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.
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.
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!
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!
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!