San Francisco Marathon

San Francisco

I arrived in the US a week before the race start and stayed at a friend’s place in the Bay Area. I went to San Francisco to pick up the race bib at the expo. The expo was the best one I’ve ever attended! The companies that showed up actually gave free things instead of just trying to sell things. As for a review on San Francisco, that’ll come later when I’ve had more time to explore the city as I was briefly in and out of the city for the race.

Race information

Goals

  • Finish – Completed
  • PR – Completed

Pictures

Splits

  • 5K – 00:31:20
  • 5.5M – 00:56:33
  • 6.1M – 01:06:00
  • 8.3M – 01:33:40
  • 21.1K – 02:24:02
  • 17.5M – 03:12:02
  • 23.5M – 04:17:12
  • 25M – 04:32:28
  • 42.2K – 04:45:52

Training

I started building up for a faster time using three key runs during the week but with only two weeks before my flight to the US, it probably didn’t make a big difference for me.

Pre-race

My pre race consisted of surfing in nearby Santa Cruz. I didn’t have any success catching waves but my arms were a bit tired after a few hours out. A nice dinner and 6 hours of sleep later, I was in a Lyft towards the start line. I arrived an hour early and very few people had turned up at that time. Luckily I had brought some extra clothing as it was very cold. I took two energy gels just before the race and warmed up.

Race

The race started pretty well. It was still dark when we started off but the temperature was great as I prefer running in cool weather. Towards the Golden Gate Bridge it started to get more light but it was cloudy and foggy so temperatures stayed down and the Golden Gate Bridge was partially hidden in the fog. The course up until then had stayed flat but that was about to changed as we ran uphill to get onto the bridge. After a gruelling uphill section we hit the bridge which was not crowded when I ran. I had run the Rock n Roll SF Half Marathon earlier where we were too many on the bridge which made it hard to pass others or run your own pace. This time there was ample space despite having been limited to the footpath. It was also at this time that it was very windy and there was also a bit of mist. Not complaining as it helped me cool down.

At the end of the bridge, I needed to pee but there was only a few toilets and long queues so I ended up standing in a queue for a few minutes. After that it was back across the bridge but first we needed run cross the road which meant going on a path that goes under the bridge and up again. The path was narrow, uneven and extremely steep going downhill which definitely made it difficult to “attack the downhill” which I always do. But I survived and got across the bridge back to a hillier portion of San Francisco. After 20-something kilometers we reached the Golden Gate Park which was really nice to run in as it was not that hilly. On the way we picked up the people running a half marathon on the first part of the course which meant it got crowded again. It got so crowded that some of the stations couldn’t hand out water and electrolytes quickly enough.

Leaving the park we ran through some nice looking neighborhoods of San Francisco. In classic San Francisco style it was quite hilly and on rounding a corner and seeing a massively steep and long downhill stretch, one of the runners nearby audibly shouted “Aw man, seriously?”.

A few kilometers left and the course finally flattened out and started winding around the AT&T Park before leading into the Embarcadero and to the finish.

Post-race

The finish area was well done but I was a bit disappointed by the choice of post race nutrition. Bananas, water and chocolate milk were the only options as they ran out of energy bars. The finish area was not really well done either so I went with my friends to a diner to grab a burger before leaving a now sunny San Francisco.

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