there was none, and we arrived at the airport much quicker than anticipated.

 Are you still with me? I know this is a longish post, but I haven't posted anything since August. I have just a few more thoughts...

I've learned that I need to stay away from drinking any alcoholic beverages at least 2 days before a race. I really don't drink a lot, but pre race rituals are important -- which includes not drinking, and I had a much better race this year. I saved the drinks for after the race, and those two drinks were so much more enjoyable.  I've learned that no matter how slow I'm going, I'm still moving. As long as I keep up the training I will never become stagnant. I surprised myself buy doing better than I was anticipating.  Never doubt your training.  I've learned that after feeling lack luster and less than excited about running, that it will come back and have that "new" feeling again.  It felt new at Nike this year, and I feel excited about running again. I've also learned that you can never have too many friends, even if they come from the "internet." I'm often asked if I get worried about meeting people I've only known from workout support sites or blogs. "What if they're creepy?" "How do you know?" I've never had a reason to worry. After a certain amount of time reading their posts you just know, you get certain vibe from a person. I've met several people from workout sites and blogs, and each time it has been great. I really enjoyed meeting with Michelle in person, and I hope we meet again in the near future.  I also had fun spending time with Norma who we know from track club.  It was nice to see a different side of her.  Finally, I've learned that my Hubs made a pretty good Sherpa.

...and he still likes the window seat.
Song from August Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Summer Breeze - Seals & Croft  

PEACE
*Pre race ritual - Buy a handmade coffee per our specifications at Starbucks, then put in the fridge or set in an ice bucket for race day morning.  

5 comments:

Lisa said...

Sounds like fun times! I'd really like to run that some year.

Black Knight said...

A very good time with friends and hubby.
Congrats on the finishing time despite the tendinitis.
I made the decision not to risk anymore and I think than the half will not be anymore on my races agenda.
The B.K. is getting old!

Pat said...

Congrats on your race. I want to do bay to breakers sometime. SF is just an amazing town.

Jill said...

"I really don't drink a lot..." Hahah...ok!! ;)

I am super proud of you, sweet girl. I know this getting back to the half that you love so much has been a tough process - but you did it! I'd love to come back and do that race sometimes...the SF Marathon has a very special place in my heart. Maybe a girls' weekend sometime soon!

Those pictures of you lined up reminded me of RnR SD last year - fun times!

I'm happy that you're BACK and hope you have tons of happy and healthy miles ahead. Miss you lots!!

xo

Dori said...

Congratulations on your race! Great race report, great pictures. My friends ran that race, too, but I didn't register with them. Nice medal. Didn't we meet at Nike one year? I was looking through my old blog posts, but couldn't find the one where I met up with everyone. I like my online friends. :-)

Song: The Carpenters? At first I thought it was Cream, but they did Sitting On Top of the World.