Thursday, July 27, 2017

The San Francisco Marathon Race Recap

The hubby and I went to San Francisco this past weekend. It was a whirlwind adventure (we left Friday morning around 4am and were back Sunday evening by about 9pm after grabbing the pup) that I'm still trying to catch my breath from.


Although I plan to do another post (or two) about all of the adventures we had while in the "Golden City", the main event was definitely The San Francisco Marathon, so I figured I should probably recap that part first, right?!


If you remember, there was a brief moment where I pondered running the Ultra Marathon with Brian but smartly decided against it and settled on the full marathon. The hubby picked the first half marathon (I've never seen a race offer this option - but if you want to do the half marathon distance, you can either run the "first half" or the "second half" of the full course. I think it's a cool idea. He wanted to do the first half so we could run together {and run over the Golden Gate Bridge [twice], take a shuttle back to the finish line I'd be crossing and enjoy his post race beer while waiting for us}.).

Between adventures (more to come in future posts), we stopped by the Expo on Saturday to grab our bibs and shirts, hang out at the #WeRunSocial meet-up and grab our Lagunitas wrist bands for the post-race beer garden (#Priorities).


Obviously the hubby had to get in on the cupcakes!

Some of my favorite San Francisco friends!

Once we got back to the hotel, it was time to make sure we had everything for the following morning. While I was getting my #FlatCarlee ready, the hubby passed out (apparently hiking 9.5 miles at Muir Woods on Friday and walking 11.5 miles around San Francisco on Saturday can wipe a fella out ;)).

My #FlatCarlee included: SF Stripe PRO socks, black Handful bra, orange
Sparkle Athletic skirt
, tank I got at TJ Maxx, PROBAR BOLT chews,
black Road ID, #WeRunSocial hat, #WeRunSocial buff, black QALO
silicone wedding bands, black and orange Momentum Jewelry wraps,
my Garmin Forerunner 735XT, and Brooks Ghost with reflective Shwings.

For dinner we opted for pizza (#CarbLoadingFTW) and ended up at a restaurant near the hotel which was very tasty.

I had the Bianca pizza (but added mushrooms) and hubby had the Margherita pizza (but added garlic)

When we got back to the hotel we were texting with Dave and Paula (the parents in the FitFam6 crew) and let them know that our hotel had some fun (and free) games and invited them to come over so the boys could get out some energy before bed. It was great getting to hang out with the gang (and nail down a game plan for the morning).

Pretty sweet set-up, right?! And we had the place to ourselves for most of the time.

We knew the wake-up calls would start early, so said our good-byes and hit the hay. (Well, that is after watching a bit of Hook because it was on TV and is my FAVORITE movie while doing a little foam rolling and stretching.)

As I suspected, I woke up before my alarms (one of our neighbors decided it would be a good idea to continually open and close their door from about 12-2am so let's just say sleep eluded me for the majority of the evening). I snuck into the bathroom and got ready, trying to be quiet and let the hubby sleep a few minutes longer.

I was a little nervous that it would be cold out (the night before, when we were waiting for FitFam6 in the lobby, the front door of the hotel was open and it was mighty breezy and chilly), but thankfully we were pleasantly surprised with the mildness outside when we met up with Dave around 4:30am.

We made our way down to the Embarcadero so we could get this 26.2 mile party started (or in the hubby's case - 13.1 mile party). The city was quiet, but there were a decent number of runners heading towards the start line. When we arrived, we hit up the port-o-potty line (because there wasn't one... and if you know races, you know you better take advantage of a short line whenever possible) and then went to drop off Dave's stuff at gear check. Well, here is where the first snafu occurred. The UPS trucks we walked up to were apparently for the first half marathoners. We were pointed in a general direction and told the full marathon gear check was "down the street". We meandered towards where volunteers pointed, asking more folks along the way, and were continually told "down there". Well, we finally came to signs that had bib numbers on them... but NO trucks...

This is a bad picture I snapped, but there were TONS of runners waiting

We stood there for a while (along with what seemed like a lot of runners) and decided on a plan. When Dave picked up his bib, he was told by a volunteer that the corrals close 15 minutes prior to their start time. Since we were starting in Corral 3 (with an estimated start time of 5:42am), we needed to be in our corral a little before 5:30am. It was already around 5:15am, so Ryan offered to put Dave's bag under his bib number and grab it after he finished - since there were at least trucks at the half marathon gear check. After Dave changed the bib number on his bag and Ryan dropped it off, we made our way to the corral. (PS There were still loads of runners heading towards the empty gear check area. Once we got near our corral entrance we saw UPS trucks trying to drive through the hoards of people. Since we used the half marathon gear check, I'm not sure how long it took the trucks to get through the crowd, but it was a MAJOR issue.)

Sunrise and the Oakland Bridge

It was almost go time, so we snapped a couple pictures and made sure to locate satellites on our Garmins. They let the elites and then first two corrals go, then it was our turn. 3, 2, 1... and we were on our way to eat hills for breakfast!

Oh yeah, I almost forgot... When we were on our way back to the starting line, the hubby had to pee again. Well, at this point the lines were cray-cray, so we thought we'd just pull over at the first set of port-o-potties... Unfortunately the first set were all padlocked (not sure if they were for a different event or the company just forgot to unlock them), so it wasn't until mile 2.5 or so when he got a little relief ;) We joked that he should just go piddle off the edge of one of the piers, but he thought better of it. (I normally don't need to use the restroom during a race, but whenever we saw potties, there seemed to be pretty decent sized lines, so maybe they need to increase the number they have in the future.)

I'm not sure if you follow Brian, but unfortunately due to injuries he had to pull out of the race. You can read about it HERE (and make sure to send him #AllTheLove and support because being injured SUCKS). Although he'd be greatly missed, he wasn't staying home... He set up a cheer station around mile 5 - complete with jams, donut holes, cow bells and FUN! Seeing as none of us had a goal time in mind, we decided we'd pull over and join in on the shenanigans.

BIG PROPS to Brian and Francis for bringing the energy (and donuts)

The running crew

We may or may not have stayed for about 10 minutes, cheering on fellow runners, eating donut holes (Ryan lost count but thinks he ended somewhere between 8 and 10), handing out high-fives and having a blast. Eventually we looked at our watches and figured we should probably get back to the whole running thing and bid our friends good-bye.

Caught DONUT handed!

Apparently I was so stoked on the donuts I couldn't hold the camera still

Now, normally the spot where the #WeRunSocial cheer zone was would have had an AMAZING view of the Golden Gate Bridge... But unfortunately Karl the Fog was unrelenting and all that was visible was a grey cloud of mist... Ah well, it wouldn't be San Francisco without Karl, right?! We were hoping by the time we got to the bridge (we still had a couple miles) there might be a break in the weather, but no such luck.

The bridge would normally be visible over my shoulder... 

Running on the bridge was pretty awesome (and soggy) (and brisk) (and windy). Apparently only a few races actually run on the Golden Gate Bridge, so it is sort of a big deal. The one nice thing about the fog was that you couldn't see the incline or how much of the bridge you had left to run.

It was legit so foggy you couldn't see the bridge until you were on it

I think Ryan was yelling at us because I bus was coming and we were supposed to get over... After the photo of course!

I really enjoyed running on the bridge because as you are going in one direction, runners are heading in the other direction so you can cheer them on, offer encouragement, look for friends, give out high-fives, etc (anything to take your mind off the fact that you still have 20ish miles left to run, right?!).

Can't you see the excitement on my face?!

As I'm sure you can imagine, the course is pretty hilly. Although none of us were going for a PR, I was stoked that we were crushing the hills when they'd appear (and I swear they appeared like every five minutes).


The hubby was KILLIN' it, especially seeing as he had tackled the Adventure 16 3-Peak Challenge earlier in the week (climbing the three tallest mountains in Southern California within a 24-hour period). But let's just say he was excited for the split when Dave and I went right to continue on with another 13+ miles and he got to head towards his finish line.

You can see when we stopped for the bathroom break (Mile 3 has a difference of about 4 minutes in the running & "moving" time) and for our WRS donut break (Mile 5 has a difference of about 10 minutes in the running & "moving" time)

The second half of this race tends to get a bad wrap... it isn't as "sexy" as the first half (you aren't running along the water or on the bridge) and although some folks say it isn't as hilly - I think that's a LIE! Even still, Dave and I had a great time chatting it up, thanking volunteers and enjoying the scenery.

Dave ran with his GoPro and was able to snap a couple awesome pictures during the race

There were quite a few spots during the second half that had splits for traffic relief (meaning they would divert the course a block or two so that cars could get through). I swear, every time there was a diversion, we were sent the hillier way (I know, I know, they say that it all evens out, but I swear our portion had more uphill than the other...).

Selfie stop while Dave was using the potty

Around Mile 20 Dave told me that he was starting to hit "the wall" and he needed to take a walk break. He told me I could go ahead, but I told him I was sticking with him and we'd make it to the finish line whenever we got there. You can see in the splits below (for the second half of the race) that our pace started to slow around that point, but we were still cruising right along. At this point we started walking the aid stations and some of the inclines.

During Mile 25 we stopped to take a picture at AT&T Park and during Mile 27 we stopped to chat with a friend who was spectating (which is why there are differences between the running and "moving" times)

This is also around the same time that the sun started peaking out. When Mr. Sunshine made an appearance, it started warming up rather quickly. I'd say it went from the low 60s to the mid 70s in a matter of a mile or two.

Shout out to the watermelon station around Mile 24. The pieces I grabbed were scrum-didly-umptious. #HeavenSent Dare I say watermelon is yummier (and easier to eat) than orange slices. Had I not been enjoying the chunks as much, I probably would have snapped a picture, but you'll just have to take my word for it. Watermelon = Life!


I knew Gregg was going to be spectating, so we kept our eyes peeled. If you don't follow GB on Instagram (@g___n___b), YOU SHOULD! You should also check out the MAGIC he created from a picture we took at the Expo ;)

If this doesn't make you smile, I don't know what would... 

Anywho, we saw him after we crossed the Mile 26 marker and had to stop to chat and snap a picture. (At this point, we knew we weren't breaking any records, so why not take the time to stop and thank a friend for cheering you on?!)

Funny story. The hubby was tracking me on "Find My Friends" and got really confused
as to why my dot stopped moving when we were only a half mile from the finish line ;)

And a few steps later Dave and I were crossing the finish line of the 40th San Francisco Marathon - my 13th full!

Running with friends ROCKS MY SOCKS!

Although, my watch had us over a half mile LONGER than a full marathon... (I know a couple other folks I spoke with had their GPS measure the course long, so I'm not sure if it was due to satellites in the city or if mile markers were off.)

We grabbed our goodies (unfortunately everything had been sitting out in the sun so the water, fruit cups, etc were HOT when we got them) and met back up with the hubby. Then it was off to the beer garden! The line to get in was HELLA LONG (I can use that since we were in "NorCal", right?! HAHA!). Thankfully there was a side entrance for folks who had their IDs checked at the Expo and already had wristbands. #ScoreOneForTheGoodGuys

Ryan was STOKED the beer vendor was Lagunitas {his fave} instead
of the usual crappy beer. Since I don't drink beer, he got both his and mine.

After enjoying our adult beverages, it was time to head back to the hotel so we could shower before checking out and hitting the road (remember, we still had an 8ish hour drive back to San Diego after running - YUCK!).

#SundayRunday with my favorite running partner EVER!

Both Ryan and I said we really enjoyed the race. I don't know that we'd do it again (but that's mostly due to proximity to where we live and the cost of San Francisco as a city {hotel, food, parking, etc}), but have only positives to say (well, minus the gear check issue). The volunteers were amazing (I loved the "biker dudes" who were event staffing), there were tons of well organized aid stations and you really get to see a lot of the area. There weren't a ton of spectators, but that may have been due to the weather (or the fact that we're spoiled at local races). The bling is pretty (although I'll be the first to admit that I was surprised at how light it was), the participant tee is long sleeve (which you probably need in SF) and the goodies were plentiful. It wasn't a cheap race (when I registered the full was $165 and the first half was $125), but I think it is pretty comparable with other large city races. We would both give it a 7 out of 10.

Stole this idea from @FitFam6's Instagram Feed ;)

PS If you're interested in running these races next year, register now (until July 30th) with code "18EXPO" to save $20.

Have you ever done the San Francisco Marathon (any of the races) before?


Unknown said...

Great recap! I ran the full once in 2014 and I was once diverted for the traffic. I swear that when they had me turn right I was going straight up a hill and I cursed a little! Tough race but I think one of these years I'll do it again. Congrats on another marathon!

Anonymous said...

Gahhh I'm so glad you guys had such a great time -- and I'm sad I was so late and rushed at the meet-up. I wanted to say hi and hug you in person. Paula was laughing after our race about not knowing where Dave was... clearly y'all were having a bad time, HA. Cheers!

Unknown said...

Great to see you on the course in Goldengate park. Our San Diego crew from West Coast Road Runners had a great day, including 4 full marathoners, 3 half marathoners. I did the second half and highly recommend it, as I had done the first half the year before. Awesome second medal when you've done both half.

San said...

What a fun recap, Carlee. I ran the 1st half marathon, too and I actually looked for you, but didn't see you... there were SO MANY RUNNERS!! :)

Unknown said...

You are so dang cute! Awesome recap! I don't drink beer either, but loved the cider they had there!