Since this post is sooo long –even after breaking it up into two parts—here’s what you need to know if you’re interested in running this race next year:
DO THIS RACE. It is beautiful, fun and full of girl-power.
BE PREPARED FOR CROWDS. Something like 25,000 people ran this race. It’s kind of a cluster from start to finish.
THIS ISN’T A PR COURSE. Though I did meet a girl on the plane who PR’d, I think it’s pretty rare at this race. Tons of people + Crazy hills = Just have fun.
POST-RACE SWAG IS AWESOME. Not only do you get a Tiffany necklace, you also get free massages, crazy expensive juices (I can’t remember the brand, but someone told me they were like $7 a bottle) and tons of food and drink.
STAY IN UNION SQUARE/DOWNTOWN. If the race is still in Union Square next year, this is the perfect place to stay. The start line was like a 4 minute walk from my hotel. Everywhere we wanted to go outside of the immediate area was a quick Uber ride away.
If you’re still with me, let’s get this recap started!
Nike and the company I work for were hosting some amazing fitness and health bloggers/social media mavens, so I got to go to SF to help out. Perk of the job—I also got to run the race.
We arrived in San Francisco on Friday afternoon, but to us Midwesterners, it felt like evening. We landed, said Bon Voyage to the nice dude who sat next to us on the plane, and headed to catch the BART—Bay Area Rapid Transit—to downtown SF. We high-fived about a million times when we got off the train at THE RIGHT STOP. As newbies to public transit, we were sure we had gotten on the wrong train and would end up in LA.
After checking into our hotel, The King George—kinda kitschy-cool with a British royalty theme (obviously)—we headed to the expo. We were tired, hungry, and starting to get cranky, but I really wanted to check it out. The expo was held in Union Square park in the heart of Union Square, which was described to me as “shopper’s paradise,” also known as “Molly’s paradise.” 🙂
We skipped the packet pick-up, as I would be getting mine the next morning at a brunch with Nike and the girls. It looked like a crazy long line though. We dove right in to the expo. The music was LOUD. It was literally thumping in there.
There were tons of things to do inside. Quite a few photo-op areas, as well as a treadmill station where you could get a free running shoe assessment, and a video of the course. I tried to ignore that one, as I did NOT want to know what I was in for.
Other cool things included a Paul Mitchell hair station and a manicure booth. You could also swing by the usual swag booths and buy Gu chomps and other fuel.
Next, we hit up the Nike store across the street. The music was so deafening, I could barely hear Andy when he was standing right next to me. We checked out the wall with every runner’s name on it—which was really cool—snapped a pic and hightailed it outta there.
After we enjoyed dinner at the AARP special hour of 4:30, we headed to the hotel and crashed.
The next morning, I headed to Nike Union Square for the shakeout run with the girls. We ran about 2 miles through the streets of downtown at an easy pace. We talked, dodged street signs and random poles, and got our taste of what the hills would be like the next day—brutal.
Post-run, we headed with some fabulous ladies from Nike and the kick-ass bloggers group to brunch at Dirty Habit Restaurant at the Hotel Palmoar.
We were lead out onto the terrace for brunch al fresco and it was absolutely stunning.
The elaborately decorated table featured a bag of goodies for everyone there and our race packets. As we squealed over all the great stuff, a waiter came by with Mimosas. Champagne and free stuff? My race weekend was complete and I hadn’t even set foot on the course.
We took LOTS of pics, enjoyed our fabulous food and drank a bit too much bubbly for the day before a race! I got to meet so many inspiring ladies, and that truly was the best part of the weekend.
Part 2 coming soon. Stay Tuned!
Have you ever run a Nike Women’s Race Series event? Would you do it again?
Do you drink the day before a race? Does it affect your performance?