I Rocked and Rolled! (Rock 'n' Roll San Francisco Half )

Hello all!

After a four month hiatus from racing, I was back in the saddle and ready to go for the Rock 'n' Roll SF Half! This was going to be my first Rock 'n' Roll race and I was stoked, I heard so many great things about this race series!

Let's go to the expo!

Expo

The expo was held at the Moscone Hall which is a great convention venue! This is where a lot of the major conventions in SF are held!

Yes, yes I am!!! Let's Rock!

Expo Layout

I went on Friday afternoon, so the expo was really really quiet. It was great! I picked up my bib and got my free water bottle. I then grabbed my t-shirt and clear drawstring bag and some free samples (Starbucks Via Orange, Bio Freeze, and Coupons)

I then moved on to the race merchandise area which was basically a full Brooks store. Lots of stuff to choose from and lots of great race merchandise. In an effort to save some money I just bought a hat. I then moved on to some of the vendors. Got some GU, a new Sparkly Soul headband, and snacked on some free samples.

It was super low-key and I really enjoyed wandering around which is not something I normally say about expos. I'm sure if I had gone on Saturday my experience would've been much different but going during a slow time was great!

After grabbing my stuff it was time to head back home! Getting excited for Sunday!

Course

Elevation

Race Day

So I wasn't really sure how this race was going to go. I had basically run this course backwards last July when I ran the 1st Half Marathon during the SF Marathon weekend and had completely burned myself out running up some hills before getting to the bridge. With this in mind I approached race day just hoping to beat my previous SF race time - 1:48:08.

I knew I needed to take the first hills a bit slower and not attacking them as I normally do because I needed to pace my miles. So I got a restless night of sleep and 4 am rolled around, let's do this!

A friend met me at my place and we drove into the city together. We parked around 5, got on a shuttle bus around 5:30 (you had to take a bus from the finish area to the start area because it was point to point) and were at the race area by 6am with a half hour to mill around and get into our corrals. Of course a last minute bathroom run combined with a long line meant I ended up in the corral overflow area. Not sure why we couldn't all fit.

This cool cat is ready to run!

At the start, they did something interesting. They had corral 15 (reserved for walkers) start ahead of everyone else. I thought this was weird and would cause congestion but I figured RnR had figured this out and it wouldn't be an issue. I was curious at the very least to see how it would work!

So the walkers started as 6:15, the elites were off at 6:30 and then the rest were right behind. They had staggered starts for each corral but it was very fast. I was in corral 2 and I felt like we went directly behind corral 1, maybe corral 1 was just the elites and I was confused.

Anyways, we were off. Flat for a second and then to the hills we go! Up and up until we go to the bridge. We did meet up with the walkers and it was... okay. They took up about half the course and it was annoying to get stuck behind them but we were past them in about a half mile or so. My mile 2 it was just runners! On the bridge it was pretty congested since it was only one lane for each way going over the bridge. Luckily I was out front far enough that it was fairly spaced out.

To the bridge we go!

And now back the other way! Look at all the runners!

 Once over the bridge, we had lots of room to run. We ran along the coast and it's my favorite. The sun was coming up over the bay and there wasn't any fog so you could look back and see the Golden Gate bridge and you could see Alacatraz out in the water. THIS is why you run SF!

It was at this point that I was more aware of my pace. I was watching my pace but hadn't really been pushing it through the hills because I didn't want to burn out but I was cruising safely to a new SF PR and I was feeling great! After some scenic bay views, we turned back into the city and well those hills from mile 10-12 were killer. Augh, these were rough with lots of hills!

After that though it was all down hill. Around mile 11 I realized I was on pace to actually beat the PR I ran in Disneyland. This was a huge motivator! We cruised into the finish area and it was great all downhill and I was tantalizingly close to my PR! I was trying to catch this female runner who I had been following for about 5 miles but wasn't able to catch her. Darn!

I crossed the finish line, grabbed my medal and loaded up on all the snacks! I could barely carry them all!

I then went and waited for my friend who was also running and I also needed to check my time to see if I had beaten my PR! I didn't think I had but wanted to see what my official time was.

Official Time: 1:44:34

Only 16 seconds slower than my PR!!! Augh! I know I should've been so excited that I ran as well as I did but it was only 16 seconds! I was so close to a PR! I'm immensely proud I ran this race this well. The hills were killer and I was able to properly pace myself through them which makes me more optimistic for the SF Full Marathon in July. I felt great at the finish too!

I grabbed my sweats and waited for my friend and checked out the area. The Neighborhood was the headliner for the race and they were nice to listen to and it was fun to be at a "concert" in the middle of the Civic Center.

Concert!

Overall, I had a great time. The course was really well laid out, the "after party" was fun, and I liked the overall vibe of the race. I went into it pretty relaxed and ended up having a great race! If there is a Rock 'n' Roll race in your area, I would definitely check it out!

Will I do it again? Maybe, I think one year I'm going to buy the season pass and just run a bunch of them in the year!

Pros:

  • Great swag
  • Great course
  • Great post-race area
  • Great medal
  • VERY well organized - the Rock 'n' Roll series is a well oiled machine

Cons:

  • I was expecting more rocking - I felt like most of the bands I passed were still setting up or warming up. Not a lot of rocking.
  • Walkers up front created early/unnecessary congestion

Nike Women's Marathon Race Recap

So... it's been awhile but I'm getting so excited for Dopey, so get ready for regular updates as I count down the days until the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend kick off!

We are at 58 days!

Also, congrats to everyone who ran the Wine and Dine Half! Looks like everyone had a blast!

Since I last posted I ran the Nike Women's Marathon here in SF and also a Warrior Dash (my first attempt at any type of obstacle course race).

This week we'll talk Nike Women's Marathon!  Here we go!

First we'll start with the spoilers! I set a new PR and shaved 8 minutes off my time and came in at 3:51:04 woot woot! I stayed in control and felt good at the end, probably could've pushed a bit harder and knocked off those 4 seconds but still so excited! 

Anywho, on with the show.

Expo

So if you are looking for a race with great swag, freebies, and race weekend merchandise, look no further. aA the expo you could get a 5 minute Neutrogena make-over, get a 5 minute hair style by Paul Mitchell, get a spray on tatoo, and lots of Whole Foods, Luna, and other food to nibble on including a Quinao chocolate bar which was delicious. Needless to say this race has some serious sponsors.

Goodie Bag

Macy's coupon, Verizon coupon, Paul Mitchell sample, Neutrongena Sunblock (I grabbed an extra such a great size) Luna bar, 2 different trail mixes, and then bib and flyers. Some serious swag.

So the expo was.. crowded! I have been to expos before and granted I'm not the best with crowds at expos but this was crazy. It was packed and I just wanted to get in and out. I also wanted to grab some GU but there were not the normal booths, it was all just sponsors so Cliff was all you could buy (oh, well picked some up on my way home).

The Expo - this was all in a tent set up in Union Square in SF so it made it... interesting. I wish they had just used some of the facilities that other races use. I'm guessing they wanted to be right next to the Nike Store though (this is where you could get race weekend apparel and there was SO MUCH to buy).

Cool wall of people tweeting pics

The route

So crowded!!!!!

Neutrogena make-over area

So it was cool but sooooo crowded, they also had a DJ playing music so it was loud and, in genera, l very confusing to navigate around. I had to ask to figure out where to pick up my race bib. Overall, I think this was a fun expo but I don't handle expo crowds well and functionally as a race information source, it was a bit lacking.

Theme of the weekend: crowded!

Race Day!

Sorry for the lack of photos I didn't run with my camera.

So the day got off to a rough start for me. I set 2 alarms... both wrong. One I didn't actually turn on the other I set for the wrong day! DOH! So luckily I woke up at 5 rushed around and got to the start line with like 10 min to spare. I was so... close... to missing the race. Live and learn make sure you ACTUALLY set the alarms.

Anywho, once I got there it was once again crowded and confusing. I wasn't sure where to drop my bag and overall it was just very unorganized (this also might be me projecting my own frazzled feelings of running late on the situation).

With a count down we were off! I was in the first corral so I'm not sure if they staggered the other corrals but I crossed about 4 minutes behind the clock. Not too shabby. However, it was slow moving for about a mile. Very crowded.

It was managable crowds (nothing I hadn't seen at a Disney race) from about mile 2 until the half split off from the full at mile 11 and then I was free! It was magical, quiet, and beautiful as we ran through Golden Gate Park. Then we met up with the half again when we were at mile 15ish and they were at mile 12.5. It was a real mind trip when you have a finish line that close and you know you still have 11 miles left.

Again, once we split it from the half again it was smooth sailing. The bad hills were in the first half so really the race was on once we split from the half. Overall, very nice and nothing too major to note. The fog was thick the whole race, so the views were non-existent which is disappointing since I've run some of the course before and it can be the best run ever when you can look across the bay at sunrise.

Nuun was the electrolyte of choice on the course, water was at good places and cheering was good. Not too much entertainment but I wasn't looking for a "loud" race so it was perfect and I was able to find my zen.

The medical tents were a bit disorganized. I usually pick up a preemptive Tylenol around mile 10-12 just to help with any pain that might happen later and I stopped at one tent asked for Tylenol and the guy paused started fumbling around and I left, they were taking to long. Seriously, why aren't you ready with Tylenol, it's not like I asked for space food or something. Whatever, I moved on hoping the next tent would be more prepared. Med tent, run up, shouted that I would like Tylenol and it took a minute and I had to write my name down (with cold hands that weren't working so my name was completely illegible) and then I was ready to go. Why didn't they just write down my bib number? I was also not offered water and we were not near a water stop. Oh well, down the hatch and on my way. Nike, get in the game when it comes to med tent preparation.

So the race was good I got a nice kick at the end and finished strong. Give me my TIffany's!

Race chute:

  • "red carpet"
  • Tiffany Necklace stop from SF's finest, hunky firemen - I really should've run with camera
  • Finisher Shirt (I like this - makes the shirt "legit")
  • Mylar blanket
  • Food bag (good assortment bagel, fruit, chips, crackers, etc) <-winning, get your head in the game Disney
  • Chocolate milk (I never pick this up)

Then began the crowds again. It was packed and crazy, very ant hill like. NOTE: the area that was suppose to be used was half on Federal land so there were some logistics with the government shutdown so it wasn't all Nike's fault that the area ended up being so crowded.

First bag check. Bags were all dropped on buses that were then taken to the race finish since it was point to point. However, the buses were lined up with no rhyme or reason and so I had to wander to find the right bus. Not great considering I was freezing, there was wind, and I was just ready to sit down, it felt like an eternity. It was also just crowded and confusing so that didn't help my mood. Finally, I reunited with my bag and found a quite area just to decompress. Then went and got my sparkling wine and then waited in the very long line for the shuttle bus. The bus situation was a bit crazy but not a lot they could do other than making the course loop and avoid this all together.

The shirt! (it's a crazy orange color, I was hoping they would keep with the Tiffany's color theme with the shirts but oh well)

So the take-aways:

  • Pros: great swag, smaller field for the full, plenty of water, and that bling!
  • Cons: Crowded, not the best organization, and medical tents being slow.

Would I run it again? Probably not, it's really expensive and I enjoy the other races in SF more. I also knew when I signed up that it was going to be a one and done. If I did run it again, it would just be the half.

Would I recommend it? Sure, if you are there with friends and you take advantage of all the fun extras it would make a great race weekend. If you are interested, I say, go for it! (or Just Do It) 

;)

Did I Make it to the Breakers?

Hello all!

Sorry to leave you hanging, my life has been mucho busy lately (work, moving, running, and then a trip to Disneyland!) so I'm finally getting around to my Bay to Breakers re-cap. Up, up and away we go!

So the week leading up to Bay to Breakers was crazy. Work was super busy, plus I was arranging my move since I had to be out my Monday (the day after the race) and I got sick on top of it all. Crazy busy and exhausting. So as the weekend neared, I was getting nervous about not making it to the start line. I went to the expo just to get my stuff and check out the vendors, and it was well run. They ran out of shirts in my size so I ended up getting a smaller size that I'll probably take a pair of scissors to. Even though I went and got my race number I still was feeling exhausted and a 3:45am wake up call felt very, very, very early.

The should I or shouldn't I debate continued, I was thinking about skipping but I had paid for it, prepared for it, and had practiced my costume so come what may, I made it to the start line!

Princess Merida after some royal preparation at 5am.

Rocking my new New Balance Minimus shoes!

So I think this was the earliest I had ever woken up to prepare. Curling my hair took a good amount of time so I woke up WAY earlier than normal for the start time. Oh well, it was totally worth it! A few people knew who I was but I can't wait to rock this costume at my next runDisney race at DLR! 

I caught the shuttle to the start line and everything was very smooth. There was some corral confusion but all in all it went very well.

Start line, check out all the costumes!

Ready to run!

So this was a fun race. I didn't get seeded into the right corral because my pace group filled by the time I signed up so the first half of the race was very slow with lots of darting and weaving. (Note to self: sign up earlier next year) But it was fun to see all the costumes (or lack of costumes, there were some 100% bare runners, but that is one of the things this race is known for).

I saw everything from super heroes to a school of fish. There were houses along the route blasting techno and party music. It really is a great day of fun for the city of SF!

I came in around 1:05 for the 12k race and that's when I made it to the breakers! Beautiful!

The post race transportation was a bit of a mess and it definitely showed the weakness of the event. This event went from a small race to a HUGE race very fast and this is where it showed the most.

I had heard from others that they thought the race wasn't as fun as previous years and maybe that's increase security or size or a mixture of both. Comparing it to the usual race though, it's in a league of it's own. In my costume I felt very tame compared to the stuff I saw around me. Really fun and definitely glad I made it to the start line.

Pros:

  • Fun race
  • Good race start area
  • Great spectators
  • Great atmosphere
  • A must for anyone from the bay area

Cons:

  • It was a little warm for a SF race
  • Post race transportation
  • Not being allowed to self seed and having to sign up in a slow group.

Coming later this week, took a break from running to go kick off a Monstrous summer in Disneyland!

I Came, I Ran, I Diva-d!

Hello All,

Today was the Diva Half Marathon here in the Bay Area and what an event is was. I had a great time and before I jump into the details I thank all the organizers of this event and the series! Very fun and well organized!

So here we go!

Expo - Health and Fitness Boutique

As to be expected, this race was very female oriented. Everything was pink. Not that I have anything against the color but wow there was a lot of pink. It was smallish but the vendors they did have there were great! I ended up talking with Team Sparkle about runDisney costumes and upcoming races. I ended up investing in some silver sleeves for future running costumes. Overall, it was busy but not crowded and it was fun to just wander around.

Spent about an hour in total there. It was a great size and had great vendors, normally I hate going to the expo but I give this one an A+ for being a great experience!

Race Day - 5/5/2013

Start line was a good size. Coming into the race I had been battling a slight cold all week and just felt pretty exhausted in general, but I arrived and felt good to run. I was optimistically realistic about how I would perform in the race and didn't have the normal "getting to the race" anxiety, since the start line was a short walk from my apartment. I'm still chasing my 1:45 half goal and thought I'd give it a chance today. I felt good and I was on my home turf.

It was a cool morning with overcast, it was perfect running weather. It was definitely a new runner/girls weekend running crowd. There was one woman who was being... loud and impatient waiting for the bathroom. Clearly, she had never been in a bathroom line at a race before, nor planned for the fact that the field was mostly women.

The crowd was fun and we had a moment of silence for Boston, the National Anthem was sung, and then we were off just after 7.

As I said before, this race was on my home turf which I thought would help immensely but for some reason it meant I was in my head a lot more than usual during the race. I didn't have new scenery to look at to distract me, I think the course was too familiar. While I love running, this is the path that I run my long runs on and where my running demons are met and fought regularly. At times I forgot I was racing and had to refocus and remind myself that this isn't just a Sunday long run, this is a race. It was an interesting experience. Have any of you had that problem running a familiar course?

I really ran my heart out on this one. This was a race that really came down to the mental game for me and I pushed myself more than usual, however I came short at 1:46:14. Respectable but over my ultimate goal time and not a new PR. However, the "freebies" with this race were crazy! Before the finish you get a boa and a crown (dropped mine), then you get a medal (from some hunky firemen who flustered me and so I opted out for the fun girl that was closest, how do you choose between 3 hot firemen? I felt like I was 12 again and couldn't talk to guys, I was stunned by there smiles and muscles), then to the rose station, then to the snacks (bagels and bananas first), and finally champagne and sponsored snacks! What a finish line chute!

Check out all the swag...

So I ended the race, checked my time and saw that I had come in 4th in my age group, 1 place out of the custom medal! Augh... so I walked home and relaxed for a bit and then checked my time again and... I CAME IN 3rd! So I hurried back over to claim my medal! Woo hoo! Check it out, double bling!

The reverse side of the age award medal was engraved and, yes, the jewels spin :)

This was a very large medal. Here's a size comparison for you all!

Overall here's the break down:

Pros:

  • Flat course and beautiful scenery (along the water)
  • TONS of swag
  • Large water cups with water and gatorade (not electrolyte mix) at every water stop
  • Very female oriented and lots of fun skirts and tutus
  • Finish line shut - Hello firemen!
  • Great expo

Cons:

  • Newbie crowd, it was self seeded so it took about a mile or so before the field really shook out into their real paces

Overall, had a great time! Really fun event and tons of SWAG which I love and substantial bling to take home. If you are looking for a fun female run, I'd definitely check this series out. Very fun and well organized!

Thanks all for now! Faith, trust, and pixie dust!