Nike Women’s Marathon Race Pre-Report

Holy shit.

I did it. Completed a marathon. Crazy, crazy, crazy. So this installment isn’t about the actual running of the race, mile by mile or how it felt, it’s about the other stuff. The real race report is coming up next.

So the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. In reverse.

The Ugly

Me. I can’t imagine how bedraggled I must have looked to have so many people ask me if I was okay.

The Bad

Well, it was San Francisco, so of course there were hills. However, the steep cable car hills you picture are the EASY ones. They’re short and steep, over in a couple of minutes. The killers are the LOOOONG hills.


Just look at that. Mile 10 through 14 is essentially one long ass hill. Climbing roughly 200 feet in 3 1/2 miles, running. After you’ve already run 10 miles.

The weather wasn’t good either. It started out ideal, low 50′s, slightly overcast. Perfect for running. Then it started to rain. Then pour. Then the wind picked up. It wasn’t terrible and it certainly could have been worse, but it wasn’t fun.

Now even on the best of weather days, they hand out these “blankets” at the end of marathons. I’m sure you’ve seen the tinfoil looking things wrapped around runners. When you’ve been running for several hours, your body temperature is pretty high and when you stop running you can get cold very quickly. Add to that low temps, rain and wind and it’s a potential for disaster. Well, guess what? The Nike Women’s Marathon RAN OUT OF BLANKETS. That’s right, when I crossed the finish line there were no more blankets. I even went to the Red Cross tent and THEY were out of blankets. I headed to the massage tent, mostly because with single-minded stubbornness I had been telling myself I would get a massage after the race. No matter that I was probably a bit delirious, I was getting a massage, dammit! They had no blankets or towels. Someone was kind enough to get me a couple of paper towels. So I dried off and hopped on the table. The two people giving me my massage were quickly disturbed by my freezing cold skin, inability to warm up, and constant shivering. They finally found me a race “blanket” and eventually moved me over to the heater for the tent. I must have been kind of out of it because I got a stern lecture from the guy in charge that if I was shivering again once I left, I was to head IMMEDIATELY to the Red Cross tent.

More bad. Part of the reason I ran this race was for the bling. A necklace designed by Tiffany rather than a medal. I staggered across the finish line, burst into tears and took my blue box. Only to have a woman hand me a card, telling me that it was a prior year’s necklace, and they RAN OUT of this year’s. Really Nike? WTF?!

The last bad was the food. I’ve been to 5k races that had freaking buffets lined up afterward. What did I get after running 26.2 miles in the pouring rain? A soggy bagel. That’s right. A Gatorade and a soggy bagel. Call me crazy, but you MIGHT want to provide a bit more fuel for people who have JUST RUN A MARATHON.

The Good

This marathon in particular has a lot of “Team in Training” runners. These are frequently newer runners who join teams to train together, they also raise lots and lots of money to fight cancer. I’ve heard some negative comments about Team in Training races. The cheerers (and they have lots of them) only cheer for Team in Training runners and no one else. They run five across and don’t let people pass (not maliciously, they just don’t run aware of others or race etiquette). Etc.

HOWEVER, I will say I witnessed none of that. I had several Team in Training coaches run alongside me and give me encouragement (I told you I must have looked bad). I even had a few Team in Training runners run alongside me and give me encouragement. The spectators were AWESOME. I put my name on my shirt in pink duct tape and LOADS of people cheered for me. The volunteers for this race were AWESOME. Always cheering and yelling when they handed out water or gatorade, standing out for hours in the cold rain.

Lots of support and encouragement evident throughout the day.

If you ever feel you are losing your faith in humanity, run a marathon. People came together and helped eachother and it was incredibly heartwarming.

  • Ken

    You overcame all that crap and still finished. Freakin’ awesome!

    See you at LS10!

  • http://www.fastfoodzen.com Garrett Wolthuis

    Congratulations on finishing! :)

    It sucks that the race organizers didn’t anticipate the amount of supplies and food needed. Although you’d think if everyone registered they would have.

  • Mike

    Well done Kathy. Forget medals and blankets and buffets, the pride of accomplishment will last forever. And no-one can tell you that you have run out of that!

  • Ken

    Oops . . I meant LS11.


  • Barry

    Congrats! Long after the annoyances fade away from memory, the glow from your accomplishment will last.


  • http://www.runningnotes.net Kathy Brown

    Thanks all! It really helped knowing you’d all be here to read about it when I was done.

  • http://www.houseworkheroes.com.au/ George Williams

    Congratulations on running your marathon! That’s a really cool elevation profile graph you’ve got embedded in your post. I was wondering how you made it? I’m hoping it’s some sort of gadget you can wear that tracks your elevation as you run? Pretty please tell me I’m right. I want one!

  • http://www.frbsf.org/ Robert Fong

    It’s a very brave and hard thing that you did – running your first marathon. I remember all the endurance runs I’ve run where I had to take a gut check (or more than one) just to finish. You can look back and know that you have the mental toughness to finish what you started. I actually thought about you on that rainy Sunday morning and was pretty sure you’d finish – despite the rain adding to your misery. I think we are very proud of you for having shared your journey in running and completing such a big step. I’d like to think that the next one (whatever it is) will be easier for you. See you @ LS11