My heart is still so full from this race experience. San Fran was so good to me. Outside of last year’s Chicago Marathon, this was probably one of the most enjoyable races I’ve ever done.
We spent the day before the race in Monterey visiting friends, but went to the expo that afternoon. It was held at the Fort Mason Cultural Center. I loved that it was held there because it allowed us to see that area of the city.
Since the race was the following morning, everything had been picked over quite a bit but that was fine. I got my bib and picked up the Mr.’s bus ticket. I ran the 1st half marathon which is the first half of the marathon, so the finish line was different than the marathon and 2nd half marathon. They offered spectator bus tickets, so the Mr. was able to take a bus from the start directly to the finish line at Golden Gate Park.
Of course we had to stop and share a sundae at Ghirardelli Square because…ice cream. This one was called Muir Woods. It was cherry vanilla ice cream with hot fudge. Yum!
After driving to and from Monterey Bay and then doing the expo, we were wiped. We decided to order room service and go to bed early. I had some roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and broccolini for dinner.
The race start was a short walk from our hotel. The course began at the Embarcadero and had multiple waves so it wasn’t crowded at all. We walked around for a bit trying to find the actual start line then I basically walked right up to my corral. The view of the Oakland Bay Bridge was stunning.
The first couple miles were a blur. The weather was perfect and the course was gorgeous. Everything was so quiet and it was a stark contrast to what the city is normally like. We ran by the Piers, Fisherman’s Wharf, Fort Mason and Crissy Field.
There was a steep incline on our way to Fort Mason, but since I had seen it on our way to the expo I didn’t freak out. Some folks ran it, but I knew my power hiking would serve me better.
Everything was beautiful and the fog was magical. The course was relatively “flat”, meaning that most of the inclines around this point were really gradual. I was feeling great, taking lots of pictures and moving along.
The next section was the climb in the recreation area right before the Golden Gate Bridge. It was super steep and we all walked it.
When I say that running the Golden Gate Bridge is single handedly the best moment of all my race experiences I mean it. It’s hard to put into words what this felt like. It was moving and grand and everything I thought it would be.
The entire morning the bridge was covered by glorious fog, so we couldn’t see it at all until we were actually on the roadbed running it. This was the first time I had seen the bridge and it was absolutely incredible. There was mist and wind and fog and it was unbelievably perfect.
I promised myself to not turn my music on until the bridge so that’s what I did. I jammed out hard, took a million pictures and enjoyed every second of running that bridge.
Once we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, we looped around Vista Point. The view was amazing and I loved it. Then of course we ran back over the bridge. Running back over it was just as magical as running over it the first time.
The bridge section of the course is over 4 miles long and was my favorite part. I suppose there were uphill sections on the bridge, but I didn’t even notice them.
On To The Finish
After crossing the bridge there was a screaming downhill, which I bombed. My adrenaline was pumping and downhills are my thing. I love them and I loved the one right after the bridge.
There were some downhill sections on the course that everyone walked because they were so steep, but I rocked them and ran so fast. The views at this point in the race were like out of a magazine. You could see the water, the bridge and the city from where we were and it was breathtaking.
Next came the city running. These are the hills San Francisco is known for. There were a lot of them, but it wasn’t that bad because we were so close to the finish. The miles after the bridge went by so quickly because shortly after the bridge you hit mile 10 of the race.
The race finished in Golden Gate Park. It was a beautiful green space. I was so overwhelmed with my race experience when I crossed the finish line.
I found the Mr. and took lots of pictures. Since the finish line party was actually back at the start because of the other races we could have gone there, but decided to walk a couple blocks and call an Uber.
We got back to the hotel and got some rest. It was an early morning and we were pretty worn out. It misted on me for most of the morning and it was a bit cold when I stopped running.
After a little cat nap we went to a Giants game and I had a lovely beer and lots of garlic fries. It was the perfect way to cap a perfect day.
I love this race and look forward to running it again. The elevation gain was serious. My Garmin said the elevation gain was 1,255 feet. A lot of the grades were really steep and noticeable, but a lot of them weren’t in my opinion. I think the first half ish of the race was relatively flat because the grades were slight and slow.
My pace was around 12:49 per mile, which I think was pretty good considering I walked all of the steep hills and took approximately 659 pictures during the actual race.
Some races aren’t about the PR and this was one of them for me. This race was more than I ever thought it could be.
If you need a race to add to your bucket list, this should be at the top. Californians are so chill and relaxed and that translated to the race. Everything was well organized, but not tense. There weren’t many spectators and I was so glad. The scenery was stunning in every possible way.
I didn’t need much fuel for this race. I had a slice of coffee cake that we bought at Starbucks the night before on race morning and had a couple slices of sugary dried mango during the event. They served Nuun on course, which made my day so naturally I had some as needed.
My heart is so full and I will always remember this experience. #gorunit
Have you ever ran in SF?
Think you might want to try this race?