Hello, San Francisco!

As I write this I’m flying southbound toward San Francisco for a weekend in the Marin Headlands for The North Face Endurance Challenge! I’m traveling with three of my closest friends, who all happen to be trail monsters and will be running the series’ 50K tomorrow. That’s 31 miles! I, however, will be cheering them on and will run the half marathon distance on Sunday.

We’re staying in Japantown in San Francisco, so you can bet we’ll be fueling up tonight with some ramen and celebrating later over sushi. I’m looking forward to seeing many familiar faces from the running community near and far this weekend. If you’re going to be out there cheering or racing this weekend, give me a shout.

And without further adieu, some gems from the running world for your weekend:


I’ve been playing some major catch up on podcasts, including listening to The Runner’s World Show from the very beginning. They’re 30 episodes in and each one is well worth taking the time to listen. I was particularly moved by episode 13, The Legend of Pre. An excerpt from Nike co-founder Phil Knight’s memoir “Shoe Dog” was read. Knight described witnessing history in the making when Steve Prefontaine won the 5000m in the 1972 US Olympic Trials in front of his home crowd at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Some call it America’s greatest distance race of all time. Later in the episode, Frank Shorter is brought on to talk about his memories of Pre as a friend and competitor. He described the last conversation they had together before Pre lost his life in a car accident that very night. He spoke about Pre’s legacy now and what he has meant to generation after generation of young runners. I’ve heard and read so many stories about Steve Prefontaine, but I never get tired of hearing them.

Later in the same episode, Julia Lucas was interviewed about her devastating 4th place finish in the 2012 Olympic Trials 5,000 in which she missed a spot on the Olympic team by 0.4 seconds. Lucas was such an eloquent speaker and described in great detail of how the roar of the crowd down the final homestretch was so loud she couldn’t hear if any opponents were coming up behind her, then the anticipation of seeing whose names would appear in the top three spots on the scoreboard after the photo finish. It was almost painful to listen to because you could hear the heartbreak in her voice as she recounted the moment she learned she didn’t make the team.


Speaking of the heartbreak, check out this write up by photographer David Bracetty on a project he took on during the 2016 US Olympic Track & Field Trials where he took portraits of 3rd and 4th place finishers. AKA, those who made the Olympic team contrasted by those who did not. You can also see the photos in print in the latest issue of Meter Magazine.


It is my hope that my story, and yours, will inspire all young women out there to push for greatness and follow their dreams with steadfast resilience. We must continue to dream big, and in doing so, we empower the next generation of women to be just as bold in their pursuits. -Serena Williams in an open letter to women that strive for excellence.


In case you haven’t heard:

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I’m so excited to see Lauren Fleshman on the USA Track & Field Board of Directors. I believe she will be an excellent advocate for all athletes in the sport.

That’s all for the weekend. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram for updates!

4 responses to “Hello, San Francisco!”

  1. Jonathan Hsieh Avatar
    Jonathan Hsieh

    Good luck!!! I was going to sign up for the 10k but I got lazy (because I want to work on my bike! 😁)

    I will have to see if I can spot you on your run and cheer you on!! Enjoy your short stay!

    1. Liz Avatar

      Let me know if you make it out there! Thanks!

  2. Robin Avatar

    It was so great to meet you on Saturday, Liz! Looks like you had a great race on Sunday. Our trails were showing off their finest conditions for you this weekend! xo

    1. Liz Avatar

      It was so nice meeting you too, Robin! I loooved the trails! They were beautiful and the race was so much fun. Hope we cross paths again soon!


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Who is Mercury?

Liz Derstine, trail name “Mercury”, is a distance runner, endurance hiker, writer, and musician residing in Boston, MA. She holds fastest known times for women on the Appalachian Trail (supported, northbound), Long Trail (self-supported), and Pinhoti Trail (self-supported).

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