I ran the San Francisco 2nd Half Marathon on Sunday and was 1st Female, in 1:20:08. I felt good the whole race and thoroughly enjoyed the event! I ended the week with 57 miles, my highest since Grandma’s Marathon 5 weeks ago and I’m feeling strong.
We left for San Francisco (from Mountain View) on Saturday afternoon via the Caltrain. We hit up the expo just before closing, around 4:45pm. I picked up my bib, met up with some Oiselle teammates, had some Thai food for dinner, and picked up some snacks (soft pretzel, 2 bagels, and some almond butter) at Whole Foods. The pretzel and one bagel were for an evening snack and the other bagel was for breakfast in the morning! We did more walking than I’d usually want to do before a half marathon, but this race was all about fun and seeing how my body felt, not running a PR.
I was once again behind on sleep, so my goal was to try to get 9 hours the night before the race. I ended up with 8 which is the most I’ve had for awhile, but woke feeling a bit tired. Still, I got up with my alarm, 3 hours before race time, and had that bagel with almond butter and a k-cup of whatever coffee the hotel had in our room. An hour later I had maybe 4-6 more ounces of coffee shop coffee.
My bud Robin, Jeff and I got an uberX to take us about 3/4 mile from the race start and we walked the rest of the way. We used the restroom, did a short warmup (actually only a half mile for Jeff and me because we didn’t do bag drop yet and warming up with a bag is annoying!), and got to the start line. I was able to high five Michelle, Bret and Robin before the gun. It was hotter than expected and Michelle told me it was about 85% humidity and I made the last minute decision to ditch the singlet and run in the Scantron bra and competition brief.
I was going to wear my Garmin during this race so I could have splits, but as I’ve mentioned on Twitter, it’s on its final days and although it was fully charged when I left the hotel, it went dead before the race started so I went without. I spent the first 1-3 miles (not sure how far because I didn’t see mile markers or have a GPS watch) with the 2nd place woman. We chatted briefly, and she was really sweet! I always enjoy a little small talk in the early miles of longer races. I learned she trained some with Lauren Fleshman after college and I later found out (while googling her – yeah, I admit that!) she ran at Princeton just like my older brother and husband and overlapped with them one year there.
The next few miles were uneventful other than the crowds we were fighting. Something I should explain about this race is there is a full marathon option, a 1st half marathon option (where you run the first half of the marathon course) and a 2nd half marathon option (where you run the second half of the marathon course). I ran the 2nd half marathon which starts almost 3 hours after the marathon start. So, we start and join up with marathoners in the 5.5 hour range. The cool thing about that is you pass people the entire race. The part that makes it rough is the roads are crowded and I found myself weaving a lot, taking the curves long, completely stopping at every water stop (because there were big backups and I take in fluids at every stop), and sometimes just coming to a dead stop because you are behind someone who suddenly stops with a tight muscle or someone who moves unexpectedly for some unknown reason. I gave and got a lot of unintentional elbows on race day, but I think it’s something everyone expects! I’m sure I ran quite a bit longer than 13.1, but I enjoyed having people around, cheering for others, and having them cheer for me!
Around some unknown mile, maybe 7, a guy ran up beside me and asked if I knew I was the first female. We chatted for a bit and I found out he has a son who was born just 3 days after Wells! We talked about training after having kids, goals for the current race and goals for the fall. We leapfrogged back and forth (it was hard to stay beside each other and pass full marathoners) and I eventually lost sight of him and I’m not sure if he finished in front of or behind me. When we were together, he looked at his GPS watch and said we were on a solid 1:18 pace. I was feeling good and happy to hear that.
All of a sudden, maybe around mile 8, we were running in the bright, hot sun. I didn’t feel too hot, I just remember thinking it was gorgeous! The crowd support was awesome. It was a great day to race in San Francisco! As people around me cheered more and more that I was the first woman, no one else in sight, I decided to run it in a little easier and enjoy the day. I didn’t completely shut it down, but I did slow down and enjoy the sights around me. I rarely take the chance to do this and it was a nice change (probably won’t do it again for awhile, either!)
Somewhere in the last 3 miles, I saw a Oiselle singlet ahead of me and started cheering! It ended up being Sophia who ran the 1st Half Marathon and was running a few more miles with a friend. That was the first point in the course where I was feeling a little lonely as I found a clearing in the constant group of full marathoners and it was so nice to see her!
With about a half mile to go I heard the lead cyclist calling in to someone at the finish line that the female winner, #252 – me, was approaching. I have to admit, that was exciting to hear. I felt like I was just gliding into the finish and I couldn’t wait to break the tape. Before I knew it, they were announcing my name, I saw and heard Paulette screaming for me and I was finishing!
After the race I immediately downed 2 boxes of water (I think they were each a quart), a banana, and some Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator (they had a booth after the finish line and I wasn’t too proud to keep filling the tiny cups they provided until I felt I had almost a real serving! HA!) Jeff and I got our gear from gear check and headed to the beer garden for our one free beer. We both enjoyed our IPAs, while chatting with other runners we met in line. Then we found some Oiselle team friends and talked a bit about our races before I realized we had to get running back to the hotel before checkout. Ahhhh!
A lot of people asked me “was the course hilly?” Well, it was in San Francisco so I think you know the answer! But, the course skipped a lot of big, steep uphills and favored more long gradual uphills and steeper downhills. I have to say I’m horrible with downhills, in particular steeper downhills, so the downhills were probably my least favorite part of the course. Other than that, I really enjoyed every minute of this race!
Thanks for all the encouragement and well wishes! My next race (unless something else pops up!) will be the Deschutes Brewery Twilight 5k in Bend, OR on 8/14! Guess that means I’ll hit up the track for a few workouts sometime soon!