I can’t seem to catch a break, and the San Francisco Half Marathon with another race that ended up being long. Not because my GPS told me I ran long, but because the lead biker directed the wrong way, which added roughly .2-.3 to the race. I had a great time at the San Francisco Half Marathon and it was my fastest time in nearly three years; I just wish the time reflected that. Ultimately we weren’t directed the wrong way, I would have run somewhere around 1:29.30. It was still a much better and faster effort than my half marathon in San Diego last month.
The race courses this year were different due to a different race date (usually the race is in July). There is EVERYTHING, including 5k, 10k, two half marathons, marathon, and ultra. I think it’s cool that usually the first half marathon goes over the Golden Gate Bridge, and the second goes through the city. Despite being different courses this year, I think the San Francisco Half Marathon was one of the most beautiful races I’ve ever done.
Anyway, my dad was in San Diego for a work meeting, and we ended up driving to San Francisco that Saturday. I don’t consider myself a “city dweller,” and my time in San Francisco last weekend was more than I spent the entire time we lived in Napa (we just never got around to spending time in the actual city).
At the San Francisco Half Marathon race expo, they had vaccinated and nonvaccinated race pick up. I chose the vaccinated, and they checked my COVID vaccine card. It was the first time I had my card checked with my ID ever.
We got there relatively late, so we were ready to sleep by the time we got to the hotel. The race started promptly at 6:45 am with waves until about 7:09. The day of the race was fairly good weather. It was around 60 degrees with 92% humidity, but for the most part, one of the better weather days I’ve had.
After we went off, I felt as though I was getting passed left and right. The first two miles of the San Francisco Half Marathon were flat. I ran a 6:51 and 6:55. I thought I felt better than I actually did. I finally found my groove around mile 3 and began to feel better. We started going up the minor hills of San Francisco. These small hills were no more than 60 feet, but in .1, it feels like a lot!
Then we headed into the Presidio, along the water with a beautiful view of the Golden Gate Bridge. I ran a 6:34 and 6:44 for miles 3 and 4.
During mile 5 of the San Francisco Half Marathon, you could see the hill we would run up. I knew the hill was *big*, but I didn’t do much research about it. We climbed roughly 160 feet in about .6 of a mile. The road was slightly banked. It was tough. I just kept climbing and climbing. I ran a 7:33, which Strava tells me was equal to a 6:33 flat mile. At the top, we had a fantastic view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
My goal was to break 1:30 again, and I knew I needed to run faster on the way back to do that. I began pushing the downhill. I felt good but not excellent. I was happy to see a 6:35 next mile that did include some slight uphills.
As we headed back towards the San Francisco Half Marathon start and finish, I began calculating that I was still ahead of pace to break 1:30. The next mile was mostly flat with some downhill, so I pushed it and ran a 6:24.
Once we got back to the Presidio base, we had four miles to go. I assumed we were going back the way we came. Somewhere in the next four miles, we were lead down the wrong path. This is where I began noticing my watch was clicking off miles almost .2 before the mile markers. I am not someone who is reliant on my watch or even believes the GPS watch is superior but when all of a sudden the mile markers don’t match up, you wonder why.
Around mile 10.5 of the San Francisco Half Marathon went up another large hill that I was not ready for. My body was saying not another hill. I ran it in 7:03, and I was happy with that effort.
Mile 11-13.4 were just focused on getting to the end. It hadn’t really occurred to me the course would be that much longer, and I was still under the inclination that I would be under 1:30. I was pushing like I was. We were running alongside 10kers, which I find to be tricky because you are weaving. They are weaving around you, and you are weaving around them. I don’t love any race course that shares space with another distance because it can get tricky and annoying for anyone.
When I hit mile 13 and didn’t see the finish anywhere, I knew the race would be long. I just ran as hard as I could and hoped for the best. The extra distance was basically another lap of the track. Running the extra distance was like you took an 800 out like a 400. I finished the last .4 in 6:49 pace, which was all I had at the time. I crossed the finish of the San Francisco Half Marathon at 1:31.30. Ultimately, I had run a half in about 1:29.30.
San Francisco Half Marathon Thoughts:
I did enjoy the San Francisco Half Marathon. It was one of the most scenic races I’ve done in a while. I would have preferred to have a 1:29.X next to my current fitness level again. It is the fastest half marathon pace I’ve run in a few years, and as trivial as it sounds, I wish the time reflected that. I am glad to know about the biker, so I don’t feel like a fraud saying, “my GPS said I ran long.” I definitely want to run the San Francisco Half Marathon next July and go over the Golden Gate Bridge.
Questions for you:
What is the most challenging race you’ve done?
What is your favorite racecourse?