On Track w/Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco

On Track With Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco

Training with Nike at Icahn Stadium (Nike)

Today is my five-year blogiversary! And I’m celebrating the best way I know how: going for a run. On Sunday, October 19 I’m running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco as part of a Nike media group. When I cross the finish line and earn my Tiffany & Co. necklace, it will be a reminder of just how far I’ve come since I launched “Run, Karla, Run!” back in 2009. And how far we’ve all come together.

Before the 2009 Chicago Marathon from On Track With The Nike Women's Marathon

Before the 2009 Chicago Marathon. (RunKarlaRun.com)

It’s appropriate that my five-year anniversary is occurring around a race. My very first post was about running the 2009 Bank of Chicago Marathon on the anniversary of my father’s death. I’m from Chicago and the course runs right past my dad’s old office, a place I spent many weekends growing up. Running that race on that day in that city was bittersweet for me. You can read that first post, and its follow-up if you’re curious.

Chicago's Merchandise Mart from On Track With Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco

Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, where my dad worked. (Phil Hospod)

But opening my blog with a post about the town where I got my start as a writer—on my high school newspaper, where I eventually served as editor-in-chief— was a fitting beginning to my career as a running reporter, which has taken me from Chicago and my home in New York City to places I never would have dreamed of five years ago: to far-flung locales like Israel, Peru and the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, to new career frontiers like hosting a web and TV show for New York Road Runners on ABC in New York, to seeing my byline in publications like SHAPE and Canadian Running, RunnersWorld.com and Active.com, and right here on RunKarlaRun.com.

Now, I’m off to my first race in San Francisco. Rather than try to PR on the city’s fierce hills, I’m going to use the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco as a litmus test. This time, it’s all about my marathon pace for the upcoming GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon in November. Can I run 13.1 miles at my goal marathon pace? If I can, will it feel easy enough? It’s time to find out.

On Track With The Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco

Stretching (Nike)

Lessons From The Track

Last month, I hit the track with a Nike+ NYC training group, including some of the ladies who are joining me in San Francisco. We ventured to Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island in New York City where we ran a workout led by Nike+ Head Coach Chris Bennett. It consisted of a warm-up, dynamic stretches and drills, strides across the infield, a speed workout on the track, cool down and foam rolling.

On Track With Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco

Running the track (Nike)

The speed work was challenging: 2 x 200 meters, 2 x 400 meters, 2 x 800 meters, 2 x 400 meters and 2 x 200 meters at various speedy paces. As we ran loops of the blue track, music thumped over the loud speakers; water and fresh watermelon awaited us when we finished.

Nike runs seven different types of workouts in New York City that anyone can join, including rookie runs, long runs, track runs, cross training and more. I’ve been to a few of them. If you’re curious, you can find them all here.

But the track workout at Icahn Stadium has been my absolute favorite. The 5,000 seat arena in the shadow of the Manhattan skyline was built on the same site as Downing Stadium, where running legend Jesse Owens qualified for the historic 1936 Olympics in Berlin. I recently finished reading “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand, the story of Louis Zamperini, who also qualified for the 1936 Olympics on that track. In 2008, at the new stadium, Usain Bolt set a world record in the 100-meters.

On Track With Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco

Running Icahn Stadium (Nike)

Running Icahn Stadium and the very track where Bolt flew faster than no man before, in the same spot that Owens made history, filled me with a sense of time and place, a sense of history of this great sport, a sense that I’m—we’re—all part of that storied past and its future that lies ahead.

On Track With The Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco

Getting instruction from Coach Bennett (Nike)

As a female, I’m part of the historic wave that has made women the majority of runners in the U.S. In 2005, the year I started running, women were just 48 percent of all road racers in the U.S., according to Running USA. Eight years later in 2013, we accounted for 57 percent of all road race finishers and 61 percent of half-marathoners. Races like the Nike Women’s Half Marathon played a big part in making that statistic a reality.

As I trained for the race at Icahn Stadium, I felt fast, I felt strong, I felt like I was part of something bigger than myself. As the group of about 10 of us circled the track in a pack, I felt part of a team, never mind the fact that I was meeting many of these runners for the first time. We were in it together.

That’s a feeling I want to remember when I’m out on the course in San Francisco. As runners, we’re all part of something bigger—whether it’s a race with 50 starters or 25,000 finishers like the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco.

Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco: In It Together

In the last five years, “Run, Karla, Run!” has taken on a life I could have never imagined. It has, like that workout, made me part of something bigger than myself: an amazing community of runners, writers and readers. A community that keeps pushing this sport forward, year after year, race after race. In a word: you.

Nike Women's Half SF Course Map is Here!

The Golden Gate Bridge in the distance (Nike)

Thank you to all of you who have taken this journey with me, pushing me forward. You’ve been my pack these last five years, urging me on, pulling me along, always letting me know that we’re in it together.

We certainly are. Thank you. Here’s to five years past and another five years to come. They’re just a tiny part of something much bigger: the sport of running.

San Francisco, here I come!

p.s. Want to track me in real time? You can help me test Bia Sport‘s new, still in testing Live Tracking. I’m wear-testing the watch on behalf of Bia. If you check out the link, starting at 6:30 am PT on Sunday, October 19, let me know how it goes! Track Me Here

I’m attending the race courtesy of Nike as part of a media group. As always, all posts and opinions are purely my own. I’m always honest about my experiences. Seriously. For more information, read my Disclosure policy.

Karla Bruning


Karla Bruning is a race announcer at the TCS New York City Marathon + other major events, TV host for the New York City Triathlon + contributor to Shape, Redbook, Runner's World + other publications. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now it's her job. She's run 8 marathons, 30 halves, 10 triathlons + open water swims. When she's not running, talking about running or writing about running, she's snuggling her baby, spoiling her dog + compulsively traveling.

28 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. Phil #

    And THANK YOU for opening up your life and sharing all the highs and lows of our sport. Enjoy SF! You deserve it!

  2. 3

    Happy Blog anniversary! I hope you have a fantastic race and even more fun running it. San Francisco looks awesome.
    Judith recently posted..Random Taper Week PostMy Profile

  3. 5

    Congratulations on five years of blogging! I continue to really enjoy your posts, both for the great information and for the personal touch. With our race times often being similar I feel like I can relate to your training and race experiences.
    I’m particularly looking forward to hearing about the Philly Marathon. I’m still not sure if I will have another go at a full, but if I do I think Philadelphia might be my first choice. I think I need a late fall race to be successful, spring runs just have too much potential for hot weather.
    Best of luck in the upcoming runs!
    Kristi@ Blog for an Average Runner recently posted..My Second Sub 2 Hour Half MarathonMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thank you, Kristi! Totally agree. I much prefer late fall races. I’ve had my best success there and not much in Spring races!

  4. 7

    Happy blog-aversary, Karla!

    When I first started running your blog was one of the very first I subscribed to and it’s always a must-read for me!

    I hope you have an amazing time in San Fran exploring the city by foot!
    Kristina @ Blog About Running recently posted..What’s On My Mind: 5 Things FRIDAY!My Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thank you so much, Kristina! I loved every minute of San Fran!

  5. 9

    So excited for you, Karla! I always enjoy following your running adventures :)

  6. 11

    Happy blogaversary! Hope you have a great time running the Nike Women’s half 😀
    Jojo @ Run Fast Eat Lots recently posted..To Blog or Not to BlogMy Profile

  7. 13

    Happy blogaversary! Good luck with the race tomorrow, those hills can be rough, and I’ve only walked them.
    Lesley recently posted..Friday Five: 5 Favorite Fitness TunesMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thank you! Some of the hills were tough, some were actually fun…on the way down!

  8. 15

    Happy blogiversary! 5 years is an impressive birthday! It is funny you said about how far your blog has come, I feel like mine has come a long way, and its only been 2, but great to see how it grows and develops! I am excited for you to race Philly, and I am sure this will be a great race to enjoy and practice. Looking forward to hearing how it goes! Enjoy :)
    Tina Muir recently posted..The Elite Experience- Chicago Marathon 2014My Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thank you, Tina! I love that outlook on racing–every one is great practice.

  9. 17

    HAPPY BLOGIVERSARY!!! It has been an absolute pleasure reading you and I can’t wait to read about how SF went! :)
    Kellie recently posted..Huh?!?!My Profile

  10. 19

    Congratulations on the 5 year blogiversary. I enjoyed reading about your journey with running and your career. Very exciting! Can’t wait to hear how the Nike Women’s half marathon was. I was jealous all weekend after having been there last year!
    Beth @ Miles and Trials recently posted..5 Year Marathon AnniversaryMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thank you! Then you know how awesome it is! They had a new course, which I loved. Don’t know how it compares to last year, but SF is so pretty!

  11. 21

    Wow, very cool! I saw on IG that you had a great race. Can’t wait to hear about it!
    Scott recently posted..More Miles & Smiles, More Races & FacesMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thanks, I did! Race report coming soon!

  12. Pam #

    Happy Blogiversary….wow 5 years is a long time. Can’t wait to read your recap of the Nike race, but know it went well based on your tweets. That race series is on my bucket list, but so are the marathon majors, so they may have to wait!
    Pam recently posted..Marine Corps Marathon Course: 11 Tips From Someone Who Has Been ThereMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thanks! It’s so hard when there are so many races! My bucket list is 26 miles long and includes all the majors too. Just got to check ’em off one at a time!

  13. 25

    Happy Blog-anniversary! Love following along! Have a great trip and a wonderful race!

  14. 27

    I’m know I’m late on this, but congratulations!! I love your view on the connection of it all; there’s something so special about that aspect of running. Also, can’t wait to hear your race report on SF. The photos on instagram were so wonderful and fun. Hope Philly training is going well!
    Diann recently posted..Fall Pumpkin Soup with Maple Coconut Cashew Cream (Vegan)My Profile


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