SF 2nd Half Marathon Race Report

This was my big half marathon goal race and I can't believe it's over already. I had an amazing weekend in SF hanging out with so many friends and SFM Ambassadors. And on top of that, I managed a 3 minute half marathon PR! I'm super happy and I'm going to live on this excitement for a few more days.

I'd been very worried the work travel to Hamburg would result in terrible jet lag for the race, and it turned out I had nothing to worry about. Yes I had some jet lag, but luckily I was up early in the morning and tired early in the afternoon. No race time issues; in fact, I was able to get up in the morning much more easily than normal.

When my flight landed at 5 pm on Friday, I grabbed my bag and headed to SF for the SFM Ambassador dinner. I took a few minutes to drop my bag at our hotel and to freshen up, and I was only 15 minutes late. Not bad! We had dinner at Osha Thai, a fabulous Thai restaurant in the city. I was finally able to meet many of the SFM Ambassadors that I've wanted to meet IRL for forever.

Ambassadors at the dinner. Great crew!

On Saturday, Kevin and I headed to the race expo to grab our bibs and so that I could work the Tech Center in the afternoon. We were also there for the noon social media meet up to see lots of other runner friends. I loved chatting with everyone, but I wish I'd taken a few more photos. I'll blame jet lag.

 With the awesome banner. Yep, it's a hard road race.

Showing off the Picky Bars and SFM sweat bands. Love 'em.

On race morning, we woke up at the reasonable time of 5 am (yay, 2nd half start time) and headed to Perry's on Embarcadero for the SFM VIP party. They had breakfast before the events, and after they had brunch and beer. Let me tell you, this was worth the cost of the ticket - food, drinks, private gear check AND real restrooms by the start line. I definitely felt like a VIP.

I have to confess I was a mess the morning of the race. I arrived at Perry's and immediately vented my random frustrations to poor Alisyn and Elise - my shirt feels tight, this Sparkle skirt is going to chafe, blah blah blah. I honestly don't know why I was so worked up, I guess I was nervous. This rant was shortly followed by the discovery of no oatmeal at breakfast (they said there would be) and me panicking that I can't eat anything else pre-race. Now I'm crying to the wait staff that I need oatmeal and can't they at least give me oats and hot water? (No, they just had steel cut.) Again, I don't generally behave this way and have no idea why I was so messed up. A big thanks to Alisyn, Elise, and Kevin for dealing with me. I finally just ate the stupid bagel with peanut butter and shut up. 

The lesson here? Never depend on someone else for your food. How many times have I told friends this? Tons. I broke my own rule that time but never will again.

Pre-race with Elise and Alisyn, matching outfits. Aren't we cute? (Photo from Alisyn)

Waiting for the shuttle. (Photo from Alisyn)

Shuttles for the 2nd half left starting at 6:30, so we went that direction and boarded the shuttle around 6:45. The 2nd half start was so easy, I was amazed. We drove across the city on the bus, and it dropped us off in Golden Gate Park where there were plenty of porta potties and even heaters to stand under while waiting for the start. Nice touch SFM, that made the wait so much better. During this time Alisyn, Shannon, and Ivette said they would run with me and help me get the PR, - boy did I end up needing it! Not to mention I was thrilled to run with Alisyn again because I miss our weekday morning meet ups.

The 2nd half start was pretty low key and off we went to mix into the marathon crowd. I've heard this part is really crowded from people, but I didn't experience that issue. I had plenty of room to run and wasn't dodging people at all. I felt good from the start and just focused on keeping pace with Alisyn, Shannon, and Ivette. I expected to be much slower in the park because of the long slow uphills, but somehow I didn't need to be. We wound through the park and then headed out to Haight Street and into the city. Haight brought some uphill but then quite a bit of beautiful downhill where we could fly. There isn't much that sticks out in my mind until after mile 8, where I remember telling them that was definitely the fastest I'd ever run 8 miles. And I still felt good.

Shortly after that I started to feel like I was losing energy. Uh oh, there was a lot to go. I told myself I'd get back into it and the girls kept me going. Somewhere around mile 10 I was feeling light-headed, and I realized I'd skipped my second round of Honey Stinger chews and taken the course Cytomax instead. I don't know if that's why, but I slowed to take the chews anyway. I did not need a blood sugar crash. (I'm hypoglycemic so I'm very careful about fueling. Changing it up during the race was a stupid decision, but I hadn't wanted to throw off a good rhythm to take the chews.)

The last 3 miles or so were tough because I'd been really pushing myself, and admittedly I kept wanting to slow down or walk for a bit. Alisyn kept yelling at me and told me I might hate them, but we were doing this. I know Alisyn was watching the time for me and pushing me to my sub-2:05 goal - I'm so so grateful! I guess I tend to give in to comfort when it gets really hard, and this time I didn't (except for a couple of blips) thanks to the girls. I finally learned what it feels like to leave it all out there. 

Apparently mile 12 was my downfall.

I thought the finish line would never come, but we finally crossed it with a time of 2:04:31. That's a 3 minute half marathon PR for me. I trained harder for this race than I ever have for a half, and it paid off.

Thank you to these awesome PR pacers - Shannon, Ivette, and Alisyn! (Photo from Alisyn)

With Eddie and Kevin, who also had a great race. Kevin had his first sub-1:45 half!

Post-race with Layla, Kristen, and Alisyn.

The race swag for SF is good, and this time I got both the half medal and the 'Half It All Challenge' medal for completing the 1st half one year and the 2nd half another year. Next year, I'll run the full to get the 52 Club hoodie.

Double bling.

Back of shirt design, plus medals and bib.

I absolutely love the SFM events and highly recommend them to anyone. SF is the perfect running city, and the events hold a special place in my heart. I ran my first 5K and my first half marathon with SFM; I consider this the event that made me a runner. 

Comments

  1. I feel the same way about Green Bay as you do for the SFM. It is so fantastic to have a "this is where it all started" race to repeat each year. :) Congrats on your new PR!

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    1. It is - a little nostalgia each year. :) Thanks!

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  2. Congrats on the PR! The SFM 5K was my first real race too! Looking forward to collecting my Half It All Challenge medal next year, and maybe the sweatshirt the year after. You never know!

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    1. Thank you! Go for the sweatshirt!

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  3. AWESOME job! Congrats on the PR. It was a great weekend all around!

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    1. Thanks Chris - yes an absolutely amazing weekend!

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  4. Congrats on a great race! That's so sweet of your friends to pace you to your PR goal!

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    1. Thanks Natalie - it really helped!

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  5. Congratulations on you PR!!! Sounds like it was a tough, amazing day.

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  6. GREAT WORK! i think all of your ambassador outfits are cute, and i am loving the bum wrap on you!

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    1. Aw, thank you! I love running in the bum wrap. Actually, it would have been great under the sparkle skirt but I didn't wear it that way.

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  7. Congrats on your PR! 3 minutes is HUGE. I also ran the SF 2nd Half and experienced a pretty slow 12th mile as well. Those last miles through industrial SF were tough! Good job for staying with it.

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    1. Thanks! The last few really were tough, strangely so. I guess you work hard the whole time and they feel hard. I loved hitting ATT Park and the water again!

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  8. Awesome! I totally know the feeling about the pre-race meal and can relate. I hate not having control! You worked so hard for it and deserve to enjoy this moment. Congrats!!

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    1. Thanks Maureen! I hate not having control of my food too - silly decisions get us sometimes I guess. Time to learn the lesson...again. :)

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  9. You are hardcore just barely coming into town and then nailing a shiney ner PR! So proud of you! Congrats!!! I can't wait to see you in a couple of weeks for Folsom Firecracker...Hehe! Love ya!

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  10. Congrats on your awesome race, Paulette! Love the sparkly skirt ensemble - too cute!!

    I'm still afraid to run a SF race, but maybe someday I'll be convinced :) Haha

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  11. Congrats on your PR on a hard course that is awesome. Love your race outfit too! I feel you about the breakfast debacle, I would have probably reacted the same way...I NEED my eggs and toast pre-race, nothing else will do!

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  12. Great recap Paulette! Congrats on the PR!!

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  13. Congratulations on you PR!! You have been working so hard. Keep up the great work! I never knew about the half challenge. I will have to remember that so I can do these races in the future.

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  14. Way to go on the PR! Crying about no oatmeal?? You're going to make people think that runners are crazy! I love your extra medal! It's really pretty!

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  15. Congrats on the PR! All your hard work indeed paid off. Great to have a support crew encouraging you along too! you're making me want to run one of the halfs next year ;)

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  16. Congrats! Your travel definitely took some stuff out of you, but you managed to ignore it and push through despite it. Well done!

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