Running the streets of San Francisco is like breaking out of captivity, a rebel who just wants the freedom to run his/her heart out. That’s because streets that are normally full of cars, cabs, buses, trolleys, etc. are full of thousands of runners for one morning. The hustle and bustle, horns, and yells of The City turn into heavy breathing, laughter, and pitter patter of feet.
The Nike Woman’s Marathon in San Francisco is one of the most sought-after races. People sign up about 6 months in advance, hoping to win the lottery to get in. That’s partly because the race ends with firefighters in Tuxedos handing out Tiffany’s necklaces. My best friend Alisa Kress is a sponsored athlete for Paul Mitchell so they asked her to incite a team to run as part of “Team PM.” Alisa, Katie, Celine, Natalie and I LOVE being dubbed “curlfriends!” We appreciate this opportunity so much. We know how special it is and truly feel privileged. I just want to say Nike and Paul Mitchell are awesome… and so is Alisa! THANK YOU!!
Months prior to the 2014 race, the girls started running together on Sundays. They all live in Sacramento and I’m in San Diego but I still managed to visit on a few Sundays to join in. The year prior I was still living in Sacramento so we ran together every chance we could. I’ll often run shorter routes ( 4-6 miles) during the week and saved Sundays for our long run (8-10 miles). Time flies when you’re running with your “curlfriends.” Most of us have trained in the gym together for years so this is another healthy activity that allows us more time to be together. Caution: laughter while running can take your breath away a little more often than running solo, but it’s so worth it.
We treat race weekend as a girls’ getaway. We booked a room at a fancy hotel during the 2014 race and crammed 5 of us in there. Carb-loading before a race is so much more fun when you get to do it all day in SF with your besties. But the night before race day feels a little restless. It feels like the alarm rings before I actually fall asleep. We are out the door before the sun rises and we become part of this massive herd of people who line the streets. The run itself feels like a party at first. Everyone is amped and adrenaline takes over. We are chatty and laughing and cheering with strangers. Then the miles takeover. By mile 6-10 I really felt my body. Sore hamstrings, tight lower back, gurgling stomach… I was having all kinds of issues. But unlike most races, this time I had 4 of my best friends there with me to grab my hand if I lagged or to wait for me at the top of a hill. Seeing their smiley faces and hearing Alisa say her famous words “get it gurrrrrrllll!” made the grueling route a lot less tough. I could still find a way to enjoy every step because of the company I kept… or who stayed with me, rather.
By mile 11 I started envisioning the finish line and it’s amazing how that helps provide a nice jolt. The shock blocks help too. The Nike Woman’s Half also attracts several spectators who are so crucial in giving runners some much-needed energy. Cheerleaders and DJs pump up the mood with their smiles and music. Then comes the most glorious sight during every race… the end! We all promised to cross the finish line holding hands and that makes me teary eyed every time. Such great emotions! WE DID IT!
Curlfriends for life all because “We Run SF” as part of Team Paul Mitchell! #SportYourStyle