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San Francisco Half Marathon - RunHalf Marathon

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San Francisco, California
United States
RhodyCo Productions
Total Time = 1h 40m 34s
Overall Rank = 788/4732
Age Group = M35-39
Age Group Rank = 118/461
Pre-race routine:

DW and I had some couscous, halibut with pineapple salsa, and asparagus for dinner and some chocolate bunny grahams for dessert.

Went to bed at 9:30PM. I had a bit of trouble sleeping and I’m not sure what time I fell asleep. Morning came soon enough as the alarms went off at 5:30AM. Had a chocolate mint zone bar, some toast with honey, some Sumatra Lake Tawar coffee and a glass of water.

It’s always a process for me to decide what to wear when the weather isn’t warm. I had thought about a tri tank and shorts, but it was going to be a little cool for that so I opted for my black Under Armour compression top and some DeSoto shorts. I bought a couple pairs of running shoes recently and I opted for my Gel Kayanos with laces and my Balega socks. Accessorized with my usual day-glo Pearl Izumi cap, my Garmin, and my race belt, I was all set.

Since this was a local event, we thought logistics would be straightforward, but with so many runners at the event, parking was a little tricky. There was parking all along Great Highway along Ocean Beach, but this filled quickly. Unfortunately, it wasn’t clear that it was all filled up (because there was as section cordoned off that had some parking available) and we and a lot of others thought we were going pulling in to where parking was available, only to sit in a long line to find out that was not the case. In any case, we eventually found some parking up a little ways near the Cliff House.

We walked along Ocean Beach to get to the park, just as the sun was starting to light up the beach –a beautiful way to start the morning.

We waited briefly in line for the shuttle/school buses to take us to the race start, which is in the middle of the park. We quickly found the sweat check in area, which we had to do since they were loading the trucks in about 10 minutes. Chilly.

We had about 25 minutes before the race started so we went to the lines for the bathroom. They had a good number of port-a-potties, but with 9000 runners, the lines were still fairly long. I was getting goosebumps from getting chilly, but DW was wearing a trashbag so she was faring better. I jumped around in line a bit to try to keep warm and hoping that it would help me minimally warm up. By the time we finished with the bathrooms, it was less than 5 minutes until 8 so we went to line up. I gave DW a kiss and then I headed up to line up between the 8 min/mile and 7 min/mile pacers. It looked like there were a lot of fast runners here because this put me 15-20 rows of people back from the start. I was a little surprised that a race this large in such a popular running town didn’t use timing chips. Oh well, I’d just time myself.

As we’re in line, I see a fellow tri guy I know who is also a fellow alum (at Treasure Island Oly last November we finished within 10 seconds of each other – he smoked on the swim and bike and I made it all up on the run). We’d done a 9-mile and 12 mile training runs together for this race including the run the previous weekend. I worked my way through the crowd to get to him. We were both targeting 1:40. We chit chatted briefly and soon enough it was time to start.

Event warmup:

Since it took us so long to find parking and use the bathrooms, we had no time to warm up.
  • 1h 40m 34s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 07m 41s  min/mile

Instead of a gunshot, they start the race with a cowbell. It takes about 45 seconds for me to reach the start line (it would take DW nearly 5 minutes to reach the start line). I start my Garmin. With such a big crowd, it took a little while for everyone to space out enough to run comfortably. It’s so easy to get swept up into the crowds at these larger races. It’s doubly deceiving because I’m feeling relatively strong at the start. I started off at what seemed like a reasonably comfortable pace (although as it turns out I started out faster than I probably should have). I’m already falling behind my fellow alum. He’s got long legs and I don’t really have the speed so I just run at my pace.

For the first couple miles, I’m still warming up and my left shin is tight as it is wont to do at the start of a run. There are quite a few people passing me. I don’t know if this is because they are just plain faster than I am, they are going out too fast, or because I am slowing. As we make the turnaround at the end of the panhandle, I can barely see my fellow alum off in the distance.

For the next few miles, I hold my own. First water/Gatorade stop is at 3 miles. We continue to wind back through the park and come out of the park and turn onto Great Highway along Ocean Beach.

I’ve seen this view so many times, but it’s still a treat to catch a glimpse of the beach for that moment which momentarily takes me out of my exertion. After that it’s all business after that since I only pay attention to the road and the runners before me.

At about , 6 miles I’m feeling a bit tired, probably from the training and racing in the previous two weeks. At about mile 7, my legs are feeling loose (finally) and my stride becomes loose and easy. I’m starting to pass some folks. This is usually the way it works for me – I definitely don’t have the top speed of many others, but I can maintain my pace fairly consistently late into the race so as others fade, I begin to pass them.

I know that the course goes along Great Highway past Sloat (where I usually turn around on a run) before turning around to come back. Since this stretch is an out and back course, we’re able to see the race leaders come by us on their way back. They are flying. It’s amazing to think how fast they are compared to us mere mortals.

At around mile 8 or 9, I look forward a bit and realize I’ve almost caught up to my fellow alum; he’s about 50 feet ahead of me. I’m pretty sure I’m keeping pace, which likely means he’s slowed. I shout some words of encouragement to him as I pass, but I know unless he picks up his pace, he won’t make his goal of 1:40. I keep going and run to the turnaround point and start heading back.

With about 3 miles to go, I turn up my speed a bit and I have to focus on my breathing to keep the oxygen supply coming steadily. I’m passing a good number of people, but I reach a point where I can’t pass anyone and I may have surged a little early. I just hang on for the next mile. I pick it up again. I wait until we’ve made the turn back into the park. Uphill…ugh. I push myself a bit more. I’m passing quite a few people, many who appear to have slowed quite a bit so close to the end. As I hear people start to say that the finish is around the last turn, I begin to pick it up again and pass some more. I make the final turn and, mercifully, it’s a short downhill stretch to the finish. I’m sprinting and finish at full speed. I’m into the finish chute and the runner in front of me basically stopped and I basically run into him, but we’re both okay. This race was timed old school, w/o chips so we had to walk our way through the chute to give the tear off part of the bottom of our bibs to the folks at the end of the chute.

Because I was so focused on my sprint, I didn’t even see the finish clock. I forgot to stop my watch right away after finishing (maybe 5 seconds after I finished), but it showed 1:39:54.

Time: 1:40:34 official time (7:40 pace). 1:39:54 watch time, probably 1:39:49 for actual running time.
Rank: 788/4732 overall, 642/2416 Men, 118/461 M35-39

My mile splits as extracted from my Garmin are below. I think I started off a little faster than I should have. Mile 11 spit is a bit anomalous, but it’s possible with the fatigue at that point and a bit of a mental lapse. I was happy with the strong finish.
1 0:07:22
2 0:07:19
3 0:07:50
4 0:07:56
5 0:07:49
6 0:07:41
7 0:07:32
8 0:07:37
9 0:07:29
10 0:07:24
11 0:08:24
12 0:07:31
13 0:07:17

I pretty much raced exactly as I expected (I wanted to basically replicate my time in Cabo). I can look at it either I was 35 seconds over my cabo time f I use the official results or I PR’d it based on actual running time. In either case, I met my goal for this race.

I was a little tired going into this race. DW and I raced a half marathon two weeks ago in Cabo San Lucas. One week after that race, I was mostly recovered and had most of my legs speed/strength back and so I did a fairly hard 12 mile run over the weekend. The Friday before this race, I did my usual 6 mile run around the neighborhood and strangely, my legs were even a bit sore on Saturday, the day before this race. I did at least take Saturday off. Not exactly a real taper for a half mary race, but I’ve been trying to use my non-A races as training and to mostly train through these races.
Post race
Warm down:

Cool down
Right after the finish, I chatted with some of the tri peeps. I drank some water and stretched some. I walked into the very crowded expo area. I grabbed a race bag and ate the mini-clif bar in it. I picked up my t-shirt (long sleeve, nice). I grabbed some bananas. I stopped by the Kaiser booth to see if there were any BTers there, but couldn’t really tell. I was getting cold so I went on to the sweat pickup which was at the far end of the expo. I put on my jacket and pants. I grabbed DWs sweat bag (sweat bags were just laid out on the street unattended).

Like a spawning salmon, I had to work my way back upstream so I could get back to the finish line to watch and cheer on DW as she finished. I stretched some more and drank water as I waited for her. After a little bit, she came around the final corner and I screamed out to her, but she was in the zone. I was able to snap a picture of her. I met her at the finish. We walked through the expo briefly and stretched some more.

Post Race
The sun was out and it was a pleasant walk back along Ocean Beach to get back to our car. There were runners still finishing up and it appeared to be mostly TnT folks. We stopped briefly to take a couple pictures.

We stopped of at Mollie Stone’s on the way home and bought some spicy shrimp sushi, two kinds of hummus and some whole wheat pita bread, and a small organic ready made mushroom pizza to eat for lunch at home. After lunch, we took a nap (one of my favorite post-workout activities) and later watched the game. It was a great day!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2007-01-24 12:00 AM
01:40:34 | 13.1 miles | 07m 41s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/461
Overall: 0/4732
Course: The Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon takes place in Golden Gate Park and nearby Ocean Beach. The course starts out near Stow Lake, heads out east on JFK Drive out around the panhandle and back, all the way the length of the park, out on the west side of the park with a run on Great Highway along Ocean Beach a bit past Sloat and back and then for a final bit in the park to the finish. There is also a 5K race that starts at the same time and place, but the two races branch apart quickly and the 5K takes an almost entirely different route.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2007-02-06 7:38 AM

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San Francisco
Subject: San Francisco Half Marathon

2007-02-06 9:49 AM
in reply to: #680689

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Subject: RE: San Francisco Half Marathon
What a great picture of the sunrise, beautiful day! Great job hitting your goal and not going out to fast with the others. Two 1/2's in three weeks, all in a days work (or month)! Nice job!
2007-02-06 12:10 PM
in reply to: #680689

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Carlsbad, California
Subject: RE: San Francisco Half Marathon
Hey man, your a racing maniac

I suspect that these races will pay off big at Wildflower.

Keep up the great training (And Racing)
2007-02-06 1:08 PM
in reply to: #680689

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Subject: RE: San Francisco Half Marathon
Great race, congrats!
2007-02-06 3:36 PM
in reply to: #680689

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Sherman Oaks, CA
Subject: RE: San Francisco Half Marathon
Great job doing another half so quickly and successfully.
2007-02-06 8:53 PM
in reply to: #680689

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Extreme Veteran
pinoy city
Subject: RE: San Francisco Half Marathon
Good job

2007-02-06 11:04 PM
in reply to: #680689

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Extreme Veteran
Bay Area- California
Subject: RE: San Francisco Half Marathon
Great race report!  Well worth the ,you have great splits, with the 7:17 at mile 13!  Geez Louise, your quite a runner.  It was a glorious day for running and I'm glad it went so well for you.
2007-02-07 11:32 AM
in reply to: #680689

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Davis, California
Subject: RE: San Francisco Half Marathon
Great race Donato!  I'm looking forward to being able to run 1 mile in under 8 minutes.  With your race schedule as busy as it is this is practically a training run!
2007-02-07 7:41 PM
in reply to: #680689

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San Mateo, CA
Subject: RE: San Francisco Half Marathon
Hey, nice job!
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