Fitness Swellness: Preparing for the Nike Women’s San Francisco Half-Marathon

October 1, 2014


As you may know, I’m running the Nike Women’s San Francisco Half-Marathon on October 19, 2014. It is my second time running the half (I ran the full marathon last year — the marathon distance is no longer part of the event, though).

This year, I’m joined by three other amazing ladies: Sasha Exeter, freelance writer and founder of, Melissa Greer from Best Health magazine, and Justine Iaboni from Kenton Magazine. It’s the first half-marathon race for these three ladies, and I’m so excited for them. I know they’re going to rock it.

We were whisked by Nike Canada over to New York City this past Saturday to do a 12-mile training run in Central Park with the Nike NYC crew and head Nike+ Coach,  Coach Bennett. I’ve never run in Central Park, and have only visited a few pockets of it, so it was such a treat to get to run there. “I need to move to New York just so I can run in this park,” is what I thought as I logged the 12 miles and enjoyed the pretty views.

I’ve been under the weather with a cold and sleeping poorly, so I was a bit nervous about traveling and running 18k, but I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity so I decided I would go slower than my usual long-run pace, and that I’d stop at the halfway point if I was overtired.


We met with the Nike NYC crew at the Nike Running store in the Upper East Side (after a quick shopping stop at Niketown — I’ve added so many items to my gear wishlist!) at noon. It was a sunny, hot day (in the 80s, that’s hot, people!) and Coach Bennett stressed that we should hydrate well (and use some water to cool down our bodies, too) and take it nice and slow and to simply try to forget about the distance we had to complete and just zone out. You have to dial back your run to suit the conditions, and with the hot weather and the hills on the loops we had planned, you don’t want to push too hard.

I kept a slow pace and it wasn’t a very great run for me given I was congested, coughing and my ears were blocked all day but I was able to complete the 12 miles. The fresh air did help me breathe easier and the views of the park and talking to one of the pacers, @jeslynnyc on Instagram (she runs ultras, as in 50 miles races, and one 100 mile race!) were just the inspiration I needed in these last few weeks leading up to the Chicago Marathon and the San Fran half.

With 12 miles done, I took advantage of asking Coach Bennett what I should do in the week after the Chicago Marathon before the San Fran half-marathon.

“Other than see a psychiatrist?” he joked (or maybe he was only half joking…). A marathon can take a big toll on your body and mentally, too, so planning two races so close together is maybe a bit crazy (“Crazy” is in fact what he called me). In the past, I’ve done a 10k race a week after a marathon, two halfs two weeks apart, and two marathons a month apart, but never a marathon and half a week apart, so I am more than a little anxious.

He recommended taking Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off and doing absolutely nothing other than resting. Then Thursday and Friday, plan to go out to run for an hour or a little over an hour, but at a very easy, comfortable pace. He told me not to focus on the distance but just the time at an easy pace. This way your body isn’t getting a pounding (key after putting it through 42.2 kilometres) but you’re getting your body moving and your heart pumping. And on the Saturday the day before the half, a short, easy run to shake out the muscles.

Am I full of anxiety? Yes. Having this cold doesn’t help either (but at least I got sick well in advance of the races). But I have a plan.  And a great crew of girls I’ll be running with in San Fran. So, really, all is good.

11 days to the Chicago Marathon…

18 days to the Nike Women’s San Francisco Half-Marathon…

2014-09-27 15.47.59-2


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