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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!

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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!

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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. 

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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. 

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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? 

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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.


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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. 

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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. 

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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?

 


Comments

10/30/2013 8:55pm

San Francisco is such a beautiful city. I haven't been there in a while but I would love to do a race there. Love your hydration liquid of choice by the way and congratulations!

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RunGingerRunBlog - Sarah
11/01/2013 3:17pm

Thanks Frank! What we saw was beautiful! I can't wait to go back and take the Hubbo with me. I'm sure we only got to see a tiny portion of it.

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01/20/2014 4:30am

We got to the hotel and we were lucky enough that they let us check in super early!

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