Take a Runcation: Why I Travel to Run Marathons

Contributed by Jeanne Corey, a 2017 Ambassador for The San Francisco Marathon.

My fiancé and I travel all over to run marathons and refer to these trips as “runcations.”

Ambassador Jeanne Corey running on The Golden Gate Bridge

Ambassador Jeanne Corey running on The Golden Gate Bridge

I live in the Northeast Hills of Connecticut, so when I go out for training runs there is typically a hill involved.  There are a lot of street names in Connecticut that include “View,” or “Hill,” or even worse, “Mountain.” Previously, I used to steer clear of these – but as my experience in running grew, so did my love for hills.

Now, the way I look at the hills is this: “With every up there is a nice downhill.”  I’ve learned to power up hills – taking shorter strides and pumping my arms – and when I get to the top, I go into autopilot and recover.  It diminishes any boredom from my training runs and as a result, I now steer away from flat courses.  Running on a flat course to me is like running on a treadmill with scenery.

The San Francisco Marathon is my all-time favorite runcation. Of the 40 marathons that I’ve run, The San Francisco Marathon is always at the top of my list. It’s also one of my fastest races, too, which was a big surprise to me. When you think of San Francisco, you can’t help but visualize the beautiful topography. I’ve run the full marathon the past 2 years, and as soon as registration opened up for 2017, I signed up for my third consecutive race! I love the course, the elevation profile, and the unparalleled scenery.

There are so many amazing parts of the San Francisco marathon experience. Here are just a few:

The Expo:

Dean Karnazes at The ExpoI have to start with the Expo. I’ve been to so many Expos that I tend to want to walk in and walk out.  This is not the case for TSFM’s Expo: I went both Friday and Saturday before the race on Sunday! Why is it so much better? It’s not just the free snacks, the nuun samples, the extra giveaways – it’s stopping and talking to such knowledgeable and friendly representatives.  I felt like I made a new friend each time I left a booth.

One of my favorite experiences was getting the opportunity to run with Fitbit Ambassador Dean Karnazes at the annual Shake Out Run. What a great guy!  So down to earth and personable!  I ran next to him and listened to him chat with a woman who said that TSFM was her first marathon. He lent some words of encouragement and was thrilled for her! What a unique experience to get personal advice from such a seasoned runner.

The Start:

Start LineThe Start Line of The San Francisco Marathon is pretty incredible.  The weather is perfect for running.  The lights of the Bay Bridge twinkle in the background, complemented by the darkness of the pre-dawn sky. It’s just gorgeous!

You start off running through Fisherman’s Wharf and then up the first hill by Fort Mason (where the Expo is held), which is followed by a nice gradual downhill.  What’s really nice about this section is that you get to run in the same area as you did the day before with the Shake Out Run.  Then in the distance you can see the Golden Gate Bridge.  It’s surreal to look out there in the distance and see it.  The runners ahead run a slight incline to get to the bridge.  It almost looks resembles a bunch of ants in the far distance there are so many runners.

The Bridge:

Golden Gate BridgeNow we’re running on the Golden Gate Bridge!  The last 2 years the fog on the bridge creates such a cool moisture in the air.  At first I thought it was sweat but then I realized it was the fine mist from the fog. It is the absolute best running conditions!  There are so many people around you that you don’t realize that you are running up a slight incline until you get to the top if the bridge.  We exit out on the other side of the bridge and then go turn around and experience the awesomeness one more time!

Then you head out to the Golden Gate Park.  Mile 11 (Lincoln Blvd) had to be the most beautiful view of the ocean looking out around Sea Cliff.  It was mesmerizing to look out and see such beauty.  I remember just looking and saying wow. It’s like a dream.

Golden Gate Park had so many things to look at, too!  The bison and the botanical gardens come to mind right away.

Mile 18 you are running through the streets – the hills are short and rolling.  It’s almost like they give you momentum when you travel down to push you up the next.  This is one of my favorite parts of the race.  I had my fastest miles through this section.

Mile 25 you’re heading around AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, and before you know it – it’s over.

Jeanne CoreyJust an incredible experience!

What I love about a runcation is that you get to see so much more than if you went for a car ride.  The buildings, Fishermen’s Wharf, The Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, and those beautiful Victorian homes!

Post-race at the Finish Line Festival is truly awesome, too.  You can walk down the pier and there are so many food options around! Sit outside, people-watch and listen to the musicians in the street.

So go pack your bags!  What are you waiting for? You’ll go back home have memories of a life time and bragging rights of knowing that you ran over the Golden Gate bridge not one, but twice!

 

4 Replies to "Take a Runcation: Why I Travel to Run Marathons"

  • comment-avatar
    Laura Pinales
    April 3, 2017 (1:22 pm)

    Reading this is actually making me cry . My heart is running I’m shaking with excitement and nervous as HECK!!! BUT I’m there July 23, 2017. Training solo and disciplining myself is pretty boring but id rather throw up faint and ache the whole time training than when its time to PUT UP or SHUT UP.
    #BecauseICan.

    • comment-avatar
      Jane McDaniel
      April 20, 2017 (5:34 pm)

      Reading your post just got me so giddy! I am also running it solo, although I think I have convinced my husband to run the first half with me. Best of luck in your training!

  • comment-avatar
    Danny
    April 4, 2017 (4:36 am)

    Coming from Montreal. First time ever in California. We will spend one week in San Francisco and run the marathon. Can’t wait to be there!!

  • comment-avatar
    Thu
    April 8, 2017 (6:09 pm)

    I like this article a lot. I enjoyed reading it. Yes, I visibly feel and see what you described of your run. I have run 9 half-marathons (not a marathon yet) for 3 years in Orange County and I can relate to your story. I enjoy the accomplishment of completing each race. I run daily and put more speed and miles on weekends. This will be my first half marathon in San Francisco and can’t wait to run across the Golden Gate Bridge. Rockin to all runners!