The Giant Race – Half Marathon

IMG_3409Last Sunday I ran the The Giant Race Half Marathon.  This is the second year I have run the Giant Race in SF.  Last year I ran the race because it sounded fun to finish a race at AT&T park.  Being from Boston I’m not a huge Giants Fan but I do love AT&T park and have gone to quite a few games since moving here two years ago. This year I decided to run again because the course is flat, easy and pretty and the race was for the most part, well-organized.

At the race last year I set my new Half Marathon PR for 2012.  I ran a 1:49:14.  I had been trying really hard to break the 1:50 barrier and I finally did!  It was really fun but I definitely really struggled at the end to keep my pace and set that PR.  As I approached the race this year I did not want to try to set another PR.  I’m in the height of marathon training for Portland right now and really had not had a good week of runs.  I ran 18 miles the weekend before and it took me a lot longer to recover from that then I expected.  My legs felt like lead all week!  I decided to treat this run for what it was, a training run until the gun went off…

The race started at 7am this year.  I think it was much earlier than last year because it felt really early!  I parked and headed over to meet people from my running club around 6:40am.  I never ended up finding them because I tried to find a bathroom to use before the race but the lines were ridiculous.  I ended up in my corral just before the start with a running club friend that I had found.  We were towards the front of the race and shortly after 7am we were off.

Mile 1 was as usual, dodgey.  I spent most of the mile trying to get in front of the slower runners but was still just planning on an 8:45ish pace to keep it more like a training run.  My Garmin was messed up the first mile, maybe because of the all the other runners?  It was telling me I was running a 6:16 pace at one point.  Haha, I don’t think I could run that fast if I tried.  It then hit Mile 1 about 2 tenths before the Mile Marker so I reset the lap when I hit the marker to get a more accurate read on my pace.  I ran about an 8:20 first mile, FAST.

I kept going and trying not to look at my pace, I was trying to run where I felt comfortable.  I had a great day because “comfortable” at Mile 2 was an 8:07 then an 8:18.  I was shocked, I just kept telling myself to keep it up as long as I could.  I kept thinking I’d crash on the second half.  I hit Mile 6,7, and 8 and still felt good!  At Mile 9 we hit a hill that I run pretty consistently, sometimes it’s really hard, and sometimes it’s easy.  Well it felt easy that day and I managed to keep an 8:19 pace for that mile and PASS the 1:50 pace group that had started before me!  I was right behind a friend from running club but I didn’t want to use up energy trying to catch up to her so I just stayed right behind her the last 4 miles.  I couldn’t believe when I hit Mile 11 in 8:06 and Mile 12 in 8:03!  I knew at that point I was well on my way to a PR so I stuck with it and ran an 8:09 last mile and crossed the finish line at 1:48:16!  I PR’d but just shy I was 1 minute!  I was thrilled.  I was even more excited that while I felt like I had pushed really hard, I felt strong at the finish.  I usually go out to fast and end up really slow the last few miles, not this race, I pushed hard and strong and never missed a beat!

I found my friend Susan at the finish line, she had run a 1:48 as well and it was her best Half time over 6 years!  She was also really excited.  The race finishes in AT&T park in the outfield.  We got our medals, water and snacks and walked up around Home plate while waiting for some of our friends.  We found a few more friends, took pictures, stretched and headed out for a celebration lunch at one of the Road Runners apartments!

The Giant Race Half Marathon Finishers

Members of SFRRC at the Finish!

The Giant Race Finish Line

The Giant Race Finish Line

The medal is awesome, it looks like the World Series Ring!  It’s definitely one of my favorites, if only it was had a “B” and Blue/Red ribbon! 😉

The Giant Race Half Marathon Medal - 2013

The Giant Race Half Marathon Medal – 2013

My only complaint about the race was that Packet Pick-up was awful. I  waited over a half hour in line to get my bib.  It was a bit ridiculous.  Aside from that I love the Giant Race and will be back again next year!

Ridiculous Packet Pick-up Line.  At least it's a pretty view!

Ridiculous Packet Pick-up Line. At least it’s a pretty view!

It’s been a long time…

It’s been over 6 months since I’ve written in my blog and a lot has happened.  After chatting with my friends over wine last week they convinced me that I should make it a priority in my life again.  I took up my blog to work on my writing skills and of course to document all of my running and training.  So here I am.  My goal is to post at least once a week again.  So to bring you up to speed on my life (at least running wise) here are the highlights from January through August 2013.

  • I was out of my walking boot within a few days and fully mobile just a week after my surgery
  • I walked A LOT in February.  As a runner, going out for a casual walk is not the easiest thing.  I traveled to San Diego for work in February and my favorite thing to do when I visit a new city is to run, and I couldn’t, so I went out for a walk to see the city.Amanda & Jackson copy
  • My adorable and sweet nephew was born on February 26th – he’s brought a lot of joy to our family and I’ve been lucky to visit him in March and July!
  • I started running again on March 1st – it was a very exciting day!  It also was REALLY hard!  I ran 3 miles that day.
  • I signed up for the Portland Marathon two days later.  🙂
  • I ramped up my mileage slowly in March and April and was running 10+ Miles on weekends in May30th Birthday Dinner!
  • I turned 30 on April 29th, a pretty big milestone.  I celebrated with my parents and friends who surprised me with a great dinner followed by drinks.  It was a wonderful weekend!
  • I ran my first 10k in over two years on Memorial Day weekend.  I ran a 49:56 – a new PR for me!
  • On June 8th, I ran 10.3 miles of the Lake Tahoe Relay with 6 other women from my running club.  7 of us ran 72 miles in 11:05:39 in nearly 90 degree heat!  It was hot and exhausting but a total blast!Lake Tahoe Relay
  • On June 16th, I ran my first half marathon in over 7 months!  I ran the first half of the SF Marathon.  It was a tough race, very hilly.  I finished in 1:45:59.
    My cousin Michaela and I after the SF Half Marathon

    My cousin Michaela and I after the SF Half Marathon

  • I traveled back to Maine/NH/Boston for the 4th of July and spent two weeks back East.  My family ran our annual 5k.  It was 88 degrees with 100% humidity at the start, it was my slowest 5k in the last few years.  Ugh.  On a more positive note my little sister surprised me and ran her first 5k that day, I was so proud of her!
  • I ran over 148 miles in the month of July.  (My highest mileage month since October 2010)

Family 5kI am running pain-free after my surgery, it’s wonderful!  I am getting very excited for the Portland Marathon in October and looking forward to the Disneyland and Nike Women’s halfs coming up this fall!Family Hallke 5k

Nike Women’s Half Marathon – SF

This morning I ran the Nike Women’s Half Marathon (NWM).  It was an incredible experience I can only hope that I will get lucky enough to get in following years.  I really enjoyed my run today and it was fun to run in a women’s race again!

Expotique

Packet pick-up started on Thursday in Union Square.  They setup a tent in the square and hold the “Expotique” there.  I work just a few blocks from there so I headed over on Friday later afternoon to try to avoid the after work crowd and the Saturday rush.  They had all kinds of things going on at the expo.  You could get fitted for a bra, try on some of the NWM gear that they were selling and get free samples of everything from snacks to beauty products.  I was on a tight timeline because I had to get back to work so I skipped that stuff and headed for packet pick-up.  I got my bag and number and then headed across the street to Macy’s to look at the clothes they had for sale.  I had to make a purchase, the clothes was so cute!

Niketown had a wall outside with all the runner’s names on it!

My name!

Bag given at packet pick-up!

My new running shirt/jacket!

Back of jacket!

Race Day!

Race bibs were round, very unique!

The race started at 7am from Union Square.  I cut it a little close catching the bus at 6:15 but I ended up timing it just right!  The buses weren’t going close to Union Square so I had to walk about 10 minutes to the start but I was with a bunch of women so it was easy and quick.  I arrived at my starting corral at about 6:45am.   The corrals were well-organized.  Everyone was given colored bracelets based on pace and you were directed to a specific street.  I was on Powell Street right next to Union Square also one of the cab car streets!   Each street or corral had its only port-a-potty area which made things run very smoothly.  I used the bathroom and headed for the start.  It was incredible to see 25,000 women lined up for the race.  It was actually quite moving.  Way to go women!

25,000 women lines and ready to go! It goes on for blocks!

Union Square just before the stat form my corral.

My goal for this race was to just run and enjoy it.  It wasn’t about PR’s or getting a good time, I just wanted to run and have fun.  I am really behind on posting but I have run 3 half marathons since labor day (not counting this one) and did an olympic distance triathlon.  It’s been a lot of racing and training and I’m a little burnt out at this point.  I also ran the BAA Half last weekend so I just wanted to take this one easy.  Sometimes you need to run just to run and remember why you love it and I often forget that.

The race started right on time at 7am!  The corals moved well, I was over the starting line at 7:03am.  The course starts by winding through the streets of the financial district.  It was fun running through the city.  I passed by the street my office is on and the Transmerica building (the pyramid building).  I was thinking that must have been really neat for tourists.  Eventually we headed to the Embaracadero and were greeted by a gospel choir group from Oakland.  They were awesome!  We headed towards Ghiradelli Square/Aquatic park and climbed the Fort Mason hill.  It’s a tough hill, I had an advantage though because I run it a few times a week because it’s very close to my apartment.

Once we were through Fort Mason we headed down the Marina Green and Chrissy field.  Their were a ton people along this area, along with the Safeway cheering section that had music.  They also had cheerleaders along the side which I love as a former cheerleader and coach!  It was nice little boost to have people cheering!  Shortly after they had a “powersong” playing. The tough part was that I knew that the hills were ahead and I wasn’t looking forward to it.

We headed up into the Presidio about Mile 6.  It was a very tough climb.  It leveled off for maybe 1 to 2 tenths of a mile and the we were climbing again.  They had a “bra exchange” at that point.  If you brought an old bra you could swap it out for a new one.  It was a cute idea but kind of annoying to have to carry a bra around for 13 or 26 miles.

After the bra exchange we hit a really tough and LONG hill.  It just kept going and going.  They had a water stop mid-way and I walked while I had my water for a few seconds, it was a nice break and running felt much easier when I started again.  Mile 7 was mostly downhill which was awesome.  It would have had a beautiful view of the bay but it was totally fogged in this morning!  The only upside is that it kept the temps cool, yesterday was really hot in the sun so I’m actually glad we didn’t have a sun.  Mile 8 we ran through a beautiful neighborhood.  The houses were fun to look at!  They had an area where they were handing out face wipes, it was so refreshing to wipe the sweat and salt off my face!  Nice touch NWM!  I made some friends in this area too and we chatted for a bit about races we had run so that passed the mile really quickly!

Mile 9 was back uphill (big hill) but then we had a nice downhill down to Ocean Beach!  Verizon sponsored a mile and you ran “fast as LTE”.  They had mats for the start and finish but I can’t find where to see my pace for that mile.  They had more music around here and the best part was that all the music was “girl themed”.  I head call me maybe, Single Ladies and other songs sung by female artists.

At Mile 10.5 we entered Golden Gate park.  They had a drum line there which was awesome!  They also had more cheerleaders in the park and more music.  It was really exciting to run in this area.  I also finally saw the buffalo that roam Golden Gate Park, they were to my left when I entered the park.  Shortly after Mile 11 they had a jumbo-tron setup and you could see yourself running.  It was all very “Disney” like to me!  Mile 12 had a good amount of people around cheering and then I found 2 people from my running club.  One guy from the club was just running the ladies in for the last half mile which was really nice of him.  He ran me and another women in and I finished right under 2 hours which was where I wanted to be.  Even better, I didn’t stress the whole run about my pace, I just ran at a comfortable pace and had fun!

When you cross the finish line you walk onto a red carpet and there are the firemen with the beautiful Tiffany’s boxes on a silver trays!  I was so excited!!!  They scan your bib and then hand you a necklace.  I snapped a shot with my firemen!

Firemen with Necklaces!

Me and my firefighter with my necklace!

After that you head through the finishers shoot.  The whole thing was super organized and very well done.  After the necklace you collect your finishers shirt.  It’s BRIGHT green.  I love it, it will be perfect for future races!  I got a couple of bottles of water and then they hand you a “safeway” reusable bag for your food.  It’s NWM themed, super cute!  They had bagels, bananas, fruit cups and all kinds of other goodies like Luna bar samples.  They also had coconut water.  The bag was awesome because I had so much stuff in my hands!

I then headed over to the “Neutrogena Freshen Up Area”  They had face wipes again and mirrors so you could clean yourself up before a picture with one of the fire fighters!  Another great touch!

After my picture I went to the apparel tent.  They had a legit store set up with more stuff to buy.  I couldn’t help myself, I bought a running hat.  It’s time to retire my white one so it worked out perfectly!

The highlight of the race was the necklace.  It’s so beautiful!  I love the girl running with the bridge behind her, it’s very SF.  It’s nice to have a “medal” that I can wear proudly all the time.  I probably won’t be taking this off for some time!  Of course, now I want another!  Ladies in my running club who have run multiple races put them all one chain and have a collection of pendants!

The only thing that got my out of bed this AM and up those hills was knowing this was at the end!

My only complaint is that they have to shuttle you back to you Union Square and they were charging runners $20 to ride the shuttle.  I can’t believe they charged runners!  The race fee was $150, not cheap and transportation is always included in race fees.  Not to mention $20 is really high, they had to be making a profit on the shuttles.  Runners should be shuttled free of charge in my opinion.  Needless to say, I rode the good old Muni home because I refused to pay that!  They gave out space blankets, thank god because they get me warm while waiting for the bus!

Overall, it was a great race.  It may be my favorite race to date.  I want to do it again!  I’m debating trying to get into the Washington, DC one in April and running with my friend Meredith. We were texting about doing the full marathon.  I was all excited to do it until I realized it was on my 30th Birthday weekend.  Do I really want to run a marathon on my Birthday again?  I’m undecided but for now fingers crossed I get into SF next year and that I’ll have some friends fly out and run with me!

It’s been quite a ride!

The last two months have been incredibly busy but exciting for me!  I haven’t had much time to share details because along with a crazy travel schedule work has been busier than ever.

I’m writing from the Atlanta airport en route to Maine for the 4th of July.  This is my 5th trip in the last 60 days.  I’m really looking forward to spending time on the beach and with my family friends.  I will be in New England for two weeks, working part of that from home.  It will give me lots of time to catch up with my friends and family and I’m sure it will fly by.  I’m very grateful to have a job and manager that allow me to work remotely once or twice a year, it allows me nice quality time with my family.

Here is my recap of the last 60 days:

  • Visited 3 new countries (Germany, Luxembourg and Amsterdam – ran in Lux and Amsterdam)
  • Visited and ran in 2 new states (Utah and Oregon)
  • Spent time in Chicago
  • Ran a Marathon and ran a half marathon
  • Decided after the half marathon to take a month of off running – started swimming to replace it

Here is a Recap in Pictures:

4/28 -4/29 – Eugene, Oregon for my 4th Marathon.

(It’s really excited I ran on the track that is now hosting the Olympic trials)

5/3 – 5/13 – Luxembourg, Amsterdam and Germany

Spent a great 10 days with my childhood best friend Laura and her husband Tim.  It was wonderful to see them and to see their new home.  All in all, it was a spectacular trip.

5/29 – 6/1 – Chicago, IL for work

I was able to get in two great runs allowing me to see a good chunk of the city and lake and took an architecture boat cruise with my co-worker.  The tour was awesome!

6/3 – See Jane Run Half Marathon

My cousin Michaela decided to run the “See Jane Run” women’s half marathon in Alameda on June 3rd.  Because I’m a marathon/half marathon addict I couldn’t help but sign up and run too.  The race ran along my running route from my first month in SF.  It’s a beautiful run along the Bay with a view of the Bay Bridge and city skyline in the background.  I stayed with Michaela the whole race and we chatted and pushed each other along.  My cousin Hilary joined us on her bike for the last 2 miles and got some fun pictures of us running which I need to track down.

6/8 – 6/9 – Paso Robles, California

Wine Tasting with Hilary and then a drive back up the Pacific Coast Highway

 

6/15-6/17 – Park City, UT

 

My college roommate and close friend Andrea got married in Deer Valley.  It was a great weekend seeing old friends and making new ones.  I loved Park City, I’d really like to go back and spend more time there.  The wedding was BEAUTIFUL and a blast.  Congrats again to Andrea and Eric!

6/29 – 7/16 – Maine, New Hampshire and Boston

I am functioning on 3 hours of sleep but it’s okay because once I get to Maine in a few hours I’ll change into my bathing suit and hit the beach.  I am very much looking forward to a late afternoon nap on the beach.

I’ve been quite busy but I’m really also very fortunate to have seen as much as I have in the last two months.  I love travelling so I really have been thriving on all the fun trips.  I am looking forward to getting back to SF and staying put for a bit, the airport feels more like home then my apartment in some ways.  I’m also over jet-lag so sticking to one time zone for a while will be helpful!

I hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July!

US Half Marathon – “The Other Half”

Last Sunday I ran the US Half Marathon “Other Half”.  I ran the first “half” of the Marathon back in November.  (Read about it here)  It was probably one of my least favorite runs because the organization putting on the run was horrible.  No medals, horrible “traffic” on the bridge, running up a mountain, etc.  I really didn’t want to run the second half because of that experience but I decided to run because I wanted the “other half” of the medal.  It’s advertised that the two medals fit together into one medal.  I figured, I’d give them another chance and get my completed medal.

Number pick-up was at Sports Basement in the Presidio.  It was organized and very quick which I appreciate.  I got my t-shirt which is a nice women’s running short sleeve shirt so that was great as well.

US Half Marathon "The Other Half" Women's Shirt

Sunday morning the race started at 7am about a half mile from my apartment so I figured I’d run there, it would take about 5 minutes.  I actually had to run 22 miles that day as it was my last “long” run for my Eugene Marathon training.  I got up a little later than I planned 6:15 and wasn’t very organized the night before so I didn’t have anything ready to go.  Opps!  I left my apartment at 6:54 for a race that started at 7am.  Turns out I wasn’t the only late one, quite a few runners coming down Van Ness were also headed for the start.  As I neared the starting line the race began.  I was able to jump in line and start right on time!

The first 3 miles of the race are flat and easy.  The race then makes a left into the Presidio and from there on out it’s pretty much uphill through Mile 10.  You travel up and down hills in the Presido eventually up to the Golden Gate bridge.  I was having horrible pain in my calves through the hills.  I have no idea what the deal was but my calves were so tight.  I stopped to stretch them 4-5 times but it wasn’t helping.  It was so frustrating!  I knew that I was killing my “time” but I needed to try to stay healthy, I still had another 9 miles to run when the race was over.  The Golden Gate Bridge experience was much better this time.  Both sides of the bridge were open to us so we went out on one side and returned on the opposite side.  We went on a dirt path down under the bridge and then back up another big hill and back on the bridge.  The views were gorgeous but I didn’t stop to take any pictures.  (I want to check out that path on another run so I can take some pictures)  We headed back through the Presidio but now it was downhill and then flat.  The last few miles were okay, I was struggling, it wasn’t an “easy” run day for me.  I was keeping a 9ish min mile pace which was where I wanted to be given it was a 22 mile run.

Running over the Golden Gate Bridge

The race finish was fine, overall organized.  We got plastic reusable water bottles to fill instead of plastic disposal bottles.  (Very green, very San Francisco)  I was then handed my medal and instantly bummed.  It doesn’t latch together with my other medal, it’s just a duplicate. I know it’s silly to get bummed out about a medal but I do love my collection and was really looking forward to my unique 2-in-1 medal.  Here are some pictures of the medals.  If you place one top of the other they do kind of look like one but it’s not the same.  Oh well….

US Half Marathon Medals

US Half Marathon Medals

One on top of each other - I guess they make one medal....

I most likely won’t run those races again.  Been there, done that.  They are nothing to write home about.  It’s great cause it’s 5 minutes from my house but I’d rather spend my money on other races.

I ended up running the race in 2:00:19.  A bit hard to swallow because it was my first race with a finish time over 2 hours since my first half marathon.  I know that it was correct to run that pace because I had 22 miles to run but I still prefer to see a 1 instead of a 2.

After the race I took a quick break and then headed out for anther 7-9 miles.  I ran 3.5 miles out to AT&T Park and then back along the Embarcadero.  I felt okay so I added on another 2 miles on my run home.  After the race I took an ice bath, my quads were sore from the hills so I felt like the bath would help. I then showered, FaceTimed with my family in NH at Easter and headed out to meet my CA cousins for brunch.  After brunch I was on the couch the rest of the night, just the way I like it.

In other news, it’s been a fun last few weeks.  Lots of fun work events like the Opening Day Viewing Party we hosted at AT&T Park and the PGA Golf Tournament this week.  I’m off to see one of my favorite bands Zac Brown Band at the Shoreline Amphitheater tonight.  Tomorrow I’m running the Presido 10 – another run over Golden Gate Bridge.  It should be another fun weekend!

View from Tee-Off at PGA Event

Santa Cruz Half Marathon

This morning I ran the Santa Cruz Half Marathon.  It was an early morning with my alarm going off at 4:40am.  (Gross)  I finally got out of my warm bed, was dressed and made breakfast to go by 5:20am.  I picked up my friend Katie who was running the 10k race at 5:30am and we made a quick pit stop at Starbucks and then it was off to the race!  The drive took us about 1 hour 15 minutes.  It was easy, no one else is on the road before 6am on a Sunday.

We parked by the Boardwalk and headed over for packet pick-up.  It was a beautiful morning, we were super lucky because it rained all day yesterday.  After getting our numbers and making a quick bathroom stop we got in line.  We timed it perfect.  We didn’t have more than 10 minutes to stand around.  At 8:00am the Half Marathoners were off!  The 10k started 15 minutes later at 8:15am.  My goal was to take it easy, keep around a 9:00 min/mile pace and just try to finish around a 1:55:00.  I’m in training for the Eugene Marathon so I should be taking these long runs slow.  That’s easier said then done though.  I ran an 8:20 first mile…oops.

View from packet pick-up

Another view of beach from packet pick-up - so pretty!

Pretty Palm Trees

The course was really flat the first 3-4 miles.  It went right along the ocean and the waves were really beautiful crashing along the rocks.  Miles 4-6ish were along a paved bike path and had a great view of the ocean.  Miles 6-8.5 were along a the ocean on a trail.  It was a nice change to run on the trail, easier on your legs, joints, etc.  The only issue was BIG puddles form yesterdays rain so I had to dodge puddles and keep a close eye out for them.  Mile 8.5 started back on the paved bike path.  From here on out it was the same course as on the way but it was so pretty it didn’t bother me.  (Usually I hate out and backs)  The finish line was on the Cowell’s beach!  It was really fun to finish right on the beach however sprinting in soft sand isn’t so easy.  The finish was well-organized with medals, water, food tent and the t-shirt pick-up.

I finished in 1:51:38 with an avg of an 8:31 pace.  I guess my slow strategy didn’t work but I never felt like I was really pushing.  Given my more recent half marathon times, I think I’m just getting faster!  It’s fun to keep seeing my times improve.  Fingers crossed I do the same in Eugene!

View of ocean from Mile 7

Finish line on the beach!

View from finish line beach

Overall it was a great race!  I would definitely run it again although I wish they had a few more water stops, specifically with Gatorade.  One of my co-workers that is from Santa Cruz came and watched me finish and then joined Katie and I for a Mexican feast!  It was a fun morning and great race!  Tonight I’m off to dinner with old-coworkers that are in SF for a conference.  I’m looking forward to catching up with them.

Also, Congrats to Katie on finishing the 10k in 49:35!  I believe that’s a PR for her.  Yay!

Santa Cruz Half Marathon Finisher Medal and Shirt

Finisher Shirt & Medal

Only one more big run next weekend and then it’s taper time!

US Half Marathon – San Francisco, CA

It’s really nice to have some down time and actually be able to write in my blog so I’m onto my second post of the day.  I have two half marathons that I haven’t had a chance to write about and I want to make sure to get in a little recap.

The US Half Marathon took place on November 6th in San Francisco.  I was very excited to be running this race because you get to run across the Golden Gate Bridge which would be a first for me.  All week the weather was forecasted as rain for Sunday and I was totally bummed out.  It was going to be a race with great views but the rain would certainly ruin that.  Well, turns out, I was in luck, when I woke up on Sunday it was bright sunny skies!  The rain had cleared out the night before.

I met my friend Katie at 6:45am near my apartment.  She was going to run part of the race with me but not the whole thing.  We walked down to the race at 7am – it was walking distance from my apartment which was awesome!  The starting line wasn’t super organized but it worked out okay.  I have learned that when they don’t have starting corrals that I should work my way close to the front which is what Katie and I did.

We were off on time which was great.  The first 3 miles were easy, one small hill to start and then either flat or downhill.  It was easy going at first.  Once we hit mile 3.5 the going got tough.  It was all uphill through the Presido area.  It was tough but I pushed through it and impressed myself with my hill running skills.  (They have certainly gotten strong since moving to SF)  We headed up to Golden Gate bridge and crossed the bridge on the left the side – away from the city.  The run on the bridge was interesting.  Due to construction we were only permitted to run on one side of the bridge and they didn’t close the roadway so we were running single file in both directions on the bridge.  This certainly was killing everyone’s pace because you couldn’t easily pass people.  We finally crossed the bridge, it’s 1.5 miles long so it feels like a long run and made a sharp left turn.  I started laughing.  We had to run up a legit mountain.  (Due to construction again they had to change the course, this isn’t the normal course) I wish I knew the grade of the climb, it was so STEEP.  Katie and I both had to walk at point along with other people.  It was honestly hell.  I was dying and upset because I was worried I wouldn’t finish a sub-2 hour half.  (The only time I ran over 2 hours was my first half marathon!)

Picture while running across bridge...

View from Mile 7 at the top of the "Mountain"

We finally headed back down.  Also a struggle cause you just wanted to sprint down but that is so rough on your legs, I knew from my Boston marathon days to try and keep a consistent pace so that’s what Katie and I did.  We headed back over the bridge and encountered a traffic jam!  We had to stop and wait to get running again.  It was horrible! I felt so bad for people just coming over the bridge, they were backed up quite a bit.  Nothing is worse than coming to a complete stop when running.  We finally made it back over the bridge and down into the Presido.  We were at Mile 10 and Katie was still with me.  As we ran along the water, that was enjoyable, it was a wide area with room to pass and flat.  The last 3 miles of the race were great with the exception of the hill going into Fort Mason at Mile 12.5.  I run that daily so it was okay but people were struggling.

Katie ended up finishing the whole half marathon with me which was awesome and we crossed the finish line at 1:58:35.  Definitely not my fastest race but because of all the hills from mile 3-10 I would consider it the hardest half marathon I have ever run.

Katie and I after the race!

The finish area was okay.  They gave out metal water bottles to be green and you could fill them at big water stations.  They had beer and some food but no bananas or Gatorade. I was a bit bummed about that.  Those are two post race essentials for me.

The biggest bummer of all – NO MEDALS.  They received the wrong medals from the manufacturer and announced they would have to mail them to us once they received the correct ones.  It was a big let down.  You expect a medal hanging around your neck after 13.1 miles!

They did make good on their promise and I was able to pick up my medal at a location close to my office two weeks later.  Overall I would not recommend this race.

US Half Medal - 3rd from the Right