SF Half Marathon 2011Posted: August 3, 2011
I am a little late on this one, but I couldn’t bring myself to simply post the photos and add a little blurb about the course. That just wouldn’t be fair because this race was AMAZING! Normally my description of a race is based on my race, but because I was taking it easy and avoiding injury I was able to fully absorb and appreciate the external factors and separate them from my performance.
My mom was running her third half this month, Braedon was testing out a halfway healed knee, and I was determined to avoid any pain in my left leg. If I was going to push through the pain, I would have done the full like I had wanted. I was super excited for Braedon to see this course because it was my 4th race through the city (on slightly different courses) and I wanted to share that with him.
The first wave started just after 5am! Our wave was scheduled to start at 6am, but we were running a little late, so we started two waves back at 6:20am. As much as I do not like waking up early EVER, there is something super magical about early morning dark race starts that I just love. When we left our hotel in the morning, there were only runners in the lobby, and as we walked down Market Street, runners appeared around every dark corner, all headed to the same place. It feels like we all have a shared secret. We all sneak out before dawn to share our secret love for running, and I love it.
The weather was great! We took off our long sleeves before the race even started!! Did I mention we were in San Francisco?! Crazy! The course starts right by the Ferry Building and goes North along the Embarcadero. It is so fun to run along Fisherman’s Wharf where you can smell the fresh sourdough bread at Boudin and hear the sea lions barking. Before we knew it we were going by Ghirardelli and over to Crissy Field. I probably sounded like a broken record during the whole race because I couldn’t stop telling my mom how cool/beautiful/interesting every single thing was along the course. I even liked the electrolytes. That never happens.
Next thing we knew we were up the dreadful hills and over the bridge. We weren’t sure if or where we would see Brendan because he had stayed out late the night before with his coworkers, and we weren’t able to come up with a solid plan for him, but we spotted him on the Sausalito side of the bridge! YAY!! I am seriously addicted to having people I know cheering for me at a race. It is the BEST thing ever!! Plus he took this stunning picture with the bridge in the background. He was even nice enough to not write “proof” over it!
I loved being on the bridge on such a (relatively) clear day. It was so fun. Coming down the hill after the bridge is super magical because you can see so much of the city on your left and a beautiful view of the ocean on the right. Of course I raved about it. After the downhill my mom started struggling a bit, and I was all for delaying the end of this experience, so we walked up a hill and slowed our pace down a bit after that.
I happen to know from other race pictures that this is not my usual arm position, so I am not too worried, but it is unfortunate. This might sound dumb, but I think I was trying to squeeze myself away from potential photo bombers because the bridge was super crowded with runners trying to ruin our race pics.
The rolling hills through the neighborhood streets were tough, but there were some good spectators and it went by pretty quickly. Once we were in Golden Gate Park we knew we were close, and we picked up our pace. My mom had a seriously killer kick for the last 1/4 mile and then blew me away with her sprint at the end. I guess she wanted to beat me. I may or may not have done that to her last year at this race after she had waited for me while I stretched at mile 12.9.
We had such a fun race. My leg hurt a little, but I really felt so great. I even told my mom around mile 10 that I wished I was doing the full! I have NEVER thought anything like that at mile 10 before. I can’t think of a better way to say goodbye to San Francisco before I leave in less than two weeks. This is definitely a race that I will come back for, and I definitely consider it a good candidate for a future full marathon because the changes in terrain and scenery were so entertaining.
My mom and I ended up having a more positive experience that Braedon who made bathroom stops and had a lot of leg discomfort, but guess whose race picture always comes out looking better no matter what?!