June Total Mileage & My Next Challenge

TSEliot

I didn’t quite hit 200 km’s this month ūüė¶ I know I should be increasing my mileage and¬†endurance since I am training for the Spartan Ultra Beast in August and the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon¬†in October. But sometimes, we have to listen to our bodies and take the rest that it is asking for. I have learned this lesson many times in the past when I would push my body and over train to the point of injury. :/

My total mileage for June is 155.59 km. Not 200 km but still happy with my finish this month. I will need to step it up in July if I want to take this next challenge in my life.

So my next challenge…!?!? ūüėÄ

I have officially registered for my first ultramarathon! Yep, posting this for all to see; so there’s no turning back now. That’s going to be 50 km of trail running at the Run for the Toad in October. This is also two weeks before my STWM marathon! It’s definitely going to be a challenge alright; but my goal for the 50 km race is to take it nice and easy and just finish. I’ve learned that in trail running, the goal is just finishing and not necessarily the time. Well, for me it is anyway. Each trail is different and even if it’s the same route as previous years,¬†other conditions play a huge factor in determining how fast you can run. I did my first trail race in May and have completed two trail races to date and I just love it. I have always loved my obstacle races because it always involves trail running. Now I’m taking it to the next level and giving this ‘ultramarathon’ running a try. I’m a bit nervous but I know I can do it. I just need to keep running and training hard and on race day; I will cross that finish line and become an ‘ultramarathoner’.

I may not be the fastest, I may not be the strongest but I’ll be damned if I’m not trying¬†my hardest. ‚̧

Try

May Total Mileage

GetStronger

I know I have not made a blog post in a while…but sometimes, life get busy ūüôā

Actually, I came back from my amazing European vacation and have been busy with races and catching up with the real world.

I also haven’t trained much since my Paris Marathon. My training was the actual races I run every weekend. lol. Even though I haven’t had many training runs until the last week of May, I still feel great. I did my first trail run (race review to follow) and am slowing increasing my mileage again.

My total mileage for May is 120.29 km. That’s still quite a bit (mainly races), so I am happy with that number. I can’t wait to increase both my mileage and endurance and train for the Spartan Ultra Beast in August and the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon¬†in October!

I’ve got a lot of race reviews to catch you all up on so they’ll be coming soon! Sorry for the delay. My longest race streak so far is seven weeks! ūüôā

Harry’s Spring Run-Off and Spartan Race Discount Code

Discount

 

Love race discounts? Well I’ve¬†got two discount codes for you today! Well.. one should have been posted yesterday, but life gets hectic sometimes. ūüôā

 

1.¬†Canada Running Series Harry’s Spring Run-Off¬†5k or 8k

Discount code: ‘NGUYEN‘ ¬†to register for $40 registration ($10 off the current registration price).

Enter the code in the ‚ÄúDiscount Code‚ÄĚ box when you sign up at: https://secure.eventsonline.ca/reg/crs/

Until midnight tonight only. Was extended from initial 24 hours due to registration problems. (I know, I should have posted this yesterday, but no time, I swear) ūüė¶

Harrys

 

2. Spartan Race Eastern Canada 

Discount code: ‘winter68‘ for 20%¬†off any Eastern Canada Spartan Race

From now until March 24th at 23:59 EST. (You have two weeks for this one) ūüôā

SR

Building Community Through Running

Maraboli

Three years ago, Canada Running Series¬†introduced a new ambassador program called the Digital Champions. Their goal was to build an online community of support for runners as they trained for the¬†Toronto Yonge Street 10k¬†and the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I am honoured to have been a part of the Digital Champions team. I have witnessed the growth of the running community in Toronto – from Running Room groups to the vast running crews we now have. I used to run by myself around my neighborhood; now I can always find someone to run with. It’s more motivating when you have someone to run with, especially when it’s cold out or when you need to get a long training run in. The Toronto running community is such an inspiring community of runners both online and off and you can always find someone or¬†some crew¬†running on any day of the week.

Through running, I¬†have met so many wonderful runners, who have become some of my closest friends. They have become my run buddies, my role model and my inspiration. I have¬†also grown to be a better runner. I have learned everything from which gels and chews to take to what kind of stretches I should be doing and clothes I should be wearing. Gone are the days of wearing regular Nike’s (not even the running ones) and cotton everything. Much is learned through my personal trial and error; but a lot is learned from my fellow runners.

The running community also challenges me. I am continuously learning and setting new challenges and goals for myself. Seeing, hearing and reading about everyone’s training for their various goal races inspires me to keep training to excel in mine. It motivates me to try new races and new distances. Perhaps a triathlon or an ultramarathon one day…? ūüôā

I am excited and honoured to announce that I am now a Canada Running Series Community Leader! Alongside 11 other ultra inspiring runners and friends of mine, we will be year-round ambassadors of Canada Running Series. We will be out in the community all year long, sharing the CRS mission of “building community through running” and hoping to continue to¬†inspire other runners. Catch us at the CRS races in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver; and connect with us anytime online via social media.

Check out all the Canada Running Series Community Leaders here and a more detailed bio of everyone here.

The running community has inspired me so much and I hope¬†that be living the best version of myself, that I can pay it forward and inspire others to live the best versions of themselves. ‚̧ xo. LN

InspirePeople InspireOthers

 

Happy Anniversary To My Tribe

tribe

My first run coming back from a shoulder injury and without a sling, happened to fall on the Tribe Fitness 1 year anniversary run. I plan to take the rest of the year off to recover and start running and training again in January but for my Tribe, I made an exception. ūüôā

I’ve been running with Tribe for almost a year now. It is the first running group that I joined; other than the paid half marathon clinic program that I did with the Running Room. From¬†my first run with Tribe to 1 year later; I have grown both as a runner and a person. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to meet some amazing runners and athletes from beginners to elites and of all different backgrounds. I have formed close friendships with some of the Tribe and am grateful they are now my #TribeBrothers and #TribeSisters; my #TribeFamily. I’ve learned a lot from the Tribe members and continually do so. The biggest thing I learned was how to run in polar vortex conditions. This was my first year running throughout the winter and I enjoyed it. I hate to admit it, but I am kinda looking forward to running in the winter again.

I trained for my longest race to date: Around The Bay 30k this past¬†March. I am thankful to have found a group of dedicated runners who were also training for ATB and thus helped pushed me to finish that race. It was hard getting up early on a Saturday in the winter when it was still dark out and taking the subway downtown to the Tribe meet up spot. Some days there were only a handful of us, or the weather would be brutally cold; but we showed up and knocked those kilometer’s out. Every Saturday,¬†I knew there would be a group of runners waiting to do a long run, whether I showed up or not. But I knew that¬†to be a better runner, you just have to run more. I am so thankful I did.¬†To that group of runners that motivated me to get out of bed on Saturday mornings, I sincerely thank you!

Thanks to my Tribe, I have grown¬†to become a better and more dedicated runner. I discovered that I’m a winter warrior and really enjoy winter running, I actually prefer it over humid summers any day. I’ve also grown as a person and discovered a new found passion, [although some of my friends might call it obsession ūüėČ ] with running. This year I also participated in the most road races ever. Good thing I had my Tribe along for all of those races, both running or cheering me on.

I am proud to be a member of Tribe Fitness, but I am more proud of the Tribe’s accomplishment. I’ve witnessed new runners completing their longest distance races ever to runners transitioning to and completing Triathlons and Ironmans. Not only am I proud of my¬†Tribe’s¬†accomplishments, but also motivated and inspired to grow and seek new challenges for myself. Who knows, maybe I will want to be an ultra runner or Traithlete as well. Over the year, I’ve learned that whatever goals or challenges I set for myself,¬†I will always¬†have a fabulous group of athletes there to support me, challenge me, motivate me and encourage me. To my Tribe and of course, our fearless leader Heather, I thank you! You will always have a special place in my heart. ‚̧

TribeClanPlenty of¬†run memories were created this year! Let’s take a¬†trip down memory lane with some of my favourite moments with the Tribe. It’s hard to believe it’s only been a year. There are so many photos, you can check out Tribe Fitness on Facebook for more.

My first run with Tribe

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What polar vortex..!? We even train hills in the winter and the last picture in this group is quite possibly the coldest day of the year in 2014!

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Tribe Ugly Sweater Run

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Around the Bay simulation run and shake out / race kit pick up run

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Jenna and I had a goal for 2014, but due to our injuries, is pushed to 2015. We will crush it!

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Spot the Olympian! ūüėČ

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Warmer weather is among us

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The time we crashed Twitter with our famous ‘Ellen’ selfie

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My birthday run! ‚̧

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The time a running magazine featured our picture from the Mississauga Marathon

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The time we decided to wear our new compression socks during a Saturday long run

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The time we decided to dress all in white and get colour bombs thrown at us

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Tribe Does Trail

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Tribe Scavenger Run

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The time we volunteered as pace monsters for the Ivivva kids 3k Monster Mash Dash

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What better way to celebrate 1 year of sweating for social good, than to have a run party and run around downtown Toronto to various checkpoints answering Tribe related trivia

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Can you see our Tribe shirts?

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Thanks to Vega Toronto and Oakley Canada for supporting Tribe at the RUNiversary and year roundtribeanniversary

Last but not least, check out the amazing statistics Tribe racked up in just 1 year! Thank You Tribe Fitness! We love you and proud to watch you continuously grow.

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Training For My First Marathon: 6 Week Countdown

GetStronger

With the prospect of completing my first marathon looming around the corner; ¬†I decided to write a weekly recap of my training and my road to STWM. Not for others to follow, but for myself. So that I can look back and see how far I’ve gotten, how much I’ve grown and how strong I’ve become, both as a runner and person.

Six weeks to go¬†and I am getting excited and nervous. I’ve had so many positive encouragement and feedback ever since I wrote about my¬†confessions¬†of running my first marathon. From family to friends and¬†other runners that¬†I don’t know or will ever have the pleasure of knowing or meeting other than on social media. I just wanted to say THANK YOU! Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and thank you for following me along on this new quest of mine.

With a lot of hard work, commitment and dedication, I cannot wait to finally be able to change my title to MARATHONER.

Weekly Training Recap: Monday, September 1st РSunday, September 7th, 2014. 

MoIMG_20140902_154217nday, September 1st

Thankfully it was a long weekend because I did not have time to do a long run on the weekend. I spent my Labour Day running the Culham Trail of Mississauga. It included hills, trails, gravel and some road. It was nice to explore new trails and push myself to achieve those extra kilometers in my training. I knew that if I did not run more than 30km, I would be behind in my training. This run was a difficult one. Especially since it was a sunny and humid day and running for a few hours in the heat was not how I would normally spend my holiday day off. I guess priorities change as my focus and goals change.

Tuesday, September 2nd

REST DAY (31km was the longest I’ve ever ran, so I figured I needed a rest day to recover)

Wednesday, September 3rd

Cross training and obstacle training day.IMG_20140903_214151

Not only am I training for my first marathon; but I am also training for the Spartan Race World Championship in Killington, Vermont on Saturday, September 20th! It will be my first time participating in a U.S. Spartan Race and it will be alongside some of the Elites from all over the world. I can’t wait!! More to come on the World Championship in a separate blog.

 I do my obstacle training at Alpha Obstacle Training in Toronto.

Thursday, September 4th

IMG_20140905_070502I¬†run with the¬†Night Terrors¬†Run Crew (NTRC) on Thursdays for a #doubledigitsthursday long run. A few of us did a pre run before the official run with the rest of the crew.¬†It was a special run as it was the Night Terrors Run Crew LA’s 1 year anniversary. We had a surprise route that mapped out¬†the shape of the word LA. It was pretty neat. After the run, I ran a little over 2km back to the subway station to go home. Running a half marathon and then some on a weeknight feels amazing. I can already tell I’m becoming a stronger runner. Training for a half marathon before¬†seemed really hard; now I am doing them on weeknights!

Friday, September 5th

REST DAY

Saturday, September 6th

IMG_20140906_162337Alpha Obstacle Training organizes an in house race once a month and Saturday was the Alpha OCR Series #7. I ran the¬†race with my OCR team P4ID. It was a lot of fun and a good OCR fix since the Spartan Race Eastern Canada season ended in July. It’s not hilly compared to a Spartan Race, but it was a good challenge and my ideal way¬†to spend a Saturday morning; climbing monkey bars, flipping over cargo nets, climbing ropes and walls, flipping tires and lots more fun obstacles.

Sunday, September 7th

I try to get one long run in on the weekend and it’s usually on Saturday with my Tribe Fitness; but when I have a race, I run on Sunday with NTRC. Our goal for Sunday was 36km. We ended up beasting 38km and it was my longest run ever!¬†Since training for STWM, every week has been my longest run ever. We ran through trails, road and along the Lakeshore. It was an awesome route and a hot day. By the end of the run, I was feeling the humidity. We picked up the pace the last 2km because at that point, I just wanted the run to be over with. I was hot, tired and hungry. Surprisingly when the run was over, other than feeling hungry, tired and a little sore; my legs felt okay. I was not in pain like during the early days of my long runs and training. With every run, I get stronger. Both physically and mentally.

This week capped of my highest mileage week EVER for me! 105km in 6 days and I feel fantastic!! I won one of my Nike Running challenges of 100km in a month. I have been running over 100km every month since January 2014; but never would I imagine I would run over 100km in a week! This was definitely a milestone week for me. I don’t know if I can run over 100km in a week regularly, or even again; but I do know that I am becoming a stronger runner and that I am ready to crush my first full marathon! ūüôā

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This was one of our picture¬†points and our view on Sunday’s long run. Toronto! My city! What a beautiful view. ūüôā

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Nike Women’s Half Marathon – Washington D.C.

DC

In November 2013, I entered the lottery to run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon with some of my friends. I was ecstatic when we were selected in December to run the race. It would be my second half marathon and my first big race outside of Canada. This was also a week after my big milestone birthday; so what better way to celebrate, than running a half marathon and getting a Tiffany necklace at the end! This was¬†my main reason¬†to register. A¬†finisher medal in the form of a Tiffany necklace. What girl does not like Tiffany!? ūüôā

Race Registration:

In November, you had to enter into a lottery as¬†either an individual, with a team (max 10/team) or as a college student. I started a team and sent the team¬†link to my friends to join.¬†Although the¬†race name is Nike Women’s Half Marathon, guys could enter as well. I had two guys on my team who¬†I ran the race with. A credit card was required during the registration process but would only be charged if you were one of the 15,000 runners selected. We received our¬†acceptance email in early December. It was an¬†awesome early¬†Holiday gift!

The cost was $175 USD to enter. After conversion, it was almost $200 CAD. I guess that would be an accurate price for some Tiffany bling.

Race Expo:

The flight to D.C. was full of women who were participating in the Half Marathon. I didn’t realize there were some many from Toronto going to the race. I travelled with a friend and as soon as we landed and dropped our luggage off at the hotel, we made our way to the expo. At the ‘Expotique’, we picked up our bib and T-shirt. We met up with two of my friends and team members and took a group photo by the ‘We Run’ sign. The expo wasn’t the same as the expos we have in Toronto. For Toronto race expos, we have various vendors¬†in which you can purchase running related items, sample some fuel or protein/energy bars or learn about other races being offered. In D.C, the expo had no vendors. It was in a tent. You can get your gait analyzed and check out the Nike shoes. There was a¬†station where you can sample stuff like Luna bars and a Nuun station for electrolytes.¬†You can¬†wait in¬†line to get¬†your hair done by one of the hair stylists there. The only line¬†I waited in was to get a custom¬†cheer sign made. You¬†select one of the templates/phrases and can customize the wording at top.¬†After a¬†quick walk around of the expo, we headed to the Nike Georgetown store. This was where you would be able to purchase¬†exclusive Nike merchandise designed for the D.C. Half Marathon. The women’s had a selection of items to choose from while the men’s only had an exclusive T-shirt. On the way to the Nike store, we passed by the famous¬†wall displaying all the participants name. I eventually found my name and took a picture beside it. It was cool that Nike Women’s Runs have this wall at all their races.

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Race Kit:

The kit included a chip timed bib, a technical T-shirt and a wrist band of your corral colour. They had women’s shirts or unisex shirts. No men’s specific.

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Parking:

Our hotel was about a 10 minute walk from the start/finish area. So it was a nice and short walk. Although, the morning walk was pretty cold.

Pre-Race:

This was my first big American race, and boy was it big. The corrals were very spaced out with the break being a whole intersection wide. I wasn’t used to seeing such a huge gap between corrals, but it was nice because you had more room to walk. Upon entering, there was someone there to check your wristbands and make sure you were wearing one and were in the correct corral. The corrals were very spaced out and I did not feel cramped like most races here in Toronto. Washington streets are also very wide. For the pre-race, there was a DJ and speakers along the sides so you could hear the music all the way in the last corral. I actually heard the music before I even got to the start area. I really enjoyed the pre-race because not only was the music so loud at 6am in the morning, but it got you pumped up for the race. Most races here, I can barely hear the announcer if I am in the later corrals. There were some Nike Training Club members leading stretches and you could hear them over the speakers. This is one of my favourite pre-race so far.

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Race Course:

The 13.1 mile race course ran along most of the Washington monuments. From The White House, to the Monument and various Memorials, to the University and along the waterfront. It was such a scenic and beautiful course. My friends and I decided to run the race slow and enjoy the views. There were many school bands and cheerleaders along the course as well. There was even an announcer and a photographer at the ‘finish line’ arc around the 10th mile or so announcing your name and taking your picture as you ran through. I thought this was really neat because I’ve only heard them announce names at the finish line, not during a race. It was fun and gives you that little push of motivation. What was different and fun about this race was that they actually had DJ stations – there was a pole that said DJ and all! With the bands and DJ’s along the route, it was basically a big party that stretched 13.1 miles.

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Water/Aid Stations:

What I really loved about this race was that there was a water station and porta-potty every 2 miles. Since I knew I was going to be running slow and taking advantage of all the water stations, I did not even run with my water belt. This was my first long run ever without a water belt. It honestly felt great and light. Maybe it even made me run faster..? ūüôā We stopped at all the water stations. There was also an orange station with buckets of sliced oranges, and my favourite – towards the end of the race (maybe 12th or 13th mile), there was a chocolate truffle station!! OMG! #mindblown. The chocolates were similar to the Lindors chocolates but these were from Whole Foods. It tasted so good and provided a nice final push. After the chocolate station, there were a few employees with handfuls of chocolates so I grabbed another one. Who can resist chocolate?! Especially at a race where you need some energy in your system. They should have a chocolate station at every race!

Volunteers:

There were plenty of volunteers at the race start/finish area and along the course. It was a well organized event. There were volunteers at the water stations and along the course handing out chocolate truffles and Oreos. Although, I’m not sure if they were volunteers or spectators.

Spectators:

There were lots of spectators throughout the entire course. I don’t think there was any point that I did not hear cheers or people screaming in the crowds. Even along the waterfront, there were spectators. One thing that was common and different than a race I’ve participated in locally, was that spectators were holding blown up faces of their family/friends who were running the race. I thought it was strange to see an oversized picture of someone’s head shot in the crowd. Then I noticed a lot more faces and figured it must be an American thing. ūüôā

Team in Training had a big presence at the race as well. What I noticed was that the coaches would all run back to run with their runners. I passed a few of them running towards me and motivating their team. It was a nice sight to see and not only did it motivate their team members, but it also gave us a push as motivation as well.

Post-Race:

Now this was my favourite part! The part I was looking forward to most – getting my Tiffany finisher’s necklace. Crossing the finish line of this race felt amazing. I felt like I was in a stadium and everyone watching and cheering me on. The roads are so wide in D.C. and they had two finishing arches side by side. Spectators were behind the fences on either side of the road but they were so far away. Comparing this race to one of our local big race – the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon – the atmosphere was the same, but you didn’t have spectators so close to you that you could touch them. At this race, you can hear them but because they were so far away, the cheers echoed through the streets and it really felt like entering a stadium. Once we crossed the finish line, there was a table with a Whole Foods paper bag that consisted of crackers and snacks; we were also given a reusable water bottle, exclusive for the event. I really liked the reusable water bottle idea because it saves them from using excess cups (I’m guilty of sometimes taking more than one cup of water at the finish line), but it was also a nice bottle that I can reuse and work out in and show off my accomplishment because it said Nike Women’s Half Marathon Washington D.C on it. We then had to get in a lineup to receive our Tiffany necklace. There were various lineups and men in suits and gloves handing you the little blue box. You could take a picture with them as well, which I did. Once passed this line, there were optional lines to get some more photos taken with more men in suits – some carrying a tray of little blue boxes. I didn’t wait in this line because it was too long and I already had my photo op with them.

The post-race tent was also my favourite!! I had never seen such a tent that included many post race activities. Upon entering, volunteers handed out Neutrogena wipes (this was an amazing idea!). There were sections with mirrors where you can freshen up and check yourself out. There was another section that had yoga mats and foam rollers where you can do some foam rolling and stretching! There were trainers to assist you as well if needed. I thought this was wonderful because it’s definitely good to foam roll after a race and I didn’t have to wait to get back to my hotel to foam roll. I would probably forget to as well. There was a line for this, but it wasn’t long so I did some post race stretching and foam rolling. It felt so amazing! Another fave is that they had charging stations! Lots of charging docks for all types of phones. Such a neat idea because my phone had minimal battery life after the run due to my Nike Running app being on and all the picture/video taking during the run. I didn’t want to wait for the charging stations though so we left the tent after the stretching.

There was another lineup after the tent and this one was for the merchandise. I decided to wait in this lineup because I wanted to purchase the exclusive finisher’s merchandise. They also had the exclusive D.C. collection in case you didn’t purchase it from the Nike Georgetown store. Once I got to a cash register, they had no more finisher’s sweaters left so I settled on a finisher’s shirt. The prices were the same as what you would pay for a Nike technical shirt. There were no finishers merchandise for guys, just the one D.C. collection shirt.

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Would I Run It Again:

I would ABSOLUTELY run this race again! It’s one of my favourites so far. I had so much fun and the experience was phenomenal. Everything from start to finish was amazing and well executed. It definitely felt like a party than a race. I had such a great time with my friends during the race and touring Washington as well. There are so many sights and monuments to see that we didn’t even fit it all in. I need to go back to see everything I missed. Perhaps for the race again or even just to visit. All the staff, volunteers, spectators and the locals were very friendly and welcoming. The streets were very wide and surprisingly clean too; something I did not expect for a city. I would run this race again but also register for the Nike San Francisco race. I can only imagine how awesome that experience would be as well since Nike Women’s Runs events are so well executed and fun to participate in. It didn’t even feel like I ran a half marathon; and those are the best kind of races. No injuries, no pain, no soreness; just having fun and enjoying the experience.

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