the race of my life. [NWM 14 race recap]

25 Oct

Last Sunday I ran the Nike Women’s 13.1 in San Francisco (thanks again, #NikeLA for having me!)  It was an incredible race in so many ways — I want to share all of the aspects of the weekend but the race recap comes first.

I spent Saturday night at my aunt and uncle’s house in Oakland.  They cooked an incredible pre-race feast (post Cal game — post on that to come) and I did the usual pre-race shilling for instagram likes photo. (Isn’t it cool how well I know myself?)

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My uncle graciously dropped me off near Union Square at about 6 AM (the race started at 6:30), and they later met me at the finish at Marina Green.  There was a little bit of traffic coming off the freeway, but it was not nearly as bad as the time I ran #RnRSD when Jenn drove me to the start and traffic was so bad I freaked out, left a car full of people and ran to the start, so I wasn’t sweating it.  I walked to my corral and it was super easy.

I’ve done NWM twice before (in 2011 and 2012). This is the 11th year of the event and with that came a brand new course.  We started in Union Square, meandered through the Tenderloin, popped into Golden Gate Park, wound through the presidio (and up a pretty steep hill around mile 11) and finished in the Marina.  I LOVED the new course — it was pretty challenging, but it was a great blend of scenic views, rolling hills, and a couple of steep grades.

I seeded myself in the second corral (6:00-7:59/mile pace).  It was incredibly thin, which was awesome.  I don’t think I’ve ever started out that close.

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The race started just a few minutes later and we were off!  My only criticism of the course is that I wish we’d started at 7 or so – my first 5 miles were in the dark.

Before the race started, I tweeted that I didn’t plan to PR and my goals were just to have fun and enjoy the day.  Famous last words (Spoiler Alert: PR ahead).  Again right before the start, I took a deep breath and reminded myself not to go out too fast, to have fun, and to just chill out.  I wanted to keep as even splits as possible, even if they were on the faster side.

The race started and I went out fast — not crazy fast, but more like comfortably hard.

In the second mile, I noticed a couple of familiar runners pass me on my left side. HOLY COW.  I was literally rubbing elbows with Joan Benoit Samuelson, Shalane Flanagan, and Jordan Hasay.  These women are crazy inspiring.  I didn’t cry, but it was just an insane moment of “how is this happening” and “what the heck are you doing up here, Gillian?!?!” and an overwhelming feeling of luck and gratitude.  I settled into my pace after the third mile or so and enjoyed the course and my jams.

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The best moment of the race may or may not have been when this song came on my iPod as I came off the final hill. I also may or may not have yelled YES!!!! at that point, too.  I also loved seeing the November Project cheering squad at that big hill as well — Pavement Runner said they’d be out there in full force and they were. I totally fed off their energy at that point.

Splits:

  • Mile 1: 6:56
  • Mile 2: 6:49
  • Mile 3: 7:40
  • Mile 4: 7:13
  • Mile 5: 7:09
  • Mile 6: 6:57
  • Mile 7: 6:50
  • Mile 8: 7:31
  • Mile 9: 7:29
  • Mile 10: 7:21
  • Mile 11: 8:08 (HUGE hill)
  • Mile 12: 6:45
  • Mile 13: 7:14
  • 0.3: 1:58

Total Time: 1:36:02 (PR) – My garmin had 13.29 miles for an average pace of 7:14.

101st finisher (of about 25,000).

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Needless to say, it was an incredible race. I cannot believe I ran as fast as I did and I kept thinking “what are you doing, you’re going to have to stop at mile 8 and walk the rest of the way” but that never happened.  My splits were decently consistent, and I never felt super gassed out. I also felt strong when I finished.

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The moral of the story is never trust anything I put on twitter.

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But seriously — this whole weekend was really crazy and reminded me obviously how much I love this sport but also how far I have come as an a runner and as an athlete.  I was the slowest kid on my youth track team, was consistently the 8th fastest girl on my HS cross country team (top 7 is varsity), and did my first half marathon in 2007 in 1:57.  My previous NWM times were 1:48 and 1:47.  Never in a million years would I DREAM of running the race I did last weekend.  The whole race was like an out of body experience watching someone else’s race as opposed to actually living it. This was a great reminder that if I can do this and see this much improvement, just about anyone should be able to.

It also makes me think I should reassess some of my goals (like helllooooo maybe it’s time to get your life together Gillian and train for a BQ).

Anyway, I don’t mean to #humblebrag (okay may I do just a little) but NWM 13.1 was awesome and I can’t wait for next year.

What was your best race ever?? 

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4 Responses to “the race of my life. [NWM 14 race recap]”

  1. Angela October 25, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

    So flipping inspired by you, Gillian…way to go!

    • Gillian @ That's G October 25, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

      Awww. So sweet. And dude I would not be half the runner I am if it hadn’t been for the four years we spent together!!

      • Angela October 25, 2014 at 1:46 pm #

        😀 By the way any chance you’re doing Santa to the Sea?

  2. Brittany October 25, 2014 at 8:55 pm #

    SO LEGIT! Way to kill it in this race.

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