November 3, 2014

US Half Marathon San Francisco

The US Half Marathon in San Francisco is the final race in the Golden State Series Challenge.

Thankfully it was daylight savings time so we had to roll back the clocks 1 hour. Which meant waking at 4:45am would be as painful as it sounds but still nothing enjoyable. Jen and the kids were coming to cheer me along which meant a rough start once the kiddos worked through their crank morning routine.

Driving to the city at that hour wasn’t bad at all but once we got close, figuring out which parking garage to go to was a little confusing at first. Luckily, we did the same drive the day prior to pickup my bib so we went straight to the same garage with about 30 minutes until the starting time. By the time we were walking out of the garage, there was a huge line funneling into the same garage.

Aquatic park was a great starting place for this race of over 5,000 runners. Great views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge along with all the ships in the harbor. Finding the start took a minute but really, it was just a matter of following the herd of people.

I made my way to the starting line and danced my way up toward the front so I could stand with Jen and the kids and get ahead of the non-serious runners but still behind the elite runners.

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Getting out of the gates was slow going but starting uphill then having plenty of a straightaway made it pretty easy. I told myself to refrain from going out too quick and not being able to recover. I ran 7:04/mile for the first mile then tried to ease back to around 7:30/mile thereafter and astonishingly was able to do just that.

It helped that there was a few guys that were running the same pace so we jockeyed position throughout the course which made for some fun moments.

I felt great despite have a bit of a cold the night prior. My music was hitting on all cylinders, I found a good rhythm and enjoyed the incredible views every step of the way. I didn’t have my GUs this time around but trie used gummies as a replacement. The chews were necessary but I’m not sure if I liked them better or not. I like having something to wedge in between my cheeks and letting it dissolve vs the sticky mess that gels can make.

I can’t begin to describe the course. Breathtaking views from every angle. The course starts off running along the Bay, traversing the hills that eventually make their way up to the Golden Gate Bridge. Runnings across this and seeing the city line is a view like no other. When you get to the other side, you run a half-clover trail route that leads under the bridge then back up and around so that you’re then running on the opposite side. From this point its a straight-shot back to the finish line. There’s enough inclines to make this challenging but plenty of opportunities to make some personal records too. The key will be to get out in front of the crowds if possible. When I started the opposite side of the bride going back into the city, there was a sea of runners on the other that I couldn’t imagine trying to get through.

 

The final three miles were tough for me. I need to train better for these moments. My legs felt really heavy, especially the final uphill part but even on the straight-aways I felt like they were barely moving. My RunKeeper claims otherwise but I know that if I could improve this part of my race, I could consistently get sub-1:40 times.

Official time: 1:40:35

Overall: 172 / 5,136

Gender: 151

30 – 39 Age Group: 49

Crossing the finish is always a great feeling especially hearing your name over the speakers. The final walk way was filling with runners but it was easy to get my medal, the free water bottle and immediately fill it up. I spotted the Golden Gate Series booth and strutted over for them to “Medal Me!” This is some serious racing bling that I was really proud to get finally.

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I found Jen and the kids, enjoyed some of Strike Brewer Blonde Ale in my new water bottle, collected a bunch of free food goods then hung out by the water, enjoying the site with my family.

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I even was finally able to connect with a runner-friend from Instagram @andykriebel. Turns out we have even more in common than just running. Goes to show you that despite feeling like running is a solo sport, you can still meet incredible people along the way!

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