Note: I had the pleasure and honor of being a San Francisco Marathon Ambassador for 2015; thus my event entry was comped. This a true reflection of my experiences.
This was supposed to be my 6th marathon. It was going to be my chance to fight back against the event that literally pushed me to my edge last year.
But alais, it turned into my 20th half marathon.
I had every intention this year to be able to better my performance from last year on the 26.2. But between the weather and my dad having another trip to the hospital my training took a huge hit. I really wanted to push through but I got to the point that every bone in my body was screaming no. I knew if I would of pushed it the consequences would of well sucked. It broke my heart to do it but it was by far the smartest thing I could of done.
I downgraded to the 2nd half which originally was not the one I wanted to do. I wanted to do the Golden Gate Bridge. But it was full. The 2nd is not as scenic (or so I thought, I was completely out of it when I ran the full last year) and if you ask runners it is not as good as the first.
But they are wrong.
My morning started off at the Lululemon “Get Quiet; Get Loud” lounge at the Sens restaurant that gave us a sky view of the finish line. They offered us a small breakfast and a chance to sit down and watch the start of the race activities before grabbing the bus to the second half start line with my friends and fellow ambassadors Heather and Trica.
The bus system is awesome. You walk a few blocks from the start line to a bus that will literally drop you off right next to the start line for the 2nd half at Golden Gate Park. Golden Gate Park has everything that you need to get ready for the race right there; portta potties, bag check that will be waiting for you at the start line.
I did not have expectations going into this race after I let go of my big goal of being able to do the full. I just wanted to run strong and be able to really enjoy the run.
The 2nd half gives you a treat that no other race gets. You get the chance to run past the buffalo paddocks and around one of the lakes before joining the main event. Golden Gate Park is a great place to start the run but its also very challenging because of the fact a good chunk of the up hills are here. All that being said, its the best way to see some of the most amazing parts of SF. I caught up to the 2:45 pacer and decided based on Rock N Roll and Vancouver that this could possibly be a good plan.
The pacers had been amazing. I really wish I could reach out to our 2:45 pacers and say thank you because with their help I managed to rectify my huge mistake last year when I went out of the gate way too fast and it turned into a miserable experience. They had also been really willing to talk me through the pacing style.
Once you get out of the park you head into famous Ashbury Heights which is a fun area to run. There had been a ton of people on the roads cheering on runners. Ashbury Heights has some amazing downhill stretches where you can stretch your legs and you really get a feel for the more “hippie” side of SF. Once you head out of the Heights you get to see part of the Tenderloin and SOMA. It reminds me a lot of running down in Eugene, its like running through the best of SF that the tourists do not know about.
The pacer I was working with actually had pulled ahead of his partner. But I was with him and we had banked a small chunk of time so I really got the chance to enjoying the 2nd half which I didn’t last year. And I realized, it is underrated. It is a fun amazing event with its own more relaxed feel.
Right before we hit the water, the pacer told me that I was looking strong enough that I might want to consider jumping ahead which I did. I was feeling stronger then I had on the last two.
As we came back around by the water and AT&T stadium it became a bit chaotic as the Giants had a day game. But by the time we got through they mostly had the Giants fans on one side of the walk way and us on the other. I love being able to run by the game day stuff as it gives you such a great energy.
The finish line was amazing. Its one of the most well organized finish lines that I have seen. You got in, you got water and your medal, get your finishers photo taken for free and enjoy the huge finish line party that had food carts, a chance to get your last souvenirs and get goodies.
I came back to the VIP lounge and they had a small lunch laid out for us and we got the chance to take photos with the Ferry Building and the Bay Bridge on the background.
The 2nd half was an amazing experience. I actually bested my half marathon times for the year and got a really good idea of what I need to work on going into my next events. I am so thankful to the pacers for helping me find my stride. As much as I hated it, dropping to the second half was the best decision I could of made. I had to learn to listen to my body and what it wants.
It has been an amazing experience to be an ambassador for the past two years. I have learned so much from being an ambassador and really found a confidence in sharing my story. I am thankful to the entire staff of the SF Marathon for their support and love. They will always have a fan in me. I am also thankful to my fellow ambassadors from the past two years worth of teams. They inspire me and teach me a lot, and without them I could not be where I want to be.