Way back in June (yes, of this year; yes, June feels like a long time ago) my sister & I hopped across the country and landed ourselves in San Francisco. The trip encompassed quite a few long-overdue things: visiting a great Denver-friend, running + racing in a new city, seeing a new-to-me city and exploring a new-to-me National Park (Yosemite).
The running-weekend started with a lululemon party (as all running events should) at their Grant Avenue store. There was a huge turnout for the “SFM Shake-Out Run”, as we all got our nervous-race-legs ready:
The expo was expectedly large and crowded, but really well organized and packed with great energy! I met up with Brian, marveled at the race shirt (swoon) and all together our crew snatched up quite a load of freebies.
We were spoiled with a ride right to the “Half Marathon 2” start, right inside of Golden Gate Park. This race has two half-marathon courses to avoid overloading the bridge (seen above) with too many runners; we choose #2 because of the later start time and the option to finish down on the Embarcadero. Both routes are hilly and challenging; as you might imagine, the Full is just ridiculous. Huge props to you 26.2-ers!
We were also spoiled by Martha’s friends/former co-workers at the Lululemon store – pick out a race shirt? And you have this crazy-bright NEON green? Yeah, we’ll take that…
The first half of this course looped us all around Golden Gate park. Fun fact: the fog sits comfortably on top of this city gem, making it anywhere from 5-10* cooler! We were a little chilly at that starting line, but warmed up immediately around mile 6 as the route takes you onto the city streets.
San Francisco, you’re so tricky…
After the park we headed straight down Haight street, full of quirky shops, restaurants and spectators. One couple rode their bikes up and down this street blasting MIA “Paper Planes” from their boom-box.
Seriously. It was amazing.
You’re mostly done with the ridiculous uphill sections by this point, but the downhills can be just as painful. Proceed with caution!
Eventually we reach Mission,running across 16th street toward the Bay. We hit the Embarcadero and run around AT&T stadium, passing the kick-ass (as-usual) lululemon cheer station and running right into the last mile. It’s packed with spirited spectators, finishers and volunteers!
IMPORTANT SIDENOTE: I saw Dean Karnazes in the Finishers’ shoot! Dude must’ve done the Ultra version of this race (26.2 x 2) – who knows? But I. SAW. HIM. My running-celebrity sighting is complete for the year.
I had low expectations for this race, in a just-have-fun and ignore-the-painful-hills kind of way, but was pretty pumped with the end results. I tried insanely hard to pass the 1:40 pace group in that last mile – once I realized how close I was to them – but came in just short…
2013 SAN FRANCISCO HALF MARATHON (#2)
1:41:02 – avg. pace: 7:43
AG (F 20-29): 17 / 546
Women: 48 / 1673
Overall: 248 / 3102
We had a GREAT time – this would definitely be added to the Summer race agenda again. It helps that the rest of the week was filled with things like this:
NOTED, California. You’ve got it all…
What city is on your racing bucket-list?
Next up on mine: Vancouver. SeaWheeze. Doing it.