Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Golden Gate Half to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
Sorry this took so long!! When I left you last I was doubting my ability to run this race. After a restless night of tossing, turning, trying to ignore the crazies next door and likely running a fever, it was rough getting going in the morning. My first look in the mirror actually scared me! I got ready slowly, debating my outfit the whole time. I knew I was going to run the race but I also knew it wasn’t going to be a race. One last weather check had me wanting to cry- it showed a 40-50% chance of rain. Seriously?! I hadn’t recovered from the previous weeks rainy race. So I bundled up- capris over compression socks, arm sleeves and a windbreaker and my Buff® around my neck. It crossed my mind that I may be over dressed but I figured better to err on the side of caution right?
Due to the parking nightmare of San Francisco, I had picked my hotel based on proximity to the race. I had a short half mile walk to the race start. I was soon surrounded by thousands of other runners waiting for the race to begin. I was also officially confronted with the fact that the race started uphill. Ouch. I met up with another BibRave Pro- Brian– and we chatted. It was nice having someone to talk to pre-race, I usually try to just not freak out. 😛 The National Anthem was sung and the race started right on time.
This will be a little different from my usual recaps, I knew my only hope was to get across the finish line in one piece and not hate myself or running after. To that end, I never looked at my watch during the race. I didn’t even look at the splits for another 2 days. This race had nothing to do with pace or time. The odd thing was that I ended up predicting my finishing time within seconds. I had tried to give my mother a ballpark time just so she new when she and S should head down to the finish line. Nailed it! 😛
Outside of the hill right at the start, these miles were predominantly flat. We headed out through the Marina and the Presidio. The race had around 4000 runners but things felt really tight. It actually helped pull me along, looking back, these were my speediest miles. It wasn’t raining but the fog was so heavy it was misting and I realized my sunglasses were more of a hindrance than a help. I ended up carrying them for the next 8 miles. I just went with the flow and enjoyed what I could see of the sights. Parts of the course were parts of the SF marathon course so I thought I knew what I was in for. I was wrong.
Miles 4-5.5 ish
My calves were starting to tighten up a bit so I was thankful for the first hill. That was until I became so nauseous I was almost sick. Ok, new plan- walk all the hills. It’s cool. The course was very windy so there were plenty of times we could see the faster runners ahead of us, it was kind of cool. There was a lot of up in these miles so a lot of walking. There was a particularly long hill leading up to mile 5, we ran up it to a turn around before running back down towards the bridge. I passed Brian on my way up as he was coming down- he told me I had about a mile to go to the turn around. Damn I forgot the hill was that long. But that’s ok- I may have been sick but I could still rock a mean downhill- I kind of flew all the way the bridge.
Miles 5.5-9.8ish The Bridge
I was looking forward to running the bridge again as I was hoping I would be able to see more than last time. Unfortunately, it was just as foggy. We ran the walkways instead of the road this time and I liked that much better- it seemed less slippery. What I hadn’t counted on was the bottle necking. It hadn’t really thinned out so it was hard to pass people.. or be passed. Also, this was the race of selfies. I have never seen so many people taking pictures mid-race before. Dodging people became an art form. I was also starting to feel very tired. Once across the bridge we looped around Vista Point and down back under the bridge. #1- a downhill trail?!?! Sweet!! I ran like a 5 year old sprinting to the finish. #2- you can run under the bridge?!??! So cool!
Right after that we climbed what felt like the worst hill to me back up to the bridge. That could have have been due to my maniacal sprint down the trail though. 😛 From there it was back across the West Side of the bridge. It had finally thinned out so there was more breathing room. My Buff® was coming in handy though- I had it over my face and was breathing through it for most of this section. I felt like it had grown colder and I could actually see my breath.
Just off the bridge we looped under this side on a paved path. As we were coming down a small hill I could see Fort Point on my left- when I realized that I could see runners running up to the Fort and turning around I wanted to do a little jig. There was a field trip in 6th grade where we went to Fort Point and I remember loving it. I was so excited that we got to run by it. I even tried to photograph my excitement.
Once leaving Fort Point, we were on a dirt path along the bay. The last 2 miles were flat and I was starting to feel sore. I just tried to focus on the ocean to my left and Crissy Field to my right. I was alternating between running and walking and just kept making my way to the finish. We left the dirt path and turned onto Marina Drive and suddenly there were people cheering. We were close! Closer than I thought, I rounded a corner and suddenly the finish line was there! I had made it!
The finish line was crowded and a little crazy but my mother and S found me fairly quickly after I was handed my medal and a water bottle. We moved away from the crowd and my mother, knowing how angry I was with the previous week’s finish asked how mad I was with this one. Not one damn bit. For once my brain and my body were in agreement- I was already pushing the limit by just being out there, whatever pace I could pull off was great. I walked when I needed to and didn’t berate myself for it, which is rare. I tried to enjoy the race and the course as much as I could.
Which brings me to- the course!!! People, this race freakin’ rocked! I loved the course. And I say that even with the 1200′ in elevation gain. To me, this race offered some of the best things to see in San Francisco and half of it was covered by fog and it still rocked. This is definitely a race I would like to run again someday. Maybe when I am healthy and can actually enjoy it? 😛 All the organizational details can be found here in my BibRave review.
This was my last half of the year. It may not have gone the way I had hoped when training but I am ok with that. I did the best I could that day and that’s all that matters. 😏😏😏