Two weekends ago I ran the San Francisco Half Marathon. This race is unique because it offers a full marathon, 1st half marathon and 2nd half marathon. This way half marathon runners have the ability to run the full course over consecutive years. I chose to run the first half this year. The first half is known to have the most hills, but also it has the prettiest views. I got to run over the Golden Gate bridge which was amazingly fun and a remarkably clear day.
Let’s start at the beginning. I applied to be an ambassador for the race this year and was lucky enough to be chosen to represent the San Francisco marathon in my community and to promote it on my blog and social media channels. The ambassador community itself was amazing the whole last year leading up to the race. From motivation to training tips and plans, the group did an excellent job as a whole and I feel blessed to be a part of it.
As a part of being an ambassador I got the unique opportunity to be interviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle about race recovery. I had no idea that it would be on the front page of the newspaper on Saturday before the race! I can’t thank the race enough for giving me this opportunity. It truly was a dream come true! Check out the article here.
Saturday morning I arrived in San Francisco and headed straight to the expo at Fort Mason for the shakeout run with Bart Yasso. This was the first time I met the race ambassadors and they were all incredibly friendly and nice. I intended to only do a 1-2 mile run, but ended up doing 3 miles a lot faster than I should have. I got caught up in the moment. All in all, it was still worth it for the views. I wasn’t going for a half marathon PR on this course, so I was a little less strict with my pre-race activities.
After the run I stopped by the expo to pick up my race day essentials, bib number and goody bag. Then I headed out to Nike Union Street to join my friends there for a quick cross training workout with background views of the Golden Gate Bridge. After this workout, I went and had a delicious crepe breakfast. Where I live, in Ukiah, there are no good crepe places around, so I took full advantage and got a sweet and savory crepe. Yummy pre-race food!
The rest of the day was pretty relaxing and involved meeting up with friends at the expo, stocking up on Nuun, and hydrating. Then I returned to Berkeley, where I was staying with a friend that evening.
Sunday morning I woke up around 3:30am and had a light breakfast, got ready, and headed into SF. I parked my car and headed to the start line. I met up with some ambassadors at the Ambassador and Pacer tent and they helped keep my nerves at bay. At 5:42am, my wave started and I was off!
The beginning of the race followed a similar course to the Nike Women’s Marathon (we ran past the Ferry Building, Fisherman’s Wharf and past Crissy Field) until we veered off and ran over the Golden Gate Bridge. I loved this part. I got more energy on the bridge and was revitalized by the views and all the runners around me. It was here that I began to take my Clif Shot Bloks to keep my energy up. A mistake I made at the Zooma Run was forgetting to fuel properly on the run, and I wasn’t going to do that again.
After turning back and crossing the bridge for a second time there was a fairly hilly finish for the final three miles heading to Golden Gate Park. I was starting to get tired legs, but all in all I felt pretty good at this point and finished strong. I finished in 2:12, which was not a bad time for me considering all of the hills and my poor training due to the number of weddings and travel I have done the past few months.
My race ended where the second half marathon began. I got my finisher’s medal, heat wrap, muffin and Zico coconut water, and continued through the finisher’s chute. I thought the finish process was extremely efficient and the buses back to the start line were moving very quickly.
Once back I watched some of the marathoner’s finish and then headed back home. I was pretty exhausted on my 2.5 hour drive home and promptly took a nap when I got back.
This year was my first year running this race and I absolutely loved it! I want to run the second half marathon next year so I can see the whole course and pick up an extra special finishers medal for completing the first half and second half in back to back years! How cool is that?
If you want to run this race next year be sure to sign up early as it does sell out! For all the details head to the San Francisco Marathon website. I hope to see you on course again!