Saturday, October 30, 2010

2010 Nike Women's Half Marathon Review. Event date: 10/17/10.

I woke up at a un-Godly hour and stopped by a Starbuck's for coffee.

When I got to the Start, the Team in Training (TNT) folks were in the corrals about to leave on an early start.  There were lots more doing the early start compared to last year.  My Garmin was not on, so I had no idea what time they took off.

Pending Rain?
Rain drops were dropping lightly when I got to The Start.  They eventually stopped, but my gut feeling was that it would probably rain later on.  The forecast called for 30% showers this day.  I had checked the weather and tossed am umbrella into my gear check along with some change of clothing.

Ran into my FB friend, Joelle, in the Nike+ tent.  She was doing the Half Marathon today also.

Members of Nike+ got a few perks during the event.  This year those perks included a corral, pre-race tent and post race areas and gear check.

There were no pre-race food available in the Nike+ tent.  But, I brought 2 bagels with me.

The Race.
The Start - Crowded.  I couldn't get into my corral again just like last year.  To me, no big deal, as I haven't been able to get into my RnR San Jose 1/2 corral 2 years in a row now.  Once the race start, folks would move forward, I'll get into my corral.
That packed like a can of sardines feeling at The Start.
Mile 1 - Crowded.

Mile 2 - Once we got onto the Embarcadero, the road widened, and the crowding thinned a bit.  Went by Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf.

Mile 3 - The BIG Fort Mason Hill.

Mile 4 - Went by the Marina Safeway.  Later into the Presidio and pass Crissy Field.
Running by Crissy Field.
Then went by the Sports Basement cheer section and store.  I stopped to see someone at the Sports Basement cheer section for a treat.
Thanks, Sports Basement, for the treat.
Mile 6 - Up another BIG hill.  At the top of the hill on the side, there was a small line of folks lining up to pose for race photographer the Golden Gate Bridge in the backdrop.  I didn't stop.

Then, I saw the "Pink" people.
Good idea.  I did just that
Mile 7 - lululemon cheer section and saw their van.  Thanks for cheering.

Mile 8 - Kaiser Permanente Mile.  Thanks to Kaiser and their employees and families who came out to volunteer.
Thanks, Kaiser folks, for passing out the orange slices.
Eventually turned onto Clement Street for the long up hill slog.  I then came across the Luna folks.  They gave out Luna Bars and Shot Bloks.  I got 1/2 a pack of Shot Bloks.
Thanks, Luna.
Mile 9 - Continued with the up hill slog on Clement Street.  Eventually turning onto Geary Blvd and then a MAJOR downhill past the Cliff House with the Power Song, "Don't Stop Believin'," by Journey on the large speakers in the area.

Mile 10 - Running into Golden Gate Park, heading away from the ocean.  There was a large screen showing runners passing by at one point.  Some folks got silly and stood there, making faces.  At another point, there was a DJ station spinning some tunes.

Mile 11 - Dirt Oval at the Polo Field.  Suddenly, it's a trail event.

Mile 12 - Ghirardeli Chocolate Mile.  Last year, I ate my chocolate piece immediately, but it felt like gagging.  This year I saved the piece for afterwards.  Much wiser decision this year to save it for later.

Running downhill thru Golden Gate Park to Ocean Beach.  I came upon a wall of large ladies.  They were not dressed for running or even walking.  I have no idea what they were doing blocking the road; I had to go around them.

I eventually reached the Great Highway and made a right turn.  I then finally saw The Finish ahead.
I started sprinting towards The Finish.
The Finish - Just like last year, once I crossed The Finish, it became a screeching halt.  It was a Tiffany box traffic jam.  Unlike last year, this year had a lot of finishers stopping the handsome firemen in tux from handing out the boxes to pose for pics.  The firemen couldn't keep up with those crossing The Finish and posing for pics. 

By the Numbers.
Garmin:  2:50:09 New course PR
Gun time:  2:50:52  New course PR  (Last year:  2:52:13.  I believe this was Chip.)
Chip:  ?  I had my chip on, but I have no idea why there isn't a chip time listed for me and I believe, everyone else.

Garmin:  13.23 miles
Calories:  1,552 gross

Finisher Photography "Delay"
The wait in the photograph line felt like forever, and it was raining.  I had a mylar blankie covering parts of me.  I was still warm from running, so I didn't feel cold.

When I got closer to the front of the photograph line, the reasons for the delay was because of the following:
  1. Finishers were trying to tidy up before having their pics taken.
  2. Some finishers wanted pics with friends, family, etc.
  3. Finishers were changing clothes into the Finisher's shirt.
  4. And, in changing into their Finisher's shirt, some had to go back into the pile of where they had put their bib away to get the bib out for the photos
  5. The photographers were incredibly patient with the pic taking.  They took multiple shots.  At other events, they would just snap 1 pic and kinda of  "shove" you on along.  With these photographers, not so.  They took their time.  I have no doubt there are many great pics amongst those they took.
Post Race Cramps.
I was changing into warmer clothes when my ab muscles cramped up.  I was literally stuck with one leg threaded into one pants leg and the other not.

I must have looked pretty bad.  A lady nearby asked me if I was OK.

Moments later, I try to thread my other leg in and my ab muscles cramped up again.

I eventually got into my warmer clothes and then waited around the Nike+ post race area as a precaution.

The Tiffany necklace.

I qualified for the Nike+ amenities.  For this year, they included a corral, post race lounge areas, post race food and gear check.

In the post race Nike+ area, I came across some breakfast burritos, coffee and tea.  My appetite is usually gone after an event, but I made myself down a burrito, coffee and tea.

I didn't have any issues until after the event was over.  I wish they would fix their timing.  I course PR'd and had a chip on.  But, only my gun time was recorded.

What I thought of the event?
I was surprised by my course PR this year over last year.  I had been working on the supposed flat and fast Chicago Marathon and had not been working on hills at all.

Would I do it again?
Yes.  But, it's not up to me.  This event is a very popular event and hard to get into.  It's even on the bucket list of women who don't run at all!

Ways to get into This Race.
The following are ways to get into the race: 
  1. Lottery.
  2. Nike+ challenges.  The mileage challenges tend to favor the unemployed ultra runners.
  3. This year:  Nike did a College program for college students.  They had a van going around some universities.  Not sure if they'll do it again.
  4. This year:  Drawings at Nike Mobile events and stores.
  5. Thru TNT, if you are rich, have rich relatives or rich friends willing to give you money.
Would I recommend it?
Yes, if you're not afraid of hills.
    Special Thanks.
    A special thanks to all the hardworking volunteers. It was cold and wet for many of them standing out there this year.  Unlike us, finishers, who are free to change clothing and leave the area after we finish, many of the volunteers are literally stuck at stationary positions and can't just abandon their posts when conditions get worse.
    It was a cold and wet one this year.

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