San Francisco 1st Half Marathon 2015
My ambitions for the San Francisco Marathon were fleeting after suffering from some hamstring and hip issues post Boston Marathon. I had hoped to run the full marathon again this year, making it my 7th consecutive year. My hopes diminished over time as my physical therapist revealed some hamstring tendinitis and decided to “ground me” from running for three weeks. Needless to say, I wasn’t able to train for a full marathon. Thankfully, I was able to move over to the 1st Half Marathon (they offer two half marathons) and still participate.
This year was extra special because I had so many friends and family a long for the ride! My niece ran the 5K, my dear friend that I coach ran the 1st Half, and my running partner ran the 2nd Half. We spent time together before race day and enjoyed our annual post-race celebration at Dynamo Donuts!
As an ambassador for the second year with the San Francisco Marathon, I enjoyed all the activities, my favorite being the Health and Fitness Expo. I had the opportunity to work both Friday and Saturday at the Registration Booth for the 2016 race. Meeting and working alongside fellow ambassadors was such a treat. We all share the same passion for this race, and it was fun to share our excitement with others.
Race day was bitter sweet for me. Going in, I wasn’t sure if this would be my last race due to another issue with my hips. With that being said, I decided to leave my Garmin at home and just enjoy the race, every 13.1 miles without having to worry about pace. San Francisco has been my favorite race for seven years now, and this was my first running the half instead of the full. I was a little disappointed that I wouldn’t be crossing the finish line at the Bay Bridge and missing that part of the race, but I was just so thankful to have the ability to run.
I began in Wave 3, usually I am in Wave 2, so this group was running at a slightly slower pace than I am used to, but it felt great! I was able to keep up and even pass some runners, all while enjoying the course and really taking it all in. There were sections of the race where I stopped to capture a photo just in case I wouldn’t have this opportunity again.
The first five miles flew by, like they always do, as we run from the Ferry Building, past Pier 39, Boudin where you can smell the bread, and on past Fisherman’s Warf to Crissy Field. Just after sunrise, I reached the first major hill heading up to the Golden Gate Bridge. It was challenging, but nothing I couldn’t handle. My mind was on the reward at the top!
Once I arrived at the bridge it was pretty damp, wet and fogged in. It was hard to see the top of the bridge due to the fog. Thankfully it wasn’t too crowded, and I was able to maneuver past other runners at a pace I felt comfortable. Once across, I came to the water station and snapped a photo with the Nuun Hydration sign. I am a runner with Team Nuun so it was a thrill to run a race where Nuun was the electrolyte on course.
Heading back across, I tried to capture the moment. It’s not everyday you get to run the Golden Gate Bridge…in the lanes designated for vehicles! I took a quick video of my view to share on Instagram. Before I knew it, I was heading off the bridge and ascending the next hill. This one seemed to go on forever! My hamstring was a little achy, and I had to remind myself to keep my running form and use my glutes and not just my hamstrings. There are some pretty spectacular views of the ocean and the bridge at my back.
Next up, running a few local streets of San Francisco before heading into Golden Gate Park. I passed a few spectators holding up signs of encouragement and even a woman was sitting outside of her second story window cheering us on. Not very many spectators come out to cheer us on, but when they do, I always acknowledge them!
I met a fellow Nuun runner as I was about to hit the last of the rolling hills of the city, and before I knew it I was in Golden Gate Park. My daughter and husband were about a quarter mile from the finish line, my daughter jumped into the race, and we ran together. My husband snapped a few shots of us running together and then we headed straight for the finish. At this point I decided to grab my daughter’s hand and cross the finish line with her! I wanted her in my finish line photos with me, especially if this was going to be my last race.