Running, chocolate, and champagne are probably three of my favorite things on the planet, so naturally, when I found a half marathon that combined all three of these loves, there was no question about whether or not I would run it. The See Jane Run Half Marathon San Francisco, which was actually held across the bay from SF, in Alameda, is hosted by the local women’s running store chain See Jane Run and marketed as a “run for chocolate and champagne.” Like I said, when I signed up for this race months in advance, I was 10 different kinds of excited about the finisher’s treats, but unfortunately for me, I planned my first Whole30 during the race (which is essentially 30 days of not eating/drinking dairy, refined sugar, alcohol, soy, grains, and as my boyfriend would say, “everything good in the world”), so I couldn’t partake in the bubbles or dessert. Because of my dietary restrictions, I also had to figure out a whole food alternative to energy gels for my long training runs and race. I included sweet potato in the meals leading up to my half marathon and used mushed up banana carried in a running belt as mid-run fuel, both of which served me well! In fact, I don’t think I’ll go back to using energy gels for future half marathons.
Whole30 aside, I had an amazing race experience! I felt so strong and empowered as I crossed the finish line! With a flat course that went around the perimeter of the island and sweeping views of the San Francisco skyline, my 13.1 miles felt relatively effortless and enjoyable. I didn’t set a time goal for myself this time, because I didn’t do too many long or even mid-distance runs leading up the the See Jane Run Half, but I still finished in under 2 hours and didn’t feel like I was going to die around Mile 11 (like I did in my prior two 13.1s including the San Jose Rock ‘n Roll). In fact, I felt pretty fantastic the entire time and am extremely happy with my results. I’m attributing my favorable running experience to several factors:
- A great course in an area I’ve never ran before, so the race didn’t feel stale
- Cross training and increased strength in my legs
- Tiger blood from my Whole30
- New running socks (also the most expensive socks I’ve ever purchased)
- The perfect running music playlist
- Ideal weather (a little windy at times, but otherwise it was the perfect amount of overcast and not too hot)
The post-race festivities were great too. The half marathon finishers received a medal, commemorative See Jane Run champagne glass, free bubbly, catered sandwiches, fruit, chips, and an OCHO organic chocolate bar. There was a photo booth, free massages, and music, but I especially loved the dozens of signs with inspirational quotes that were located all over the finisher’s area. After the race, I enjoyed a delicious Whole30-approved brunch in Alameda: a veggie omelette with fresh fruit and a massive cup of delicious drip coffee. I’m definitely recommending the See Jane Run Half Marathon, especially to women who want to run their first half. With an easy course, a fun, female camaraderie vibe, and chocolate and champagne at the finish line (duh), it’s surely a race I’ll run again!