Hello friends! It’s been a full week since the San Francisco Half Marathon, and I’m here to document all the fun stuff that happened during those days. Whee! This is going to be long because it includes FOOD! Be warned…
FTH and I started Friday morning out with a box of Porto’s potato balls that we ate at the Burbank Airport, waiting for our flight. The TSA agents joked that FTH was trying to hide the Porto’s from them but the x-rays show potato balls. LOL. I love the Burbank Airport. (Is this where they put the A-list TSA agents to work? I’ve only had good experiences with the folks here. Oh LAX agents, you have much to learn from your Valley brethren.)
We landed in Oakland, took the BART into the city, checked into the Hotel Nikko, and walked about a mile or so to the Google offices in SF to meet up with Anita for lunch. I had to use the restroom and found that the women’s toilet was computerized with bidets and a heated seat. How Japanese of them! The food was great – lots of different foods to choose from. Google, I love your cafeteria!
After lunch, we took the Muni to the Expo – this is where FTH just about lost it. He is not a fan of large crowds and rude people who are not considerate, etc etc. Neither am I, but I also remembered JPH’s lesson of “being in it” and well, embracing the chaos that is the Expo. I met ChicRunner (Danica) at the Run Long Beach booth – she is exactly who I thought she was – friendly, cheery, and the perfect rep for Long Beach.
At the Expo, I also waited in a long line for my California Dreamin’ jacket!!! Yeahhhh!!
We met FTH’s best friend Eric for dinner, and we ate delicious pizza at Little Star Pizza. It’s right up there for fantastic pizza, I won’t lie, but Masa of Echo Park – you still have my heart. [Sidenote: you do know that running races is just another excuse to carbo-load and gorge on good food, right?]
On Saturday, I stepped out to a Starbucks for some caffeine and brought it back to the hotel. FTH is not a coffee drinker (I know, I’m awesome for marrying him *snark*). Eric picked up his bf M and us, and we ate more pasta (yes!!!!) at Caffe Sport in North Beach. Christ. This was kick ass pasta.
I had a couple of requests – one was to stop at Bi-Rite Creamery. That’s where we headed after lunch. I had the salted caramel and the balsamic strawberry ice cream. Wow!
Next up, we headed back to Eric’s and took a ‘break’ from eating. For dinner, we headed to Q in the Richmond area. I’m half-ashamed to say that I found this resto via that douchebag Guy Fieri’s show DDD. I saw the owner make the duck confit and I was sold.
Then it was time for me to digest and rest back at the hotel. I got all of my gear and clothes ready and tried to sleep. The operative word is try.
Race day! I got up at about 5:30AM and got a text from Sheryl at 6:00AM. She and her friend Christine were already there. Lord! I gobbled down a banana and walked out the door. FTH would meet me at the finish line with Eric. The hotel wasn’t too far away from the Embarcadero, and I used the walk as a warm-up.
The race started and I was in Wave 7. I missed Sheryl at the start but I figured I’d meet up with her sometime on the course or after the race. The first few miles were fun – we ran down Marina Blvd and Fisherman’s Wharf. At first, I was afraid that my shins would hurt because it had been a couple of weeks since I ran on pavement. (My last few runs were on dirt at Griffith Park.) Nope, nothing. Fab! I found myself pulling my Jelly Belly Sport Beans early on – eating about 3 beans per mile.
The damn hills were really killer. But… I noticed my splits were around 12:20! WTF!? I’m getting faster!
My legs seemed to be pretty loose and warm. I turned off the interval training on Greta the Garmin. Instead, I walked when I felt like I needed to and ran the rest of the way. This worked out just fine.
Oh and right before we hit one more hill before the Golden Gate Bridge, I found Running Green Girl! Except I totally butchered her blog name when I ran up to her. (Sorry, hon!!) Another member of running blog royalty – sweet!!
Up the hills we went. I also tried Cytomax for the first time, right when I was coming back on the Bridge. I drank the Cytomax and then chased it with another cup of water. I was afraid I was going to lose energy on the way back. I drank a few more cups of Cytomax with a water chaser along the way. I think this helped with cutting down on my eating Sport Beans. I’m not sure I’d bring a bottle of it with me on runs – it’s so sweet – but at least I know it didn’t give me stomach issues.
I didn’t take photos except for a couple here:
I ran almost all of the Bridge and back. It felt fantastic! I continued to pass people, and I found that I was pacing a few familiar runners.
When I looked at my split, I was still under 13:00 minutes! Hell yeah!! I’d been pushing 12:02 – 12:30 miles!! I texted Eric and FTH where I was, kind of as a warning as how fast I was going. Then I hit Miles 9-12 – JEEZ – what the hell??!! All hills. Luckily, I did do some hill training, and I didn’t suck wind as much as anticipated. I still walked a lot going up the hills but hauled my ass as best I could downhill, making up my time.
By Mile 12-13.1, I was hating SF’s hills. I was hoping that the last mile to the finish line was somewhat downhills a la Long Beach or Huntington Beach.. I was deluded. We ran through the neighborhoods – hilly and flat. By the time I saw the start of Mile 12, I was excited.
I looked at my watch and could see there was a real possibility to break 3HOURS!! I only had less than 1 miles to go and about 20 minutes to run it and finish. Eep!!! Then I saw that stupid hill (again). I ran up the last incline and just kept going. I saw Eric and FTH cheering me on and I made it!
Final time: 2 hours 54 minutes! I got my ‘A’ goal!! << PR!!
I picked up my CA Dreamin’ medal, found Sheryl, and grabbed some food. Hurrah!! The triple race series is now completed. One bummer: no booze after the race. I guess we were too slow and it was all gone! Bah!
I got back to the hotel and sat in an ice bath and showered. Then ate a really good curried chicken salad sammie that Eric and FTH got me and went straight to bed.
When I got up, it was late afternoon and I was hungry… again. Our last meal with Eric took us to Burgermeister in the Castro. MMMMM!!! Perfect!
And that pretty much ends our trip to SF and the end of my race report. We flew home the next day after we visited FTH’s BIL for lunch. All in all, I had a really fantastic time in SF.
Here are my top accomplishments/reality check:
In one year (12 months), I’ve run 3 half marathons and one 5-K. During this race, I shaved off 17 minutes from my first half marathon’s time. SEVENTEEN MINUTES. One year ago, I could barely run 1 mile. Now I’m at 13. I’m quite proud of myself.
I had such a good time running that I’ve decided to sign up for my first marathon…. Stay tuned…