Race day is over, and we’re reliving the moment by digging through race photos and posts, getting excited for next year!

Check out this fantastic recap of the 1st Half, courtesy of Jennifer and her blog, J Bird Runs.

I got the opportunity to run this race through Jaybird Sport – I am so grateful to them! They truly make the best headphones in the industry. I registered a month before the race, so it was somewhat a “last minute” decision. I decided to do it as a workout for my marathon buildup to Berlin. Because of this, I did not taper or do anything special than what I would normally do for a regular long run workout. I like to throw a race in during a marathon build up because it is a good opportunity for a dress rehearsal for the big race, it gives you the chance to really run long on the roads with no stop lights or shenanigans, and you get support – water, spectators, ect.

The night before, I deviated from my usual Bison meatballs to a burger, garlic fries, and a glass of wine. As McKirdy Trained coach, Heather, says, “60% of the time, it works every time.”

I am getting more comfortable with the fact that I can switch it up the night before a race, as long as there are enough carbs and food.

I had breakfast at home before driving into San Francisco. I live about 30 minutes away. I had Picky Bars Matcha oatmeal with blueberries, banana, & peanut butter. Plus my usual coffee with Vital Proteins & 2% milk. I ate at 4:30am and left to drive into the city at 5:00am.

I got to the city and parked, then went to find the other Arete girls who were also running the first half. The SF Marathon does a lot of different races for their event – a 5k, 1st half, 2nd half, full, and ultra (2 loops of the full). I had begrudgingly decided to do the 1st half LOL. The reason being that I did the 2nd half last year, so if you do the opposite half in the next consecutive year, you get an extra medal called the “Half it All” challenge. The second half is flatter and has more downhill, whereas the first half is flat to start, then gets into some big hills. So I knew I’d just run my workout to the best of my ability and not worry about pace.

The workout was 2 miles warm up, first 8 miles at marathon pace (7:30-7:40, haven’t quite decided yet), then cut down the final 5 miles. I PR-ed the half marathon the last time I did this workout in a race, but that was on a pancake flat course. I did my warm up, ate a Gu Stroopwafel, and went to the bathroom several times in between all this haha.

I headed over to the corrals and found Josh & Rick from Jaybird Sport. (Thanks for the photo Rick!) During my warm up, I was wearing a jacket that John had put in the donation pile, and waited for the last second to ditch it. The fog was socked in and it was cold – about 55 degrees. I should have raced wearing sleeves.

I also made sure to turn my watch off auto lap, in the big cities and on well attended race courses, the GPS can get a little wonky. So I manually hit the lap button at each course mile marker, so that I actually know what pace I am running.

(Just a note that none of the following photos are shown where I am actually talking about for the miles, I only got photos from the last mile of the course.)

Here you can see the elevation chart. Per my Garmin the course had 735 ft of elevation gain total.

Here’s how the miles broke down:

Mile 1 – 7:26: Felt very controlled, flat along the Embarcadero. Worked on getting in a rhythm.

Mile 2 – 7:16: Knew this was quick. Knew there was also a big hill coming and planned to run it by effort and would slow up for that. Still not breathing hard and feeling good.

Mile 3 – 7:31: Up the big hill up to Fort Mason and then down along the Marina. I hate this hill and have maybe never run up it the whole way without walking? I did not walk this time though. I stayed steady, but backed off the pace somewhat. Started running with a gentleman from the Netherlands, Jan. He ran the hill like a champion and I kept focused on his back and followed up. He ran really tall & with good cadence up the hill.

We both settled in with the 1:40 pace group at this point for a bit. The pace for the 1:40 group should have been 7:35s – so this was a little quick, but it didn’t bother me as I was talking comfortably and feeling (shockingly) pretty fresh.

Thank you David & Paula for this pic! Let it be known that Jordan Hasay sticks her tongue out when she races as well.

Miles 4 & 5 – 7:21 & 7:16: I knew these miles were quick, but again, I was chatting with Jan and having a good time. I told him I was running Berlin & had been practicing my German. He spoke German, so we practiced some of the words I knew.

Mile 6 & 7 – 7:55: There was quite a hill with some that we ran up that was next to the bridge and into Golden Gate park. It burned & it felt like it went on for a long time. I wanted to really run by effort and not blow up too early, so I paid no attention to my watch and ran it keeping my breath controlled, core tight, and form solid. Also, I forgot to hit lap on my watch in between miles here. I clocked my legs suddenly feeling pretty heavy here, but shook it off pretty quickly and didn’t notice it again until mile 13.

Mile 8 – 7:12: We got to then coast down the hill which was great. I focused on staying loose and letting gravity do the work. I practiced running downhill a lot for Boston, and I know it doesn’t thrash my quads too badly, so I felt comfortable letting the pace be quick. I pulled away from the 1:40 pace group on this hill, I think.

Mile 8 – 7:33: We ran through some hilly neighborhoods. I remember thinking it was hard, but also feeling like my body wasn’t working that hard. Not sure if that even makes sense! I randomly locked eyes with a spectator, who told me “You have great form! You look super strong! You are doing this!” Thank you to that kind person, because it gave me such a boost.

Mile 10 – 7:30: As we went into Golden Gate park, there was signage for the 1st half, 2nd half and full marathon. I started inexplicably stressing I would somehow miss a sign up and end up running with the full marathoners. I looked around and didn’t see many half marathon bibs.

Mile 11 – 6:53: I was feeling good and using gravity on any downhills I could get. I knew this was fast, but I also knew I had 2ish miles left, so I decided to go for it. I knew that meant my 5 mile cut down wouldn’t be perfect, but with the hilly terrain, that wasn’t really going to be feasible anyway.

Mile 12 – 7:08: I remember turning a corner and having a complete heart attack that there were no 1st half marathon signs. I looked around and saw 2 guys having the same reaction. We all confirmed with a race official on the side (as we were running by) that this was the 1st half marathon. I’m so glad they were having this reaction at the same time as me.

I’m pretty sure in this mile I saw friends – Carlee, Pavey, David & Paula! I was in that end-of-the-race-brain-fog, and almost missed Pavey, David & Paula. Carlee runs with little wings on her shoes, and I noticed those first. Guess I should practice looking up when I run haha!

Mile 13 – 7:09:  I was starting to struggle this mile and fighting to keep my form together.

Mile .1 – 6:46: I knew I was cutting it close to a PR, so I pushed with every bit that I could, focused on powering with my arms, pulling the ground toward me with my legs (alá Chuck Norris) and leaning forward with my chest. It paid off and I crossed the line in 1:37:27!

I wasn’t too gutted when I was done. I walked around and got my bag, changed out of my racing shoes and picked up my second medal for completing the challenge.

I took the shuttle from Golden Gate Park back to the Embarcadero to meet up with friends.

So glad I got to see Mel!

And Carolyn, Sheridan and Paula!

I think the Half it all medal is really cool! You can see above it is a spinner with 2 sides.

The temp was about 55-60 degrees for the whole race, with humidity of 99-100% – my hair does not like that haha. Above are the before and after of my braid. I showed the photos to the lady at my hair place and she said that I must run really fast because hair only tangles like that when you are on a motorcycle. Obviously, I tip well LOL.

I was really excited to see that I got 2nd in my age group!

Overall I’m so happy with how this race went. Using a race as a workout has been really beneficial for me in a lot of ways. Not the least of which is that it forces me to mentally take the pressure off myself. I can just focus on doing my job in hitting the pace for what the workout is supposed to be.