A week or so ago, I thought I wasn't going to be running the San Francisco 2nd half marathon due to another commitment. Well...turns out, I ended up being free to run the half!
The day before, the entourage (Anthony, his brother, his brother's girlfriend and me) headed out from Sacramento to SF. We checked into the hotel (which we got the reservation two days before from Alyssa by a small miracle) and headed to the expo. We also walked around San Francisco after dinner. I'm always stunned by how cool of a city San Francisco is. So beautiful.
(On a side note, I found out that day that a high school teammate of mine, Ben Horne, passed away on a climbing trip in Peru. I told myself that I would run this race joyfully and think of him if things got tough. Too often I forget to be thankful for the opportunity to be running.)
The next morning, my alarm went off at a fairly reasonable hour of 6:00 AM and I walked over to catch the bus that took us out to the start of the race. The 2nd half of the marathon starts in the middle of the full marathon.
Once we got dropped off, I randomly wandered around until I found an open coffee shop (with a bathroom too!) and had some coffee while I waited for the race to start.
I hung out at the start and I noticed a familiar looking girl decked out in Asics gear. Holy cow it's Molly Pritz!!! Like the creeper I am, I followed her around for about a minute wanting to be like "OH HEY MOLLY I LOVE YOU RUN FAST!!". Then I realized she looked super focused and probably didn't want to be harassed by me. So I left her alone. As a note though, she is way prettier in person and she went on to run a 1:10 half PR!
One cool thing about the start was that I could tell who was about my speed by bib number. Basically my corral meant people had applied based on times between a 1:30 and 1:40 half marathon. I'm not used to being in front, so that felt cool. It also allowed me to befriend anyone with a similar bib number to be my running buddy for the race! I didn't feel like I was in PR shape but I figured I'd try for a 1:36 or 1:37.
The race started unceremoniously without a gun or a national anthem and we filtered in with the marathoners. I ran the first three miles or so with a girl named Michelle. I wanted to take it easy and run by feel. This was the only time during the race I felt grumpy or like I didn't want to be there.
7:19, 7:32, 7:28
Around mile 4, I started feeling a little better and started running with some other girls I'd talked to at the start. I ran past Sesa at some point who yelled "Faster Bunny" at me. That was fun and cool!
7:17, 7:01, 7:22
I was still trying to keep my splits in check and not book it too hard because 6 miles into a half marathon isn't even halfway.
Miles 7-9 were mostly downhill, especially right around mile 8 where there were some crazy downhills. I told myself to not brake in my stride. This hurts, but I think it helps speed a lot on the downhills.
7:16, 7:06, 7:25
At some point, I started wishing that there were more water stops. There were stops about every 2 miles or so, but given that we were running (dodging?) the full marathoners, it was tough to get water. I also didn't want to be a jerk by running into any full marathoners walking at the water stops because you know...they had run a hell of a lot more than I had!
7:19, 7:13, 7:11, 7:17
The last few miles, I started running faster. I felt pretty good and felt comfortable enough about myself to push harder. I thought of Ben and remembered to enjoy the moment of the race. I ran the last few miles of the race with one girl who kept yelling encouragingly at the marathoners. I'm still blown away by how nice the girls were that I ran with.
The last .1 hurt like it should. It felt great to finish. I know this is totally against everything I stand for, but I know I ran extra in this race. I'm not sure if it's my crappy tangent running/dodging people or if the course is actually long and I guess it doesn't matter. But it makes me feel better about my ability to run fast on a course with less maneuvering required.
Time: 1:36:34. About as good as I could have hoped for! I want to get faster and knock off some PRs, but this still made me happy enough!
The best part? They had freaking Jamba Juice at the finish. It was the coldest most refreshing thing I'd ever had in that moment.
I scrambled back to the hotel where everyone was waiting (they all ran the 5k!) and quickly showered. We checked out, and spent the rest of the day on the beach at Point Reyes.
Final thoughts on this race: I loved running through SF. I've heard that the 2nd half isn't as pretty as the 1st half but I thought it was plenty enjoyable. I wish there had been more water stops and dodging the marathoners was a little tough. But it was also fun. I would definitely run this race again - hopefully next time with a little more serious training under my belt.
Overall a pretty fantastic weekend! Thanks, SF!