So half-marathon #5 is in the books.
And what a half it was.
It all started last night as I watched the clock turn to midnight on my iPhone then stared at it waiting for itself to “fall back” on it’s own.
Yes, that happened.
After figuring out that daylight savings time ends at 2am and not 12am, I calmed down a bit, set 3 alarms, and finally went to sleep around 12:30am. (I was in the middle of a very intense Real Housewives of Beverly Hills marathon.)
5:15am came around way, way too quickly.
For breakfast I stuck with the tried and true- a piece of toast with Almond Butter, a sliced banana, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and honey on top.
With a mug o’black coffee on the side.
My friend Lauren met me outside the apartment at 6:30am and we walked over to the race start. It was nice to have a little time to warm-up our legs and chat about the race. Lauren’s also running CIM (and has run it TWICE before), so my rookie self liked bouncing questions off of her.
The race started right at 7am, and we took off… up a hill.
Which we’d soon discover was the theme of the entire race.
(Disclaimer: I’ve just discovered Garmin Connect and I’ve been geeking out over it all afternoon. You have been warned.)
But back to the beginning. Lauren and I found a comfortable pace around 8:45-8:50 to start the race and held that pace for miles 1-3.
Miles 4 and 5 were long hills going up towards the bridge, then back down the presidio and then back up the presidio and actually up to the bridge. Once getting on the bridge, we realized that the entire race would be running on the bike path of the bridge. Going in both directions. 3,100 people. Needless to say the beginning of the bridge slowed us down quite a bit, but then we found our stride.
Once we got off the bridge we were hit with a hill that happened to be almost a mile long and steep. We fired up our music, put our heads down and just got up the hill as fast as we could. I’d like to thank Fabolous “My Time” for getting me up the hill. (No joke I heard the song as background music at the ESPY Awards and needed to have it on my running playlist.)
The absolute best part of the race was reaching the top of the hill (finally!), grabbing water, and then literally flying down the other side. We tried to pick up speed and make up for all the time we lost on the hills, and it ended up working out perfectly.
Once we got back on the bridge for the trek back, the flow of people coming towards us was completely bottlenecked and people were at a standstill waiting for others to get through and get a start on the hill. Luckily there were fewer of us going the other way so we were able to cruise right through, but I definitely felt for those that were completely stopped on the course. I can imagine how frustrated they must have been.
Once we hit mile 9 and checked our time, I knew the sub-2 would happen, it was just a matter of by how much and I was so excited. Knowing that and seeing/hearing the crowds along Crissy Field pumped me up and gave me the push I needed to finish as strong as I could.
I’m not sure how, but miles 10-13.1 were my fastest of the entire marathon, which made me really happy. To realize I had that much energy left at the end of a half-marathon gave me a bit of full-marathon confidence. I wasn’t depleted and I can finish a full.
As we rounded the corner and the finish was in sight, I booked it as hard as I possibly could, and crossed the finish line in 1:55.. a 3 minute PR from my last half-marathon, the Giant Race back in August.
The US Half has a second part in April, and they ended up ordering the April medals for this race, so they let us know they’d mail us our medals… and a $10 off voucher for the “Other Half”. I’ll take it!
We did get stainless-steel water bottles (that you would fill up with Lagunitas beer) and long sleeve dri-fit t-shirts. . . which I’m thinking about wearing to work tomorrow and basking in my 1:55. I kid… but I did consider it.
I haven’t tried the chocolate coconut water yet, but I tried the passion fruit post-race, and it is fantastic. Easily my favorite flavor.
Post-race all I wanted was a prosciutto and arugula pizza from one of my favorite restaurants, Delarosa. But since the thing I wanted almost as much was to sit on the couch and not move for the rest of the day, I went for the next best thing.
Speaking of fuel, aside from the toast for breakfast I had about 4-5 Gu Chomps (I ended up losing my pack of them somewhere along the course and had a couple from Lauren’s stash). I also lost an arm warmer and ditched the second one. Really efficient running over here. As far as liquid fuel, I stuck to water the entire time, and felt like I had plenty of energy at the end of the race.
All in all it was a great race but a tough (hilly!) course. The finish line was organized (unlike the Giant Race) and the post-race festivities were easy to manuever, and very easy access to food, water, etc. (Being a St Jude Hero and having VIP access was a definite added perk!)
I’ll definitely be back in April!
Hope you had a great weekend!