Nike Women’s Half Round 2

Hello! Guess what I did this morning? I ran a half marathon! WOOHOO!

This was my second time running the race. See my recap from a couple of years ago here. I didn’t LOVE it last time-quite honestly I felt it was overhyped. I decided to do it again this year though because I get automatic entry as a student, so this may be my last chance! #senior

A major change from when I did it 2 years ago was the route. They changed it up quite a bit, and I think the hills were a lot friendlier this way. Plus, last time I ran it I was trying to PR and this time I was trying to enjoy it, so that also helps!

I had zero expectations going into the race. I was still sick a fair amount of my training. I was too sick for my 11 miler. I didn’t want to push the pace too much also because I didn’t want to launch myself into a flare. The super good news is that it’s been over 3 weeks without a flare-the longest since I got sick many many months ago. I think there’s a good chance it’s gluten intolerance because I’ve been SUPER strict about avoiding it. Anyways, onto the race!

Since I needed to pick up my packet on Saturday, my parents and I headed up to the city Saturday afternoon. I found my name on the window!


We picked up my packet and visited some of the expo. I didn’t love the way the expo was set up-it was spread out through several different stores in Union Square.

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We ended up coming across a food court in Macy’s (which I had no clue existed) and decided to eat dinner while watching the Cubs-Mets game on the TV there. I’ve missed almost all of post-season baseball this year! For dinner, we had Asian Box. I had a bowl with brown rice, Asian salad, pickled veggies, chicken, and a seasoning blend.


It was good to get some veggies and carbs in pre-race!

There was also a Ben and Jerry’s, and I got a small scoop of pretty much the only ice cream I could eat-triple chunk caramel.


We spent the evening watching TV, and I was in bed by 10:30.

The next morning, I was up bright and early! I actually felt pretty good. I think in some of my past halfs, I’ve woken up and was just not feeling a run. I think I was much better rested this time around! My current pre-long run breakfast is a Luna bar (Lemon Zest today) and a big banana. Then, it was time to run out the door!


I was armed with sleeves made from cut up tube socks, but unlike 2 years ago, it wasn’t too chilly!

I had a friend running the race today as well, and we planned to try and meet up if possible. We actually ended up finding each other at the start!

We started out pretty slow-there was quite the bottleneck at the start, and I also wasn’t willing to push the pace. I ran music-less the first half of the race, and we somewhat chatted, and enjoyed the views of the city!

I took my first gu around mile 6. I’ve ALWAYS used Cliff chocolate gu, but I currently have zero tolerance for caffeine, and the chocolate gu has been negatively affection gem lately, so I switched to raspberry for race day (which I had tried all of once before…) and it worked like a charm!

According to the elevation chart, there were 3 main hills. Honestly, it felt like a lot of up and down for the first 2/3, so I’m not sure which hills were specifically defined. The notable hill was the hill overlooking the Golden Gate, which came at mile 10. Thankfully, this led into a huge downhill and with the downhill, I didn’t lose much time on the hill.

One thing I have to give to Nike is the fact that this race ends flat-nothing worse than a hill in the death miles of a race!

One thing I will say-the last 2 halfs I’ve done, I never hit that mile 10 wall when my legs just won’t move, and I think this is a big function of going slower. When I make my next PR attempt, I need to keep better pacing in mind because dying at the end=lost time!

Before I knew it, I was on the final stretch, running towards the crowds and the marina.



And then it was over! I set a loose goal for myself in the middle of the race and I met it, which is good enough my me! It was my slowest half to date, but it was only 3 minutes slower than my previous slowest. That included a bathroom stop, so without that, it was probably only about 1 minute slower. I’ve run 6 halfs, and I’m nothing if not consistent on my times!


It ended up being such a beautiful morning! Couldn’t ask for anything better weather wise-plus it’s FINALLY starting to feel like fall around here!

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I should probably also note that I ran with my flip belt. Given my illness issues, I carried all kinds of food-crackers, granola bar, gu. Gotta be prepared!

One thing I will note though-my watch clocked me in at 13.5 miles. I know you gain some distance with weaving, but there’s not way I gained .4, so I definitely think that course was long!

Overall, definitely a fun morning. Nothing is really hurting right now so I’m expecting recovery to go well! That, and I’ve eaten everything in sight today, which usually helps as well!

Have you ever run the Nike Half?

I Survived! (Napa Half)

Hey guys. Guess what? I survived my 5th half marathon!


I was really unsure how it would go given I missed a lot of training runs, and felt terrible last weekend. I got in all the long runs of training, but the volume of the shorter runs wasn’t really there…my only goal was to finish, to take it slow, and to actually enjoy the race. I feel like I end up not enjoying my halfs as much as I should because I take off like a bat out of hell and then am dying the whole way. So let’s back up.

Pre-race day eats. I tried to keep it moderate but didn’t do the best job. Breakfast of the world’s largest blackberries and gluten-free focaccia (which is amazing btw).


Lunch was a salad with sweet potato pop chips and gluten free cookie dough soy ice cream.


I had some other snacks in there too-gluten free banana bread I believe?

We drove up to Napa in the afternoon and were in St. Helena in time for dinner. Somehow I found a place that had a dish that fit my complicated restrictions.


Grilled asparagus and peach salad.


Chicken with potatoes, mushrooms, and arugula.


Woodhouse Chocolate. I decided trace amounts of dairy were fine since I’m feeling way better.

After an evening of working on Stats homework and baseball watching, I was ready to go when I woke up at 5:45! The race started at 8, and we stayed at a hotel a few minutes walk from the start, but I had to time my food in a specific way. I woke up not feeling that great but it passed pretty quickly.

Breakfast was banana, egg white oatmeal with craisins and a dab of sun butter.



Stretching, as per usual. Notice that blue thing I’m holding? I got a flip belt! I wanted to carry crackers during the race, so I shoved those in with a couple of goos and stomach medicine, ┬ájust in case!

And then we were off!


I took it super slow at the start. Slower than I ever have before, and it was awesome. I was really able to enjoy the beautiful views of vineyards along the Silverado trail. Another bonus? No SF hills! Only a few minor ones that I was more than trained for. For the race, they closed off the entire road, but on the way home we drove the race route so here are a few shots of that.

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This tree was the turnaround!

In terms of fueling, I took about 1/3 of my goo at mile 4.5 at an aid station. I accidentally grabbed gatorade instead of water, but I just went with it. It took a little while for that to settle in my stomach, so I did goo #2 a little differently. I started eating it super slowly at mile 8 (and got a much needed burst of energy!) and didn’t finish it until mile 12. I had to be super cautious that my stomach never got too empty because I knew I’d have stomach issues if that happened.

In terms of how I felt, the hardest miles were maybe 9-10? They were pretty flat, which was just a lot of the same motion. I actually felt better once we hit the hills! Overall though, this is by far the least painful race I’ve run. Around the last 4ish miles I started to think about finishing time and what I wanted, since I knew if I was feeling ok I could probably turn it up at the end. I ended up with some killer negative splits! My last mile was by far the fastest.


I think my official time was 2:15?


This is by far the least painful finish of a half I’ve had. So…that pacing thing? Yeah-something to work on!

After the race I had to refuel thoroughly and carefully. Such a big calorie deficit made me really nervous with my stomach. I had some crackers and a banana right away, and then a Luna bar. Back in the hotel, I had the freaking weirdest thing ever. Coconut oil cream cheese (weird) on a gluten free bagel with….a frozen hard boiled egg. Yuck. Got the job done though….but ew. The frozen egg was the weirdest thing.

Later, I had some polenta.


And I’ve basically been eating everything since then. So we’ll see how I feel tomorrow…


This cookie though…it’s basically free of everything-refined sugar, gluten, dairy, eggs. But SUPER delicious. My post-race hunger laughed at the “serves 2” on the label.

So. In summary. I survived my half and am in one piece. Yay!

Giant Race 2014 Recap

Well, I have to say, that race did not go as planned. I was expecting a big PR and, well, I didn’t. But honestly, I care a lot less about this than I was expecting.

The day before I did everything right. I rested up. I ate balanced meals-see below.



Including this lunch with a friend. I told her I needed “bland and healthy” so Subway fit the bill. I got turkey with avocado.

Plus a little treat.


And then a carb-y dinner. I made Cheesy Mushroom Quinoa. I ended up adding a ton of extra kale this time.


I woke up at 4:45 on race day morning feeling good. When I walked downstairs to make breakfast, my dog looked at me like I was crazy for being up so early.


I decided to play it safe with breakfast and have the one I’ve had before races in the past-oats/banana/egg whites with sunflower seed butter on top.


We arrived at the race area about 40 minutes before the start, and then I waited in the port a potty line.


Race morning would not have been complete without an awkward stretching picture.



It was cloudy and cool that morning-just around 60 degrees. The race started from just outside the ballpark. Here’s a view from the walk to the start:


(I’m pretty sure we have the prettiest ballpark ever.)

I got to the corrals with about 10 minutes to the start. I didn’t realize we could go around the barriers to get into the corral, so I was nowhere near my pace group but I figured it wasn’t that big of a deal. I that point, I had no idea what pace to shoot for.

And then I hit the starting line and was off!


My pace was pretty inconsistent at first and I did a fair amount of weaving. I felt pretty good at the start. The first few miles were uneventful, but I was glad when the 10kers broke off because it was way less crowded. The first few miles of this race go along the Embarcadero, until around mile 3ish when the course juts inward and climbs a bit.

When I started the climb, I revisited my definition of a hill a little bit. I told everyone that this race was pretty flat. Which by San Francisco standards, I suppose is true. But that still means there were two hills with about 200 feet of elevation gain on the course. The first hill was fine, and I was happy for my legs to have some different terrain-and the downhill was nice and gradual.

Almost immediately in the race I knew there was no way I was going to break 2:00, but for about half of the race I was gunning for 2:05. Around miles 4 and 5, that pace started to feel pretty fast and my legs were feeling pretty heavy. This part of the course goes through Crissy Field and has a fantastic view of the Golden Gate bridge. I like this race because the turn around point is where the hill up to the bridge starts-all the other races here I’ve done have climbed that hill and it is no fun!

After the turnaround, there were about 1.5/2ish miles of dirt path/gravel running which I absolutely HATE. I feel like I’m barely moving in it, and it sometimes hurts my feet. Last year I was cursing this part the whole way, but since I was prepared for it I was just mildly annoyed at least. Definitely not my favorite part of the race. At this point, my legs were feeling heavy and I let go of 2:05 and decided I’d be happy with any PR. I was not feeling great at this point and I still had a ways to go! I was tired before the second hill, and I lost a lot of time on the hill.

Not long after the hill, I was fading pretty quickly. I took goo at mile 10.5, but I still felt like I had nothing left in the tank. The last 3 miles flat out sucked, and it was all I could do to keep my legs moving. I gave up on PRing and focused more on finishing. I didn’t think I’d even beat my time from last year (which was my first half) so I my main goal was to finish in order to enjoy all the food I had planned later in the day. (Planning a trip with lots and lots of good food on the day of a half marathon is genius, by the way.) I was not feeling good at all. My legs felt like they weighed a million pounds and I had no energy at all.

Somehow, I managed to shuffle in to the finish, picking it up a bit as I entered the ballpark.


Boy, I look like I’m having a great time, don’t I?

And then there was the finish line!


And then, yayy! I was done! I ended up at least beating my time at this race from last year by about 20 seconds, but I was a few minutes off a PR with a 2:12.



I honestly don’t feel bad about not PRing. I had nothing left-I don’t feel like I slacked off at the end by losing a lot of speed. I felt decent after the race, but knew I was going to be in for trouble with my feet. My plantar fasciitis has been flaring a bit the past couple of weeks, and it never warmed up during the race, meaning the pain never went away like it normally does when I run. It was terrible and it definitely wasn’t getting worse, but it wasn’t great. And as soon as it cooled down, I knew I was toast! Right now my left one is way worse, but I’ve been more or less unable to walk the past 2 days….

For breakfast after the race, we stopped at Panera for an egg white and avocado sandwich and a pumpkin muffin, plus much needed ice for my foot!



So-thoughts on the race? It’s a really great race but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I should because I was so tired and focused on PRing. I’m not disappointed with the result but I’m looking to learn from it. First of all, I went out WAY too fast and it totally killed me in the end. My long training runs had an overall faster pace, and my legs were never heavy around mile 10 like in the race. If I had chose a slower pace from the start and maintained it, I probably wouldn’t have died as much at the end and ended up with a better overall time. Also, I’m going to examine my fueling a bit better because I felt pretty depleted at the end.

But one of my biggest conclusions? I need to stop trying to PR. I can train to PR, but I don’t want to try to race like that anymore. I’ve enjoyed my training runs much more than the race because I go out so fast at the race, and the whole point is to have fun running, right? I mean, I’m not going to win anything! I need to enjoy the race more!

Moving forward, I have another half in about a month, and I see lots of cross training in my future, seeing as in theory I’m supposed to run 12 miles in a week and I can’t even really walk right now. I know my feet will get better, so I’ll play it by ear, but I may not be the best trained for this race and that’s ok. My current plan is a looong spin workout for next weekend in place of the run!

Do you ever go out too fast? How do you stop yourself?


My Running Story

Hey guys! I’ve been meaning to do this post for a while now, and just a couple of days before my 4th half marathon seemed as good a time as any!

If you look at my races page, you can look at some of the recaps of races I’ve done, although as we speak it is horribly out of date.

So let’s go back a ways, shall we?

When I was very young and first did any running at all in PE, it was terrible. I hated it so, so much. And we’re talking middle school here. But halfway through middle school, something changed. I started to get a little faster, and before I knew it, I was working my butt off to get a certain mile time to get that year’s fitness award. The next year, I did track because I was actually fast. I know, crazy, right? I had one glory year where I was speedy. I could run a 6:50 mile. I definitely can’t do that now…

I also played soccer, and my freshman year of high school, when the season ended I started going for runs to stay in shape. 3 miles was the big distance run around the neighborhood (but it was also a crazy hill). I continued to run on my own some for the next few years, although I was doing a lot of other activity for softball. I think it was my junior year in high school that I randomly decided to time a mile, and it was just as fast as several years prior.

My first race ever was right before I left for college. I’m not sure how I got it in my head that one day I wanted to do a half marathon, but that summer I decided to follow a 10k training plan to get a taste of what training for a half might be like. I remember on race day starting with all the half runners and wishing I had done the half. The race went really well-I actually finished first in my age group with a time of 52:50.


Right after coming to college, I started rowing which had me in great shape. I did 4, 5, 6 mile runs without too much thought. That winter I signed up for my first half-the same race I had down the 10k for. What I didn’t anticipate was getting really sick that winter/early spring. It was bad enough that I stopped rowing and lay in bed for a solid month. (I had mono.) Once I recovered, getting back to working out was SO hard. I was so weak from being sick, plus I hadn’t done as much as sit up in bed in the past month. I slowly worked my way back into activities again, but even by the time summer started and I started Crossfit, I was in some of the worst shape of my life. When I started training for my half. It was terrible. Running felt awful, and so, so hard. Each long run was a huge struggle, even the first long runs which were “only” 5 and 6 miles. I worked my way through the training schedule, completing my first double digit runs (and then being unable to move).

Then there was the scare 2 weeks before race day when I pushed a bit too hard during a run and hurt my calf-and couldn’t run hardly at all before race day. I made it to starting line by some miracle and amazing physical therapy, and finished much faster than I was expecting (2:12).

After a couple of weeks off, I started training for my second half, the Nike Women’s Half Marathon. I was amazed by how much easier everything felt the second time through. Despite a much harder course (HILLS) I PRed the race by 3 minutes.


I also didn’t feel nearly as bad right after the race as I did before. After my first half, I couldn’t walk my hips were so sore. An hour after finishing this one, I ran a couple more miles with my sister as she finished her marathon.

Then, a couple of weeks later, I finished my longest run to date, a 16 miler. This was mainly to see if my feet would be able to handle marathon training.

Then, I went into speed training and did some shorter races, so going into my 3rd half I felt faster. Then, this summer, I trained in heat and humidity, both of which will be absent on race day. Plus, I went to run club every week which kicked my butt so hard, but I’m faster for it!

So…we shall see what happens. It’s been a great journey, and I credit the blog world for helping me get over the initial fear of a half!

Tell me about your running story.

Running and the Future: Training for My 4th Half

That’s quite the title, isn’t it?

Given I just finished the peak week of my half marathon training and now am in wonderful, wonderful taper mode, I wanted to discuss some of my experiences with this training cycle, as well as what’s next.

My training has been mixed. I thought I was going in at a good place because of my weekend Crossfit group runs, but I came to the DC heat+humidity and had my booty handed to me.

The first few weeks of training were not fun. The runs were really hard. It’s easy to consider yourself a half marathoner who can do anything because you’ve done several in the past. But to some extent, the past is the past.

To be honest,after my half in April, I didn’t run that much. I gained a little weight and that made running stink more so I ran less so it stunk even more.

But since training started, I’ve been putting the work in. I’ve worked on my speed at run club every week (aka the run of the week where I frantically try and keep up with my much speedier companions).



I’ve woken up at 5am. I’ve gotten faster each week. I’ve dropped what I gained. But part of me wonders if it is enough for a PR.

I feel so much better after my 12 lie run though! I’m putting it out there now-my goal for this race is 2:05 (my PR is 2:09). It’s a flatter course than my PR race, and I’ve done a half in between that was a MUCH harder course. Plus I’ve been training in the heat all summer in DC, and I will be running in San Francisco. Plus it’s my favorite race ever. So we shall see!



(Sidenote-I actually got a really amazing race photo that I can’t find right now-it’s me cheesing it up with the golden gate perfectly in the background!)

Post half marathon, I will throw myself into training for half marathon of fall #2, at the beginning of October. If I follow my same training schedule and jump in at the right time, it has me running 12 miles the weekend after my half. So we’ll see about that. I REALLY want to break 2:00 in that race. It’s completely flat. I’m a little worried about a couple of things though. 1. It will be warmer (not in SF) and 2. It’s not in SF and I’m scared the scenery will be too boring. But it can’t be that bad, right? Maybe I just love SF. I really want to do a half in DC…

Anyways, after October 4, what’s next? I think I’m going to work on speed work and try to PR again in the winter on a 5k, but I also want to log more miles than I have in non-half training in the past. I’m considering joining a running group back home.

I think in terms of week to week, I don’t want to necessarily to long runs, but instead do more mid-length runs. So, instead of small runs during the week and long on the weekends, do 6 mile runs a couple of times a week, plus speed work. At least that’s what I’m thinking for now!

(Also-my mom clearly rocks at awkward pre/post race stretching pics…Feast your eyes:)







And now I need to go because I have to wake up early to, surprise surprise, run.