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Nike Women's Half Marathon SF Race Recap 2015

Nike Women’s Half Marathon SF Race Recap 2015

Nike Women's Half Marathon SF Race Recap 2015

Over the weekend, I ran my fourth Nike race and fifth half marathon in San Francisco. It was also the first time I’ve run a race course twice. Running the course this year was extra special because I was part of Team Finish Line Women. I spent the entire day before the race with Andy, Ashley, Angela, and FNL. We indulged at brunch, completed a photo shoot, carb loaded at dinner, and shopped at Niketown before an early bedtime.

On Sunday, we woke up around 5:15am for a 6:30 start. Thankfully, I felt energized and ready to race. Even with careful preparation, you never know how you’ll feel on race morning. After getting dressed and eating a banana, Angela and I headed to the starting line. Our hotel was a quick five-minute walk from the corrals, which were well organized. I slipped in to the 9:00-10:00 corral and stretched for a few minutes before the gun went off.

Nike Women's Half Marathon SF Race Recap 2015

Last year, I ran this race as my second half marathon. My goal was to make it over the hills and cross the finish line. This year, Coach Jess gave me a plan. Miles 1-2.5 at Effort Level 5. Miles 2.5-8 at Effort Level 6. Miles 8-10.5 at Effort Level 5. Miles 10.5-12.5 at Tempo. Finish with what I have left. All went according to plan until The Hill at Mile 10. Here’s a full recap broken down by 5K splits.

The race starts leaving Union Square and heads up a gradual hill. Last year, this freaked me out, as I probably went out too fast. This year, I eased up the hill and made my way through the streets of the Tenderloin. We zigzagged south and west, making it difficult to run tangents. I was ready for the second steepest hill at Mile 2. It was four blocks of inclines that leveled off between each block. I remember thanking myself for all the summer hill training. 5K in 31:51 (32:45 in 2014)

Nike Women's Half Marathon SF Race Recap 2015Nike Women's Half Marathon SF Race Recap 2015

At Mile 3.5, we entered Golden Gate Park. Around this time, I spotted and quickly said hello to Ashley and Kristine. They told me I was crazy for trying to PR the course. I laughed and pushed forward, still feeling great and sticking to the plan. I saw my parents at Mile 5, then headed down a series of long hills in the park. 10K in 1:03:34 (1:04:47 in 2014)

The final portion of the park was a slight uphill before we reached the only part of the course that changed since last year. This portion wove through neighborhood streets and included the third largest hill in the course. I saw my parents again at Mile 8 right before I ran up the hill. My legs started to feel tired at this point. Although I was still on pace, I was probably starting to psyche myself out for the hills to follow. 15K in 1:36:13 (1:37:16 in 2014)

Nike Women's Half Marathon SF Race Recap 2015 Nike Women's Half Marathon SF Race Recap 2015

When I hit Mile 9.5, I reminded myself that I was approaching The Hill that I had trained all summer to conquer. It has about a 250-foot gain over one mile. Despite my tired legs, I really wanted to run the entire thing. I ran strong for about three-quarters of the hill (same as last year), then I started to feel like I wasn’t moving. I decided I would move faster and conserve energy if I power walked to the top. I was disappointed in myself for walking past all of the encouraging Nike Running coaches but thought I could finish stronger with the change in plan. At the top of the hill, I slowly picked up speed to make up time running downhill toward The Marina. My legs still felt heavy, but I pushed forward toward the final stretch. 20K in 2:10:51 (2:10:41 in 2014)

Nike Women's Half Marathon SF Race Recap 2015 Nike Women's Half Marathon SF Race Recap 2015

To make it through the final stretch, I had to take a few short walk breaks. The Hill had really knocked me off my mental game, and it was difficult to push past the heaviness in my legs. Thankfully, there were groups of dancers along the course that distracted me. I also got to see my parents one more time before making two quick turns toward the finish area. I sprinted the last stretch and was grateful to be done. Despite having a slower time than I would have liked, It was incredible to see views of the Golden Gate Bridge and The Marina, which were covered in thick fog at last year’s finish line. After the race, I found my parents and headed to brunch. We spent the rest of the day together before I caught a redeye back to New York.

Congrats to all the ladies who crushed this course. It isn’t an easy one. In fact, I think I was more challenged by it this year than last. Treat yourself to Finishers Gear! Another huge thank you to FNL for inviting me to race with the team.

Nike Women's Half Marathon SF Race Recap 2015 Nike Women's Half Marathon SF Race Recap 2015

All photos via Run Nike Women Series

I have an exciting announcement to share on the blog tomorrow.
The 2015 race season isn’t over just yet. Where do you think I’m headed in November?

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11 Comments

  • Reply Kelsey at aslolife

    Congratulations! I’m originally from Nor Cal and would love to run that race someday–looks like a gorgeous morning!

    October 20, 2015 at 7:26 am
    • Reply Evann Clingan

      Thank you! The course is gorgeous. Mile 10 might be the toughest, but it’s got the best view of the Golden Gate Bridge!

      October 20, 2015 at 5:13 pm
  • Reply Kayla

    UGH that hill was a beast! Definitely not an easy course to PR, they need to bring back the DC race such a speedy + flat course.

    October 20, 2015 at 1:48 pm
    • Reply Evann Clingan

      Definitely was not easy. They should bring the race to NYC!

      October 20, 2015 at 5:06 pm
  • Reply Jess

    Great job Evann!! That hill at mile 10 was insane! I loved seeing the Nike coaches but I definitely had a really grumpy face on while making my way up that hill!

    Hopefully we can meet up at a future race soon!

    October 20, 2015 at 2:37 pm
    • Reply Evann Clingan

      Thank you! That hill might have been harder than I remember it from last year. It did have a great view, though! Hope to meet you soon.

      October 20, 2015 at 5:14 pm
  • Reply Jamaica King

    It was nice to finally get a chance to talk with you and get to know you better. I had tons of fun with you and the other FNL ladies. Keep in touch and see you very soon! <3

    October 20, 2015 at 5:25 pm
    • Reply Evann Clingan

      So awesome to meet you, too! I’ll definitely let you know when I’m in Vegas :)

      October 20, 2015 at 9:20 pm
  • Reply Kristine

    congrats on an amazing race! And LOVED getting to hang with you! Entered the lottery for the nyc half- fingers crossed we get 2 races together next year!!

    October 24, 2015 at 12:47 pm
    • Reply Evann Clingan

      Thank you! Hope that you get in. I’m going to put my name in, as well :)

      October 25, 2015 at 8:40 pm
  • Reply Reflection on 2015 Races

    […] in Toronto. I was proud to complete my first Ragnar. I think my current feelings started after the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San […]

    December 16, 2015 at 7:02 am
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