A few weeks ago I got the chance to run and complete my first marathon. As some of you may know from following my running journey, I started running earlier this year and to-date I’ve ran several races including two half marathons and one full marathon.
Prior to starting my running journey, I’ve always heard amazing things about Nike Women’s Marathon San Francisco, so after running a few races this year, I’ve decided that I would sign up for it and my boyfriend, who has been motivated by my running, decided he would run it with me as well.
Instead of going into a whole life story about my experience running this marathon, I will try to share it in a nutshell, and then I’ll share what I thought were some of the pros and cons about this race in case you ever want to sign up for it.
My First Marathon Experience in a Nutshell:
The first half I took it easy. Slow and steady. The uphills around miles 6 through 10 weren’t the problem, the downhills for me were the real leg killer. I felt the pain more on my hips. I slowed down a bit after 16 miles. Then after 20 miles I hit a small wall, and IT Band/hip pain. Those last 6.2 miles (10K) felt like they were really far and all I wanted was to cry for thinking that. I was also mad at my time, I’m not a competitive person, but I wanted to finish under 5 hours.
At around mile 23, I wanted to finish, so I ran as fast as I could and made sure I looked strong for those pictures right by the finish line.
Never let them see you hurting.
I finished under 6 hours with a time of 5:50. After crossing the finish line, I didn’t even go get my blue box, I sat down on the pavement and started to cry. A few runners that were cheering for me while I was running, crossed the finish line and came up to me and hugged me. Some of them shared the same hip pain as me, so they understood, what a great feeling it was to finish. I wasn’t crying so much because of pain, but more because of joy, of feeling of accomplishment, powerful, pure joy. I remained seated and waited for my boyfriend who finished a few minutes after me, due to shin pain. Regardless of our time, we both were very proud to have completed our first marathon.
- A challenging course. What doesn’t challenge you doesn’t change you.
- A Tiffany Necklace
- Amazing views at Golden Gate Park, especially around mile 13 in the marathon route.
- Challenging uphills and downhills.
- Different finisher shirts for the half and full runners.
- It’s a half marathon and a full marathon.
- There are a lot of half marathon runners, a lot!! So those first 11 to 12 miles will be a lot slower than you would want it to be.
- Everyone (half and full runners) get the same Tiffany necklace at the finish line.
- Receiving the same necklace as the half marathoners at the finish line after running and training for a full marathon doesn’t really make you feel all that special. It’s like running any other marathon and just doing 13.1 miles and getting the same medal as the marathoners. Good for the half marathoners, not so great for the marathoners that train a bit harder. Correction, A LOT harder. 20 miles is no joke! Let alone 26.2.
Dear Nike Women’s Marathon Team:
Now that we have Nike Women’s Half Marathon DC, we should totally make Nike Women’s Marathon San Francisco a marathon-only race. If that’s not possible, perhaps making two different Tiffany Necklaces, one for the Half and one for the Full, or having two races, half marathon on Saturday and the marathon on Sunday.
Also, I appreciate the touch on the finisher’s shirts by adding the 26.2 and 13.1. I also like the Tangerine color for the 26.2 shirts and Red color for the 13.1 shirts. But I did notice that some 13.1 finishers received a Tangerine color shirt, perhaps this was a back up color in case you ran out of the red shirts, but it just seemed a bit inconsistent.
As a new runner I’ve learned to Respect The Distance, and every runner whether they running a 5k, 10k, half or full marathon, should feel special for their hard work, dedication, long trainings runs, injuries, etc… Making some of the suggestions above would make this race even better. Runners should feel special to run the half or the full. I feel most of the participants that run SF are running the half because they know they’ll receive the same necklace as the full marathoners. I don’t feel we are encouraging people to step out their comfort zone to run a full. If NWM SF was a marathon-only race, I believe more half marathoners will train harder just to get that marathon Tiffany Necklace.
With that said, if you are looking for a challenging marathon, run the Nike Women’s Marathon San Francisco. Go Big or Go Home! If you are looking to run a half marathon and still get a Tiffany Necklace, run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon DC. This is just my opinion.
So, What’s Next?!
In a week, we’ll start marathon training again, this time we are lucky enough to train and run one of the World Marathon Majors: Tokyo Marathon 2014. Yes, we are going to Tokyo. I’m excited as this will be my first marathon overseas, as well as my first World Majors marathon.
Feel free to follow my journey, as I will be blogging about it.