Half marathon number TEN! CHECK.
I was really happy about this one. For some reason, the number 10 felt like such a milestone that I really wanted to just enjoy this race and not put any pressure on myself for time goals. This was my second time running the SF half; I had an absolute ball last year that I couldn’t say no to returning this year.
My training cycle this time was short: 8 weeks. I started out not even sure if I was going to sign up…my confidence was low from a pretty inactive winter/spring; there were times I was close to dropping out like I did earlier this year. But I’m SO glad I kept pushing myself to keep running and to believe in the training; especially after the final two long runs I felt ready and confident for race day.
Before the Race
My alarm went off at 5am and I downed a bowl of plain oatmeal and coffee…my tried-and-true pre-race breakfast 🙂
I decided not to do bag check and so I was in my skimpy running outfit without a jacket, and so I waited until the last possible second to uber down to the start line and wait in the chilly outdoors. When I got there, I took it all in. The energy, the 25,000 runners, the fresh morning air…I just felt so grateful to make it to the start line. I promised myself I was going to be present and forget about all my life stuff for this one race.
I went straight for the porta potty. I think my secret talent is timing things because I’m always waiting in the long bathroom line JUST in time to use it 5 minutes before the race start. Afterwards, I lined up in my corral and it was time to go…
Miles 1-2: Bathroom emergency + tough start
Psych. It was not. My wave was locked up in our corral for almost 30 minutes…UGH. It was cold, claustrophobic, and I was anxious to get started. Even worse, I had accumulated another FULL bladder (thank you coffee). I had to pee so badly that I couldn’t even stand up straight, let alone THINK about running.
When it was finally our turn to go, we ran off and I was legitimately contemplating peeing myself (this blog knows I like to over-share). The moment I saw a porta-potty around 0.5 miles, I knocked down one of the gates and charged for it. I ran so fast a cable car had to stop in its tracks! SO worth adding a minute to my time to have so much more comfort for the rest of the race.
I re-entered the race ready to go! The first 2 miles overall felt pretty rough. I was in a weird headspace from starting off with the bathroom fiasco, and my body always takes a while to warm up. I was also feeling bloated and heavy too from “that” time of the month…I tried not to be nervous about the rest of the race and just focus on the mile ahead of me. Focus on putting one foot in front of the other…
Miles 3-5: Getting in the groove with familiar territory
The next few miles took place along the Marina Green, where I run every day. Being on familiar territory helped me in warming up and I eventually got into a good groove.
First big hill, check!
By the time we got to the bottom of the Golden Gate bridge, I was feeling much better and excited to tackle this race. Only took 4 miles to get to this point 😛
Miles 6-7: Hills, hills, and more hills + unexpected detour
Time for the biggest hill of the entire race. To get up to the bridge, it was basically 2 straight miles of uphill. I’m not gonna lie…I rocked this portion. I plugged in my headphones and even scrolled through Instagram for a little bit, and before I knew it, I was done with the hill! I couldn’t believe I ran the entire thing without stopping; I don’t think I even did that in training 🙂
My attempt at a running selfie. 🙂
Then, something funny happened.
We got to the Golden Gate Bridge and we did NOT turn onto it…we kept running past it through the Presidio trails. I felt like something was wrong…last year we ran across the bridge – that’s a huge reason people even sign up for the race! I freaked out and turned back around, assuming I missed a turn somewhere.
After half a mile or so, I reached the bridge and ask a volunteer if we were suppose to run it…she said, “No, they changed the course. You were suppose to get an email…”
Ha! I couldn’t help but laugh at this mishap and continued forward. That’s what I got for not studying the race course. Looks like I was going to run 14 miles instead of 13.1 😛
Miles 8-9: Flying downhill
All that climbing uphill meant one thing – we got to fly downhill for the next mile! I LOVED this portion, for obvious reasons. I usually take care of my knees when I run downhill but this time, I didn’t care, I just let them fly. The views of the coast through the Presidio were gorgeous. Afterwards, we entered the streets of the Richmond which felt like peaceful suburbia with some rolling hills. I was feeling strong.
Miles 9-12: Peacefulness + running high in Golden Gate Park
The last few miles took place in Golden Gate Park. I’m actually really glad they changed the race course because I LOVED ending the race here! So peaceful with lots of green scenery. Flashback to my last marathon when I did all my long runs here – I hadn’t run in GG park since then so this was a treat.
I got emotional seeing the mile 12 mark. I couldn’nt believe this thing was almost over! I promised myself I would savor this last mile as much as I could. I also felt like I had more to give and craved feeling that “I have nothing left to give” kind of pain during the last miles of a marathon…so I picked up the pace to the end.
I couldn’t be happier with half marathon #10. The bathroom fiasco, the bridge detour…all added some color to my race; all you can do is laugh at those moments, and they really did make the race that much more of a good memory. I loved how low pressure this one was for me; I usually have a time goal or am aiming for a PR for these halfs, but if anything, this race makes me want to do more just for fun in the future!