SF Marathon Weekend + Fabulous 5k

A little (okay, a lot) overdue, but better late than never, right?!

From October 2013 through this past June, I had the opportunity of a lifetime – to be a SF Marathon Ambassador.

ambassador_badge2013-1Along with a number of prior running friends, and new running friends, I was given the opportunity to promote, be a part of, and just have months to get excited about the wonderful SF race.

Fellow SFM Ambassador Meg & I post-race

Fellow SFM Ambassador Meg & I post-race at SJ Giants Race

Duties included writing blog posts, wearing SF Marathon gear (provided by SF Marathon), tweeting about the race and working expo booths at nearby races.  I had a blast doing all of the above, and one of the best perks of all of the above activities was getting to know fellow ambassadors from all around the country.  I had the opportunity to get to know via the Twitter and Facebook, and sometimes IRL, a number of the ambassadors who have definitely inspired me over the past year with all of their accomplishments and perseverance in running, other sports and life in general.  It was truly an incredible group of ambassadors.  And of course, all of these wonderful experiences culminated in the fabulous SF Marathon race weekend June 14-16.

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Decked out in SF Marathon gear

Friday, June 14, Meg and I headed up to SF after our morning run to work a shift at the Tech Center with fellow ambassador Chris M.  The 3 of us, aka #teamninja, had a chance to tweet up and meet up a number of times throughout the course of ambassadorship, and it was exciting to get together again.  And of course, get together with all the other ambassadors and tweet lots of photos…

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Alisyn, Bruce, Meg & I at the Expo (Photo: Alisyn)

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Bruce and Chris M at the Expo (Photo: Chris M)

After working the tech booth, we hit up the Expo to pick up race bibs and eat our way through the Expo (that’s what expos are for, right?!) – or at least Meg & I did, and the 3rd ninja just mocked us mostly in his blindingly bright Sketchers.  Afterward, Meg & I picked up lunch, headed to my friend’s house where we stayed and then got ready for the Ambassador dinner, which was a ton of fun.

Basically the dinner was an opportunity for the SF Marathon to say ‘thanks’ for all of our work, and for all of us to get together and for many, finally meet IRL for the first time, and for others to catch up.  The dinner was held at Osha, the food was great, and the people were even better.

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All the ambassadors who were able to make dinner at Osha (Photo: Someone)

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Typical. (Photo: Albert)

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Alisyn, Daniela, Me and Meg (Photo: Daniela)

Saturday, June 15, Meg & I got up bright and early to do our shakeout run before heading to the morning info session where we helped runners figure out logistics for race day, and answer pretty much any other random question runners might have.  After a loooooong morning, we had a tweet up at the tech center, which involved more tweets, photos, and lots of tired ambassadors.

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Exhausted at the Expo. (Photo: Albert)

Then, it was time to hit WholePaycheck with Meg & Daniela and we headed back to eat sushi dinner before hitting the hay at — yes, yes this is completely true — 7:00pm.  But hey, with a 3:45am wakeup call, it was perfectly acceptable.

Sunday, June 16 was raceday and we had to be there briiiight and early for the 5:30am start as Meg was running the first half and in Corral 1, so her start time was 5:32am.  Since I was only running the 5k, I had until like 7:30, but it was still fun to hang out and see everyone get excited/ready for their events.

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All smiles at 4:30am…and actively tweeting

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Me, Paulette and Alisyn before they headed out to the 2nd half marathon start in Team Sparkle skirts!

And then finally after hours of hanging out in the VIP area (as ambassadors we were gifted free access, which was amazing and totally worth the $100 — if I have extra income in the future and am presented with the option of VIP, I will TOTALLY take advantage of it.  Clean, FLUSHING toilets?  And delicious pre- and post-race food?  Sign me up!), it was time for my 5k.

I had my sights set high for the 5k.  It was flat (my dream 5k course), and I my paces had been increasing, however as soon as the gun went off, I knew I was doomed.  My legs were heavy as cement.  And holding a 7:00 pace (10 seconds slower than my PR pace) was hard.  I finished in 22:30 (which is NOTHING to cry home about), but it was about 1:30 off my goal time.  But still, I pushed as hard as I could, and that’s all that I can ask for.  I didn’t leave anything behind — a 22:30, that was all I had.

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Meg & I just after I finished the 5k (and after she had finished her 1/2 marathon)

Afterward, we headed over to the marathon finish to see some of the ambassadors finish.  Chris K was pacing the 3:05 team, and Keith S. came in just ahead, and Chris M. finished right behind with a nice PR.  And then we hung around a little bit longer, before heading out.  But not before taking a few shots of the am-BADASS-adors…

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Am-BADASS-adors Mary Kelly, Me and Meg

And not before I was able to see Pavement Runner finish while running my cooldown.  And he knocked out a fantastic course PR!

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Pavement Runner & I at the finish (Photo: Pavement Runner)

And then, Meg & I hopped in the car (which was parked at our super rockstar 4-blocks-from-the-start-on-the-street-so-we-had-free-parking parking spot) and headed home.  We were both exhausted, but it was a wonderful, fun, friend-filled, race-tastic weekend.  Let me tell you, SF Marathon knows how to put on not only a fantastic race, but an incredible race weekend.  I am definitely looking forward to another SF Marathon weekend (whether its next year or further down the road) and tackling another one of the courses — whether its the 1st half, 2nd half or full.  Its definitely a race I’m going to keep coming back to.

Have you ever run the SF Marathon?  What is your favorite race weekend/race ever?

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Nike Women’s Expotique

Its that time of year again – I just finished the San Francisco Nike Women’s Half Marathon!

But, first things first: Day-Before-The Race Expotique

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I’m so excited to participating in this event again this year.  Last year’s full marathon was a blast, and I’m sticking to tradition and running again this year with Julia.  But, this time we’re only running the half.  As I’ve wisely learned being out here in the Bay Area for a year now:

“Friends don’t let friends run the full Nike Women’s Marathon.”

I got to the Expo earlier than last year, and it was a breeze – I literally walked right in! (Last year we stood in line for what seemed like an eternity.) However, the expo (following in last year’s footsteps) left much to be desired.  I did like the POM booth and the Somersault booth.  Other than that, I wasn’t impressed.

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I also wasn’t impressed with the overpriced Nike gear for the race.  I’m sorry, but I can’t drop $70 on a sweatshirt – no matter how cute it is.

And there was a celebrity spotting!  (I recognize her, but definitely have no idea what her name is…she is gorgeous, though!)

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(Who is she?!)

And of course, what we’re all really running in this race for:

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And, I once again found my name on the Nike Store wall.

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And now that I’ve picked up my bib, meandered through the Expo, I’m ready to run.

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What do you run to be?!  I run to stay sane Winking smile  And because I can.

NWM Expo & Pre-Marathon Dinner!

This weekend was the long-anticipated Nike Women’s Marathon. 

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I’ve been training for months… have conquered a number of firsts with some great, and some painful, long runs (see here, here & here for some long run recaps).

I had trained pretty well for the marathon, in my opinion, given the circumstances of my 2 week trip to Europe & my one-week trek moving out to California with Mr. K in August, which definitely set me back.  But, it all came down to this weekend, as you never know how well you’re prepared until the big day.

Marathon weekend started Saturday morning, at 11:45 when I embarked with my Econ cohort (who graciously volunteered to photo/cheer me on for the marathon and then drive back to campus in return for a ride to San Fran), Curtis, to San Francisco.  We arrived in San Francisco around 2:00pm, and waited for Julia & Tyler to arrive around 3:00pm.  Then, Curtis headed out into the city, and Julia, Tyler & I headed to the NWM Expo in Union Square.

We had to wait that wound around the block for registration, but it took only about 20 minutes – fastest moving line I’ve ever been in! 

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Then, once we registered, we headed into the much anticipated Expo (especially after we heard how great Chicago’s was last weekend).

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One of the highlights of the Expo was meeting author & blogger Melinda.  She’s writing a book on running a marathon for the first time, and was in SF to run her 13th marathon!  It was great to meet the fabulous and inspiring woman to whose book I will be contributing a small part!  Look for my race re-cap on her blog soon!

Unfortunately, the actual Expo left much to be desired, as the majority of items were Nike, there was no way for families to actually track us while running, and the Expo Map which made the place look huge, was so small we thought we had missed something.  Never the less, we indulged…

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and we also indulged in Nike Town, where I found my name on the HUGE poster of marathon runner names.

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And bought a Nike Dri-Fit t-shirt for race day & arm sleeves – soo glad I did because race day turned out to be cold & rainy (though this was much more welcome than hot & humid).

Then, for pre-marathon dinner, Julia, Tyler, Curtis & I headed to Triptych.

We had read some good reviews about Triptych, so Julia & I were pretty psyched about our decision (though it was a little further from Union Square than the map suggested – apparently SF is much bigger than I had realized).

Nevertheless, we headed to Triptych and were a little way when we walked in and were the ONLY ones in the restaurant – but there were 2009 & 2010 diner’s awards on the windows, so we figured our 6pm dinner time was just a little on the early side.

Our waitress, though I’m sorry to say I forgot her name, was awesome and well informed on the food.  And when we mentioned we were prepping for the marathon – the wait staff made sure we were thoroughly watered & fed.

We didn’t order any appetizers, because e random discussion on kids ordering the same meal (Julia & I ordered the exact.same.meal), Julia made a comment about loving tater tots and low and behold…complimentary tater tots!

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They hit the spot.  I hadn’t had tater tots in so long, they’re delicious, fyi.

Then, they brought us focaccia bread with some dip (I couldn’t have it), for more carbs… And Curtis ordered a laaaaaarge plate of sweet potato fries. 

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Though we all had our own coming with meals, there was no stopping sneaking a few early.

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Crinkle cut sweet potato fries.  (It was at this moment, that I decided I needed a crinkle cutter…)

For my entree, I ordered the turkey burger with sweet potato fries.

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Ate pretty much everything on the plate, but the onions and the sauces.

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The evidence.

So verdict?  The experience, food and service at Triptych was awesome!  I loved our waitress, the 70’s themed bathroom and my meal, though it was fairly ‘safe’ on the food side, as I didn’t want to try something new the night before the marathon :)  I will definitely be returning to try some of the other amazing-looking menu items, like the paella or Tofu Quinoa.  Mmm….

Then we headed back to the Hotel Beresford near Union Square (where the marathon start/expo was located) to hit the hay.  While the hotel had a cute boutique feel, there was one big pitfall:

We were given a room on the 2nd floor, right above the hotel’s bar.  As a result, sleep was not easy to come by.  And although we went to bed at like 10pm, I was up until at least 11/11:30pm when I finally remembered I had my IPod and could finally drone the sounds out.  It literally sounded like we were in the bar, it was that bad – we could hear people’s conversations through the floors & walls.  Not my idea of a quality hotel for pre-marathon sleep and perhaps the reason why I may never stay there again — though, I guess we know why it was so cheap?!

Marathon Recap is forthcoming!