San Francisco: Epic Weekend of Racing and Family

This past weekend I traveled to San Francisco to race in the Wipro San Francisco Half Marathon and to see my brother! This event was HUGE and extremely well planned. How you ask… well, technically, it was 4 races. Yes, 4. The full marathon, half marathon 1, half marathon 2, and a children’s 5k. WOW. The Full and 1st Half started at the same location. The first half ended near where the second half started, and both the second half and full ended at the same location. Thankfully, the second half started 3 hours after the full and first half. Needless to say, different locations, transporting runners to locations, food, vendors, medals, etc… it was extremely well organized. Thank goodness.

Now, I was pretty excited to see my brother and SF, as I have never been there, and haven’t spent quality time with him since Thanksgiving. Oh, and did I mention he is also a chef (this means delicious food). He is actually the Resident Chef at Sur La Table in Palo Alto. (Yes, shameless plug, but I am SO proud of him!!).

My friend Charlene and I drove there from Vegas, a 9 1/2 hour drive. And, based on weather, another dimension. I left Vegas on Friday morning, it was 90 degrees. I got to SF, it was 55 and my brother had the heat on. TWO DIFFERENT WORLDS. Friday night he and I walked to dinner, I tried pork belly for the first time… his explanation of “it’s bacon but better” doesn’t do it justice. (Side note, when he went to culinary school I made a silly agreement with him that as long as it wasn’t insects I would try it at least once, this will get me one day…). We then relaxed which was needed.

Saturday morning was a jog through Golden Gate Park, race expo, and shopping. This is where the chef part comes in handy… he decided to make me my last carb loading meal:

Not only does it look beautiful, but it tasted AMAZING! I didn’t take a pic of the salad with homemade dressing, but that was yummy too. The best part, I was going to buy frozen waffles (GASP!) and he insisted he would just make them for me, so he got up Sunday morning and made me waffles. Aww…..  Okay, I should divulge here he is an ultra runner, so he understands the importance of fueling for a race, but still, super sweet he made me waffles.

On to race day! Sadly, my brother had to go to Seattle for work, so we parted ways after my breakfast. Charlene and I headed to the park for the race. It was COLD and damp, even drizzly at times. Here I am shivering waiting for the race to start:

Overall, the race went well for me. It was hillier than I expected…. and yes, I understand it was in San Francisco, but I swear the elevation chart indicated it would be hilly through the park for 7 miles than downhill and flat the last 6.1. Um no. There was a hill at mile 10 not as much downhill as it claimed. BUT, it was a great event. The course was great, beautiful scenery, amazing volunteers… towards the end, we ran right past the entrance of the SF Giants stadium and had extra supporters from all the baseball fans there early for the game that day. I finished in 2:24:17, average for me, actually, about what I was at in April, with a very easy course…. so, for a difficult course, I take this as a sign I have improved. There are rumors flying the course was a bit longer, if that is true, than I would have a PR for the 13.1 miles. I also had to make not 1 but 2 bathroom stops. I have got to figure out the morning of hydration better… which, without those, would have come in under 2:20. This makes me happy knowing I have gotten stronger and faster. That, and that the hills didn’t terrify me this time around…. well, the mile 10 hill frustrated me…. but, overall, I did conquer the hills!!

Here I am at the finish, wrapped in my warm-up blanket they provide and medal!

For the record…. I love that they print your name on the race bib. It is really motivating when the supporters actually cheer your name!!

Race course sights:
Man holding sign that read: “kick a punk in the junk for a buck”
People with food and candy
An obvious runner not doing the race with a massage stick, ibuprofen, energy shots, and body glide
Lots of people on harleys as race volunteers

The grub and free beer after the race were also great! So, San Francisco, WIPRO, all the volunteers, supporters, etc…. THANK YOU for a wonderful event! I will be back next year, and, if I can conquer my fear of bridges…. will do the 1st half marathon and run across Golden Gate Bridge!!

Next Race: definitely Philadelphia Half Marathon, Maybe Red Rock Half Marathon….