The SF Marathon 1st half recap

Hi! How are you? Me, I’m great.

I can’t believe I can say I’m now a 13 time half marathon finisher. Isn’t that like a golden celebration, like when you turn the age of your date of birth?

Last year I signed up for the 2nd half marathon at The SF Marathon (you can do the first half or second half as a 13.1) the day I left my job. I didn’t really know anything about the event but I needed something to lift my spirits.

I knew last year after I ran that event that I would have to do the first half of the course this year because I’m a planner like that 😊. So naturally I signed up ages ago. I never actually got a confirmation email so when I went to the expo to get my stuff, I prayed I was actually registered (they told me over Facebook chat I was but none of their emails came through. So weird). I signed up for this event ages before I was even considering running a marathon at the end of the Summer but fortunately the timing worked out well.

Anyhow, there were some changes to the event after I registered. The first half marathon was supposed to go over the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s a long story, but about 4 weeks before the event it was announced that that would not be happening due to permitting issues. I was bummed but it was what it was and I still wanted to run.

Another item which wasn’t a change but I didn’t learn til just days before the race is that they don’t allow backpacks with bladders on course. I’ve been using my trusty camelbak for ages so that freaked me out. Luckily I found my old handheld and it worked for getting it done.

Coach Patrick and I had decided it would be best to run this all out for a baseline for my upcoming 26.2. I know these events are super different since Santa Rosa is flat and this was not, but I needed some kind of assessment to push myself and feel more grounded for what I can manage on race day.

So, to recap!

Saturday, July 28

The event hosts a shakeout run at the expo Saturday morning. I drove down really early and met up with my gal pals and we did the shakeout run and attended the expo together. It was a blast, despite us being slower pace because my friends are awesome at ran at my pace with me, so we lost the group and made up our own shakeout run course.

Because the event didn’t allow backpacks, I didn’t have anywhere to put my phone so I bought a SPIbelt at the expo. Nothing else really peeked my interest but we did enjoy lots of photos and giggles.

I had brunch AND lunch with my fabulous friends before going to my sister’s and brother in law’s house to have dinner and spend the night. They always spoil me when it’s a race weekend and make me the most delicious meals. 🤤

My dad also supported my night before a race carbs and brought a pie over for dinner 🤣

After lots of eating and lots of family time I fell asleep around 9:30 because the alarm was set for 4:40. Clothes were laid out and ready to go.

Sunday, July 29

Clearly the source of my good luck was this awesome drawing my four year old nephew taped on the door for me.

My brother in law gave me a ride to the start which was so generous and great. Dealing with parking down there is a nightmare. I got there as the last few waves of marathon runners was starting, and they announced the first place marathon lead was running a 5:12 pace and was about 10k in at that point 😮😮😮.

My wave was the last wave so we started about 6:50. Off we went.

I had a plan in place for running the event. I told myself to shoot for the first six miles around 1:22-1:24 pace and the run mile 7 and then get the last six miles a little faster than the first six. I knew that was ambitious given that all the hills were in the back half.

My first mile split was pretty solid but I freaked myself out that I wasn’t settling into a groove well. I needed a sign and I got one. My husband and I had our first date at the aquarium on Pier 39, and right as I ran past it “Can’t Stop the Feeling” came on (which was my theme during my first marathon training in 2016) and lasted up until I ran past the restaurant we had dinner at on Fisherman’s Wharf the day be proposed to me. Okay running gods, touché.

As we got into Crissy Field the wind was head on and it was strong. I was not expecting that. It was a beast to run through, and definitely made me make some decisions about how I tackled those miles because I knew I had to save myself for the hills. I stayed even and kept my head down and just barreled through it without trying to push too hard, but it definitely wore me down.

Finally by the time I got to mile 6 some climbing began, with a huge climb at mile 7. I knew I was gonna lose time on the ups so I made up for it on the downhills. It was the only way I could even attempt maintaining a speed.

It was a bummer running with my handheld because I lost time at the aid stations. My backpack can carry 50 ounces and my handheld about 16, and with the amount of fluids I lost running those hills and sweating I knew I had to stop a lot. I stopped at almost every aid station, which really killed me.

After the one big initial climb of a hill going up to the bridge area, the rest of the hills felt a little less daunting. I’m glad I’ve been doing lots of hill running lately. At one point I laughed to myself and thought “a half marathon is basically two Thursday tempo run days since I do like six miles those days”. It really put it into perspective for me.

It was hard to recover after that wind but I knew I had to keep going. I was eating Skratch Labs chews every 45 minutes and taking in Nuun at the aid stations which helped.

I kept a pair of gloves on until mile 6.5. I could have tossed them sooner but wanted to keep them on until after I got out from near the ocean. Glad I kept them on that long. Helped keep me warm without adding an extra layer.

Around mile 9 when I was in golden gate park, my watch flashed a LOW BATTERY signal. Now, I didn’t charge my Garmin the night before because I thought I would be ok and I prayed to the running gods that my battery would last (luckily it did). I laughed because my friend Melissa and I ran at the shakeout run the day before and her watch died and it died when we ran Dirty Dozen, so in my head I thought “quit trying to be like Melissa’s watch and knock it off” 🤣🤣🤣🤣

Honestly miles 9-the end are kind of a blur. I was determined to run the hills which I did. A lot of people slowed down to walk them but I powered up them like a champ. That’s a good feeling.

Things I kind of remember while running:

    If you honk at the course monitors because you’re annoyed the road is blocked off, they’ll just smile at you and dance to ignore you and high five the runners
    I saw some people doing tai chi in golden gate park
    I remember being so tired and one point towards the end and saw some half marathoners walking and holding hands on the course and thought to myself “WHY ARE YOU SO HAPPY WE ARE ALL SWEATING TO DEATH OUT HERE”
    I was glad I decided to run in shorts and a tank even though it was cool temps.
    At one point I was trying to do math about how long it would take me to finish. To hard to run and do math at the same time. Stick to one.
    I really thought I was gonna come in under 3 hours but missed it by a hair.
    I knew the course was going to be long because around mile 5 my watch was not in sync with the mile markers and stayed that way.

Getting to the finish line was amazing. I also felt a little disoriented since I had run so hard. That hasn’t happened in a while. The course was long (13.2) and I got a second medal for running both half marathons back to back.

My sister came and picked me up which was awesome. She also brought me a chocolate and a ham and cheese crossaint and some Gatorade. I ate both crossaints. Don’t judge 🤣

I ran negative splits by ten seconds (ILL TAKE IT!) which is a good feeling because my watch said I had 700 feet elevation gain….

I’m sore and I’m tired but I’m feeling good. Proud. 26.2 at The SF Marathon next year? We’ll see….

Cheers squad!


Dirty Dozen recap

Hello! How are you? Me, I’m great. Excited to share my recap of the Brazen Racing Dirty Dozen!

If I wasn’t training for a marathon I don’t know that I would have been compelled to sign up for this, but since I take my long runs on Saturday this fell perfectly into my schedule and I got a free race entry for volunteering at a race in June!

The premise of the event is that you can either do 6 hours or 12 hours. The course is a 3.37 mile loop and at the start area there is a camp area you can set up camp at to change, rest, refill water etc. At the final hour (5th and 11th hours) they open a little loop which is about a half mile you can complete to get more miles in. If you aren’t back at the finish line when your event ends, whatever loop you were in does not get credited to your total mileage. They also have a 5k/10k in the morning and another in the evening you can run in addition to your 6/12 hour event or just on their own. Capiche?

I was signed up for the 6 hour event. I had to do at least 17 miles per my training plan. I went to Fleet Feet two days before the event and asked Coach Patrick if I was feeling ok if I could do more. He said yes, but no more than 20 (don’t worry, wasn’t a concern!). Deal.

My husband was doing the event too but was more excited about what food they were serving than how many miles he was gonna run 😂


We rented a canopy from Sports Basement and had a cooler and a wagon full of stuff to set up our camp area. Hauling it up to the race was not fun.

Many of my friends were running the event so we set up camp next to them. We picked up our bibs and I was less than thrilled to see my number 😑

7:00 am and we were off, but not without a FtoF selfie 😍

Time to run!

My friend Melissa was there too doing the 12 hour, and she has been a great friend through my marathon training. She is training for a marathon the week after mine so we have been bonding daily over how our training is going. It’s neat to share this experience with someone. When I was lined up for the event to start, she was walking over and found me and we started running together. At first it was a rather hearty crowd of people, but since I was doing run/walk intervals, I seeded myself towards the back and eventually the crowd thinned out. It was an absolutely beautiful morning, and since I had never run the event before I was taking in the course. Melissa had done it before so she knew what to expect, which was good since I wasn’t really paying attention 😂

To sum it up, the course is hard packed dirt (anyone who is a roadrunner and considering this event, you’d be just fine), and there are a few small climbs (that get bigger as the day goes on 🤔), and one small section of single track trail. The views are beautiful.

I was really excited when Melissa said “look it’s Tony!” who runs the page “I am Endorphin Dude”. I love his page and have wanted to meet him for ages so it was great that he ran up to us and took a selfie!

About 1.5ish? miles in there was an aid station. We took a quick bathroom break and then enjoyed some of nature’s best food in the universe!

We continued on through the first loop and when we finished, stopped at the aid station at the finish area, and decided not to stop at our camp site and kept going.

Lap 2

It was hot and I could tell. I was drinking water like it was going out of style. We headed out again and I was still feeling pretty good. I had no idea how many miles I had run because we were laughing the entire time. We stopped at the aid station again and I desperately needed electrolyte drink. Thank goodness they had it there! We finished and I needed to fill up my water and get another pack of Skratch chews. I was eating one serving of them per lap. Off we went again!

Lap 3

We went out again, and I was still feeling pretty good. We made our usual stop at the aid station for water and electrolytes. I think this was the lap I became privy to the fact that they had an ice bucket with sponges at the aid station and OH MAN did that feel good. That sun was a beast!

As we rounded the bend to the start area again, we saw Stephanie and I think this was when we all synced up to run together. I stopped at the finish line aid station for a little boost, and off we went again.

Lap 4

I did a lot more walking this lap which was a good change of pace. Stephanie always tells me in trail running to walk the uphills. Well, in yesterday’s case I did that plus a little more 🤷🏽‍♀️.

It was nice to chat with the two of them for a good long while. We finished the loop and I stopped back at camp to get more water and more fuel. They did the same, and around we went again.

Lap 5

Stephanie ran with us for a little bit again but then broke off to continue on with her mileage goal. Around this time and during the previous lap we ran they started putting out funny posters. We saw a lot of hilarious signs as we ran. Here are a few:

The big decision

When we finished this loop I knew I wanted to go for more. At the end of this loop my Garmin hit 16.75 miles and the clock said I about 70 minutes left until my event was over. I had two choices.

  1. Go for another big loop and push hard to make sure I finished before the cutoff
  2. Run a bunch of little loops when it opened at the 5th hour

Now, I knew right away what the right choice was. I had to go for the big loop. It would put me a hair over 20 and I had plenty of time to complete it if I stayed focused. I am so glad I had Melissa with me to have someone to talk to! We stopped a camp and she changed her shoes and I changed my socks and we went off again.

Lap 6: the final!

We went for it. I gave it a little extra push and was carefully watching the time to make sure I made the cutoff. I knew even if I didn’t make the cut off, that I still put the miles in, but I still wanted it on record how hard I had worked!

I made a stop at the aid station and just got a little extra fluid to push me through the end. I had about 3 ounces of coke which helped give me a sugar boost.

As we rounded the bend I could see the clock and was like YES!!!! There were about 10 minutes left and I had made the time. I got a little confused about where to go (there were two archways set up, one for the little loop and one for the big), but crossed and got my medal and celebrated that I had crushed 20 miles! Melissa gave me a double high five and because she’s a beast, she kept going since she was doing the 12 hour event.

Done and done!

As soon as I got back to my camp area I sat down to take my shoes off. My husband quickly advised to be careful sitting on the ground because we had a guest….

Oh heck no.

I knew I needed to eat but the line for food was long and I needed to rest and drink fluids. I rolled my legs out and elevated them and found a snack. That salt tasted so good 😍

Eventually I got some real food at the BBQ. I was mighty proud of myself because they were giving out Its It’s and I didn’t take one since I knew a milkshake was in my future!

We hung out for a while and watched runners go by. The energy was contagious hearing people cheer each other on. I also met so many people while out running. It was a joy.

Eventually around 3:30 we decided after hanging out for a few hours that it was time to go home for showers and dinner. I said goodbye to everyone I saw. But before we left, we got one last picture.

Dinner time

I promised myself when I signed up for this marathon that the day I ran 20 miles I would eat burgers and a milkshake. Accomplished.

Until next time Dirty Dozen, and there will be a next time!

Mercury Mile Box

Hello! How are you? Me, I’m great. Trying to find my legs again after my long run/race yesterday 😂. While I was running my Mercury Mile box came in the mail! I had never heard of them before but my friend Stephanie at Run Strong Run posted discount code “BibRave10” for $10 off the styling fee so I gave it a whirl.

The premise is that you fill out a survey of types of activity you do, distance and frequency of running, what you prefer to wear for weather and comfort, colors you like, links to your social media and any specific notes you have. You choose a date for delivery and then they charge you a $20.00 styling fee for your box. Anything you choose to keep out of the box gets charged to your credit card and your styling fee gets applied to anything you keep. You return the items you don’t keep in a prepaid package that comes with your delivery within 7 days and keep the ones you like. That simple!

To recap my profile, I wrote I liked long shorts and capris and never wore pants, tank tops that were loose, bright colors, training for two marathons this year and linked my Instagram. Here’s what I got.


I received a letter from my stylist highlighting some of her choices, as well as some basic instructions for the package and a list of price points for items if I kept them. Here was her introduction:

So let’s see what I got…

1. New Balance Ice 2.0 top

I love color but this color wasn’t something I normally wear. I would have liked to see a tank version of this. The fabric was breathable and the color was fun, especially since I rarely wear something in this color scheme. I wear lots of jewel tones or neon in my regular and running life. I was disappointed that I specifically said in my profile I only run in tanks and got a shirt. This missed the mark.

Verdict: return

2. New Balance Impact Capri

I LOVE these capris! And I mean LOVE!!!! I have such a hard time with buying clothes because of my quadzilla quads and finding stuff that will stay on my waist. These were comfortable, stayed up, and felt great! Highly recommend these.

Verdict: I’m still not sure! I feel conflicted because I love these so much but I also have been running mostly in shorts lately because it’s been so hot. My concern is spending the money on these capris only to not have them fit when cooler temps come around. I’m fairly certain I will return them but purchase them later down the line when the cooler temps come around and I’ll be a smaller size.

3. Sarah Marie Design Studio tank

I love everything about this tank. I’m glad they sent it in an XL instead of an L because I could tell the cut of these would be too small in a large for me. I prefer my tops to be loose. It’s a great moisture wicking fabric, comfortable as can be, and something I would not normally buy for myself so I’m glad they sent it!

Verdict: keep for sure!!!!

4. Brooks 7″ Chaser Shorts

These were more of a loose fabric and not the tight spandex/compression style I normally wear. They had pockets on the hips too. The fabric was comfortable but they looked horrible on me! These aren’t cut for someone of my body style. I’m too curvy and everything just bulged and it was bad news bears all around.

Verdict: return

6. Asics 5.5 inch cool shorts

I did not like these at all. I prefer a much higher waist band, a much longer short, and thought the bunching because of my curvy bottom half would make these very uncomfortable to wear to workout.

Verdict: return


They also sent me a laundry detergent sample and some Sarah Marie Design Studio nail wraps which was very kind!


I think some of the items missed the mark in my box, but some were spot on. Next time I’ll be even more specific in my runner profile. I appreciate that they were able to send me items that were my size. I always hesitate because I’m afraid there will be a lack of stuff in bigger size but this was great.

Thanks Mercury Mile! Until the next one!

May I please have two sets of chopsticks?

Hi! How are you? Me, I’m great. Excited it is the weekend! I had a great thought yesterday and wanted to share today.

I picked up some Vietnamese food yesterday for lunch and decided to get an appetizer as well as an entree so I could eat half for lunch yesterday and half for lunch today. I realized upon doing that I needed to ask for two sets of chopsticks and had a flashback moment

When I was in college I would regularly order potstickers and chow mein for dinner if the cafeteria was closed. I had a big love of Chinese food. I would also go to the all you can eat Chinese buffet and eat my weight in, you guessed it, chicken chow mein and potstickers. When I would order my takeout, I would request two sets of chopsticks. I was under the delusion that the restaurant staff would think I was taking home my food to share with someone. I’m sure my 264 pound body said otherwise. It was not apparent then but is now that I can look back, that I wasn’t fooling anyone and my overeating issues were deep.

Then and Now

When I picked up my lunch yesterday I was proud knowing that both sets of chopsticks would get used. I haven’t completely defeated my food demons, but I’m learning to live with them.

Cheers to always trying to be our best. ❤️