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Posts tagged ‘Nike’

Finally, new socks


I’ve been in need of new socks for about a month now. Most of my original Nike collection has holes in it, right in the big toe where my nail has gone through. I’ll admit, the socks have lasted a good while for as much as I wear them.

I found my favorite running socks, though, in 2012 before the Pasadena Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon when Sam and I visited the Nike Outlet inside the Citadel Outlets in Los Angeles.

We just happened to stop by when we were checking out a ton of other places.

Those two pairs have actually been my most resilient pairs. No toe issues, still fit good, etc.

In fact, I’ve been relying on them more and more as my other ones start to fall apart.

On my way back from the Oakland Half Marathon expo, I stopped at a new outlet center in between Oakland and where I live. The Paragon Outlets in Livermore recently opened up. This was the first time I stopped there, so I didn’t realize there was a Nike store.

But when I saw it, I immediately knew I had to track down another pair of those socks (or three, whatever).

And I found them, after some looking. For $7.99 a pair. I bought three pairs for just over $26 with tax.

These will likely last me a good while. Plus, they are soft and cushy. I wore a pair for the Oakland Half the next day. Since that run turned out good, I figured I really, really needed new socks.

Now I have a relatively close place to get them at a discount.

Finishers shirt by mail


Here’s something I’m not used to: Getting a finishers shirt in the mail. But I found this beauty shoved in my incredibly small, unforgiving mailbox on Thursday.

It’s a pretty nice shirt too. It’s a long-sleeved Dri-Fit. It’s not one of the cotton Dri-Fit shirts I normally wear when running (which I rotate out with my Lululemon shirts), which I’m kind of relieved about. This one picks up the sweat really nicely (yes, I’ve already worn it on a run).

I have to admit, though, I was a little confused when I got it. I didn’t realize it had a place for me to write something on it.

I’ve only seen a few photos of it online so far, though, for inspiration of what to write on it.

Some people write where they ran. I think if I put “We Run Tracy” people might think that’s my name. So I was considering something that was on one of my other shirts. Maybe I could go with something like “We Run Empowered” or something?

The problem then is that I have to write it.

I once won a third-grade penmanship award for my very straight handwriting. If you see my handwriting now, you likely wouldn’t believe that was ever the case. My cursive is much, much worse.

I know part of it has everything to do with a formally strained tendon that hasn’t been the same since I injured it shooting video a couple years ago. So when I sign my signature, it doesn’t really look like the pre-injury signature. Plus I can’t sign my husband’s last name well. I guess that’s the difference between 24 years of practice and five years of practice.

So I’m likely going to never write something on this shirt and have that awkward white area just sitting there waiting for something.

On the plus side, it’s a nice shirt. It’s looser than I’d like at the bottom, but fits snugly at the top.

Plus, it has a pretty nice design on the back too.


It, obviously, looks like many of the other Nike shirts I had already in my running-clothes collection.

My friend Jennie made a comment about long-sleeved shirts the other day, mentioning that so few races these days give that option. San Francisco has for the last two years, though I know before that they had short-sleeve shirts. California International Marathon gives both options if you sign up early enough. I always pick the long-sleeve version.

The Oakland Half Marathon is one of the few races that does as well. And that’s what I’ll be doing this weekend.

I’m heading over tomorrow to pick up my race packet. I have a really, really low number this year, something in the 2,000 area, which I was surprised about. I’m planning on getting in and getting out quickly, unless I have a friend accompany me. My husband is supposed to work (or so I think, he told me earlier he switched his day off to Saturday, and then I reminded him that we’d only had a conversation about 10 times about Oakland being this weekend).

Oakland was supposed to be my “A” race this season. But with everything else happening (gallbladder removal, fractured arm, blah, blah, blah), I’m just going to happy to get going and finish. Plus, there’s this marathon in less than two weeks I’m really scared about at this point.

Crossing my fingers for a good race.

Virtual race, real slow pace

I’ve admitted that I’m having some problems lately with my calves. I’m not sure why. I’ve changed nothing about the way I run. I have new-ish shoes that didn’t give me problems at the start and my socks are the same. But I’ve been thwarted in recent runs by calves that feel like they are on fire.

By two miles into a run I’m dying. My legs are burning. By four miles in, I’m usually fine.

On Saturday, I signed up to do the Nike Virtual 10K, logging 6.2 miles outside on my Nike+ iPhone app.


The run was in conjunction with the Nike Washington D.C. half marathon coming in April. I’m not doing that race, but the virtual run was for a good cause. Plus, it gave me a reason to run outside. Lately, I’ve needed reasons to run outside (hello horrible fall that I’m still experiencing pain from and can’t extend my arm!).

So this was a good test of my endurance. A run. By myself. Through my neighborhood.

I’ve talked a lot about the fact that I run in another community. I don’t talk much about the fact that I have completely ample running trails less than a half a mile from my house. It’s only been lately that I’ve been running the trails in my own backyard.

The run started just as I thought it would: my calves burned for the first two miles. I tried to keep going to register a decent time.

By the time I hit a park for a bathroom break, my legs were feeling a lot better.

My averages went down into the 10+ minute mile area. At one point I was running in the nine-minute mile area.

My final time: 1:10:41

Not horrible, but not wonderful either. Considering I had to stop at every stoplight (sometimes I paused it, especially when I knew I would have to wait a long time), but mostly I just waited. I thought it went pretty well.

The real gem, though, was checking out my neighborhood and seeing it in a different light.

I have some great views in my ‘hood.


Well-manicured running paths? Yes. We have those. This whole area is just south of my house. It had been a long-time since I ran this area alone. I’ve been running it a lot at night lately with Jennie. She moved to the far end of the city awhile back and it’s easier for us to run at night in Tracy than Mountain House lately.

Plus, I no longer need the frequent portable toilets that Mountain House has to offer. (A good result of my gallbladder being gone, but also a bit of TMI, sorry.)

So I actually had a pretty good run.


Did I mention the views of the Diablo Range I see when I run here? Tracy is an ex-burb (there is such a thing) of the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s in San Joaquin County, which is considered part of the valley, but years ago it became kind of an extension of the Bay Area when the hordes moved out this way in search of big, inexpensive homes.

If you would have told me 10 years ago I’d live in Tracy at some point and own a house here, especially in my neighborhood, I likely would have laughed. But we’ve now lived here for five years. And I’ve grown to love it.

My hometown, Stockton, has become something I don’t even recognize anymore. My parents have become used to the sound of gun fire. My dad once told me about the “crack house” right down the street. There was a drive-by in front of my grandmother’s house involving people that my brother’s grew up with.

It’s become a city plagued by violence and sadness. It’s also where I go to work everyday still. It’s the place I consider home, but my life is in Tracy now. Jennie, who also grew up in Stockton, and me were talking about the differences between running in Tracy and Stockton.

I once made the mistake of going for a quick run around the downtown area before it got dark because I knew my day was going to be longer than I thought. It was an out-and-back path, four miles in total. I’m pretty sure I was called at least four names and had a guy chase me for about a quarter mile (that was scary).

Never again.

So my running paths here make me happy.


My freakishly scary photo from the run. I guess if I hadn’t taken time to stop and take photos, my time may have been better.

The 10K came a day before I finally finished my 15-mile run — on the treadmill.

I know it sounds like a cop out, but I had to run 15. And after the fall less than two weeks ago, I was still queasy about attempting the run along a path I didn’t know too well. So I took the easy way out. I hopped on the treadmill and just ran, watching “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” on Netflix. I got it done. Now I’m over it.

So what’s next? A trail 10K this upcoming weekend. Then the Oakland Half Marathon the following weekend. Two weekends after that I run the San Luis Obispo Marathon.

I’m know that I’m not as ready to run the marathon as I should be. I know because my training cycle was severely derailed by gallbladder surgery. But I told my husband I’m not about to throw in the towel and go for the half. I’m going to take it as it comes.

Going through the motions

And getting ready to head down to Pasadena early on Saturday morning.

I’ve been working on a really awesome website renovation this week, that today kind of made me frustrated. So instead of waiting for SQL databases to behave appropriately, I decided it as time to get ready for the ride to southern California. I started clearing out, mind you not “cleaning out,” but “clearing out” my car.

I keep a lot of jackets, scarves and other items in my car. So I decided to get it washed. Professionally. I’ve only had it for six months.


It took about an hour (the car wash was really busy on a nice 70-degree day here in northern California). But my car is bright and shiny. I went and got a tank of gas as well ($80! Prices are going up again).

Then I headed to Target to pick up some needed supplies. I haven’t traveled anywhere since December for California International Marathon, so I had a few toiletries to gather.

When I got home, I was greeted to a package from Road Runner Sports.

It was my two new pairs of LunarEclipse +2s.


And they are actually pretty cute. I kept putting off buying this color before because I thought they would be black and too dark. The color is actually more of a dark gray.

One of the boxes was completely trashed. The other was in decent shape. So I replaced the broken box with one I already had, then I put both pairs up in my closet for “when the time comes.” That means the first pair of these to be used will probably come out in June sometime, likely before I run the San Francisco Marathon.

I’ve been slowly gathering my running clothes and other essential items all day in preparation for the journey down and the actual run. I hate to say it but my anxiety is peaking a little.

I’d like to think that was prompted by the $1,200 in hospital bills I just got from my gallbladder removal (seriously, if they were going to charge me that much, they should have at least let me keep it to take home in a jar). Yikes.

So I’m a little jumpy tonight. It makes “going through the motions” all that much harder, but I’m trying to breathe, relax and know that no matter what I can run 13.1 miles. I’ve done it before, many times. It may not be the best run I’ve ever done, but it will be OK. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

I’m not sure if it’s working to calm me at all. But I kind of feel like hitting the road and just going will be the push I need to be more “present” and, maybe even “participate.”

Speaking of the last sentence, if you haven’t seen “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” I highly recommend it. I actually can’t recommend it enough.


I read the book when I was 14 for the first time, back when it was just a little MTV novel that no one had ever heard of. By the time I graduated from high school in 2002, nearly everyone I knew that had any sort of taste in literature had read it. I spent years imagining what Charlie would sound like if he was ever brought to life.

When the movie came out last year, there were no local theaters showing it. The nearest one was about 30 minutes away and I just never got to see it. So when it came out on Tuesday, I made a night out of it. I ran the day before so I didn’t have to run that night.

I picked up dinner from a drive-thru fundraising dinner that I had purchased tickets from weeks before and headed home, immediately putting on the movie. I even went to two different Target stores to make sure I got the super-low priced BluRay for $16.99.

Call me cheesy, but the moment I heard Charlie’s voice for the first time, I had a bit of a moment. I guess it was kind of living seeing the opening screen of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II. I had a moment. (I’m completely aware of how big of a dork I sound like right now. I don’t even care.)

I may put it on now as I finish packing all my stuff up for the road trip.

Scoring a deal on shoes

I’m not good at couponing.

I have a friend who started doing it a couple years ago and she got really good at it for a minute. She even gave me some how-to lessons about a year ago. It’s only been in the past six months or so that I’ve started to pay more attention to coupon circulars and email alerts.

I also most always buy local. I love my local running store.

But in early 2012, I realized, after replacing my shoes every couple months, I was spending entirely too much on shoes. I kept waiting on my $15 reward coupon from my local running store just to get my shoes for $125 instead of $140.

Then one of my running buddies said to me, while I was lamenting on the cost of shoes one day (running is supposed to be a cheap sport, yes?): “Why don’t you just buy your shoes online?”

And suddenly it didn’t make sense to buy local anymore. I joined the Road Runner Sports VIP club. I was signed up for coupons. And every now and then I get a good deal.

Saturday is an awesome case in point.


You might not be able to read it very well, my cart included two pairs of LunarEclipse+2 shoes for a before tax price of $140. That’s the cost of two pairs of shoes for what I would normally pay for one.

Seriously. Best deal ever.

The shoes are now discontinued, since Nike just released the new models. And if you don’t mind the not-so-popular colors, you can score a good deal once a shoe gets phased out.

Original price: $140

VIP Price: $121

Discounted price: $87

VIP Price with discount for VIP Appreciation Month (last weekend to take advantage): $70

Savings: +$35 a pair

The best part is that I just popped out a new pair of shoes that will last, likely, through June. So these two pairs will basically get me through 2013 and into the beginning of 2014.

Big score.

I hate to promote turning away from local shoe sellers, especially since I got fitted for these shoes by some great people, but I can’t justify the replacement price every time I need new shoes. Honestly, I don’t spend that much money on any other pair of shoes I own. I recently bought a pair of leather boots for $135. Cheaper than my running shoes. And they’ll likely last much, much longer.

So I had to find a workaround.

I’ve been asked before if it’s worth buying the VIP membership. Yes. Definitely. This is now the fourth pair of shoes I’ve bought from Road Runner Sports, the first pair was my Nike Equalons that were retired last year. I’ve probably saved about $300 altogether from the discount deals I’ve received through emails.

The better bonus? Free shipping. And I was notified within twenty minutes of buying the shoes that my shoes were already on the way. I should receive them at the beginning of this week. And then what? They go into my closet for storage until I need them.

I hate to say it, but this is about as much stockpiling as I’m willing to do in the couponing world.

This week

If I ever thought I’d have more time to myself after trading full-time employment for freelancing and a part-time job, I was crazy. This week has proved that I will likely not have any more free time, especially during my student’s production weeks.

My newspaper staff has nearly double this semester. I’m having to create spreadsheets and sign ups for lab and one-on-ones. It’s amazing and a little overwhelming. We held three stories this issue because we sold out on ads weeks before. Sold out. On ads. As in, we can’t take anymore because we have too much content.

That’s a great problem for a college newspaper. That’s a great problem for any newspaper.

So between freelancing and my students this week, I probably worked 50 hours. Meaning little time for running.

Here’s a look at what I’ve been doing:



Mega Super Bowl party day. With lots of food.

I’m not a fan of any specific football team. I appreciate a good game for a good game. So I was kind of bored the first half. But then, when it got interesting, I was invested. I love games that go down to the wire.

But really, I go to the party for the food.


Oh hey pansit, where is your homeboy adobo? Oh, right next to you? Don’t mind if I do?

Wait… what’s that?


Pulled pork! This photo doesn’t do it justice. My friend’s husband is a culinary genius with the pulled pork. But really, the potato salad up top was the amazing part. I didn’t know she made such a great potato salad. (I’m a bit of a potato salad aficionado, really.) I took home a ton of it too. And ate it for two days. I’m not even going to lie.

And I bet your Super Bowl party didn’t feature animals.


Our friends live in the country. Sorry about the blur, Joleen the goat didn’t like the paparazzi.



We were still thinking of names for this little pup. Last night, we finally agreed on one: Cassiopeia.

We’re calling her Cassie for short. And her name fits our theme. We name our dogs after songs. Our oldest female is Sky Midnight Blue after Peter Gabriel’s Sky Blue. Our male is Hey Beau Diddley after the song Hey Bo Diddley.

Cassiopeia’s full name will be Winter Star Cassiopeia. If you love Third Eye Blind as much as I do, you know the line comes from the original version of Campfire, a song that made it to Ursa Major with a lot of tweaking. It was retitled Bonfire.

It’s appropriate, for many reasons.

These lines:

And there’s all these winter stars still flying


Everything’s changing now


Into one thousand pieces

I had broke into over you

Nightshade will soon be gone

But I keep burning on and on and on

I’m a bigger fan of 3EB’s less popular tracks than the band’s big hits, including God of Wine. But this song seems appropriate as nearly everything in my life is changing now. And I really feel a connection to the “burning on and on and on” line right now. And lately? Into a thousand pieces I broke into over journalism. Very fitting.

I’m not sure what it says about me that my love for a band transcends all the years it’s been out of the mainstream. I’ve seen them three times in concert, most recently at a day-long music festival where I swear I was the only one singing every word to every song. The song I most wanted to hear that night? Campfire.

We toyed with Page, for Mumford and Son’s White Blank Page. I also offered up Storm for Mumford’s After the Storm.

I think my husband agreed on Cassiopeia because he didn’t want me to name any of our future children that. No kidding.


I spent my morning clearing pages for my student’s first issue of the semester.


It included a spread, the first ever since I’ve been adviser, on gun control. The stories were well reported. The editors did a fine job on this. It looks even better in person. I’m really proud of the work they did on this issue.

But Tuesday, it’s on to the next one. Always on to the next one.


I had my worker’s compensation evaluation that I’d been dreading for months in the morning. I took my mom. I think if I hadn’t, I would have fallen into all those pieces all over again. She, at least, made me feel more comfortable as my heart sped up and I was forced to remember everything that led me to where I am right now.

The appointment lasted so long that my mom went with me to a dress fitting for my December bridesmaid duties.


This was the first dress I tried on. They were all cute, but I think the bride now knows which one we’ll all be purchasing pretty soon here. On the list of things I didn’t know: Bridesmaid dresses take 10-12 weeks to get.

I knew wedding dresses took a long time, but wow.

Confession: I bought my wedding dresses at a bridal discount store in Roseville. To be fair, my sister bought it for me. I didn’t have a credit card that would charge the $500, so my mom put it on hers and my sister paid her back.

My whole wedding was planned on a similar modus operandi. It cost $15,000 at the end, but was paid for over three years of engagement. To be fair, I was only 24. All my savings were pumped into my wedding. I came out of it with a husband and no money left in a savings account that one had $8,000.

Would I do it differently now? Definitely. I’d go to Las Vegas. Just saying.

My husband, though, a couple months ago said our wedding day was one of the best of his life. That makes it all worth it, since he’s not a man of many sweet words.

This is the first time I’ve ever been a bridesmaid, so I’m learning a ton of stuff. (Jenn, if you are reading this, I promise not to mess this up.) Yesterday, the woman at the bridal store mentioned fabric swatches and making sure dye colors matched. I’m like: “Whoa, slow down.” And I know the decisions are even harder for the bride.

Planning a wedding is hard business. I’m extremely fortunate that my bride friend is a really down-to-earth woman with a great sense of humor and a love for life. She doesn’t even mind me sending her a ton of photos of me with awkward faces in dresses (Some of the colors were crazy!).

I treated my mom to lunch after at a sandwich place I love. So a not-so-great day actually turned out better. When I got home another friend came over and ate pizza and junk food with me.



After weeks of feeling as if my legs were going to fall off, I realized I should maybe switch out my shoes, especially with a half marathon next weekend.

I’ve had this pair of LunarEclipes in my closet for about four months. I bought them on deep sale for about $80, marked down from $140.

I ran five miles this morning in them.

And you know what? I needed new shoes.

I had little pain. My feet felt more supported. It was like running on cushions.

Anyone who tells you that you can run 400+ miles in a pair of shoes is an idiot. Seriously. I ran 600+ on my oldest pair of shoes. They sit next to the treadmill. Now I know they are only good for walking and housework. I should have known.

But I’m been trying to preserve my shoes for a bit longer and longer each time, if just to keep down the costs.

In January, Nike launched the LunarEclipse +3. It’s the same shoe, with new upper design. Now the +2’s are on sale for $79.16 at Road Runner Sports. I’m considering buying two pairs, which should get me through the year before I have to buy the more expensive +3s.

The best part of all of this is that I’m excited for my 10-mile run tomorrow morning. I haven’t said that in awhile. At five miles, I wanted to keep going, but I didn’t.

I’ve been avoiding the treadmill all week (I did run six outside this week), because of the pain my legs have been in.

So, if anything, take away this tidbit for the week: If you’re in pain, it’s likely your shoes. Change the shoes.

iPhone saves a night run

When I decided to finally get rid of my amazing BlackBerry Curve a couple years ago, I switched to an Android X phone. I loved it, specifically because it shot high definition video. I loved that phone until a software upgrade basically rendered me unable to make phone calls.

Then it became slow. I took it in for a look at the Verizon store. An associate reversed the software update.

Two months later, the stupid phone stopped taking a charge. Everything I did to make it charge wouldn’t work. I was bummed for several reasons. The first was that I spent a ridiculous amount of money on the phone. The second was that it didn’t last as long as I needed it to.

So I went to the “dark side.” I bought an iPhone 4S earlier this year.

I kind of had a tough transition to the phone. I wasn’t sure what to think of it. I wasn’t sure how to make it work.(Doesn’t that always happen when you get a new phone?) I basically was a fish out of water. It helped that I had an iPad 2 as well.

But I adjusted and eventually started to love it.You can see one of my screens to the right. Ignore the fact I haven’t updated any of my apps for awhile. And ignore my AP mobile alert. I’ve been trying to avoid news as much as possible lately.

In any case, if you’ve read this blog long enough, you also know that I run with a Garmin 405CX and I have an awesome headlamp.

On a recent run, I didn’t have both.

My Garmin is somewhere between my home in Tracy and Kansas. For the second time in two years, the battery life went wonky. It was out of warranty, but Garmin offered to fix it because it was the same problem as last time. (Model problem, maybe?) Fixing it for Garmin basically means replacing it. That’s lame. And it takes forever.

I’m talking about two to three weeks to send it and then get one back.

So I’ve been doing my outdoor runs without it. A couple weeks ago, when the battery died in the middle of a 15-mile run, I finished off my run with my Nike+ app on my iPhone.

I’ve been using that since.

It’s surprisingly accurate and doesn’t drain my battery life like I thought it would.

Yes, I’m slow sometimes when I run at night. Blame fatigue.

In any case, I was thankful my iPhone saved that run. I was more thankful when a couple weeks ago, I realized as I made my way to Mountain House to run that my headlamp had dead batteries.

It was dark. Really, incredibly dark.

So I pulled out my iPhone and started doing some searching. I remember that I had a flashlight app on the phone. Since I already run with it in my hand to see the Nike+ app, I kept alternating between turning on the flashlight and checking how far we were in our run.

The light was really nice when we hit parts of the sidewalk that are considerably more dark than others.

So, overall, my iPhone essentially has two running tools in it that I didn’t really appreciate until that run. Had we not have had the Nike+ app, we probably wouldn’t have finished that epic 15-miler.

Had we not had a flashlight, we wouldn’t be able to see the sidewalk. I was very grateful for both.

The Flashlight app was free. A nice price. It uses the flash light on the iPhone 4S, which does eat some battery life, but for a shorter run, isn’t too bad. Plus, I charge my phone in my car when I drive usually, so I don’t really have a problem with battery life.

The Nike+ app is also free now (I remember paying for it, but maybe I’m mistaken). It uses the phone’s GPS to track the run with distance and pace.

It seems to come up incrementally short of my Garmin, but we usually overrun our six-mile run anyway.

I’m not converting to the Nike+ app. And I’m not considering running with my iPhone flashlight on every run either.

But these apps give me options when I in a pinch. And both saved our run the other night, which, when it’s dark outside, is really important.

Laces make the difference

I’ve had some reservations about my new LunarEclipse’s lately, specifically the color. I know that’s petty. After years of running in basically white shoes with a little bit of blue detail. They weren’t pretty, but they were functional.

When I was fitted for the new shoes, they had a special style of the pair called the Breathe.

And that was the only pair my local Fleet Feet had in size nine. So I caved and bought them.

When I realized how much lighter this pair was than my previous shoes, I started having second thoughts. But they were the same shoes, so I went with it. I’d run quite a few miles in them when I realized that they just weren’t as flashy as my last pair.

They look kind of orthopedic. Like something my grandfather used to wear. I know they are gray and have some fun yellow detail, but I just wasn’t in love.

So I grabbed the florescent pink laces from my previous pair, which I recently machine washed (post on that coming), and switched the laces out on the pairs.

Now my old pair, which I’ll wear for dirty outdoor type runs because I still think they have a little life left in them, look a little more subdued. And my new pair has a lot more flair about them. It’s a win-win for me.

And yes, it’s only about appearance. The shoes function the exact same way the first pair did, but I like that they are a little different now. It won’t make me a better runner, obviously. But I like the change. And I really love those pink laces.

Answers to your Nike Women’s Marathon (and half) questions

One of the most common search terms that brings visitors to my blog is NWM or “Nike Women’s Marathon.” I know why. It’s  HUGE race, and not just because of the 25,000-plus women who run it. It’s big because of the money it brings in for charity. It’s also a “desired” destination race for the mega bling finishers get at the end.

Behold, the Tiffany pendant.

I hate to say it, but there’s no angels singing or anything when the hot firefighter hands it to you. But it’s beautiful. And amazing. I never owned a Tiffany necklace until I was handed this one. I still have the little blue box.

So in honor of the Nike Women’s Marathon, I’m going to answer some questions I’ve received via email over the past few weeks from nervous runners gearing up to run the 13.1 or 26.2 miles through San Francisco from Union Square to Golden Gate Park (and a lot of places in between).


Not like any expo you’ve likely been to. There’s very few vendor booths selling marathon swag. There’s a lot of “girly” stuff happening instead. You can get pedicures. Neutrogena has a counter and reps will give you pointers on skin care. There’s no race gear for sale. Instead, you have to go to Nike Town across the street.

Nike Town in itself is a mad house. Grab what you want quick, because it will go fast if you don’t.

The biggest thing is that last year Nike started a system where numbers would be assigned upon check in. I ended up with a very low 162 because I went to the expo on Thursday. I recommend going to the expo on Thursday if you live nearby. Why? There’s usually a little something special happening at it. And it’s light. Very light when it comes to people. I didn’t have to wait at all to get my bib.

Nike+ members got an extra disposable backpack for check in. I’m not a Nike+ member, though I now have it on my iPhone. I just got a florescent green bag, but still pretty hefty.

Overall, it’s nice. But I think I ended up spending a lot more money than I really wanted to. And a lot more than I’ve ever spent at an expo because Nike stuff isn’t cheap. (That said, ever since the Saucony disaster earlier this year, I’m staying brand loyal to Nike for the shoes.)


Yes. But the system is crazy. You have to remember what bus you checked in at. I’m hoping this year will be different because of a new corral system. We’ll see. We literally walked through a forest of buses last year looking for the bag my friend checked. I had my husband bring me my bag at the end, so I didn’t check anything.

Then, when said friend got her bag back, something had been spilled on it. Not really what you want after running for a long time.


One word: Bad. But NWM promises a revamped system this year to ease the congestion and, hopefully, the number of walkers getting mixed in with runners at the beginning.

In late September, a new corral map was posted to the Nike 26.2 Facebook page.

It looks promising.

If you click the image, it will take you to the PDF corral map.

That said, people will lie. This happens in nearly every race. Some walkers will say they run at a nine-minute mile pace just to get more time. Then the runners who run 10-12 minute miles, but still run, are stuck behind the walkers, weaving in and out of the way.

It sucks, yes. But it’s a big race. It happens.


At the start, no.  Everywhere else, yes. My two friends and I spent nearly 45 minutes in a portable toilet line that wasn’t moving. At all. People were crowding other people. Some runners were just jumping into the toilets before another one could. It was pretty brutal.

Brutal enough that I took matters into my own hands. When everyone was crowding up to move into starting position (again in very unorganized corrals last year), I noticed a toilet with green above the handle. I jumped in. It seemed everyone else was concerned about starting. So I commandeered a bathroom.

I’m not even ashamed.

The rest of the way, there seemed to be ample enough toilets. The longest lines were at the top of the biggest hill on the half marathon. That’s near the Golden Gate Bridge.


If you haven’t trained for them, of course. I earned my Nike entry last year as part of a sponsored team. I didn’t know I was running the race until about five or six weeks before. At that point I was training, instead, for a PR at the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon, which I got (and it was my standing PR until only recently).

There are very few hills on that run.

This year, I’ve increased resistance on my treadmill. I’ve also spent some time focusing on the muscles in my legs that propel me up hills. Proof of my work going well was a 2:32-ish finish in the 1st Half Marathon of the San Francisco Marathon.

A plan of attack: The hills near Fort Mason aren’t horrible and there’s a nice downhill after. The hills before Golden Gate Park are a bit painful. Slow and steady if you’re a running like me (10:30-11:30 minute half marathon time for miles).


Last year, Gatorade was provided on the course. This year, it’s Nuun. That said, water is available as well.

I always carry my own Gu and a water bottle. I suggest some hydration system in this race. Why? Because the first water stops are ridiculously crowded. Not even in a “I’ll go to the end of the table and it will be fine” way. It’s majorly crowded.


If you have no other way to get back, yes. If you are crafty, it’s really easy to catch a bus from the Ocean Beach (where the race ends) down Geary Boulevard and back to Union Square. Or to BART if you are having someone drive you in from the East Bay. A bus ticket only costs a couple dollars compared to the Nike price for a shuttle ticket.

Yes, it’s public transportation. But I’m all about cost saving.

That said, my husband has a knack for finding parking spaces when no one else can. So he drops me off in the morning and picks me up. He’s become really good at it because I run so many races.

When I lived in Oakland for graduate school at University of California, Berkeley, I often turned to 511 for information about buses and BART. I recommend it.


Nope. And honestly, this is always a question on days of early races. In only one case have I seen BART change a race schedule to accommodate a race. The service was limited. I live near the end of the line in Dublin/Pleasanton (in Tracy) and it would literally be a quick hop and skip over the Altamont to take BART. But, alas, no BART early on race day.


All parking in San Francisco is bad. But it’s worse around the finish. Consider that Ocean Beach is a pretty popular destination, Cliff House is nearby and Golden Gate Park always has a lot of people and it’s even worse. Plus, the neighborhoods are packed full of residents’ cars. So if you have someone coming to pick you up, be prepared to trek it out.


For some reason, I get asked this a lot. I don’t immediately eat after a race, so when someone hands me a banana I usually hoard it for the ride home. I was told they had bagel, juice and other stuff. I don’t think I looked hard enough for it, because I didn’t get any.


Crazy. I say that lovingly because a lot of people are taking photos and celebrating, but they are also interrupting the flow of runners just finishing. The T-shirt tables are unorganized (or they were in 2011). No one asks you to verify which size you signed up for, so it’s kind of a free for all.

Last year, I heard a group of men who ran complain that they didn’t get a separate medal or different shirt. It’s a women-focused race dudes. Seriously.

If you blink, you’ll miss something. I nearly missed being handed my space blanket. And don’t expect a singular finish-line shot unless you are an uber competitive runner. There’s always going to be someone around you. I was dodging people up to mile 10. Then I gave up and just went with the flow. My heart race and anxiety were getting the best of me.


Cheesy as it is, Nike was the one race I wanted to do when I started distance running. When I hit my first run over 10 miles, I said I would run Nike. And through serendipity, I got in even after I was rejected from the random draw.

This year, I earned a spot through the lottery with my running group.

And I’m excited about heading out to pound the pavement in San Francisco again. It’s one of the most scenic places in California and has quickly become one of my favorite places to race in.


No problem. If you have a question not listed here, shoot me an email using my contact page. I’d be more than happy to answer. (Even if it’s about the sprinklers coming on in Fort Mason, or tripping in potholes along the road, etc.) Just shoot me a line.

Cropped confessions

This is a confession, but one I don’t feel bad about and one that people might think I’m crazy for admitting: I wear cropped or capri pants for my summer runs. I vary between longer and shorter versions. I rarely, if ever, wear shorts. I own one running skirt that I also rarely wear.

I love crops. I have about 10 pairs. This summer I’m particularly favoring longer ones, the ones that hit around the ankle. I don’t live in a particularly cool place during the summer either. It’s been hitting the 100-plus temperatures here lately. That makes for some miserable running at certain points of the day.

Surprisingly, though, I don’t get too hot in my crops. If I’m not wearing a tank top, though, I feel like I’m burning up. (That’s for another post, though.)

There’s another really important reason, though, that I wear crops.

Despite more than two years of running, calorie counting and eating (mostly) well, my thighs touch.

You can kind of see my conundrum here. My thighs are in the same area code all the time. To be fair, when I weighed 135 pounds in high school I still had pretty significant chafing. My legs are much more toned now too.

So when I wear shorts, I chafe. No matter how much Glide I apply, I still chafe.

That means I’ve come to love capris to the point that I’ve tried multiple different pairs.

As I mentioned before, I’m favoring longer ones this summer. The pair I’m wearing today (above) are Nike Relay running capris. I purchased them from earlier this year. At the time, my running pants were getting too warm to wear, but it still wasn’t nice enough for my short capris.

At $58, they weren’t as pricey as some of my other ones, but they fit the purpose. They are just black, tight pants basically. No frills outside of the Swoosh symbol. They are lightweight too.

The Nike capris were also my first pair of long capris since actually moving to running clothes at the beginning of 2011. I’m not even kidding. I used to run in cotton tights, basically, all the time. Then I finally moved into better clothes when I started doing half marathons (just the right time).

That led to more capris, I’m kind of embarrassed to confess.

I found the Lululemon Run: In the Sun Crop soon after. A photo of the side mesh areas is at the top of this blog.

These crops, at a whopping $88, are basically ten steps above the Nike ones. They are made of Lululemon’s Power Luxtreme. They have Circle Mesh in places were a lady is prone to sweating too. And they are smooth to the touch. I kind of fell in love in a way that I didn’t with the Nike capris.

I loved these so much, I purchased a second pair after getting some cash for my birthday.

In this photo, the crops appear more black than gray. But they are gray, with a wide waistband. The inner is more of a black color. The color here is called “deep coal.”

There’s a closeup of the waistband detail. These pants, as I mentioned before, are smooth and comfortable. I especially like the mesh sides that really breathe when I run. In fact, on the hottest days of the year, I prefer these crops. I wore them for the marathon in San Diego and the endurance run.

When I run, I literally feel as if the wind is coming through the mesh.

There’s another close-up of the mesh sides. The best part of these pants is that the mesh crunching doesn’t spread out where it’s straight. It actually looks pretty cute when worn.

I also recently purchased another pair of Lululemon crops which I’m kind of on the fence about still.

The Run: Inspire Crop II are beautiful in design. They are more basic than the Run in the Sun crops, not nearly as fancy on the sides. And they are a little bit longer as well.

The Inspire Crop II’s are basic at the top. You can see at this point that I have a bit of a love for basic black. I’m not big on branching out to new colors. The only area I am is in my shirt selections, which explains why I am big on buying bright colors lately, especially for running. Case in point are more Lululemon shirts.

Love the “ray” color from Lululemon.

The Inspire Crop II’s are also detailed near the bottom of the crop. They aren’t cheap, though, at $86.

The biggest difference between the Lululemon crops and the Nike capris come in the stitching. Lululemon pays close attention to detail when it comes to the stitching. The Nike ones seem to rise a little more than the Lululemon ones. It’s not a huge difference, but it’s enough that I notice more when I’m running in the Nike capris.

Plus, the Lululemon ones seem to “whish” in the thigh area a little bit better. (That’s really important. I may have fat little thighs, but I really don’t want sweat accumulation down there. I know, too much information.)

For me, crops are the only ways to go. Even if it’s warm outside, one of these pairs has become a go-to all seasons.