Tag Archives | Half Marathon

2019 Kaiser Half Marathon

I was thrilled to kick of 2019 with my third Kaiser Half Marathon this weekend. It was a great, no-nonsense race, as usual, and I had a great time.

  • Course: This is one of my favorite courses in San Francisco. Mostly because it’s flat, but also because it’s beautiful. The Golden Gate Half and San Francisco Half are similar courses – Hilly with a trip over the Golden Gate Bridge. The Kaiser Half takes place in Golden Gate Park and includes a gorgeous few miles along Ocean Beach on Great Highway. Always a pleasure!
  • Organization: This is always an easy race. No expo, have your bib delivered, and minimal extras. But it’s well run and goes smoothly. There’s not much more than you could hope for!
  • Race Day Vibes: Our 8am start time was foggy and misty, but no rain. After 5k and 10k runners took off, it was time for the half marathon runners to cross the starting line. Lots of organizers and race day helpers around. TONS of people out on the roads cheering with signs and handing out waters. Great vibes all around.
  • Personal Performance: I like to push myself and have a great race, but with spinal and foot injuries, I don’t want to do any damage or hurt myself. I usually go out with a goal, but listen to my body. Yesterday I felt great, which was a pleasant surprise. I averaged ~8:26 and felt pretty strong throughout, even sped up a bit for the last three miles. I finished exactly 5 minutes faster than this course last year!

Next up – The San Francisco Half in July. Right after my wedding and before I head off for my honeymoon. 🙂

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2018 Golden Gate Half Marathon

I was excited to celebrate my 36th birthday this year by running the Golden Gate Half Marathon for a second time, completing my 6th half marathon since I took up running. I ran it two years ago and it turns out that I got virtually the same time despite not training! 🙂 Read on for my thoughts on the race and my performance.

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  • Course: My last race was the Kaiser Half in February which was a fairly flat race that starts and ends in Golden Gate Park, and includes running along Ocean Beach on the Great Highway. The Golden Gate Half is completely different! Starting near Ghirardelli Square you run past Crissy Field to the bridge, across, and back around to the start. It’s a hilly journey, but absolutely gorgeous. The day was bright and beautiful, no fog on the bridge or anything.
  • Organization: If you’ve ever been to the Ghirardelli Square area you know that it’s a nightmare to navigate. Tiny streets, zero parking, millions of tourists, and the San Francisco speciality, one-way streets. Now add thousands of wandering runners and their supporters. It was… Messy. Not a good space to start/finish and not a good space for the bib pick-up and expo.
  • Race Day Vibes: The race starts pretty late, 7am, so it wasn’t particularly cold and was already light. I’ve brought sunglasses to races before and regretted it, but this was the first time I didn’t have them and wished that I did! Since it was sunny and there was no fog, I got pretty hot! Lots of people and lots of excitement. One thing that happened a few times during this race that I’ve never seen before, was people stopping in the middle of the running path to take selfies. Actually blocking the path and having runners colliding with them, while they stopped to take photos. It was kind of baffling.
  • Personal Performance: As I mentioned above, I failed to train for this race. This Summer there were lots of weddings and events and weekends away, plus fires in Northern California that meant outdoor running wasn’t possible. Excuses, excuses, I know. But, but the time the race rolled around, I had only been in the habit of running 2-3 times a month, and hadn’t tackled any long runs in preparation. That being said, I’m all about that cross training life, and was still working out regularly, and in pretty good shape in terms of cardiovascular health. I headed out on race day to have fun and enjoy the views, but with no expectations. I hoped to get under 2 hours, but was planning to listen to my body and not overdo things. Check out the times for my six half marathons below! 🙂

I’m planning to run the Kaiser Half again in February and I’ll be running the San Francisco Half in July after getting married!

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Kaiser Half Marathon | Second Edition

I caught the racing bug two years ago, but unfortunately between a chronic back injury and foot issues, I’ve never been able to maintain a strict training schedule. But I don’t let either of those issues get in the way of my love of running, or the fun I have signing up for and tackling half marathon races.

For my first race of 2018 I decided on the Kaiser Half Marathon, which I ran last February as well. I enjoyed my first attempt at this course so it seemed like a good choice.

As it turned out, I found that I had to psych myself up for the race in a way that I have never had to before. Why? I got a PR last year on this course – Breaking my goal to get under 1:50 – And going into the race this year, I knew that I couldn’t push myself quite as hard. While I understood intellectually and rationally that my body wasn’t up for the same level of punishment, I had trouble taking my ego out of the equation.

Perhaps it’s my nature, perhaps it’s a byproduct of starting competitive athletics at a young age – But I am in it to win it. And my favorite opponent? Myself! I live for breaking my own records and shattering milestones that I’ve put in place for myself.

So I headed into this race with my mind in a war with itself. On one hand, I wanted a new PR! On the other hand, I really wanted to be able to walk after the race.

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{Lululemon Tight Stuff Running Tights // Lucy Racerback Tank Top // Brooks Ghost 10 Running Shoes // Long-sleeved Asics t-shirt}

  • Course: This course was just as beautiful as I remembered. I love the Golden Gate bridge views from the San Francisco Half and the Golden Gate Half, but this jaunt through the park and along the Great Highway/Highway 1 is simply stunning.
  • Organization: I had my bib delivered so I didn’t get a chance to see the race expo. Race day was quite organized though, with plenty of volunteers, a giant field full of porta potty facilities, and lots of water stations along the course. This race also starts on the late side – 8:10am – So it’s fully light and everything is easy to find.
  • Race Day Vibes: It might be the location or the late start, but there is always a MASSIVE crowd for this race. Families stand outside their apartments on the panhandle cheering with signs and bowls of orange slices. People are walking their dogs in the park and cheering from the paths near the race. And there are crowds lined up along the Great Highway jumping up and down and keeping everyone motivated and moving forward.
  • Personal Performance: Here’s where I have to separate out, as best I can, an objective overview of my performance versus my secret hopes for the race. My number one goal, as always, was to finish. Done. Next, I really wanted to try to listen to my body throughout the race and adjust as needed to ensure that I didn’t injure myself. Done. Finally, I really wanted to run the race in under 2 hours after hitting 02:02 at the SF Half over the Summer. Done. So, in terms of those goals, I succeeded. Also, I really enjoyed the race. So I’m going to chalk this up as a win!

Are YOU a runner? Would you sign up for a half marathon?

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Race Day Essentials | Half Marathon Must Haves

When I finished the SF Half Marathon at the end of July, my fourth race in 12 months, I realized one big thing – Once you have your necessities, race day is a breeze.

So what’s on my essentials list? A little bit of everything actually.

Leggings – I have fallen in love with these Lululemon Athletica Tight Stuff running tights because they’re comfortable AND I’m obsessed with the pockets. With these leggings, I don’t need a running belt or a jacket with pockets. I put my phone on the left, essentials like cash & a gel in the right, and my keys & a chapstick in the back pocket. {Check out more of my favorite workout gear here}

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Visor – Even for early mornings I like to wear a visor, despite starting in the dark, you’ll often get a gorgeous – But glaring – Sunrise at some point. And during Fall and Winter it can help with rain and heavy fog as well.

Undergarments – I can’t tell you how much I hate fussing with undies or feeling like I’m not getting enough support up top. It’s distracting and annoying. {As you may have realized during my Let’s Talk About Sports Bras post}

Headphones – Another MUST for me is music while I’m running. I create race day Spotify playlists and must have my headphones.

Bars & Gels – I never eat a full meal before a race, instead I’ll have half of a high sugar bar or a gel on the way to the starting line. Instant energy without a weighed-down feeling. Some of my go to picks are Clif Shots BLOKS, GU Energy Gels, Honey Stinger Waffles, and Vega Protein Snack Bars. {You can find more of my favorites here – Best Vegan Protein Bars}

Hydration – So I’m a bit of a freak in this regard. As I said above, I don’t eat before a race, but I also don’t drink any water. I pre-hydrate in the days before the race and then after the race I’ll pump myself with electrolytes using Nuun Hydration tablets.

Do YOU have any race day essentials?

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Kaiser Half Marathon

I was excited to kick of 2017 on a healthy note by running the Kaiser Half Marathon on February 5th.

After getting the bug last year, I ended up running four races in 2016: The Guardsmen Presidio 10 Mile Run, The San Francisco Half Marathon, the Women’s Health Run 10 Feed 10, and the Golden Gate Half Marathon.

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Read on to see what I thought of this one and how it compared to last year’s races!

  • Course: I haven’t had a chance to do much running in Golden Gate Park {other than crossing the San Francisco Half Marathon’s finish line}, so it was really fun to get a change of scenery for this race. The first half of the course was around the park and then there was a stretch on the Great Highway with really breathtaking views. And – Bonus – This was without a doubt the flattest course I’ve ever run!
  • Organization: Very well run – No pun intended. Tons of staff to answer questions and hand out water cups and cheer for runners. And, I have to say, this is the first finisher shirt that I’m actually keeping. Usually the sleeves or the torso are too short, but this long-sleeved tee is perfect!
  • Race Day Vibes: It was a big crowd and everyone was packed in to hear the introduction and watch the 5K runners take off. The Half Marathon started with lots of excitement and the course was great since it offered a chance to see the leaders head back towards the finish line. It kept me going to see the top runners push themselves and getting cheered forward!
  • Personal Performance: Between the Golden Gate Half Marathon and this race, I moved from Telegraph Hill to South Beach. Which means that I started running exclusively on flat roads – Virtually no hills or trails. I was very curious to see how (or if) that would impact my race time. Luckily, there was only a little elevation for this race, so I was able to take nearly 10 minutes off my time.

Side note: I didn’t do extensive training to shave time off, I was just feeling the race day vibes at the start and kept pushing myself. When you’re running you need to be sure that you’re listening to your body and not pushing beyond your capabilities. Your body can take a lot of punishment, but you don’t want to cause injuries.

What’s YOUR first goal for 2017? What’s on the calendar for you this year?

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