Rock ‘n’ Roll San Francisco Half Marathon Race Report

April 9, 2013 — 2 Comments


This past Sunday, I ran the inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll San Francisco Half Marathon.  It was the “Inaugural” under RnR ownership, though the race had previously been titled the US Half Marathon 2 (The Other Half), managed by the US Half Marathon, and followed the same course.  I had not run the “Other Half” before, but many really liked the small-race feel and hopped it wouldn’t be lost.  I think to keep it that way, RnR limited the entrants to under 6,000 – I know there were close to 10,000 at RnR San Jose.  There were 5,803 finishers on Sunday.

The weather was perfect: about 54 degrees at the start and overcast.  There wasn’t too much wind to speak of at the start area, though I wondered what it would be like crossing the Golden Gate.  Heading North across the Bridge, there wasn’t any wind.  Coming back, it was blowing, but not that strong.  When I rounded the first support section over the bay, a gust socked me and the group I was with at the time.  By the time I finished, the cloud cover was breaking and it turned out to be a wonderful day.

courseThe course was beautiful – hey, it’s San Francisco!  It started and ended in the Aquatic Park area, making its way along the Bay front, up into The Presidio, across the Golden Gate and back, along the Bay front again, and then finishing back at Aquatic Park. Most of the course was paved, but it did include a short section of dirt trail (heading from Vista Point, under the Bridge to the South side access road) and sections of crushed rock on parts of the San Francisco Bay Trail.  It was a really great course that was well marked and managed by volunteers and SFPD – both of whom did a great job.  Volunteers at the aid stations were also fantastic, shouting out which side the water and Gatorade were one.  There were (I think) four cheer squads and only a couple of bands.  This isn’t a huge deal for me, but I’ve read that some people missed the numerous squads/bands that are typically on the course of Rock ‘n’ Roll events…I’m good with or without.

The post-race expo was pretty good (food, drink, etc.), but I didn’t stay too long.  I got my SWAG, looked around, and left before the traffic got too heavy.  I totally lucked out on parking – Ghirardelli Square offered $10 parking if you left before 1pm.  I snagged a spot 3 stalls from the Beach Street access and didn’t even need to check a sweats bag I was so close!

A few shots from the day…


My Race


  • Garmin time: 1:48:53 at an 8:17/mile pace (pace diff as Garmin measured course at 13.15)
  • Official chip time: 1:48:51 at an 8:19/mile pace
  • Official gun time: 1:53:29



With Big Sur three weeks away and this day being my last run before “taper”, I planned to race the RnRSF – but not try and set a new PR. Just like with Badger Cove, I DID NOT want to do anything that resulted in an injury.  When I registered, my projected time was 1:48:00, so that was my goal – my stretch on the “plan” was 1:47:16…just for giggles.  I came close to my goal and am happy with my results/run.

One thing for sure, I went out too fast…but there was a reason: I was a victim of “front of pack syndrome.”  Not sure if that is actually a real term, but I’m claiming it.  You see, I was in corral 4…at the back and they were slowly moving everyone up staggering the corral starts by 30-40 seconds (which was a good thing, since the start line was actually more narrow than the street.)  Anyway, I somehow got cut off and placed in corral 5…right at the start line.  GULPI better not tripI better not screw it up for the ~200 people behind/beside me…better kick it at the horn!  So, needless to say, I went out fast – even with the first .18 being a 100′ hill – ending up with a 8:03 pace for mile one and 8:08 for mile two.  I did start to reign it in on mile 3, remembering that I still had to run “up to the deck” of the Bridge at both ends.  I paid for the fast start later, but not too terribly – I still managed an 8:08 for the last 1.15 miles, even running full out down the stretch with a guy I’d been trading spots with for the last few miles.  Funny, when I looked up his name from my race photo, he’s listed as “Vanessa”(?)…mkay.

I followed my normal pre-race carb loading plan (36 hours of >80% carbs and +500 calories above my normal day) and my usual race fueling plan (bagel at -3 hours, GU at -45 min, GU & salt tab at -15 minutes, and 21oz of GU Brew, an additional salt tab a 1:00:00, and GU Gels along the way.)  On a half, I usually take 3 GUs (at 4, 8, &10.5); but I dropped a packet on the Bridge during mile 8…fumbling it when I was taking it from my pocket.  I glanced back while running, thought for a millisecond, and just kept going – splitting my final one and hopping no one slipped the one I dropped!

After cooling down in the post-race area, I walked around a bit and then headed home.  I even made it home in time to go to church with Karen and her mom…ok, I was a late, but I still made it.


  • Bottom line: Great event!  Beautiful scenery!  A nice way to cap 15 weeks of training and head into my taper…
  • Post-race meal: Wood-Grilled Lobster & Lobster Tacos at Red Lobster!  oh yeah!


Training Journal – 4/9/13:

  • Current plan: Big Sur Marathon Training Plan – W16D2 (Taper week 1)
  • Today’s session: 5 mile easy run @ 8:27-9:28 pace
  • Comments: I did 5.68 @ 8:35

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. April 2013 Training Stats « DENNARR(dot)COM - May 3, 2013

    […] 4/7: Inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll San Francisco Half Marathon [report] […]

  2. 2013 US Half Marathon Race Report « DENNARR(dot)COM - November 10, 2013

    […] return to rebuilding my run base.  I really wanted to at least beat my time from April’s RnR San Francisco (since it was the same course) and planned a doable pacing strategy.  That didn’t […]

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