The Nike Women’s San Francisco Half Marathon was a race I only ever read about. Coming off the buzz from the Nike Women’s Toronto 15km, I was looking for my next adventure and my next goal. I wanted to relive that sense of achievement, push my training and buzz at that euphoric frequency at the finish line. You know, the one that makes you forget about the aches, pains and that internal dialogue that tempted you to stop!
I had never run a half marathon and would have never desired to do so but being reminded that it was only a mere 6km more than what we had just accomplished at the 15km race, made me realize that this race was not out of my reach.
I chose the October 18th, San Francisco Half Marathon because if it was going to be hard, it wanted it to be as challenging as well. And if warmer weather and the ocean were not enough to motivate me then I was in trouble.
In the 3 months leading up to the race, I was like a sponge absorbing any and every piece of information that would best prepare me for the event. Nike+ Run Club Coach Rejean provided us with a Half Marathon training program to outline what distances, speeds and focus each week should entail.
I covered kilometers on my own, with my running partner (until he realized he didn’t like running anything over 10kms ha ha) and made sure to check into NRC runs each week. In the end, the NRC long runs saved me. They kept me motivated and accountable to my training especially as we ramped up to peak week. Running 17km solo is beyond mentally challenging and I am grateful to our pacers and the amazing group that came out every Saturday rain or shine!
The nerves that filled me on route to San Francisco were eased by repeated phrases from our coaches and pacers: “Trust your training.”, “Run each kilometer at a time.”, “It’s about the journey, not the destination.”. All of which filled my mind like Instagram motivational quotes!
Arriving in the city, you could not deny the energy that filled Union Square. Hundreds of women picking up their race kits, snapping photos with the WERUNSF sign and jamming the Nike store for SF Nike Swag- Everyone was excited and it finally felt like it was happening!
At 6:30am the gun went off and 25,000 women began to pick up their feet shuffling their way through the start line! The course was so much fun. Each turn brought a new surprise, either an upward or downward hill through beautifully decorated Full House looking homes, and across quiet parks. I knew the end was near when we approached the dreaded hill at mile 10! It was legendry. I spotted Nike+ Run Toronto Coach Inge’s platinum mane at the bottom and instantly filled with happiness! Seeing the familiar face from home and passing her with a huge high-five, it was time to conquer the beast. The hills were long, steeper than you could imagine! At the end of almost 2hrs of racing, we made it to the top. Thanks to all the coaches (who ran up and down the hill with us), pacers and phenomenal cheer squads whose energy did not waver for 4hrs straight! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Although there were 25,000 racers, each with their own journey that brought them to the start line, we all shared in one memorable experience – we ran shoulder to shoulder and finished together.
Lastly, among us were legendary marathoner Joan Benoit Sameulson and professional runners Jordan Hasay and Alexis Pappas who shared first place hand in hand! So what’s next…..?
Principal Fit Squad Toronto
Personal Trainer | Holistic Nutritionist