By Helen Hadani, Aka “Dr. Spice”. Text and Images editted by Ara Arbabzadeh, aka “Sassy Spice”.
On Sunday, October 17, 2010, I joined 19,999 other women in the Nike Women’s Marathon (Half and Full) in San Francisco, Californial. This was the third year running the half marathon and the experience keeps getting better and better!
The NWM is the largest women’s marathon in the country and it’s so popular that you have to enter a lottery six months in advance to try your luck at getting a bib. Imagine running through the most beautiful parts of San Francisco and crossing the finish line elated to be done only to find a San Francisco Firefighter dressed in a tuxedo handing you your own Tiffany necklace! Inside the box is a beautiful silver necklace with a charm that is engraved with the race year. Each year the charm is a different shape and reflects the theme of the year. You can add your own custom engraving of your choice at no charge if you take your necklace to Niketown after the race!
I spent this race weekend with many of my Davis Diva running friends. With no exaggeration we took the city by storm! We “visited” many of the stores in Union Square including Lululemon, John Fluevog, Louie Vuitton, Anthropologie and the Apple Store to name a few. And of course we spent lots of time and money at Niketown which boasts an assortment of racing gear with the NWM logo, a photo booth on the third floor that you can pose and have fun at and the famous red wall with each participant’s name engraved in white.
After shopping and picking up our race packets on Saturday, our hunger took over. Lucinda and I enjoyed a great lunch at my personal favorite Betelnut on Union Street. Dinner was spent with a group of us at The Slanted Door in the Ferry Building. A big thanks to my friend Ara, an avid watcher of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives who has been talking about going to “Q” since she first saw the episode on Food Network. We dined at Q Restaurant and Wine Bar the night after the race and it was a divine experience! It was hard choosing between all the down home offerings on the menu such as Southern Fried Fulton Valley chicken on mash potatoes with country gravy, the duck confit or the macoroni and cheeze with tator tots! The duck confit which was featured on triple D won out. We finished the amazing meal with apple crisp a la mode. We left wanting to come back and try the rest of the menu!
On the morning of the race, I woke up at o’dark and early, got my racing gear on and headed to the diva suite for oatmeal. Thanks to Ona, AKA red hot spice who thought ahead and brought her own crock pot, many of us enjoyed a bowl of yummy oatmeal with bananas, brown sugar, craisins and walnuts. Just after 6:30am we made our way down to the start line just outside of our hotel, the Westin St. Francis. It was chilly and cold enough to make us move around in the aniticapating minutes. Before we know it, the speakers blasted a great dance song and with the beat of the music, our anticipation and the cumulative energy of 20,000 participants, we were off!
The race course took us up and down many hills along the Embarcadero and through Golden Gate Park. This is the first year I was able to enjoy the scenery since I felt I was not going to “die” every time we approached another hill. Many runners stop and take photos along the way since there are some amazing views of the city along the course.
The last mile of the race is known as the Ghiradelli Chocolate Mile and there during your most crucial minutes, Ghiradelli chocolate squares are handed out to help you cross the finish line! When you think you don’t have much left in you yet you don’t stop and once you turn a certain corner, the finish line insight, you run feeling no pain and full of gratitute for what is to come; the red carpet, firefighters in tuxedos and brilliant blue tiffany boxes served to you on a silver platter!
After a champagne toast and shopping celebration, we decided to head back to our respective hotels, shower and pack. Thanks to “Rebel” Spice’s husband, Dave and Sassy Spice’s minivan which carried a total of 12 of us, we all piled in to escape the rain and beat all the shuttle busses back!
A much deserved lunch at the Rotunda at Neiman Marcus topped the race day!
Many thanks to Pixie Baber for her good luck in getting us into the race this year, to Emily Ault and Lucinda Childress for letting me share their hotel rooms, and to my Davis Divas for a fabulous race weekend. Looking forward to 2011!
Nike Women’s Marathon: www.inside.nike.com/blogs/nikerunningevents
John Fluevog: http://www.fluevog.com
Betelnut Restaurant: http://www.betelnutrestaurant.com
The Slanted Door: http://www.slanteddoor.com
The Food Network: http://foodnetwork.com/dinersdriveinsanddives
Q Restaurant and Wine Bar: http://Qrestaurant.com
Helen, AkA “Dr. Spice” runs a early learning language program for preschool and elementary aged children. Visit http://www.langokids.com/regions/davis-west-sacramento/ for more information and for a schedule of upcoming classes.