Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Race #10: Nike Women's Half Marathon

I didn't know what I had coming to me when I signed up for the Nike Women's Half Marathon. I mean yeah it was the most expensive race I’ve ever paid for but I chalked that up to the price tag of the baby blue box wrapped in white ribbon that will house my soon to be Tiffany's necklace. Little did I know that signing up for the Nike Half Marathon would introduce me to a whole new world of racing. First it began with the difficult registration process.
Nike doesn't have an actual website instead just a Facebook page which requires everyone to enter a lotto  in order to register for the race. Next, the packet pick-up wasn’t any old packet pick-up it was an full out expo. The expo was under a large tent in the middle of San Francisco's busy Union Square. When I entered the tent my name appeared on a big screen which was read digitally from my race chip it was really surprising and cool to see. Inside, Nike passed out free colorful shoelaces, they had all of their new fall fashions on display. Meanwhile, Lara bar passed out samples and hosted a motivational sign making station. Neutrogena was doing full face makeovers and passing out full size samples of mascara, lip gloss, and sunscreen. Kaiser was giving cute spray tattoos, Paul Mitchell had a whole salon set-up with eight chairs curling and styling women's hair. The longest line of them all was  Whole Foods Market who passed out delicious samples of food for every type of diet omnivore, vegan, raw vegan you name it. The expo was amazing and overwhelming all at once.

On race day traffic was crazy. The day before I was tempted to get a hotel nearby but they were all booked. I arrived 15 minutes early and the race was set to begin at 6:30 yet because there were over 30,000 women and a few good men racing I didn’t cross the actual start line until 7:15. The water stations were amazing they were fully stocked with water, fruit, electrolyte drinks, Lara bars, and Neutrogena face wipes (these really improved my post-race photos no salt streaks yay).

The race was super hilly. By mile 6 my knees had taken a serious beating (which reminded why I only like flat terrain). Thousands of women cram their way through narrow paths some running at full speed, some walking, jogging, or on the sidelines stretching. By the time the race neared its end, at mile 12 mini bars of dark chocolate were passed out which gave me the extra push I needed to get to the finish line. Once I crossed it, arms high in the air I was stuck in a very long line of women waiting for post-race food, race shirts, wine, pictures and most importantly the little blue box. Firemen in suits passed them out (except they weren’t like the gorgeous shirtless men from the Divas half marathon).

Once I made it through the mob it took about an hour and half to make it out of traffic and back home. By this time my knee was hurting really bad I didn’t notice it so much during the race because I was so overwhelmed by the beautiful scenery, the great race snacks, the cute outfits, and encouraging signs. It was a very fun race. Other racers were very friendly and supportive I seen a lot of people I knew and a whole lot more I didn’t. I was so fun. I am still debating on doing it again next year. The necklace was just ok- I was disappointed in how plain it was (last years was much better). I could run 13 miles any day I really wanted the necklace (too bad they don’t reveal what it will be before registration).

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