I’m happy to say my first half marathon was a success! Such a success, in fact, that I didn’t get any pictures! Well, I got two of the gorgeous sunrise. You know a race day bodes well when the sky looks like this at 7 a.m.:
I took those two pictures, then left the camera in the car for the entire rest of the race. Bad blogger! Haha. So, in lieu of gorgeous race pics, I’ll sum up in actual words but I’ll keep it short, ’cause I know it’s Monday and your brains might not be 100% awake yet 🙂
- Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon & 5K
- 10,000 racers: 6,500 half marathoners and 3,500 5K-ers
- Golden Gate Park and the Great Highway / Ocean Beach
- 55 degrees or so and gorgeously sunny
- First things first ~ I finished in 1:55:21! Which is way, way faster than I expected, to be honest. I thought I’d come in around the 2:10 mark.
- The 1/2 marathon and 5K racers all started together, in GG Park.
- For the first couple of miles, I simply focused on finding good spaces to run in and avoid being trampled.
- Around mile 3, I got into my groove and started focusing more on my breath, form, and pace.
- Miles 3-7 were a net downhill and quite easy and zippy. I figure that’s where I got most of my speed!
- At mile 7, we turned from the park onto the Great Highway, which runs along Ocean Beach, for the remainder of the race.
- Miles 8-10 were the most difficult, by far. The route itself was still pretty flat and easy, but I was starting to feel tired. I figured I could use a fuel boost, so I ate a Gu but didn’t have any water, which was a bad idea. The gooey stuff stuck to my throat a little, which caused me to slightly panic, thinking, “What if it glues my throat shut and I can’t breathe?” Totally rational, right? I slowed down and walked for about 20 paces until I got some saliva back, and downed a full cup at the next water station. Lesson learned: don’t eat a Gu if you don’t have water on you!
- At the turnaround at mile 10, I got a new wind. It’s likely the Gu had kicked in, but it’s also because I knew I only had the 3 mile stretch left. From there, the home stretch was flat and fast. I wasn’t sore, but I was eager to finish strong. I kept my mind on my breath and my form, making sure I wasn’t running too fast or too slow. I was pretty sure at that point that I’d finish in under 2 hours, but you still never know, so I just kept plugging along.
- The final .10-mile stretch back into GG Park was uphill ~ drat! That was definitely a challenge, but as soon as I spotted the finish line, I simply felt relief… and then was stoked to see my final time!
- The park, of course, was a zoo, with 10,000 participants and friends and family roaming around.
- I didn’t stop at any of the expo booths, except to pick up my race T, which is a nice dark blue, long-sleeved cotton shirt.
- No, I was more eager to get back to the beach and meet up with my honey!
- After a gigantic post-race brunch, we headed home, where I sat on the couch for the rest of the day: repolishing my tired toenails, watching
the Super BowlMadonna, and snacking until I literally fell asleep while still sitting up.
In sum, I feel like I was well-trained and prepared for the race. I’d eaten my regular breakfast of toast with almond butter, a pear, and coffee. Then I ate a (very large) date just before the start, then another at mile 4 and at mile 7. I brought pretzels, too, but didn’t touch them ~ it seemed like the dates were enough sugary fuel for 13.1 miles. I drank water at every water stop except the first two, which seemed to be enough, although I could probably have actually drank more from the cups than I did. But in general, I think I got enough water.
The hills I’ve been running on around here made the ones in the park feel utterly flat. So, as much as I dread them sometimes, I know they are awesome training grounds! The weather couldn’t have been better, nor could the view, and my experience with the race producers (Rhodyco) was nothing but good. I’m looking forward to doing this race again!