Monday, August 1, 2011

2011 San Francisco Marathon - Race Recap

Date: July 31, 2011
Location: San Francisco, CA
Start: 5:30am (wave start: I was in wave 6 starting at 6:13am)
Finish: 4:08:51 (avg 9:30 pace)
Elevation and Map: 

**This is going to be a long post but I wanted to jot down my thoughts about this race so if you don't want to muddle through all this, feel free to just skip my verbal diarrhea.

So this is my first SF Marathon! I ran the first half in '09 and came back this year to run the full. I didn't sign up for this out of my own will. A runner friend had convinced me and then had to pull out at the last minute due to an injury. Peer pressure is a powerful thing. I'm glad he talked me into signing up because I had a really fun time in SF.

The day before the marathon I had spent sight seeing and eating too much stuff that I probably shouldn't have. Needless to say that by that evening my legs were really tired and I felt sluggish from eating a cupcake for breakfast that morning. Yeah that happened. I was on vacation and had left my willpower at home. That night when I got back to my hotel, I was really tired and knocked out around 10pm. I actually slept that night until 4am, which is amazing because I always have a hard time falling asleep the night before a marathon no matter how many of them I've done.

I got up at 4am to make some coffee and eat my bagel with PB. I got dressed at 5am and did some stretching. I was out the door at 5:30am to make my walk to the starting line about half a block away.

When I got there I saw these blue lanterns as I headed into the Wave 6 gated area. I love lanterns.

I got there with some time to spare so I stood around for about 20 minutes and stretched some more until it was officially our turn to run. I was strangely not one bit nervous. Sure I didn't have a time goal for this race and mainly wanted to do some sight seeing along the way but I was unusually calm and subdued. At 6:13am, Wave 6 left the starting gate and we were off!

Mile 1 (9:04) - was pretty uneventful. It was flat, still dark as the sun had not risen but it was already starting to warm up. I actually left my throw away layers at the starting line.

Pier 39 heading to Mile marker 2.

Fisherman's Wharf

Mile 2 (8:37) - these first couple of miles came and went quickly.

Ghirardelli Square

This is the first of many ups and downs. This being an up!

We ran through this part that was really dark because it was heavily covered with trees.

Mile 3 (10:30 - bathroom break) - running into Crissy Field.

Mile 4 (8:46) - getting closer to the Bridge.

Mile 5 (8:50) - the big up part to get to the Bridge.

There it is!

This guy on the bike was a course official and offered to take a photo of me on the Bridge.

Sure, why not! I think this was Mile 6 (10:40), I forgot all about taking photos of the mile markers as I was too busy experiencing running the bridge. Maybe there wasn't even one, who knows.

Tallest part of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Mile 7 (9:06) - so this was the mile marker for mile 7. WTHeck?

The GillBillies!

Turnaround time!

Very sorry for this and all the other blurry photos on this post. I probably snapped those while in motion.

Mile 8 (9:39) and Mile 9 (9:15) markers are missing, oh no I was sleeping on the job again! I actually don't remember seeing them but they were not placed consistently throughout the course. Sometimes they were on the right-hand side and other times they were on the left-hand side so it was hard for me to always see them.

Mile 10 (8:48) - running away from the Golden Gate Bridge.

Mile 11 (9:39) - a couple of hills in these parts.




Mile 12 (9:14) - running through some residential areas. Really boring!

This was where the 1st Half and Full Marathoners split up.

Then there was a lot of space to move around as the crowd thinned out.

Mile 13 (9:10) - running through Golden Gate Park.

At some point we were rejoined by the 2nd Half runners so it was crowded again.

Miles 14 (9:09)

Mile 15 (9:19)

Mile 16 (9:16) - I missed the mile 16 marker because I was running out of gas at this point. So I had to stop and luckily this was a GU station. I stood there and downed 3 GUs in a row and chased it with some electrolyte beverage and water. I was good after that.

It was beautiful inside the park!

Mile 17 (10:38) - my time is showing a slow down here because of the GU downing episode I described above.

I took this photo for Sister K because she loves peddle boats.

Mile 18 (8:56) - going a bit faster here since I just refueled and got a second wind.

Mile 19 (9:21) - heading out of the park and into some business and residential areas. Ha, I snapped a photo of a photographer.

Mile 20 (9:16) -  we got some nice down hill stretches in these next couple of miles so that was nice.

Mile 21 (8:41)

At first I thought these signs were for the marathoners!

Mile 22 (8:26) - I started hauling here a bit since the end was near.

Mile 23 (9:38) and Mile 24 (9:47) - slowly running out of gas!

But I was so close to the end. This part of the course was not so scenic but at that point I just wanted it to end.

Mile 25 (8:57) - I see AT&T Ball Park over there! Almost there! Speaking of which, spectators were already telling me that I was "almost there" at around mile 20. Really? Almost there at mile 20?

Mile 26 (9:00) - Success! I made it! And in one piece! Hooray!

The blue lanterns were still there to greet me at the finish!

Please hand me one of those bottled waters please!


I'll take that one!

And one of these too!

I ran a bit more than 26.2 because I was fooling around so much on the course and stopping so often to take photos. I'm surprised that I got such a decent time considering I did not have a time goal and was running this purely for fun. I should stick to this sort of plan from now on I suppose. The "no pressure, all fun" plan!


Scones from Panera Bread! This tasted so good!! I was starving! I should have eaten two!

Worth the Hurt? Yes!

It was suggested that I do a size comparison of the Full and Half Marathon medal size difference. Ask and you shall receive. Pretty self explanatory I think! Bottom line is that it is three times as just run the full. Haha, just kidding.

I had a nice time out there. The course kept me entertained for the most part. SF is such an interesting city. I will be posting more about my activities in SF leading up to the race in the next upcoming post. I had a wonderful time and hope to return soon!


giraffy said...

Great recap, the course looks amazing! Congrats!

Taffi said...

Wow, what a course, and what a momento collection to finish with. I'd love to finish a marathon with that time. Brilliant effort!
Cheers, Andy.

Glenn Jones said...

That's a great time for a tough course!

Nobel4Lit said...

You should compare the sizes of the half medal vs. the full. o_O