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Nike Woman’s Marathon

October 6, 2011

On a whim I entered the lottery for the Nike women’s marathon…it was the last drawing and they would select 100 lucky souls to get the final race slots. The chances of me getting one of those final slots was slim to none, so I didn’t think much about when I put my name and credit card information in. Much to my shagrin I received an email in June congratulating me for winning the lottery to get one of the last few spots. Uh oh, now I need to break it Jason that I’m flying to San Fran for a race. I didn’t quite think that through when I entered into the lottery, all I was thinking was “Man it would be nice to get a Tiffany’s necklace for finishing a race.”

<h1>Nike Women’s Marathon 2011</h1>

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It was clear in September that I hadn’t thought this through. I had just booked my ticket to San Antonio for the Cactus Rose 50 the last weekend of the month and now two weekends before the race I’d be travelling to do a full marathon. I can see the $$$ rising in Jason’s eyes when I mention the two trips in one month. Opps. Luckily I’ve had a good run at selling my non-slip head bands at events in Seattle this summer so about 90% of the cash for both trips is covered. That is as long as I could find a reasonable flight and hotel room in San Fran.

Luckily I found some dirt cheap $120 round trip tickets from Seattle to San Francisco but with the hotels I was starting to worry. It was too close to the Marathon date and all of the cheap options were sold out. All that remained were $500/night hotel rooms. Yikes! I started posting on the Marathon Maniac’s and Half Fanatics Facebook Wall hoping I could pay to sleep on someone in SF’s couch and I was fortunate enough to find a roommate. Another Maniac from Washington had booked a double room at a Hostel a few blocks from the starting room and she was gracious enough to let me take the second bunk. Wohoo! Crisis and budget breaking trip averted — The hostel was a whopping $80/night for both beds — hallelujah!

So off I went. This is my first “destination” race. I haven’t really don’t much flying to go run a marathon. Jason has been supportive and he just thinks I’m crazy for flying down to SFO for two nights to run a marathon. (He thinks I’m even crazier for Texas which is less than two weeks away!)

The BART was really easy to navigate to get to Union Square for the start of the race and I was super lucky that the Hostel was close to the start line. My roommate left a key for me at the front desk and so I dropped off my bag and then went to Race Check-In. NIKE did a great job in pulling together the race check-in station. They had very well queued lines for the participants to wait in that were well marked and the lines moved pretty quick. The line for the Marathon took all of 15 minutes for me to get inside and get my Bib and “Nike+ special bracelet” and then voila out the backside and all is done. The only downside is that I’m used the Rock N Roll marathon style expo’s and that’s definately not what they have here. It’s pretty much an exhibit of Nike clothes and shoes and then you’re out the backdoor and back on the street. Oh well, I really don’t *NEED* any more running skirts or gear with cute little running saying like “I thought they said RUM”. As I exited out to the back of the hall I did run into someone I knew from Seattle, Kathleen. Wohoo— I know at least one person here and now I have someone to go exploring with for the rest of the day today.

As bad of an idea as it was we decided to head out and take the walking tour of the city. I’ve never really been to San Fran… well other for agency  meetings where I got to see the airport, a marketing agency conference room, and if I was lucky some random restaurant. So we took off on foot and according to my Nike Plus we walked a good 5 miles around seeing the sights and touring the town. Kathleen was staying with friends on the other side of the bridge so we said good-bye at dinner time and I was off to meet my roommate and maybe grab a bite to eat before hitting the hay to get up at 5:30 am for the 7 am start. 🙂

<h2>Christi’s Race Report & Recap</h2>

As always, 5:30 am came way way way to early… but we got up and started gathering ourselves together to get ready to head to the start line. My roomie and I headed out the door at 6:15 to make it to our corrals and it was then that we noticed that the two of us Washingtonians were both wearing Oregon based Marathon shirts. Oh the irony.

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It sure was crazy to have 22K women all gathered together at the start line and I became instantly happy that I was fortunate enough to be at a hostel only a few blocks from the start line. It took 35 minutes to get 2 blocks from the bag drop off to the 4:45 pace group, where I spotted some shirts that made me feel at home and decided to stick with a few fellow Marathon Maniacs.

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Crazy enough here were were Four Marathon Maniacs at the start of the race! All except my roomie (to the far right) were from Bellevue/Issaquah Washington and all randomly found each other in the crowd. Since I missed the group photo I had someone take this for us and called it a day for my Maniac photos. My roomie left us and kept on heading back to find the 6 hour pace crowd and I stayed up with them.  We finally got to the start line around 7:35 AM and off we went. The three of us realized pretty quickly that the 4:45 pace group that we had been standing with wasn’t the 4:45 Marathon Pace group… it was a 4:45 Half Marathon pace group.

Opps.

The other Maniacs were well seasoned with running full marathons so I essentially grabbed onto their shirt tails and attempted to keep up with them as we weaved through the crowd. It was crazy to have that many runners all at once and since we were all in essentially an 8 hour marathon group we were whizzing by people who were walking within the first mile. It was a blast to see the rest of the city and to have two awesome individuals to chat with as I ran along. I stayed with them until mile 7 when we went up the hill near the Golden Gate Bridge. I decided to stop and do a photo shoot and take it a bit easier for the rest of the race since they were pacing for 4:30 marathon finish times. I decided that if I wanted to survive blister free and be ready for the Cactus Rose in two weeks I needed to slow it down and have a more recreational run instead of a “in it to win it” type of race.

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It was a hoot to see all of the different runners out on the course and one thing I missed was seeing good ol’ Dave Mari, one of my favorite Maniacs who seems to be at every race nation wide. I decided to channel my inner Dave and took his famous Pose in front of the Golden Gate Bridge before jetting off to continue my run.

Overall I was doing pretty good. I decided to walk the hills and run the rest until I got overly pooped which I knew would come around mile 22 – 23. So I settled into a nice 9:30 min/mi groove and started chatting with the wonderful ladies around me.

Time flies when you’re having fun and we went up and down, up and down, up and down so many times I really couldn’t keep track. We weaved in, out and around tons of cute little neighborhoods and it was great to see how many people were coming out to cheer us runners on.

I kept to the strategy of keeping a slow pace, with one foot in front of the other and the miles started to fly by. It wasn’t until we made it the top of the hill looking down on a long stretch of beach and the finish line that I realized, I still had 15 miles to go. The majority of runners were doing the half and so they were almost done and they were all ecstatic to receive their Tiffany’s necklace in just a few short miles. I on the other hand still have over a half marathon to go, Doh.

305873_10150348334372211_173192503_nSo here I am…. Overlooking the finish line. What appears to be a little white tent way off in the distance on the beach… well that’s the finish line. Just down the hill and few (15) short miles until I’m done. It was until I passed the 13.1 mile marker that I started to feel tired. I slowed it down a notch and took up running from hydration station, walking for 2-3 minutes, and then continue running to the next hydration station.

As we exited the park around mile 16 my legs started to feel heavy and I could tell that I was going to need a little pick me up to keep on going so I started adding FRS energy chews and Nuun hydration tabs at each hydration station to keep me going and it worked. By the time I started the trek around Lake Mercado at mile 19 I was feeling better. I had more energy and was able to pick back up my pace to the 10 min/mile that I was hoping to maintain.

The craziest thing was that somewhere between mile 17 – 18 I noticed a lady in a Marathon Maniacs shirt heading back toward the finish line and realized it was Tracey (middle of the photo on to the top) coming back in for a finish. She started with us and still managed to finish in a Sub 4 hour marathon. Someday…. oh some day I’ll be able to get down to a 4 hr Marathon. Until then, I’ll continue to watch individuals like her rock it down the straight stretch and attempt to keep her pace for a 5K!

The jaunt up and around Lake Mercado was a nice change of pace. The only downside here is that you’re running next to a lot of running cars so for two miles we were breathing in fumes of the cars that were stopped waiting for all of us runners to pass. We went up a hill and then around a corner and wohoo– a nice gradual down hill section. It was on this section that I got excited. I saw a cape off in the distance and I knew that I was just a few feet off of finally getting to meet Endorphin Dude on course. We’ve run a handful of the same races, but I’ve never been able to find him on course to get a photo and I picked up the pace just so I could meet up with Tony and say Hello and snap a picture with him.

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So here we are! I finally got the chance to meet the Endorphin Dude himself and to run with him. Tony is one of the sweetest guys I’ve run with. It was great motivation to me to run along side him and listen to his story about how he started to run marathons and how to him it’s not about finishing in a set time. It’s about a life change that got him off of the couch and loose a ton of weight. It’s also crazy because this is Tony smiling with 17 Marathon’s to go to reach Titanium Status. You read that right, 52 Marathons in 52 weeks and he’s got 17 weeks left in his journey. He is so motivational and cheery. Even though he had a tough race and was struggling he was still the best cheerleader for every person out on the course. I love the quote below that he has on his blog:

Every post race shot you see has me smiling ear to ear. What you don’t see is the grimace on my face when I cramp up at mile 11. You don’t see the frustration when I wake up at the crack of dawn to train. You don’t see the tears of pain as I push to climb those hills. Running is difficult, and I work damn hard. It may seem that I make these races look easy because I do so many of them and have so much fun, but I can assure you that they are not. No false modesty here. Running is hard and I surprise myself every time.  –Endorphin Dude, Tony N

Tony’s smile and kind words got me back to my slow jog and I kept on going toward the finish line. One foot in front of another. Stopping to walk if I had to, but only for a few short moments before starting my slog again. Although my body is sore and tired my mind is stronger and I will finish. I will come in before the 5 hour mark and I’ll have a smile on my face when I cross that finish line.

And I did! Here’s me a with less than 100 yards to the Finish as captured by Kathleen who was awesome enough to wait for almost two hours for me to cross the finish line to give me a high five and tell me Congrats. This is why I run. The camaraderie, the friendships, and just the all out amazing people who keep me going when I feel like I should stop.

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<h2>Weather on the Run</h2>

The good news as you can tell from this picture is that the weather was great. It was perfect Marathon running weather — overcast and in the 60’s. Light fog here and there. Little chance for me to get a nasty sun burn and I’m not worried of dehydration from over sweating.

<h2>Hydration and Nutrition on the Run</h2>

So I know that my knees are going to hurt and be sore during the race due to running on pure concrete. So I prepared in advance and every 90 minutes I downed two advil to help with the swelling. I know that some runners say “NO!!! Don’t do it!” it’s hard on your kidneys. So far my kidney’s have survived, and each race where I had done my Advil regimen I wasn’t as sore and achy when I crossed the finish line. That doesn’t mean that I was sore. I was. But it did help.

As for hydration and nutrition. I’m a huge fan of Nuun, they are in an easy to carry little case that fits in my pocket and they disolve quickly…. more important they taste pretty good. I’m not a fan of all of the flavors, but compared to many of the other similar products I’ve used I like it the best.

For energy I use FRS energy chews and at mile 13.1 a small bottle of 5 hour Energy Fruit Flavors. I could eat the FRS energy chews like candy — one after the other, nonstop. The Five Hour Energy is just for kicks. I was dying during the last legs of this race and I needed some umph and i was hoping that it would do.

For Nutrition: I didn’t each as much as I should have on this run. I had some orange slices and banana’s on course, but I was starving by the time I crossed the finish line. I should have taken something more substantial with me like peanut butter to put something in my stomach on course. You live, you learn!

 

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From → Marathon, Races

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