On October 18, 2015, I ran the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco, infamous for the Tiffany’s finisher pendant in the little blue box. The weather was perfect in the 60s and the hills were challenging but SO MUCH FUN! The route was picturesque; I visited SF two years prior and already knew the neighborhoods, which added the nostalgia factor to the run. (Check out the route here)
Saturday morning at Union Square:
People lined up for hours to take a picture in front of the “We Run” sign.
I was surprised that there was no *real* expo; there was a packet pickup in the Westin, and everything else was scattered around Union Square.
At the wall that has all the names of the participating runners.
Inside the Nike store, where huge lines formed for the free earring (Note: ONE earring per location — Nike store was only one of them, and you had to go to another store to line up for another 1-2 hours to get more)
The earrings. The Nike store gave out (big surprise) the Nike swoosh. You must have the QR code that was emailed to you in order to validate that you are, in fact, a runner.
I purchased a half zip-up long sleeve and a tank top with the Golden Gate Bridge on it:
We then went to the Finish Line store inside Macy’s to get the wing.
I bought the special edition Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 32 with the Golden Gate bridge on the lip and the insole. They were sold at Finish Line as well as the Nike store. But at Finish Line, you also get a shoe carrier bag for free.
We had brunch at Nopa:
Ice cream at Bi-Rite, which was next door.
The flavors were so unique and creamy, but I had to choose…
A scoop of creme brulee on top of honey lavender.
Since we were in the neighborhood, why not visit the Painted Ladies? Hellooooo ladies.
Dinner at Koja Kitchen, a new Korean-Japanese (hence, Ko-Ja) casual spot in Inner Richmond.
Their garlic fried rice buns (in place of the traditional wheat buns) distinguish them from other places. You can add an egg to any dishes, which of course must be done.
Short rib koja is where it’s at. Fantastic flavor in the galbi, add an egg to kick it up a notch. Their braised pork is also very good, but galbi has my heart. Umami fries also have pork in them. The ahi tuna bowl is a nice addition to your meal if you want something lighter. The tuna is also very fresh.
The next morning, we woke up around 5AM.
The corrals spanned entire blocks in Union Square. It was not too cold, but totally dark. So many people, as this is one of the most anticipated races in the country.
I was hoping to run and enjoy the moment and NOT take any pictures during the race… until Mile 10, when everyone slowed down and stopped to take pictures. So I figured, I guess I will too.
Mile 10 is the hill that everyone talks about. It’s the steepest elevation in the entire race. I loved the hills, because I can finally say I ran the hills in San Francisco.
Looking back at people behind me. They’re taking pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge.
People are walking now… Not a motivating sight.
Another view of the bridge after “The Hill” — and that’s the last picture I take until after the finish line.
There it is! I was expecting men in tuxedos with silver platters handing it to us like previous blogs have written about, but it turns out they had several lines where boxes were on top of boxes and a girl handed it to you after checking it off your bib. Not as magical, but I’ll still take it!
At the marina, where everyone lined up for the finisher’s boutique inside a tent.
I bought a finisher’s hoodie, which is extremely soft and comfortable.
I also purchased the finisher’s t-shirt, and I LOVE that color.
Inside the goodie bag every runner received.
And that’s it for the race recap! Now onto the rest of my trip (aka all the food pics)…
We had lunch at Turtle Tower.
It was here that I learned about Northern style pho — no bean sprouts, basil, or hoisin sauce. The broth is also more bland but GOOD! The noodles were so different than what I’m used to; they’re wide and flat.
BEST SPRING ROLLS EVER. EVER.
Around the corner was Brenda’s French Soul Food, where we got their beignets to go.
We took them to China Beach… what’s in China Beach, you say?
This was the crawfish beignet. The others were original, chocolate, and cinnamon apple.
Bubble tea (or as they call it on the west coast, boba) at Purple Kow.
Dinner at State Bird Provisions.
On my last day in SF, I woke up early to try to catch the sunrise at Twin Peaks. I ordered car service via Lyft Line, and they actually drove me up there. The other way is to hike up. Lyft and Uber are extremely cheap in SF because they’re in major competition with each other. During this weekend, I spent an average of $5-7 per ride using Lyft Line.
It felt so peaceful being up there, a bit chilly but the sun warmed the whole place up.
Before the fog set in, I made some new friends with strangers as we all took turns taking pictures for each other.
After that, I met up with my friends at Mr Holmes Bakehouse.
The Cruffin, a croissant muffin.
Inside the Cruffin — that day’s special was chocolate peanut butter.
California croissant: a croissant with salmon and nori inside, and you dip it in soy sauce. As weird as it sounds, I actually liked it a lot.
Boba Guys. Easily the best bubble tea (boba) I’ve ever had. I love that they don’t use powder, but REAL tea. I got a rose black milk tea and my friend got hojicha (I was jealous of hers, and very excited that they’re going to open a location in NYC soon!)
Sushirrito. I had the Sumo Crunch: shrimp tempura & crab meat — like a giant tempura roll. So good. The fake imitation in NY can’t even compare.