i love this race… like i said, there is just *something* about this race.
the san francisco marathon was my first marathon in 2008. last year i ran the 1st half for fun, and this year i decided to finish off the races and run the 2nd half. i had wanted to train hard, but summer has gotten the best of me, and i didn’t quite get in as much training as i hoped. i have been going to weekly track workouts, but haven’t done a tempo run since pre-big sur marathon. i have done a couple double digit runs and hoped that i would be able to hang on.
i knew a PR (1:42:39) wasn’t going to happen. i ran the see jane run half marathon in june, and died around mile 10, but still managed to pull off a 1:47:08, so my goal for this race was to see if i could get a “summer PR” and beat that time. this course is MUCH hillier, but it was going to be cooler so i was hoping that would work in my favor.
they say (whoever “they” is) that the 2nd half of the marathon is supposed to be the faster half, and i still think that is true. note: “faster” not “fast”. in the full marathon i think the second half just hurts, but i was hoping that the faster part would hold true for me since i was only running the second half and not the first half before it. but first things first…
i went into the city with kristin and her boyfriend stephen on saturday and we hit a ton of traffic. then there was a ton of traffic just getting to park at the location. we snagged a great spot and made our way in. we didn’t hit any lines to get our bibs and shirts and that was all pretty seamless. i was SO excited for the shirts, they are greenlayer again (the best!!!) and so cute, AND we got drawstring backpacks we can use again as our drop bags. i LOVE when races do this, since i am a bag lady and all definitely an A+ on the swag from me.
we made our way through the very crowded expo (i only had 2 complaints about the race and this was one), it was packed! i was also there on saturday afternoon, but i had heard it wasn’t any better any other time. they had a lot of great booths but i was on my way to find my running twin danica at her booth!
i hung out there and waited for a few people that were supposed to swing my while kristin and stephen scoured the expo. i am not the biggest fan of expos, i tend to run in and out, but i found a nice corner near danica where i could have my space
eventually a bunch of people came by! it was so nice to put a face to twitter handles and blogs. i love meeting runners!!
i hung out for a while after too, because i knew melanie was on her way and i REALLY wanted to meet her! i have been reading her blog forever and between emails and IM’s i feel like i know her already, and finally i got to meet her in real life!
we finally got out of there and got home in time to carb load and get to bed early for the early morning wake up call!
my alarm went off at 4:15, which actually is considered “sleeping in” for this race. the first half and the full marathon both start EARLY, the first wave is at 5:30am. i think my alarm was set for 3am last year? anyways, i got up and went into my pre-race routine and was excited to be doing this race again. i made it to kristin and stephen’s house by 5:30 and we were on our way to SF! we had a couple of detours which were annoying, but we got there, found a great spot and were at the shuttles at 6:30am on the dot. we didn’t have to wait at all and made it to the start in golden gate park just after 7am.
the busses dropped us off RIGHT at the start, it was perfect. there was a line of porta potties right there so we got in line, and noticed there was only one line. they had them taped off and they had volunteers controlling the bathroom lines. it was actually a great idea! the line went really fast and i was pretty impressed with the organization.
we headed over to watch the full marathoners who were running through the park and kristin and i were reminiscing about our race 2 years ago. it seems like so much longer! we decided to hit the bathrooms one more time, then drop off our stuff. i really didn’t want to take off my long sleeves but i was very happy when i saw a bunch of heaters there for the runners to wait under! another GREAT idea. we hung out there for a bit, then went to line up for our wave!
we found danica and page and all lined up together. we were pretty close to the front, but no one else was moving up, so we just stayed there chit chatting. they started making some announcements and then people started running! we weren’t quite ready yet, but we were off!
it was really foggy in the park and i was happy in my shorts and tank top. i knew i would get warmed up quick because it was humid, but the temps felt perfect. the first mile is pretty much all downhill and i really tried to focus on not going too fast. i didn’t want to blow up early, since i knew this course was pretty much rolling the entire time.
mile 1 – 7:59
after about 2 miles we merged in with the full marathoners. i remember this happening when i was doing the full and it can be a little annoying having all these fresh legged half marathoners come running by. but being on the other side is rather fun. we were going up and down, up and down all through the park and i was trying to just keep my effort the same on the ups and the downs.
mile 2 – 8:06
mile 3 – 8:18
i was feeling ok, and i really hadn’t looked at my pace at all. i didn’t see any mile markers until mile 3 and i checked my distance and was right on which made me happy. this course is notoriously long (when i did the full i ran 26.52 miles) but i hoped since i was a little more experienced this time, i would be able to not have the extra distance. i did do quite a bit of weaving around all the runners though, and the roads are really wide in this race, which is always a nice thing.
mile 4 – 8:13 (gu at 4.5)
mile 5 – 7:47
i was getting in a groove and using every long downhill to my advantage and just kept keeping the effort the same going up hill. we exited the park around mile 6 and made our way onto haight street. i remembered this part very well from the full marathon. it’s around mile 18-19 and there is a long steady incline you can see for a while. i was having fun reliving all these first time marathon memories and it was definitely keeping me distracted. i couldn’t believe how fast the race was flying by!
mile 6 – 8:07
mile 7 – 7:54
after the long steady incline there are a couple of STEEP declines that i remember hurting SO bad. i didn’t know how to run down hills very well back then, and i was trying to be better this time, but they still were tough. those are some steep suckers. i was still really focusing on my effort and not paying much attention at all to my watch. i was pushing pretty hard and hoping i could just hold on.
mile 8 – 7:46
there are a couple hills in the later miles for the marathon (22 and a baby at 23) that were still tough for me today. i was working hard to get up them, but i did and would look forward to the downhill on the other side. i knew that after that last one around mile 10 it would pretty much be flat to the finish.
mile 9 – 8:07 (gu)
mile 10 – 8:00
at this point i was getting tired and was ready to be done. i was using the people around me as bait to catch and pass and it really helped time go by. i was hurting though and thought it would be really nice to just slow down. every time i would see a mile marker though, i would talk myself into going “hard” (effort wise) for just one more mile.
mile 11 – 8:09
the mile markers for the 2nd half are on the same banners as the full marathon mile markers, so they would be 6.9, 7.9, 8.9, etc instead of 7, 8, 9. around mile 8 i noticed that my watch was beeping at the same time i was passing the markers, so i knew i was going to have at least an extra .1 on top of the 13.1 which was kind of annoying. i just kept on running though, and once i was past 11 i told myself only 2 miles to go! it was hard watching all the full marathoners in so much pain, but i was just pushing on through.
mile 12 – 8:06
FINALLY the giants stadium and the bay bridge were in site. i knew i was close and i was not feeling well at all at this point. i started slowing down a bit and just kept on putting one foot in front of the other. i was really hoping for a downhill at this point to give me a little push. around mile 12.5 i saw some screaming ahead and looked and saw maritza and kerry cheering on the side for someone and noticed that katie was just ahead of me! i don’t know where she came from, but she became my bait and i really picked it up to try to catch her. i finally got next to her and grabbed her arm and we yo-yoed back and forth a bit pulling each other along. we always seem to end up together at the end of races
mile 13 – 7:59
at this point i knew i was going to have an extra .15 to run and katie took off to the finish line. she reached her hand back waving me in but i had nothing left, i was giving it everything i had at that moment. she took off and i chased her as much as i could… thank you katie for pulling me along that last mile! i think i would have just slowed down if i hadn’t seen her.
finally i was crossing the finish line and stopped my watch. i had it on my “current lap” screen the entire race so had no idea what my overall time or average pace was going to be. i was pleasantly surprised when i switched screens.
last .25 (per garmin): 1:51 (7:26 avg)
garmin total: 13.25 miles/1:46:19/8:01 avg pace
13.1 miles/1:46:19/8:07 avg pace
age group: 46/602
splits: 1.7m @ 8:02 avg, 7m @ 8:02 avg
i was very happy when i saw that and knew i had beaten see jane run by almost a minute, which was a much flatter course, AND this one was much longer! it was my 4th fastest half marathon and on not a ton of training, i was a happy girl.
(to be technical, because you know i have to be, if i were to take that average pace over the course of 13.1 miles it would be a low 1:45, which would be my 3rd fastest half marathon)
katie and i talked for a couple minutes, got our picture taken and then she went to find her family. i went through the food lines and got a bunch of great food BUT my only other complaint – i had no where to put it… i just wanted a bag or something. so i had my hands full of food, trying to wrap my space blanket around me and hobble over to the outside gate to see my friends come in.
i found kristin and stephen easily, and chris came over and found me. we went to the car, changed, went back to get our checked bag which was VERY organized (a MILLION times better than last year) and went to get some food and celebrate with a bunch of friends.
tara, kerry, me, maritza, danica, kristin, page and sandra
this was such a great race and i highly recommend any of the parts! they have really made some great improvements and i really could tell they put a lot of effort into this race which is always so nice to see. i also noticed a TON more spectators this year, than the year i did the full. that year it got a little lonely in those later miles, but it looks like san francisco is coming out to support their runners. i can’t wait to do it again!