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Why I Love Competing in Women-Only Races

This past weekend, my sister and I did the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco. My sister has done quite a few women only races (I’ve done 6) from triathlons to bike races to 10ks and she prefers them. I like the feeling of support you get from other women and the positive energy you feel around you.

What I love most, though, is seeing women of all shapes, sizes, and  ages running together and encouraging each other. The Nike race was the 10th and it turns out that I did the first one in 2004. I remember that it was a much smaller group that first year. Right before the start, I sat on the curb and nursed my baby so he wouldn’t be hungry and so I would be comfortable. The women who saw it said really nice things about how great it was that I was getting back out after baby (I still had about 20 pounds of baby weight on me). And the encouragement was felt throughout the entire race not just to me, but to everyone around.

Those are just some of the reasons I love women-only races. Here are a few more.

  • The energy is so positive… 1 of 9

    We lined up for the Nike Women's Marathon on Oct. 20 before the sun came up. It was cold and it was crowded. We were in one of the last pace groups so we didn't start running for 45 minutes after the race started. But the complaints were few. Everyone around us was happy to be there and happy to be running with friends or family or by themselves.

  • Most everyone is happy.. 2 of 9

    Check out the woman in the white hat. It's cold, not quite light out, and she's running with a smile on her face. (It helps that there's an incredible sunrise with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge.)

  • Sometimes you get to dress up… 3 of 9

    At the Disneyland's woman-only Tinkerbell Half Marathon, many runners are in costume. You see everything from Snow White to Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather to a slew of Tinkerbells.

  • The ladies know how to carbo-load… 4 of 9

    Fine pastries are so much better when shared with friends. The day before friends and I did the Tinkerbell Half Marathon we stopped at Duff's Cake Mix in West Hollywood for this incredibly delicious cinnamon coffee cake. It was one of the best pastries I've ever had, but so much better because I knew we'd be burning it off (or part of it) in the next day's race.

  • You may get a Tiffany necklace… 5 of 9

    Okay, the only time you get a Tiffany necklace is if you do the Nike Women's Half or full Marathon in Washington, D.C. or San Francisco. Not only do you get a necklace, but the box is handed to you by a fireman in a tuxedo. It doesn't get any better than that. Plus you get a nice race shirt.

  • You may see something lovely… 6 of 9

    The guy in the black sweatsuit was waiting for the woman in pink to run by. We saw them as he was bent down on one knee and asked her to marry him. Everyone around us cheered. I assume she said yes.

  • You can see the latest trends in fitness fashion… 7 of 9

    My workout gear includes some of my favorite pieces of clothing. It's always fun during races to spot the latest trends in workout clothes. I loved how these two ladies not only looked cute, but matched each other, and the yellow really stood out.

  • Inspiration is all around you… 8 of 9

    There were so many women wearing purple for Team in Training, which raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, at the Nike Marathon in San Francisco. The courageous survivors and their friends and family have raised more than $135 Million in the past 10 years of the race.

  • You can share the race with people you love… 9 of 9

    I called up my sister and said, "Hey, do you want to do the Nike Women's Half Marathon." She didn't hesitate when she said yes. We talked quite a bit leading up to the race and then got to spend the weekend together mostly just the two of us. That hasn't happened in years and I wouldn't have gone to San Francisco for the weekend if not for the race.

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