Today I ran the US Half Marathon in San Francisco for the second year in a row. I went into this race knowing that it would not be a fast race. But I had enjoyed the race last year (despite all the rain), so I decided to run.
Prior to today’s race, I hadn’t run more than 5 miles since the NWM on October 16. I had bronchitis through most of October and took about 9 days off of running. I did a few short runs this week, but nothing that really counts as training. I was a little worried that I would still feel a little sick today, but no cough, no sore throat, no runny nose, woohoo! I felt good the entire race, my legs got a bit tired (mostly sore feet) but that makes sense considering my lack of training. I am happy to report that I beat my last half marathon’s time by about 7 minutes so I feel pretty good about my performance.
Thankfully, today was fall back and even though I woke up at 4am I was able to get about 7 hours of sleep (maybe the most before a race). I headed up to San Francisco, easily found parking, and made my way to the starting line. There seemed to be many more runners than last year, but maybe that was due to the rain last year. The weather was perfect, cold and clear morning. The city and bay looked great and provided their normal wonderful scenery as I ran. I had planned to do the “run 1 mile, walk 1 minute” plan. I ended up running 3 miles, walk a minute, run a mile, walk a minute, run 2 miles, walk a minute, run 2 miles, walk up hill, run 3.5 miles, walk a minute, run a mile, walk a minute, run to the finish. This was due to how I felt and the congestion of the Golden Gate Bridge.
So apparently due to Presido Park Project, the race organizers couldn’t use their previous race course. What this meant was that runners were only able to use the west sidewalk of the Golden Gate Bridge and we ran up the Marin Headlands (yikes!). Having 5000 runners on one sidewalk on the GG Bridge wasn’t fun. There were a few bottlenecks and I stood without moving for about 4 minutes (I included this when figuring out my race time, as far as I can tell chip times haven’t been posted yet). I have seen/heard a lot of racers complain about this and no it wasn’t fun. But you know, I’m glad that we were still able to run the race and use the GG Bridge. I felt like the race organizers did a good job of communicating this change and it was beyond their control so it was bottlenecks or no GG Bridge. I was less excited about running up the Marin Headlands but running down and seeing the breathtaking view made up for it.
I made my way back and crossed the finish line to retrieve my metal water bottle (I love that they do this!) and my medal… oh wait no. I guess there was a snafu in the medal manufacturing and they made the medals for the April race. So we will have our medals mailed to us. I also heard a lot of complaints about this too but it sounds like it was out of the race organizer’s control. They announced it at the beginning of the race and offered discounts to future races (that to me was enough to cover the mistake). Last year they mailed my shirt to me and I received it fairly quickly, so I’m confident I’ll receive the medal in due time.
Overall, I’m pretty happy about today’s race. It wasn’t fast but better than my last race and makes me think with some training I might (fingers crossed) be able to finish the Big Sur Half Marathon in 2 weeks under 2 hours.