Divas Half Marathon Race Recap: The Pinkiest Half Marathon PR of All

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Sometimes, an impulse half marathon registration has a very, very happy ending. And if you’re my buddy on Facebook or Instagram, you know exactly what I’m talking about:

Before I tell you about the Divas Half Marathon (San Francisco Bay), I’ll just go ahead and put it out there that I ran a new personal best of 1:49:35.

I ‘m beyond happy with this result, so my review may be… seen through pink glasses. Or just pink. (It was all so, so pink!) I loved everything about this race, even the half-naked firefighters child models at the finish line (though I did feel, surprisingly, a very motherly concern towards one of them – what with his blue eyes and blonde locks, I kept thinking this is what KidRuns might look like a mere 10 years from now!)

[The Real KidRuns wearing my tiara and feather boa post race.]

But let’s start at the beginning:

Divas Half Marathon Race Background

The Divas Half Marathon and 5K race series is a women-only event. (But men are more than welcome to sign up; in fact 48 of the 2777 half marathon runners this year carried both X and Y chromosomes, indeed.)

Like many races that cater to women, it is first-timer friendly, the atmosphere is more party than competition and the porta-potties don’t smell nearly as bad as those at co-ed races (sorry dudes, it’s true). You are given a tiara and feather boa to wear as you approach the finish line, a rose and champagne post-finish and the medal is huge and positively blingy (will show you later). And most importantly, it is all very, very, VERY PINK.

I signed up for this one kind of on a whim (and paid through the nose for it, don’t do like I did and sign up for races in advance when the reg fees are so much lower!). No race-specific training either, just parked the bike and swim goggles and focused on running for a week.

Race morning

Race morning was fun! Met up with my MRTT mamas for a few photos:Checked my bag (short lines, no wait!):And, of course, stopped by the porta-potty. Actually, that’s the first thing I did upon arrival (ritual).

The Run

Headed to the race start with about 10 minutes to spare and slowly weaved my way through the crowd (nearly 4000 participants in the half marathon alone!) until I got as near the actual start line as I thought appropriate:Behind me, everything was very pink!The views along the start area are gorgeous, by the way. If you ever do this race, don’t head for the start at the last minute — give yourself time to enjoy them:We started on time and after a very brief period of zig-zagging, I got some clear asphalt in front of me to open up my stride and get going.

Lack of training aside, I had a goal for this race, as shared with no one but my Tri-club coach: I wanted to run 1:50. That would be four minutes faster than my current PR of 1:54:38 at the Turkey Trot half marathon I ran last year.

But secretly, I was hoping for at least a five-minute improvement and a final time of under 1:50.

That meant an 8:22 minute mile average for the entire race: a pace I knew I could hold for 10 miles or so, but 13? Let’s try!

The first there miles felt super easy, even though my pace was in the low 8’s. I figured why once I got home and uploaded my data to Strava: flat as the course may be, miles 2 and 3 had a slight fain (three and four feet, respectively: FYI this basically nothing). But I guess even that makes a difference:The entire course of this race is flat as a pancake, and much of it has gorgeous views of the water. Focused on my pace, though, I didn’t have much time for race-day photography. Here are a couple of photos I managed to snap while running:I believe this was somewhere around Mile 4, as the course took us through a few silent, sleepy neighborhood streets. The sky was overcast and perfect for running! On our way back, we ran by the water for quite a while. It was a tiny bit windy, but the view was nice and I managed to stay on pace all through the end:By then, those 8:20-something miles felt challenging, but nothing too horrible. I’ve suffered way worse, way earlier in a race, so I occupied my brain with counting down the miles and listening to my favorite “Run FAST” playlist:

Shortly before crossing the finish line, race volunteers handed me a tiara and a pink boa. I grabbed them as I nearly sprinted to grab that sub 1:50 (but hopefully they heard my Thanks, if they didn’t… that GRMpfffgrrr was supposed to be it!).

Finish time on the clock: 1:49:50.

Chip time: 1:49:35 — a five-minute four-second PR! Clearly, I was beyond thrilled:…and the male model medal givers were entertained. [You’re welcome.]

By now, the sun had come out and the weather was just flat out gorgeous, so as soon as I changed (in one of the porta-potties which, by the way, was still clean and odor-free!), I slathered on the sunscreen and parked myself on the grass to bask in the endorphin-enduced joy of a race well done:Until next time, Divas!

5 thoughts on “Divas Half Marathon Race Recap: The Pinkiest Half Marathon PR of All

  • July 7, 2014 at 11:17 am

    I NEED some new tunes-gonna go check out your playlist…….

  • June 10, 2014 at 8:49 am

    Congratulations on the PR! I did that Divas race two years ago and it was by far the pinkest race I’ve ever done, but so worth it for the firefighters at the end.

    • June 10, 2014 at 9:03 am

      Thanks! They were actually models dressed as firefighters (I asked :)) – but yes, they were a sight for sore eyes (and legs), weren’t they? 😛

  • June 9, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    That is amazing!!!!! So happy for you, congrats on the PR!!!! That looks like a great Half, but anytime I see a race venue in SF, I get terrified of big hill. I do a lot of hills at home but I’m ready for them. New hills scare me…hope that doesn’t sound too “sissy” ish?

    Happy recovery!

    • June 9, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      Thank you! You’d be surprised how flat everything is south of San Francisco – and even in the city, there are a few races that are *nearly* all flat. I’m scared of hills too and always check the elevation maps before I sign up for a race 🙂


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