San Francisco: 49 square miles surrounded by reality

Where else in the country can you find a bazillion adorable homes; watch fog billow over steep hills; Or find the beach, the woods, and an internet porn studio within the radius of a few miles? SAN FRANCISCO!  And what’s the best way to see the city? On the run, of course!



I’m not one to run a road race more than once. Been there seen that…. except this one. This one keeps me coming back. There is just something magical about the Rock n Roll San Francisco Half Marathon. Getting to the start line, listening and watching the city come to life.  (The start line is usually on The Great Highway – so you watch the sun rise while listening to the ocean waves — but this year they moved it to Golden Gate Park. Due to noise ordinance, there was no music playing to get you pumped UP. It was…..quiet & peaceful, which is the opposite of what you want or expect from Rock n Roll Series Races).

Before I break down the race part of the weekend – let me start with setting the scene for you: Kyle’s sister and her fiance were in town for the weekend (they live in Alaska). I made it crystal clear that I had a run Sunday, so they could party hardy & I would hang for a bit, but I was hydrating, fueling, & resting for Sunday. I have been preparing and training for this weekend since I got back from Phoenix Marathon (which if you missed that recap, you can read it here) .

This would be my 3rd time running RnR San Francisco and I had goals. (My first time running the course can be found here – take a second to read it and you will quickly understand why the course is near and dear to my heart. My time was 2:12 and my goal this time around was to beat that)


Scott, Meegan, Kyle and I headed into the city


I left Kyle, Scott and Meegan behind to have their own fun in the city and I headed off to the Health & Fitness Expo.  Picked up my bib, some last – minute essentials for race day and made my way over to the We Run Social meet up.




Hanging with some of the @werunsocial crew : L to R: @drewruns @pavementrunner @hereforthewine @littlebeastling  (photo credit: @drewruns)


After all the cupcakes (not pictured) were eaten and the fun was had, I made my way back to North Beach where I left Kyle, Meegan and Scott. They had befriended Terry, who playing guitar outside of The Belle Cora . Drinks were flowing, they were having so much fun and all I could think was “can we go now, so I can kick my feet up and relax in my pro compression socks & mentally prepare for tomorrow”

Hubby knows me oh so well – got me a glass of pinot noir and asked that I relax and enjoy the moment. It’s not every weekend that we get to spend time the 4 of us. FAIR ENOUGH. We stayed for about an hour. Terry is so fun & super high energy. We will be coming back to Belle Cora to see him again soon.


How could I break up the sibling love and fun!


The view never gets old.


Kyle and I are huge fans of home made grilled pizza. We’ve got the process down to a science so we made that. Enjoyed dinner, talked, laughed and their drinks continued to flow. I was being good & enjoying my glass or two of wine…… (just keeping it real here) and keeping up with my water.


#FlatSarahW is ready to fly

A couple hours later, it was time to start thinking about bedtime, but it was hard to tear myself away from all the fun.


sister in law love ❤

Long story short, next thing I knew…. it was 1:30am. WHAT THE!!!! Time flies when you’re having fun. OYE. I had to be up in 2 hours. I said my good-nights and byes (Meegan and Scott were leaving in the morning, so this was the last I would see them until next time) and headed off to bed.


The next morning came fast. (yaaaawn. As I say, you do the crime, you do the time) I somehow got up, pulled it together and prepped for the race. (I requested & scheduled my LYFT the night so I knew exactly what time they would be arriving which was nice and one less thing to worry about). While I was waiting for my ride, I pulled up facebook to send Mataya ( my I Run 4 buddy) a message letting her know I was up and ready to Rock n Roll. She (her mom) had beat me to the message. My little buddy was in the hospital, with a temp of 103.2. My heart sank.



Together, we are on a mission to teach the world about neuroblastoma cancer – creating awareness and fighting for a cure because NO ONE, especially a newborn, should ever have to go through all she’s been though.  For now,  I’m her voice, as she gets older, she will start being her own voice.

I knew that very moment, that no matter how I was feeling, I needed to dig deep and RUN THIS WHOLE COURSE. Mataya was embracing a hill with this high temp she was fighting. If she can do it with that adorable little smile on her face, so will I. Off I went.


The Pro Compression ambassadors chose the Gibblers as the unofficial sock of the race. The Gibblers seemed fitting right?!?! We all met up at the start line, took a few pics and go ready to run.


Pro Compression: The Gibblers (photo cred: @pavementrunner

The race doesn’t go past these ladies, that would have been a cool pic!

After the EPIC sock pic, I hung with Brian @pavementrunner, Richard @blingwhore & @fitmfam6 at the start line. Knowing that first couple miles were HILLS, I knew I would need a little extra support to PULL me up them.

Brian was AWESOME and pretty much kept me sane ( and laughing)  the first 3 miles of the race. I wanted to puke, faint and cry, but held it together because that would have just been embarrassing! As we made our way up and onto Golden Gate Bridge, I fell back a little bit with my pace and told Brian I’d catch up later. One would think running the bridge was flat….nope. it’s a slightly rolling hill (and in my condition of running on 2 hours of sleep, I needed to conserve as much energy as I could if I stood a chance of finishing). My goal of finishing in under 2:12 quickly flew out the window. My new goal was to run non stop. Dig Deep, embrace the hills and just KEEP RUNNING.

It started to sprinkle a little bit on the bridge and I thought, CRAP. As if this wasn’t hard enough already. Thankfully it didn’t last – the weather was actually PERFECT for running. I got to the other side of the bridge just in time to find Brian and ask him to snap a pic. The view never gets old and I never take for granted this is in my backyard.


Photo Cred: @pavementrunner

I chugged along back over the bridge, through the city and across the finish line I went. Running, the whole time. I DID IT.

As I crossed the finish line, I spotted Brian, Richard and Dave (who had finished a few minutes prior to me) and Brian snapped this AWESOME picture. “I FREAKING DID IT!”


Photo cred again goes to: @pavementrunner !

This face has been dubbed my finish line #raceface .

While this wasn’t my finest moment in my running career, I’m still proud of how I did. 2:17.

My lesson learned: life is too short, enjoy the moments. Have the glass of wine, stay up an hour later, be present, always. Life is about balance.

I wouldn’t change this weekend for anything, not even more sleep. I can do that tomorrow!

Sometimes it’s not about the pace, but the experience  download 

LOVED this years bling as well. I’ll be sending this one to Mataya. If it wasn’t for her, I would have stayed in bed. She is my WHY.


San Francisco Rock n Roll Half Marathon will always be one of my favorites.

What’s one of yours?


I left a piece of my heart in….PHOENIX!

If you had asked me 6 years ago if I wanted to run, I would have laughed in your face & (kindly) said HECK NO. I grew up playing softball and HATED running the bases. There was no way you were getting me out there to “run for fun”.

And then this happened:

June 19, 2011 I went out for a walk. I saw a couple girls running and thought, Hmmm…..ok, that kind of looks fun. So off I went running down the street and back to my house. That was my first mile. On June 26, 2011 I ran my first 5k (28:18) and haven’t stopped since.


5K Road Race Litchfield, NH, June 26, 2011

Fast forward from June 2011 to last week. (one day, I’ll post about everything in between). Until then, let’s chat about how I got to Phoenix and how I left a piece of my heart there.


What started out in February 2015 with a few friends meeting up & running a marathon, turned into a social (running / party) event in 2016. I kept seeing the hashtag on instagram: #ItsGoingDownAtPhx . It caught on like wild fire and next thing I knew – I was simply missing out. Shortly after 2016 Phoenix Marathon,  #WeRunSocial: A crew with the sole purpose of running all the miles and winning life on the interwebs, was born. ((you can read about all that here))


Without boring you with all the details – I signed up for what would be my 3rd marathon, I made plans, I booked a hotel, flight, trained for MONTHS and off I went. Marathon #3….. am I crazy? Maybe a little bit. But who isn’t really. And, in case you don’t know, #IRun4Mataya . You can read about that here  (go ahead, I’ll wait for you).

Thursday, February 23rd: THE ARRIVAL

@pavementrunner and I caught the same flight into Phoenix. Once there we grabbed lunch, checked into the hotel and ventured out for a beer and a movie – The Great Wall. Ya, lets just say I probably would have fallen asleep but I was scared Brian would have done an Instagram live featuring me snoozing, so I muscled through. (I’m not a movie go’er so I was pleasantly surprised with the comfy recliners!! )

Speaking of Instagram live, when we got back to the hotel that night, Brian thought it would be fun to do an IG live session. So we did- and it was fun and should happen more often.


Friday, February 24th: RACE DAY EVE


@pavementrunner and I picked up @fitfam6 at the airport, grabbed breakfast at Starbucks and headed to the Lululemon outlet. I’m not much of a shopper and the only Lulu item I owned at the moment was gifted to me. Buuuuuuut, when in Rome right….I picked up a pair of shorts on discount. (and now I’m obsessed. I blame THESE TWO!)phx-lulu


Bib pickup and a quick walk through the expo (which was extremely easy to navigate and lots of great vendors) .  @WeRunSocial and @ProCompression hosted a meetup which was awesome. I was able to finally meet some of the awesome peeps I’ve been following online.


found my name on the wall — and took a selfie, duh!



the meet up crew


no fun was had



After the expo, a few of us headed over to  La Grande Orange. They have great pizza, delicious dessert, beer and then some! And of course, we took more pictures.


Back to the hotel,  laid out my clothes, and tried to get as much sleep as I could. 3:00am wakeup was going to come fast.


#FlatSarahW ready for race day

Saturday, February 25th: RACE DAY 

Alarm was set to go off at 3:00am. The course was a point to point so we needed to catch the shuttle at a certain time. @Pavementrunner and @carleemcdot had done this before, so I just followed the leader and rolled with them.

I trained for 4 months and was ready to run. Only thing I forgot to do……Check the freaking weather. It was a tad chilly, but thankfully, they let us stay on the bus until it was time to head to start line. (which would end up hurting me. I’ll explain, keep reading)




Beautiful Sunrise. I can’t believe the size of the cactus!


quick selfie before we RUN ALL THE MILES!



What should have happened was 20 minutes of stretching and warming up — sadly, I lost track of time chatting & keeping warm on the bus that by the time we got off of it, we had 3 minutes until race time. YIKES! I did a few jumping jacks, found the 4:40 hour finish pace group, connected my garmin and off I went.  Almost immediately after crossing the start line, the feeling of defeat, sadness, and mostly ANGER came over me.  My left shoe wasn’t tied tight enough, my right shoe seemed to be a little too tight, my quads weren’t loose, I felt defeated and I hadn’t even run a quarter of a mile. It was over before it had even began. Or was it…I had two choices in this moment. 1) give into the defeat & be miserable  or 2) pull my shit together, dig deep and remember why I am doing this.

I run for Mataya. She is a year old and has gone through far more than ANYONE should ever have to in life.

In the past year she has:
▶beaten cancer!
▶had 2 helicopter rides
▶5 surgeries
▶7 rounds of chemo
▶51 blood product transfusions
▶almost 1,000 labs/scans/images done
▶spent 5 months inpatient at a hospital 2.5 hours away from home
▶been a resident in the NICU, PICU, and PEDS.


I pulled over, re-tied my shoes, pulled it together, got OUT of my head and carefully caught back up to the pace group. It was dark for the first 3 miles which is too bad because I’m sure the scenery and the views were amazing. It was also downhill so I had to make sure I pulled back a little and didn’t go all out or I’d be regretting that later.


Together, we are now on a mission to teach the world about neuroblastoma cancer – creating awareness and fighting for a cure because NO ONE, especially a newborn, should ever have to go through all she’s been through. For now I am her voice, as she gets older, she will start being her own voice.


I stayed with the pace group through mile 16. We stopped for a quick bathroom break. With 10 miles to go, I knew it was time to listen to my body. I had maintained an average pace of 10:30 minutes per mile to this point. I was starting to get tired and my quads never really loosened up. I chose to take the time to stretch as I watched the pace group take off without me. I had told myself that there was no goal for this race other than to just finish with my head held high.

“If I run with no regrets and no excuses, there is no way in hell I will finish and feel like I failed. I will be so proud of myself.” – Kelly Roberts  ( Run Selfie Repeat podcast, episode 4:  “Fear of Failure”)


One of the many things I loved about this marathon, the free race photos!! They caught me at mile 19, mile 23 and the finish line.







Mile 23 was tough. My legs were tight. Mentally I was in it, but my legs just weren’t having it. Concerned about injuring myself, I chose to walk at a 15 minute mile walk and then gave it my all coming down the chute for the finish.

My friend Linda was there cheering for me at the finish line and handed me yellow roses (my fave!) as I crossed. We ran our first marathon together (Big Sur) back in 2015, so to share finish line #3 with her, was special.


Mesa –  Phx Marathon. Finish time: 5:08 hours.

The Celebration

@ProCompression graciously hosted a party with the ambassadors. It gave us all a chance to see people we didn’t catch at the finish line, enjoy a well – earned beer, yummy food, race day stories, what’s lined up next and who is coming back next year.

Will I be back next year? OH HECK YA. Redemption baby. I won’t make the same mistake twice. I missed 2016 (which is a huge bummer because the medal from 2016-2020 half or full marathon all match up to create a copper star). SIGH! I also won’t make the mistake of not taking the time to stretch.

This was mine and Mataya’s first marathon together. It won’t be our last.BMO Harris Bank Mesa-Phx Marathon stole a piece of my heart that day. I can’t wait to go back, give it my all and HOPEFULLY, cross the finish line and ring the PR bell.

Registration is already open for 2018. I’m registered.

So now the big question , who’s coming to the party in the desert with me?


#earnthebird (and a donut!)


my LA Moment (2-14-2016)

“The marathon represents more than just 26.2 miles, it symbolizes the adversity we face in our lives and our ability to overcome the greatest odds.”

365 days later and I still get teary eyed and emotional thinking about the LA Marathon last year. 26.2 miles from Stadium to Sea – on Valentines Day.

Friday February 12th: arrival to LA, the Expo, walk around / check out Santa Monica & Venice.


Saturday February 13th: amazing morning – a run with the fabulous Julie Weiss (this was her 100th marathon! She has been pounding the pavement to raise awareness for the beast that is Pancreatic Cancer) followed by an amazing and oh so inspirational talk with Jimmy Dean Freeman. EXACTLY what I needed. Back to the hotel to watch the Olympic Trials which were happening back down by the LA Convention Center. Followed by the #WeRunSocial meetup and back finally back to the hotel to rest and relax before the big day.



#WeRunSocial meetup


The Huntley Hotel provided a special marathon menu! Chicken Ragout


Sunday, February 14th: THE BIG DAY! Yes this was my 2nd marathon. But it was my first one alone. I made a new friend (shocker I know!). We met up bright and early, chatted about our game plan and goal for the race. I told Jeff I MIGHT try to run with the 9:30 pace group, to finish in 4 hours and 30mins. It was him who really pushed me to go for it. What did I have to lose really. So I did……

I ran strong and only stopped once – at mile 22. I had hit my wall, HARD. The leader of the pace group was amazing, but I needed to fall back and go at my own pace. Half a mile later, kneeling on the ground, bawling my eyes out, I called my husband, Kyle. No words were coming out of my mouth, just my sobbing cry – as usual, he was there for me. Now at this point, I had no clue what my pace or time was. “You’re freaking KILLING IT!” he said. “Don’t stop. You can do this.”  It was at that moment I realized, I was just in my head and I could actually do this. Picked myself up and repeated the words: I Can and I Will. And that I did….


photos taken along the course mile 23 & 26 and of course, a finish line selfie with my #1

I crushed my goal and managed a PR (of roughly an hour!). Unofficial Finish: 4:38!

“Everything you ever wanted to know about yourself you can learn in 26.2 miles”.

Yup. That’s the truth.  I had big {scary} goals. I put a plan into place, I followed it and I did as I set out to do.

The photos above are a reminder that I am capable of ANYTHING I set my mind to. As I told myself REPEATEDLY with every single step “I CAN & I WILL”.

I have never in my life felt so strong, so powerful, so unstoppable. THAT is #myLAmoment


Happy Valentines Day to the best and most supportive group of friends a girl could EVER want. (A HUGE HUGE HUGE thank you to my amazing husband. I love you 💖💖)


Weekly Recap: August 21st-August 27th



Sunday 8/21: 5 mile run


August is known as “Fogust” in the Bay Area. Golden Gate Bridge is barely visible in the picture on the right

Mataya: I was playing with a beaded necklace earlier working on grabbing. I also got a sponge bath, had some tummy time, tried eating a couple times, and played in my activity chair until I fell asleep! I snuggled with Mommy during my nap time.

Monday 8/22: Balance workout & 2 mile run


Tuesday 8/23: Heavy Weights


Mataya: It was really warm today. Daddy set up our hammock in the shade and we hung out there


Wednesday 8/24: Cardio & stretching / Roll Recovery


Thursday 8/25: 3 mile run


Mataya: Daddy and I surprised Mommy today and had lunch with her.



Isn’t she the CUTEST?!?!?

Friday 8/26: 20 minute speed workout & 3 mile run


My heart and soul is full of HOPE for a world without cancer


Mataya: I met my Grandma, Great Grandma and Great Grandpa today! My doctor appointment went well. I have to go back on Monday to get my PICC removed. I had such a fun day with everyone. Grandma and my Great Grandma made me this blanket. I love it!



Saturday 8/27: Rest Day Date: Brunch


Grand Lake Kitchen (Oakland, CA)

Thanks for checking out our week. Looking forward to logging more miles and watching Mataya grow.



Weekly Recap: August 14th-August 20th



Sunday 8/14: 5 mile run


Coincidentally, my run ended in front of the liquor store! There are no accidents in life, right??

Monday 8/15: Total Body workout

Mataya and I were matched today! I introduced her yesterday, you can read it here if you missed it.



Tuesday 8/16: Agility training & 2 mile run



These were our first 2 miles!

Wednesday 8/17: Heavy weight strength training, 10 minute abs & 2 mile run

Mataya: 7 months old today & worked on my jumping.



A workout straight from the heart. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it.



Thursday 8/18: Total Body Workout

Mataya: Doctor appointment today and it went well! All of my labs look good and my oncologist said  I don’t have to come back for another visit with him for 3 months!


Friday 8/19: REST DAY – early morning sales meeting meant I had to switch my rest day from Thursday to Friday this week.

Mataya: I went to for a walk in my stroller with Daddy today and to my Cousins birthday party. I have to go see my infection doctor next Friday. If all my labs are good, they will take out my PICC. Next week my grandma is coming all the way from Oklahoma. I have not gotten to meet her yet. We get to meet and show her our new house. 





Saturday 8/20: 5 mile run

Mataya:  I had a nice relaxing day watching everyone at home clean.



That’s it! That was our week. Thanks for following along our journey together.



Meet Mataya, my buddy

In my last post, I told you about being matched with a buddy in the I Run 4 Michael facebook group, but didn’t want to share her name or photos until I got permission.


Meet Mataya! Isn’t she the cutest?! She’s 7 months old, has 4 siblings, lives in Minnesota, and is amazing. In the past 7 months she has:

  • beaten cancer
  • had 2 helicopter rides
  • 5 surgeries
  • 7 rounds of chemo
  • 51 blood product transfusions
  • almost 1,000 labs/scans/images done
  • spent 5 months inpatient at a hospital 2.5 hours away from home
  • been a resident in the NICU, PICU, and PEDS.

It is obvious that she has had the most amazing people in her life to get her healthy. The day we were matched, it was love at first sight. There’s something so special about not only Mataya, but her hard working Mama as well. It’s been fun getting to know them all this past week.


Each Sunday, I’ll be sharing a recap of our week – my workouts and her progress & milestones.






(another) New Month, New Beginning

Ah, a new month. What better time to hit reset, refocus and regroup. There is no need to wait for New Years Eve to make changes in life. The way I see it, each month is a chance to reset; make adjustments & continue working towards being the best version of yourself.

I have big dreams. Some of them being I want to run more, I want to run faster. The list goes on. When training for a race, naturally you’ll see me in better shape & making healthier decisions knowing I have a long training runs ahead. Lately, I’ve found myself working out, but not as hard as I capable of, or as often as I should. Been living in funkville and for some reason, just haven’t been able to find the bus for my ride out. I can assume what you are thinking here –‘then sign up for a race’.

That’s the expensive answer. Races aren’t cheap. Sure a discount code helps on the cost of the race, but it’s all the other costs that begin to add up.  It’s the ride share app (which is usually surging both ways due to demand) or parking. If it’s a race getaway then it’s the flights & the hotel. The experiences are my absolute favorite & I will continue to do them, but in moderation as I do not so much enjoy the money I hemorrhage for this hobby.  Plus after a long week of work, I like to leave the weekends for adventures with my hubby.It’s all about balance.

After I got back from the LA Marathon (which was February 14, 2015, yes it’s been awhile) I took the time and planned out a training schedule pretending to be prepping for a race. It didn’t work. There was nothing to motivate me & keep me engaged. Sad right?

A friend suggested I look for a buddy. Someone I can run for. Someone who would look forward to my notes a few times a week. GENIUS! If you scroll back a few blog posts, (like this one for Meagan or this one for my mother in law, Marie. This one for sweet Maggie )  you’ll see I have dedicated some of my runs to loved ones, and even to strangers I have personally never met, but their story touched my heart. This was it. A buddy, an inexpensive way to keep myself motivated and be inspired by someone else.

Searching the magical land called Facebook, I found it: I Run For Michael . This is a community forum for inspiration from those who have special needs and for you to inspire others with YOUR story and who YOU run for! Um hello!!! Where has this been my whole (5 year) running life?

The wait list is lengthy. I knew when I put my name on it, it would be months before I was potentially matched. My guess was October. Well, I took a peak today at the listing and I am at number 94!! This means in the next couple weeks (hopefully), I will be matched with my I Run For buddy.

I am beyond excited and can’t wait to meet my match. Running for a purpose….that, that is what motivates and inspires me to get up and go.

What motivates you to get out there and run?