nwm 11.

17 Oct

On Sunday, I ran the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco! It was a fun and challenging course and a fun day overall. It began at 6 am on the dot when my alarm went off. I put on my gear (Nike shorts and Target top), slapped on some Body Glide, downed half a Clif Bar and some H20, and booked it out the door to walk the 3 or so blocks to Union Square, where the starting line was!

all my stuff laid out the night before.

I got to my corral with about 25 minutes before the “horn” went off – and since the start was in Union Square they had a starting line that wrapped around 3 blocks. Luckily I was in the 2nd group back (they had a special corral for Nike+ runners – which I am not sure was the smartest move because they vary in speed and thus caused somewhat of a congestion at the start). Before go time, a local girl from Danville sang a beautiful, pre-dawn rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, and Nike trotted out Joan Benoit Samuelson, Shalane Flanagan, and Kara Goucher, so that was pretty cool! At 7 exactly we got going – and the sun had yet to rise!

I went out too fast. Typical. This has been a problem with me since freshman year of high school track, when I would “win” the first lap of the 1600 and then fall back quickly. I guess it’s the adrenaline or excitement? Not really sure, but a 22:00 first 5k was probably a bad idea. The first 6 miles for me were a little too fast – and I paid the price BIG time later on, slowing way down for the second half. I walked a little too – through the water stations – but passed on all of the “extras.” Love Ghirardelli chocolates, but not while I’m running.

My favorite parts of the course were running through Fisherman’s Wharf where I used to go every September with my cross country team for dinner after our race at the Stanford Invitational – I saw places we went for dinner and did a lot of “team bonding.” These were such fun times for me in high school and it was fun to literally relive them as I ran. I also loved seeing my uncle in Fort Mason and my parents shortly after – and there were some epic views of the city.

feelin' good at mile 4.

My least favorite parts, other than going out too fast and the brutal hills, were the last 2 miles. I like the Golden Gate Bridge, but Golden Gate Park is sort of boring. I about gave up and turned around when I saw we had to run around a baseball field. Bor-ing! I also got a side ache around mile 10 which wasn’t fun and my iPod’s “voice” decided to skip haphazardly. No, iPod voice, the song is not “Super BASE by Nicki Min-Adge” but thank you for telling me that 45 times in 3 and a half minutes. Boom badoom boom boom badoom boom bass. Oh, here’s my playlist FYI:

And yes, I intentionally put one song on their twice.

My sanity was restored when I saw the finish – and the firefighters with the Tiffany boxes! I gathered what little energy I had left and kicked to the finish – coming in with a time of 1:48:45. Not a PR, but okay considering I exhibited the worst race strategy, ever. I am determined to redeem myself (with EVEN splits) in the near future.

literally holding on to make sure i didn't fall over. post-race. (note the blue box, ignore my closed eyes).

I didn’t stick around for much of the post-race expo, but it was awesome. The cute firefighters in their tuxes and orange bow-ties and matching orange Nikes (I like reading that word like it’s one syllable – it makes me feel like I have street cred) and Tiffany boxes were a great call – as were the Gatorade “Recover” drinks (I tried the Chocolate and was pleasantly surprised!). I grabbed a heat sheet for a few seconds and nabbed a bagel and a banana for later, and then limped to reunite with my family! I was so glad my parents stayed to watch the finish and that my uncle could give us a ride back to the hotel. So nice not having to get in another line for the shuttle.

When we got back to the hotel, we sent my dad to Blue Bottle and I took an ice bath. Toward the end, my Dad came back with coffee. Here is me at the very moment I realized my hobbies and obsessions are somewhat concerning:


I showered and we headed home to LA. It was a great (but very, very short) weekend in SF, but I had a great time at the race. Overall, it was a fun and challenging course, and a wake-up call to me in some ways. Although I am (relatively) experienced with this distance and am in decent running shape, just because I feel like knocking out a few 7:30 miles DOES NOT MEAN I can do that for 13.1. Noted.

Here’s some other fun stuff from the race:

pre-race swag bag.

Fun fact: In the car, my mom informed us that swag did not originate as an acronym meaning “Stuff We All Get” as some people believe. The term actually originates back to the days of pirates! (Not really sure when those were, but still cool!)

post-race swag.

the necklace.

I Run To Be...

Thank you again to everyone who supported me! I appreciated every spectator/call/text/facebook post/tweet to wish me good luck or congratulate at the finish! It’s funny how much that stuff helps, so thanks!

Hope everyone has a great week! I’m pretty sore but managed to eek out a (much needed) yoga class.

14 Responses to “nwm 11.”

  1. leftcoastcontessa October 17, 2011 at 10:35 pm #

    Great race recap and holy crap a 22 min 5k?! Damn girl. Love the playlist and that song thats on there twice was actually the first song on my marathon playlist! Congrats on a fantastic race.

    • gillian October 17, 2011 at 10:36 pm #

      Thank you so much!! Haha glad you spotted that song – I self-censored it because I am never okay with that word. I am anxious to get another half in now!

  2. Kaley [Y Mucho Más] October 18, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    Good job! I’ve only ever done a half marathon when I didn’t really train so my time sucked. Maybe someday I’ll do it for serious. You are fast, although now I see you ran track in HS so I kinda get it. I was always known as the slow runner in volleyball. 🙂

    • gillian October 18, 2011 at 9:50 am #

      Thank you! You should do another one! You’re fast too – I’ve seen your runs on DailyMile, haha 🙂

      I wish I had done volleyball – I started running because I was NOT athletic as a kid – so team sports spooked me.

  3. Caroline October 18, 2011 at 11:37 am #

    Gillian….you’re amazing!!! I could honestly never run that far/long. Nope, don’t think I’d last. Congrats, and that necklace is awesome. 🙂

    • gillian October 18, 2011 at 11:39 am #

      Thank you, Caroline!! That’s way too sweet 🙂

      And I am just a TINY bit cray

  4. Valerie Nelson October 18, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    Nominate your “SWAG” reference as most random ever in your blog. Here’s the source for that — an entertaining NYT correction:

    Because of an editing error, an article on Sept. 25 about acronyms misstated the derivation of the word “swag,” in a reference to gifts given to celebrities at New York Fashion Week. The Oxford English Dictionary dates its first citation, as a term for a thief’s plunder, from 1794; it only recently has been interpreted as an acronym for “stuff we all get.”

    Not sure how I made the “pirate” connection, but Urban dictionary (not my source) has a funny way of saying it, complete with “euphemism” misspelling : Etymology of this term most likely stems from a middle-English use of the word ‘swag’ often in pirate circles or other criminal circles as a euphamism for loot or plunder.

    • gillian October 18, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

      Lol it is pretty random – but interesting! Thanks for clearing up the origins lol…

  5. joggingjeans October 18, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

    Fantastic job! When is your next race!? 🙂

    • gillian October 18, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

      Thank you! Nothing on the schedule just yet but I’ll probably commit to another race soon.

  6. Kristen - Anywhere There's An Airport October 19, 2011 at 10:04 am #

    Way To Go! Awesome recap! Regardless of time and splits you ran a great race. 13.1 is a huge accomplishment. Even though I haven’t ran even one mile in months I LOVE reading about other people running 🙂 Thanks for the constant inspiration!

    • gillian October 19, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

      Thank you so much, Kristen! And you’re pretty inspirational in your own right! On life list: find husband, marry in exotic locale. Easier said than done!!


  1. two thousand eleven: the playlist. « That's G - December 31, 2011

    […] birthday with a BOMB dinner at Red O, hiked Runyon Canyon, checked out the WeHo library, and ran the SF Nike Women’s Half (poor race strategy and over-eagerness early on would prevent me from PR-ing #sad). at the race […]

  2. NWM 2012. « That's G - October 21, 2012

    […] Last year, I ran 1:48:45 and DIED. I went out way too fast, walked a TON, and just hated my life starting at about mile 6. This year, my goal was to keep the first 3 miles SLOW (8:30s) and maintain that pace. I knew I had no chance of PRing on this course, but my goal was to run easy, maintain a steady pace, and not die on the hills. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: