Style + Living

7 Things I Learned From Running My First Half Marathon

October 22, 2015

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Nike Half Marathon

Sometimes you just have to surprise yourself – it’s the best feeling in the world. 13 weeks ago ClassPass asked me if I would run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco. My response? Um.. I’m not a runner, and I’ve never run a mile in my life. Food marathons? Yeah I do those every day.


On Sunday, Oct 18th, I woke up at 5am in San Francisco and completed my first half-marathon (13.1 miles). Here’s what I’ve learned:


1. Proper running equipment

I started my training with this old pair of Nike Freeruns that were super comfortable for everyday walking but definitely not for the pavement and long-distance running. We were sent the Nike Pegasus that was a more sturdier shoe for running long distance.

2. It’s more than just running.

It’s also about changing your lifestyle. I learned very quickly that I couldn’t continue eating my large meals for dinner because I would slip into food coma and be too sleepy to run. Altering my diet to complex carbs and green juices helped me fuel my runs.


San Francisco

3. Running is the best way to see a city

Waking up at 5am on Sunday morning to run San Francisco tops the charts of best experiences of my life. We got to see every nook and cranny of the city. Smelling the forest scent through the Golden Gate Park was incredible. Photo above is an actual view from the course!


Nike Half Marathon

4. “Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game”

I was so nervous that I wouldn’t be able to run the half-marathon that it prevented me from having the motivation to train. I wish I would have focused that nervous energy into excited energy.

Thank you ClassPass for arranging all these goodies for us at hotel check-in!

  • Justin’s Nut Butters & Peanut Butter Cups
  • Vega Protein
  • Lush Bath Bomb
  • Perfect Bars
  • EOS Lip Balm
  • Lyft Mustache – the pups and kitties have been playing with this non-stop


ClassPassRunner team-edited

5. Running is a team sport

Having such a great support group of 5 bloggers and ClassPass taught me that running isn’t just an independent sport, but a team effort. Meet the team!

Jacklyn Ho of SPRIGHT
Anne of Fannetastic Food
Kristen Lam
Jess of Little Miss Runshine
Emily of Daily Garnish
Sarah of Sarah Fit


6. Ask for help

As a first-time runner, I had no idea what to expect for my first half-marathon so asking other veteran runners was super helpful and insightful.


Nike Half Marathon San Francisco 2015Nike Half Marathon San Francisco 2015 -2

5. Races are inspiring and emotional

I was overwhelmed with emotion at the finish line and teared up. Here’s me running through the final 13.1!


Nike Women's Half Marathon

Everyone who completes the Nike Women’s Half Marathon receives a Tiffany & Co necklace, how cool is that!? I’ve been wearing mine ever since.


Fun In San Francisco

We didn’t just come to San Francisco for the race but also to sightsee and eat!


Westin St. Francis

San Francisco

Amazing view of SF from our room at the Westin St. Francis. Thank you so much for the hospitality and the pedicure! The Oak Room in the Westin was delicious and convenient to carb load the night before the half marathon.


Ferry Building

Ferry Building

Ferry Building

It may be touristy, but my favorite part of San Francisco is visiting the farmer’s market at the Ferry Building on the weekends. I love walking through all the vendors and tasting the different artisan goods and the fruit. And I can’t forget about Blue Bottle Coffee. There’s usually a 10-15 minute line but it’s so worth it. I opted for a latte at Blue Bottle Coffee and then a scoop of Blue Bottle Vietnamese coffee ice cream at Humphry Slocombe.


Seed + Salt

Seed + SaltSeed + Salt  Seed + Salt

Seed & Salt is a gluten-free and vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco that serves up breakfast and lunch featuring organic, and local ingredients. The spaghetti squash with “meatballs” were delicious! They also have avocado toast (along with different kinds of toast), freshly pressed juices, and yummy chocolate chip cookies.


Bowl’d Acai

Bowl'd Acai

Mmm acai bowls at Bowl’d Acai with Jess!


Happy Crepes


We stopped by Japan Town for cute crepes at Happy Crepe.


Greens Restaurant

Greens Restaurant

Indulging in brunch by the water at Greens Restaurant after running our half-marathon!


A Taste of Koko

Feeling refreshed after an amazing massage by Zeel – they even come straight to your hotel room! Shout out to Lyft for giving us rides around San Francisco, I needed the help after the run!


Thank you so much to ClassPass and Nike for helping me cross off half marathons on my bucket list!


Jane Ko is the Austin blogger behind A Taste of Koko, Austin's top food and travel blog featuring the hottest restaurants and weekend getaways. Jane has been a speaker at South by Southwest (SXSW), Texas Conference for Women, BlogHer, and more on entrepreneurship and social media. She lives in Austin Texas with her dog and cat.