The rehearsal run


The San Francisco Half is next Sunday (the 16th). Not that far away.  So, with a little preschool drop-off juggling, I managed to get up ridiculously early, drive into the city and run the second half-marathon route in preparation! I am really glad I did.

Aron’s course preview post from a few years’ back is definitely worth checking out for preparation!

So today. I arrived at Spreckles Lake in Golden Gate Park at 7am and set off. It was actually cold, and although it warmed up, it was never ‘hot’. Big tick!

Mile 0 – 0.5        Oooh, downhill. Bison! Golden Gate Park. I’m so lucky to live in the Bay Area! Must be careful not to go out too fast. 

Bison...on a sunnier day Source
Bison…on a sunnier day

Mile 0.5 – 1.      Woah! A hill! Already?  At least I’m not going out too fast. Maybe too slowly?

Miles 1 – 5:    Generally slightly uphill all the way. As before, not enough to die for but enough to notably slow your pace down, which I found a little disheartening. On the plus side… it’s very pretty – Stow Lake especially. Try to push the pace where you can. 

Stow Lake on a sunnier day than today
Stow Lake on a sunnier day than today

Mile 5 – 6:    It flattens out a little now, so push the pace harder and try and regain some lost time. Enjoy the peace whilst you can, because you’re about to get urban. 

Mile 6 – 8:    There’s a lot to see (and smell) here as you run along Haight Street. Flattish, good to get into your groove, but also a little uphill all the way.  Be prepared, Haight goes on for a long time. Just after mile 7, you plunge down a hill and breathe a sigh of relief. RUN FAST FOR THREE BLOCKS!

Haight Street Source
Haight Street

Mile 8 – 10:    You run straight for two miles along 16th. It changes from the ‘gritty’ Mission  to the industrial part of Potrero Hill. It’s also hilly. Not big hills, but little rollers. I had a lot of red lights here, and I appreciated them enormously I was very frustrated as they interrupted my rythmn. 

Mile 10:   Yeah, I got lost here. My hand-written route notes weren’t clear, I’d forgotten this section in my head and there was a BIG hill which I didn’t want to run up. So I skipped mile 10 – 11 completely. The good news is, you don’t have to run up the BIG hill. This isn’t a pretty part of town, so be prepared to turn your music UP. 

Mile 11 – 13:    I got back on the official route at mile 11. It is now flat until the finish line…time to put the hammer down. Alas, I mislaid my hammer at 16th and Mission. So I plodded along. On the day, I’ll be all gelled up and will hurtle along like a stealth bomber. It’s quite interesting actually…the bay, a warship, AT&T Park and the beautiful Embarcadero. You can see the Bay Bridge (roughly the finish line) for the entire two miles, calling you home!

AT&T Park and the Bay Bridge Source
AT&T Park and the Bay Bridge

Mile 13.1:    And there you are!!!

I ran on until the Ferry Building to get to 13 miles (I’d run some extra distance in the park by misjudging corners so only needed a little extra).

So, my thoughts:

Well, the good news is that I’m not going out too fast this time!!! It’s uphill for the first four miles! That should slow me down!

I am so very glad I ran the route today. It was a reality check about how tough this course is. I am astonished by my time today: 13 miles in 1.58.13. It felt a LOT slower so I’m a little dubious about the distance measurement although I’ve checked it online about four times so believe it’s roughly right. However it’s made me realise I’m going to need to fuel well and be prepared to fight hard if I really want to PR next Sunday, and even then I may not do so. I feel much better prepared!! I don’t want to be negative, it’s going to be fab…but it’s going to be tough.

Okay, San Francisco…I’m coming for you!

28 Comments Add yours

  1. alisyn says:

    I will be running the 2nd half too! Perhaps we can finally meet! Are you coming to SFM meetup/tweetup?

    1. Cathryn says:

      I’d love to – when is it? I’ll try and wangle some ‘time off’!!! Will be lovely to meet you.

      1. Alisyn says:

        12pm on Saturday in the Tech Center of Expo! Looking forward to seeing you there!

  2. Jen says:

    That’s still a fantastic time! I bet on race day, you’ll be in PR-territory. Thanks for the report!!

    1. Cathryn says:

      I’m really suspicious of the time, it is much faster than I feel like I ran. I wonder if I forgot to stop/start it properly after a red light? Oh I don’t know. Hope the info is useful anyway!!

  3. Cheryl says:

    Good luck on your PR! I’m running too, so excited!!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Yay, you doing 2nd Half? Come and say hi!

      1. Cheryl says:

        I’m doing the full (nervous laugh). But hopefully I will spot you on the course for a high five, or during the finish line festivities! Yay for Bay Area runners!

      2. Cathryn says:

        Hey! SO good to see you today, thank you for saying hello, you made my day!!! How did you do? Sorry if I shouted at you – my headphones were up really loud so I’m not sure if I was yelling.

  4. I live in the Bay Area. I love running here except for the horrendous 4 O’Clock wind that I have to run in every day. I had no idea there was a half marathon in San Fran next week. Which is it?

    1. Cathryn says:

      Yeah, the wind is awful, isn’t it!!! Next Sunday is the SF Marathon ( Still time to sign up 🙂

  5. Nicola Johnson says:

    You will absolutely NAIL it! xx

    1. Cathryn says:

      Thanks 🙂 Enjoying time off?

      1. Nic J says:

        Time off? What time off?! Have worked harder this last week than I’ve probably done for quite a while, what with blitzing the house, and making in roads to the jungle that is our garden (see FB for latest progress photos!). We’ve also had chaps in end of last week to install our fitted wardrobes (what luxury – proper wardrobes!), although we’ve got to Monday this week and it’s still not complete (hopefully be finished off tomorrow. And the in-laws have been here this weekend (thanks for picking the most chaotic weekend of the year for that) as a start point for their week in Cornwall. So, cooking, catering, cleaning and entertaining over the weekend as well. I’m knackered! xx

      2. Cathryn says:

        Whew…time for a nap, eh?

      3. Cathryn says:

        Whew…time for a nap, eh?

  6. Angela says:

    If you ran 1:58 today, you can soooooo PR!! And it’s not even a ‘gimme’ course.

    That loooong gradual uphill through GG Park is one of the reasons i put off SF for so long — I run it all the time & kind of hate it. But it sounds like you nailed it! 🙂

    1. Cathryn says:

      Yeah GGP is a bit of a slog! Thought of you as I ran today – what a lovely place to run, although all routes get ‘old’ if you do them enough.

      1. Angela says:

        Yep…You definitely have to change it up from time to time.

  7. AleksRuns says:

    What a great run to do on National Running Day 🙂 I concur with all else on your impending PR 🙂 Good luck at the race!

  8. You can do it! Dig deep, dig deep, dig deep. Caffeine will also help.:)

  9. You are going to do great!!! Can’t wait to hear about the actual race day. Don’t forget to enjoy the view! 🙂

    1. Cathryn says:

      Ha…mustn’t forget to look up 🙂

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