Monday, August 1, 2016

The San Francisco 2nd Half Marathon Race Review and Recap

Yesterday I ran the 2nd half of The San Francisco Marathon. I was super excited to run this race purely because of the size of the race. The largest race I’ve run had about 2,500 registered runners (for all different distances). However, San Fran had over 28,000 registered runners (for all different distances). I was excited to feed off all the race energy. I strategically picked the 2nd half (even though it seems to be the evil red-headed step child of all the races offered) because it offered more downhill and therefore, was more PR friendly. This was to be my last race for some time as I am starting a procedure and July 31st was given as my last day for any exercise for a while. My A goal for this race was a sub 1:55, B goal was a PR (sub 1:58:21) and C goal sub 2:00. How’d I do? Well, you’re about to find out (it’s long and detailed J)



This doesn't even show the whole expo. It was huge!!!

As I mentioned above, this was the largest race I have ran, so conversely, this was the largest expo I have attended. Since there is no such thing as free parking in San Fran I had my husband circling the block while I ran inside to pick up my packet. I wish we wouldn’t have been such cheapo’s and just paid for parking, because I was in awe upon entering the expo. There were so many vendors with a ton of discounted products. My favorite brand Brooks was there, with my favorite model of the Adrenaline’s (GTS 15) at very discounted prices. There were a lot of “spin the wheel for prizes”, free samples, etc. But, unfortunately, we are cheapo’s, and I had to skip it all. The only thing I did stop for was to speak to the pacers. I wanted to find out if they were planning to run even splits, negative splits or positive splits. Honestly, the pacers where not helpful at all. The one I spoke to said, I usually run by effort and will keep an even effort throughout. So that means…what? I decided then, that I would be running my own race.

Night before:
#flatlynsey not very exciting, I know!

I laid everything out and took my first #flatlynsey picture. My mom “sponsored” (read, she paid for everything. Yes I am a 31 year old woman who had her mom pay for her race entry fee. Did you not see the “cheapo” statement above?) my race and we (my husband and I) were sharing a hotel room. The week of this race I had not been sleeping well and was hoping for a really good night sleep the day before the race. Well, that didn’t happen. I tried to be in bed by 8:30pm, but unfortunately, I was the only one in the room running and waking up early the next morning, so I was the only one going to bed at that time. The T.V. was on and loud and my mom was on the phone talking all night. I don’t think I actually fell asleep until about 10:00pm.

Race day:
Despite the late bedtime, I slept okay and woke the next morning at 4:45. I made my practiced PB&J and drank SOS. I wanted to arrive at the race at least an hour early (I was in wave 3 which started at 7:45am), but I didn’t know what time that meant I had to leave. Most of that weekend while driving we spent stuck in traffic. Our hotel was 12 miles away from the race, but it had been taking us about an hour to get there. I felt bad making my husband and mom wake up super early with me, just to drop me off, head to the finish and wait around for the next 3 plus hours. So, I took my very first Uber ride. That morning it only took 20 minutes to get to the race. There was only one hiccup in getting there. The Uber driver didn’t realize he needed to switch freeways until the last second, he tried to move over, but there was a vehicle in that lane. After nearly hitting the vehicle (and causing that vehicle to roughly swerve), the Uber driver swerved back to or original lane, but that lane was now gone (because of the splitting freeways) and was replaced by a big fat medium. Luckily the car we almost hit sped up (probably out of fear) and we were able to violently swerve onto the correct freeway. Surprisingly, that whole thing didn’t bother me too much. The Uber driver started apologizing profusely, but I told him not to worry about it, as he didn’t actually hit anything.

The race:
When I got to the start line, I realized how cold it was and started second guessing my decision to wear shorts and a tank top. I decided to keep my sweats on until about 15 minutes before the start and then I would do a light warm up for about 10 minutes. Apparently, everyone had that idea, because 15 minutes until my wave started, there was a long line at the bag drop off. It took about 10 minutes to get through the line, which meant I only had 5 minutes for my warm up. I ran around for about 3 minutes and went to line up in the corral marked wave 3. I entered the corral at the front and started stretching. The 10 second countdown started which made me start wondering why we weren’t moving closer to the actual start line. In fact, looking around I noticed a lot of corral jumpers. That’s when it dawned on me, that they had already completely moved the wave 3 runners up to the starting line. By the time I ran up to the corral, wave 3 had already started and I was at the very tail end of them.

Miles 1-4
Most of these miles are in Golden Gate Park. There are supposedly a lot of sights to see during these race in the park. Stow Lake (click here to read about the ghost that haunts this lake), the painted ladies, and the conservatory of flowers. I saw none of it, except for a quick peek at the lake and a flash of the conservatory. I spent most of these miles weaving in and out of people and seeking out different openings and ways to get around them. These miles are also the big uphill portion of the race. In a way I’m kind of glad I was so focused on getting around everyone because I didn’t even notice the uphill. These miles actually went by fairly quickly
Mile 1: 9:10
Mile 2: 9:03
Mile 3: 8:58
Mile 4: 8:40

Miles 5-9
After exiting the park we get onto Haight Street. I loved this part of the run. It was downhill, there were so many interesting people on the streets. There was a larger, hairy man in a crop top, short jean shorts, sunglasses and a blonde wig, standing on a corner asking runners if they wanted a good time (I’m pretty sure this was a joke). Around mile 8 there were spectators with a table set up giving tequila shots to runners. My main focus for this part of the race was to stay light on my feet and not to go to fast. After these miles, the course completely flattens out, and I didn’t want to have Jell-O legs for the remainder.
Mile 5: 8:54
Mile 6: 8:54
Mile 7: 8:23
Mile 8: 8:15

Miles 9-11
These miles were flat as a pancake and not all the interesting as far as sights to see. In fact part of the race went through an ugly industrial section. The signs for these miles where awesome though. Some of my favorites were: “I’ve been training for months to hold this sign” all of the “Touch here for power” signs (I touched every single one of them), and a sign that read “motivational sign”. The spectator support was great!
Mile 9:8:48
Mile 10: 8:40

Miles 12-13.3
I was feeling really good all race until mile 12 when all of a sudden, I just didn’t want to run anymore (normally this happens at mile 8!). The last 2 miles of the race, were really the only 2 miles where I had to do a bit of self-talk and were the only 2 uncomfortable miles of the race. I had to dig deep, but knowing I had less than 2 miles to go was really helpful.
Mile 11: 8:44
Mile 12: 8:55
Mile 13: 8:44
Mile 0.3

This is my YEAHHHH I just PR'd face!

Me and my mom/race sponsor

Me and my husband/race cheerer

I was so glad to be at the finish. I wasn’t really paying attention to my time I just knew that I ran a solid effort. While running I maybe looked at my watch a total of 5 times (and that was mostly to look at the mileage to know when to take my gels) and was running by feel. When I finished and stopped my watch, I saw that the distance covered was actually 13.35 rather than 13.1. I am a pro at running tangents, so I was slightly perturbed that my watch said I went longer. I wasn’t the only one. Most had distances from 13.3 to 13.7. My official time was 1:56:10 (a 2 minute and 11 second PR!!!), which met my B goal. When I uploaded to Strava (which tracks how fast your half marathon time is leaving out any extra mileage) it said I ran a 1:54:48 half. Which means I technically ran my A goal as well.

After thoughts:
I enjoyed this race a lot. Normally when I run, I am such a middle of the pack runner, I usually am running completely by myself with everyone ahead of, or behind me. With this being such a big race, I was never even close to being alone. I think it helped a lot to push me. I originally though after mile 4 the course was a straight downhill and then flat, but there were a lot of rolling hills after mile 4 rather than just straight downhill.
Some of the water stops on the course map were different than the actual water stops on the course (some a half mile difference) which messed up my gel schedule. I was supposed to take a gel at mile 5 and mile 9.5, but because the water stops were off I was taking gels with no water to back it up with.
I would definitely do this race again, and I’m so happy to end this training cycle (and running competitively for a while) with a bang!

Overall stats:
Official finish time: 1:56:10
Age Place: 73/498
Gender Place: 353/2458

Overall Place: 1061/4475

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