A couple weekends ago, the girls and I packed up and headed west to run a little race... Well maybe not so little! We ran the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco, California with 30,783 of our closest running buddies. This was the biggest race I've participated in yet and I can't even imagine what it would be like to run the New York marathon with 40,000 runners! (Good luck to everyone about to run the NYC Marathon!) We had a lot of fun, saw a lot of cool things, ran some miles, walked some miles, and made some awesome memories!

Day 1:
We flew out of Tulsa on Friday and had to up get REAL early. Like so early I'm pretty sure it should be illegal to set your alarm for that time! But we managed and we made it to the airport in plenty of time.

Some of us were on different flights and we all had seats randomly sprinkled in the cabin of the airplane so I had to entertain myself for both legs of the trip out to San Fran. 

So what does any Ginger do who has to sit next to a stranger on a long flight? I took a lot of selfies and pictures out of the window. Duh! I'll save you the selfie's and just show you my favorite picture of the clouds.

So. Many. People.
We got to the hotel and we were lucky enough that they let us check in super early! Thanks Hotel! So we dropped off our stuff and headed out to find food and the expo. We went to a cute little place called Honey Honey and ordered mimosas and breakfast. Alcohol makes you run faster, right? When we got to the expo it was CROWDED! Did I mention there were over 30,000 of us trying to go to Niketown and Union Square to pick up our stuff? This picture is the checkout line at Niketown. Which is where they had all the official race gear for purchase. The Expo was small in space and in vendors. I get it, the race is put on by Nike so of course other shoe and clothing vendors aren't going to be allowed to come in, but it was still small in physical size. 

The Expo had this cool little photo op right outside the tent so we stood in line and asked a random stranger to take our picture. There are actually 5 of us in this picture, but Darla is hiding behind the "R".
Hi Darla!

Another cool thing about the Nike Women's Marathon is that every race participant's name is printed and listed on the window of Niketown. Mine is somewhere in there. I'll give a internet High-Five to anyone who can find it! And Go!

It's like a fun little game of where's Waldo. Only Waldo is actually your name printed on a wall with 30,000 other names and you have to elbow your way to the window to try to find it and somehow get a picture of it, because that's what all the cool kids were doing. 

We all managed to get our race packets and do some shopping for race gear that first day. I love the fact that our race bibs were round. I don't think I've ever had a round one. This bib was also cool because the timing chip was attached to it on the back. So you didn't have to put the little yellow DTAG on your shoe. 

After our long day of  traveling, getting checked in at the hotel and the expo, and even a little shopping we decided to sit down and rest our legs and hydrate. Of course that means beer. Again, alcohol makes you run faster right? 

Day 2:
Saturday, or the day before the race, we all swore we didn't want to do a lot of walking but what happens when 5 girls are turned loose in a new town? Shopping. That's what happens. Lots of shopping. And shopping = walking. Oh well. #RedHairDontCare. We had fun. And we picked up some cool stuff from the Farmer's Market. 

We made our way down to the Ferry Building were I got this awesome shot. I was trying to make it look like I was holding up the Bay Bridge but whatever. We'll work on my modeling skills another time. 

Running a half marathon wouldn't be legit without some carb-loading. We managed to get the earliest reservations possible at a pretty nice restaurant. When I say early, I mean EARLY! We got there at 4:30 and I'm pretty sure we were the only ones in the place and we were finished before the others really started to show up! It worked out OK, because we were tired and wanted to go back to the hotel to rest, foam roll, etc. 

I always try to make a race dummy the night before the race so I won't forget anything or won't find myself scrambling the morning of the race. Well even though I made this snazzy Ginger Race Dummy, I still forgot to wear my back-bib. Oh well.

The typical corral race day photo.
Day 3:
Race Day!

We got up around 4:30 AM and started slowly getting around. We were all in different corrals so we didn't worry about meeting up before the race. At the Expo one of the volunteers told me we should get to the corral no later than 5:00 AM. Um, what? The race starts at 6:30! Plus we heard that since we were in the last corral that last year runners had to wait an hour after the starting gun went off just to cross the start line. No Thanks! 

We dropped our bags at the gear check and made our way to the front of our corral. Turns out we only had to wait about 35 minutes from the starting gun going off until we actually got to start our race. The race was so crowded! If you want to run a race and try for a PR, this is not the race for that. We spent so much time and energy just weaving in and out of people and it never really opened up. 
There were people at the front of every corral keeping the crowds pumped and ready to run so that was entertaining. We also had some guys hanging out of the window to their hotel room giving us a fun little dance show as well. We started running and my watch was totally off while we were still downtown. It said we were running like a 13 minute/mile pace which was not true because I was breathing way too hard for that! 

The first 5 miles were pretty flat.  Luckily, I had stopped at a port-a-potty around mile 3 and took care of business. The lines at the bathroom stops were pretty long for the rest of the race.
But then we hit a pretty big hill from mile 5-6. Ugh! Why didn't I do more hill training? 
We survived the hill and somewhere after mile 6 they were handing out face wipes. That's nice and all, but I still have a good 5 miles to go and I'm going to keep sweating. 
Around mile 8-9 we hit our second big hill which about killed me. Again, why didn't I do more hill training? After that hill they were handing out chocolate on the course. I love chocolate but didn't think it would be a good mid-race fuel option so I just tucked it in my race belt for later. 
Anyways, back to the talk about hills...
Going up hill and having to dodge and weave in and out of people is really tiring and frustrating. If you are going to suddenly stop and walk in a race, please move over to the side so I don't have to dodge you last minute to avoid injuring both of us. Ok, running rant over. 

The ocean is out there somewhere.
I was told there was a perfect photo op where I could take a picture and the Golden Gate Bridge would be behind me. Unfortunately, the weather was super foggy all morning and we couldn't see more than a quarter mile away. So I didn't take many photos on the course, because they all would have looked like this!

On the positive side, I'm grateful that the weather was cool. If this had been a warm race, I wouldn't have met my goal. 

We were finally able to finish and as soon as you cross the finish line you are wall-to-wall people and you get in line to get your finisher's "medal" which is actually a Tiffany necklace handed to you by a volunteer. Well not just any volunteer...   A San Francisco Firefighter in a Tuxedo! Nice!
The wall-to-wall people made it hard to stay warm and your body and your muscles cooled down fast! We made our way to the bag check area but didn't realize that once you crossed over from the finishers area to the bag check area you couldn't go back and get a picture with a Firefighter. Bummer!

This race ends several miles away from where it started in downtown San Fran so if you need to get back to your car or hotel in that area, you had to have purchased a bus pass at the Expo. About the time we got on the bus, the sun came out. Figures. Overall, I had a great race and even beat my goal time. I wanted to finish in under 2:30 and I managed to finish in 2:27. Not a PR for me, but not the worst half I've ever done.


Here is our finisher necklace! I love it and have been wearing it ever since I got it. After the race we went back to the hotel, met up with all the girls, showered and then went out to dinner. Once we got back to the hotel we had a wine happy hour by the fireplace. Such a nice way to wind down after race day. 

World's Biggest Carousel. I think...
Day 4:
Monday was our completely free day. We all finished the race and didn't have to worry about how much we walked, what we ate, or had to drink. Watch out San Fran! These Okie girls are young, wild, and free!
Ok, maybe not, but you get the idea.

We tried several times to book a trip to Alcatraz, but with the Government shut-down the trips booked up pretty fast. We had also planned on going on a winery tour but that didn't happen either. We did see this GIANT carousel. 

I'm on a trolley y'all!
We went on a Trolley down to Fisherman's Wharf where we saw the Sea Lions sleeping on the docs, ate at a really good restaurant called the Franciscan or something and of course, did more shopping. After we were all done walking/shopping took the trolley back to our hotel to get packed and ready to go home. We had to leave our hotel at 4:00 AM (Yes ANOTHER super early day on this trip!) because of the BART Strike and our flight that left at 6:50. So. Early. 
Overall, the race was good, I had a lot of fun with the girls, got a Tiffany necklace, and I got to cross this race off my bucket list. 

What races are on your bucket list?

In less than 10 hours I'll be flying out to California to run the 10th Annual Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco. I couldn't be more excited for this girls trip! I haven't been to California since I was 11 and I've never been to San Fran. There is a group of 5 of us going from my running club and it's the first time for me to run this race. This week I've been trying to make a mental list of all the things i'll need to take with me to the race. I'm a little nervous I'll forget something since this is the first time i'll be flying out to a race and will be limited on transportation/shopping options. 

I keep seeing people freaking out because the BART system may be on strike which could cause a lot of race day transportation issues? I don't even know what that is, so I'll just ignore it and keep on. After all, Ignorance is Bliss, or so they say. 

About a year and a half ago I went on my first out-of-town race and ran the Oklahoma City Half Marathon. I snapped this pic while we were packing. It looks like my closet threw up a ton of running gear all over my living room floor! I can't even tell what's all in there, but I do see my toaster and a loaf of bread in that blue bag on the left! Really? Who packs a toaster?!? This kid did...

Anyways, I'm trying to avoid that for this trip. (No, I'm not taking the toaster!) My plan is to take a carry-on bag with all my race-day needs in it. This way if my other bag gets lost, at least i'll have my shoes and race essentials to complete my race. 

Sure, I may have to wear the same outfit I wore on the plane from Tulsa to San Fran for the rest of the 4 day trip, but #RedHairDontCare.

Not really, I'm sure I could buy a few shirts and things at the expo or at a shop in San Fran. They sell clothes there don't they? Someone check on that for me and let me know. K! Thanks!

Ok so here's what I'm planning on taking with me by category for all you OCD people out there! 

Non-Race Clothes
Shoes - Probably too many. 
Shirts - at least 27. Too much?
Swim Suite/Flip Flops - maybe

Race Gear
Running Shorts/Capri pants
Running Socks or Compression Socks
Running Jacket
Race Tank - Half Fanatics!
Arm Sleeves
Sweaty Band
iPod/Ear Buds
Race Belt
Hat or Visor - maybe
Body Glide or Vaseline

Race Day Nutrition
Water bottle - So I don't have to buy $45 in bottled water at the hotel
Nuun or Electrolyte Drink
Snacks for the plane
Foam Roller or Range Roller - Maybe if it fits - Probably won't
Magazines for Flight
Money - Cash and Credit Cards
Cell Phone
Chargers - Cell phone charger, Garmin charger, iPod charger
Bag for Bag Check at the race
Trash bags for wet clothes or a rainy race/rain poncho
Printed Packet Pickup Email or Voucher

Bathroom/Medicine Cabinet
Pain Meds - Tylenol or Advil
Tummy Meds - Just in case!
Anti-nausea medicine for the flight - This Ginger gets real motion sick!
Hair Brush/Hair Ties
Flat Iron - this crazy ginger hair has a mind of it's own!
Hair Dryer - maybe

So, now that I'm done packing this is what I ended up with. Although I'd like to say that my living didn't look like a crazy Oklahoma Tornado went through it right before everything was neatly placed in my suit case and backpack, sadly it did. Thank goodness for the Hubbo. He is the best at playing Tetris with all my crap and making it all fit. We'll see if I'm able to get this stuff home plus the stuff I buy at the expo. 
No, the chihuahua is not going to California with us. 

I feel like I'm forgetting something....Am I missing anything?

I know there are a lot of marathoners and half marathoners out there who cringe at the idea of participating in a 5K. This ginger-kid is not one of them.

One of the reasons I love the running community so much is that a lot of the races we like to participate in are tied to a charity or nonprofit organization that needs assistance with funding, support, or awareness. 

This weekend was the Oklahoma chapter of the Purple Stride 5K. This race is a benefit race put on to raise awareness and funding for PanCAN aka Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.  A friend of mine has been recently directly affected by Pancreatic Cancer and put together a team in honor of her loved one. When she told me about the 5K, I immediately knew we'd be running it with her! The race was a lot of fun. It could be that the race had Zumba going on before the opening ceremonies or it could be that I got to run and hang out with some friends. Either way, it was a good time for a good cause! I've never been to a race where they did Zumba as a warm-up, but I LOVE the idea! 

To help raise awareness for PanCAN and Pancreatic Cancer in general, I sent an email out to my co-workers and a bunch of us wore purple the day before the race to get pumped up! It was fun and we even managed to get most of us together for a group picture! 
Purple is the Pancreatic Cancer color in case you haven't figured that out yet. :) 

I'm super proud of my team! We managed to place in several different categories for the overall event!
*My team, Laurie's Purple Warriors, got 3rd place in overall fundraising! 

*We raised over $5000! The event itself surpassed their $80,000 goal by raising over $90,000 for cancer research. 

*Our team captain, got 4th place in individual fundraising! 

*The Hubbo got 3rd place in his age group (30-39) and totally smashed his 5K PR by almost 2 minutes! 

*I got 3rd place in my age group (30-39) as well! 

My overall race results:
  • Time: 29:09
  • 44th out of 130 timed runners
  • 3rd out of 22 for my age division
  • 14th out of 72 for my gender

Random Picture Alert!

Also - two weeks ago the Hubbo and I joined Team Jenny in the Tulsa Komen Race for the Cure! We had a ton of fun, got a little wet, and provided a little support to a friend who just finished her treatment for breast cancer! 

Can you see the storm behind us in this picture?! Eek! 

Question - What is your favorite race that is tied to a good cause?
In my previous blog post: Race Recap: Double Race Weekend Part 1 (You can read more about it here) I showed off our medal, pint glass, and bragged about my PR in the Doubler. But the Quarter Marathon wasn't the only race we ran last weekend. We actually ran two races in one day, The Quarter Marathon Doubler and the Corn Dog Classic 5K. Some may call it crazy, but this Ginger and her Hubbo call it fun! (And more blog material) 

Corn Dog Classic 5K Race Recap

The Corn Dog Classic is a fun 5K that kicks off the Tulsa State Fair each year and you have the option to do the timed 5k or the Challenge which includes eating/drinking during the 5K. This was year was our first year to do it so we opted to go big or go home and did the Challenge and I would definitely do it again!

Just like in the Quarter Marathon Race, a running buddy/coach of mine found us in the corral and hung out with us until the super loud gun went off. (The starting guns always scare the daylights out of me!) I love running in groups or with running buddies so it makes the race more enjoyable for me. 

Here's how the challenge works. You have to consume 3 traditional fair food items along the 5k and you must finish them all before crossing the finish line. Cotton Candy, Beer or Lemonade for those under 21, and a Corn Dog. Of course there was the option of just doing the 5K and not the Challenge, but where's the fun in that? 

The full 3 miles of the course was in and around the Tulsa Fair Grounds. We ran by the Golden Driller (see picture below), ran through the old Tulsa Driller's Baseball Field, across the horse race track, and through the midway of the fair and back to the finish line. 

The first Challenge Stop was right at mile 1 and it was the Cotton Candy. (Barf!) I am not a fan of cotton candy at all so I was a little worried that I might be stuck at this first Challenge stop FOREVER! But luckily it turns out it wasn't a huge bag of cotton candy like you buy at the fair. It was a small tub of it and I managed to choke it down. Good thing there was water with it because I was a hot sticky mess after eating it too. So gross. Did I mention that it was 79 degrees at the start of the race?

Challenge Stop number two was the lemonade/beer stop around mile 2. My running buddy and coach Ryan was still with me so I asked her which would be better and she voted for beer. The volunteers at the lemonade/beer stand were yelling Lemonade! as we were running up on them so I decided to let them know I would be bypassing them for the beer station by yelling back BEER! after they shouted lemonade! It was funnier in person, I'm sure! 

Drinking a somewhat small glass of beer after running 2 miles and a 9.5 mile race earlier that day did not sit well with my stomach. I am so glad it was a light beer and not something like Guinness. I would have passed out and died right there on the course, I'm sure of it.  It was so heavy and making me feel kind of sick so I opted not to barf on the course that day and I slowed my pace down. 

The third Challenge Stop was about a quarter mile before the finish line and it was time to conquer the corn dog. Again, I was picturing in my head a normal sized corn dog on a stick like you would buy at the fair but this was a mini corn dog with no stick. This was the easiest stop for me. The corn dog was small and I knew I was close to the end so I quickly ate it and kept moving. 
Even though the beer didn't sit too well with my while I was running, I did really enjoy this race. I feel like it was a race that was a good deal too. For $25 (early bird fee) we got:
1. To run a 5k
2. a T-shirt
3. a cup thingy
4. tickets for a beer and corn dog for after the race
5. a free ticket to the Tulsa State Fair valued at $6-$10 depending on the night you go.

Here's a pic of the Hubbo and I. Everyone give him a virtual HIGH-FIVE as well! He got 3rd place in his age group for the Corn Dog Classic 5K Challenge! 

It was his first time to place in his age group and sadly the guy reading off the age group awards was very confused and only read the timed 5K awards so we left and didn't realize he had placed until we got home and looked at the results the next day. So he didn't get an award but luckily they sell the award mugs at the fair so we'll pick one up for him when we use our free ticket to get in.

Here are my stats for the Corn Dog Classic 5K Challenge:
Time 33:46
5th out of 16 in my Age Group
26th out of 136 for Females
66th out of 237 over all male and female Challengers

This is the Golden Driller. He is a Tulsa landmark and stands super tall in front of the Tulsa Fair Grounds all year round. He is even like Tulsa's very own Barbie Doll and when big events come to town they dress him up and put shirts, ties, kilts on him. What are some of the land marks that make your town fun and unique?