Last Sunday, I ran the US Half Marathon up in San Francisco – my 19th half marathon. It was the twelfth edition of this picturesque run that features a run over and back across the Golden Gate Bridge. For a big city event, they do limit the runners to 5,000 – for the 12th edition, there were 3,510 finishers: 1,809 women and 1,701 men.
The weather was perfect: about 46 degrees at the start with perfectly clear skies. 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 on the Bridge, there wasn’t any wind to speak of at all. Coming back across, it was barely noticeable. It probably warned up to the low 60s as the run progressed.
In a word, the course was beautiful! The perfect weather made it even better. The course 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 bound 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. Incidentally, this event used the same course that the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Francisco did back in April – that event actually used to be called the US Half Marathon 2 (The Other Half) and was managed by the same RDs – I think RnR simply bought the rights to the event and re-branded.
The post-race expo was great: food, drink, SWAG, etc. They gave each runner a reusable bottle vs. handing out bottled water, which was great/green. Huge water containers were located just past the finish, so this didn’t impact recovery at all. They also gave each runner a Peasant Pie, which was excellent – going to have to try them again. I got my SWAG, looked around, rested for a bit, and left before the traffic got too heavy. I parked at Ghirardelli Square, though the noticeable difference between the RnR event and this one was the parking. In April, RnR offered $10 parking at Ghirardelli if you left before 1pm – I paid $32 for the exact same spot and probably the same amount of time (OUCH!)
- Garmin time: 1:53:56 at an 8:34/mile pace [pace delta due to gps distance]
- Official time: 1:53:54 at an 8:42/mile pace
- Standings: 12th among 19 half marathons
So, this was two weeks after Foxy’s and the 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 happen…for a few reasons. All valid. All of which I am OK with.
At the start, unlike RnR, they let people self seed and didn’t do a staggered/corral start. I should know better, but I seeded myself too far back for my goal pacing and ended up with a sub-plan first mile and then went too fast on miles 2-3. On the course, runners hit the hills on miles 4 and 5, which further threw my plan off (I’d planned for slower pacing on the hills, but with the crowds, endd up slower than plan.) I guess I gave up (!), but figured at that point (and especially before the bridge) that I would just enjoy this one, take photos along the way (this was my fifth run across the Golden Gate…all without any photos!), and be happy with an enjoyable run.
So, I took photos, enjoyed the run, and was doing OK; but, at around the half-way point, I started to really feel tired. I took some fast-walk breaks and still managed to finish under two hours. As I found out the next morning, I had the beginnings of a cold – bummer! Which resulted in two days of rest…
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.)
So, a course PR eluded me, but it was a very good day none the less…finish time and placement overall, gender, and age group categories.
Here are a few shots from the day – a lot more than I normally end up with!
I know this video suffers from VVS, but I had just snapped a photo and switched to videoing before I realized my error!. Apologies…
- Bottom line: Great event! Beautiful scenery!
- Post-race meal: Big ol’ bacon cheeseburger and fries from Nation’s…chased with a small slice of pumpkin cream pie!
Training Journal – 11/3/13:
- Current plan: ZRQL Marathon Training Plan
- Today’s session: 20 mile, long run [1 of 2 in prep for the ZRQL Marathon]
- Comments: I did 20 miles @ 8:42 avg pace, avg cadence 95 & a run time of 2:54:22. [Strava]
- Weekly mileage: Running: 42.2 / Bicycling: 5.8 – Total: 48