Strong. Sexy. Fierce.
As Nike puts it, 25,000 strong, sexy, fierce women hit San Francisco to run the Nike Women’s Marathon & Half Marathon (NWM) this past week. Among them was our team of close to 30 women including me! Arriving in San Francisco you feel the energy of this event with women buzzing everywhere, wearing their NWM gear just bought at Nike Town. Many of them are about to attempt their first marathon or half marathon. This event is also a fundraiser for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society making it especially meaningful.
The NWM Expotique is set up right in the middle of Union Square, in the center of the city. I love cities anyway, the energy of a city while walking around is one of my favorite things whether it is San Francisco, New York, Boston, Paris, Edinburgh, Vancouver, all some of my favorite cities I have visited. Add the energy of 25,000 women and their friends and family getting ready for this race and you can’t help but feel a buzz in the air and get excited.
After picking up your race registration gear which if you are a Nike Plus member (everyone should be!) you get a cool yellow bag to haul your stuff around in the rest of the weekend. The Expo is pumping with music, giveaways and two stages where they were interviewing inspiring people including Olympic Athletes such as sprinter Allyson Felix and endurance athletes Joan Benoit Samuelson, Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan. Oh and me, best selling author Rachel Cosgrove! Giving away a copy of The Female Body Breakthrough. Woo Hoo!
Walking around Union Square there are strong, sexy, fierce women everywhere along with signs and quotes all over to remind you of the women POWER that has taken over this city for the weekend.
Saturday night before the race we had a team meeting to get pumped up and focused for the next morning and looking at our group of women I realized that out of the 25,000 women there our group is definitely the STRONGEST…
…putting strength training as more of a priority than most of the women in this race. And not just any strength training, our team followed scientifically designed strength programs progressing week after week at Results Fitness (or at one of our affiliate gyms) and many have been our clients for years so have built really strong, toned bodies. All of them lifted weights 2-3 times a week along with their running.
I don’t know about you but I definitely think a body with more muscle definition is sexier than one without so because our team were the strongest, they therefore are also the SEXIEST.
Yes, those are our sexy poses…what? Don’t we look sexy?
And let me tell you, if you have seen some of these women in the gym lifting weights, deadlifting, squatting, doing chin ups, taking on any challenge thrown at them with a look of determination…
…there is no doubt that our team of women are also the FIERCEST among the 25,000 women.
Don’t we look fierce? Plus we know how to have the most fun!
Our team showed off our toned arms in our Nike sleeveless shirts, proud of our muscles.
As our team crossed the start line we got a call out from the announcer – Here comes the Results Fitness team looking good! This gave us an extra boost of confidence already knowing we are the strongest, sexiest and fiercest and now we have been recognized…
The race starts by running out of Union Square through the financial district and right away you feel like you are flying with the energy of the crowd pulling you forward. You do have to play a game of bobbing and weaving as you come up on some of the walkers who got started early or people who are running a little slower but everyone is out there excited and the energy is something else. Before you know it you are running along the water on the Embarcadero coming up on Fisherman’s Wharf among all of these strong, sexy, fierce women and every once in awhile you spot a teammate in our green shirts looking especially strong, sexy and fierce among the others.
I started the race with Kristi, the one pictured above pulling the sled and she and I took turns leading each other through the crowd. We had a really strong start to the race. As we approached our first hill, a steep but short San Francisco hill, Kristi powered her way right up that thing with me following her weaving through most of the other women who stopped to walk up it. Then the second hill shortly after, again the hills are nothing when you have been doing weighted Lunges and Step Ups giving you the power to propel yourself up along with Single Leg Deadlifts and Bridges knowing how to use, not just your quads, but your butt to drive yourself up those hills. Then the first short, steep downhill which is really where the strength training helps because you have stability as you are accelerating downhill, able to control each step handling more speed.
The race continued along the water, which unfortunately it was too overcast to be able to see the views of the Golden Gate Bridge like we had last year. The good part of this was that you didn’t get distracted, stopping to take pictures during the race but instead stayed focused on the miles ahead. The first 5 miles flew by. The magnetic energy of everyone in the race really does pull you forward.
At mile 6 we started the hardest climb of the race a steady, steep climb that seems to go forever but again those of us who made strength training a priority had the power to climb right up passing those who didn’t, with our tall upright posture, our toned arms pumping our way up those climbs leaving the others a view of our Results Fitness built butt’s and muscular backs…The climbing continued with some reprieves of flat or slightly downhill’s right through for a mile until mile 7 when we had a steep down hill.
Free speed! That’s what I think as I’m accelerating downhill taking advantage of the decline and my ability to turn my legs over and control each step building up momentum to head into the next climb. Many of the other runners were stepping way out in front of themselves, heel first, “putting the brakes on” so to speak, as they headed down hill, which will really wear out their legs at this point in the race. And we’re not done yet…
Mile 8 was a grinding gradual, really tough climb. By this point, most of the runners were feeling their quads screaming at them, fatigued. Thinking about tall posture, using your arms and driving through your Glutes powering your way up that climb was the key. And then once again, where there is an uphill there is a downhill and you could either take advantage of the free speed if you had good running form and were strong enough to handle the acceleration or many walked down this final steep hill feeling their legs had taken enough of a beating. Building up speed on this steep downhill works perfect as you head into your next mile which is flat and fast along the beach heading toward Golden Gate Park starting the final 3 miles of the half marathon, which means it’s time to pick it up and give everything you have to finish strong.
Heading into Golden Gate Park there is one last slight uphill climb but the energy of the crowds, the cameras and everything going on around you distracts you from the fact that you are running uphill. As a half marathoner, the best part is when you turn to head toward the finish line and the marathoners have to keep going. Again you start to feel that magnetic pull toward the finish line, picking up your pace realizing you are almost there.
There is nothing quite like the feeling of training for something and then following through and accomplishing your goal. I’m so proud of every single strong, sexy, fierce woman on our team!
Not only that but all of them took a couple days off and then were back in the gym training, not missing a beat. A good sign that your training was right on is how you feel after the race. Every single one of them got right back to lifting weights within days of the race, all commenting that they were so thankful with all of those hills that they had done so much strength training. Nothing will stop these women especially now with the confidence that they can do anything they set their mind to, feeling strong, sexy and fierce whether they are lifting weights or running a half marathon…or both!