Tales From the Back of the Pack

Tales From the Back of the Pack

Monday, July 27, 2015

Race Report San Francisco Marathon (First Half) 2015

This is my second time running the first half of the San Francisco Marathon. This year I was in Wave 8 which started at 6:30am, a full hour after the first wave was sent off. 
I copied my race outfit straight from Becka and was so glad I did. I got a ton of compliments on it! Thanks Becka! The top is from Ink n Burn, the skirt is from Running Skirts.

I learned this trick to pin my bib directly onto my clothing (instead of hooking it with a safety pin through those 4 little holes) from my pace leader at the LA Marathon. I don't know if pinning the bib directly onto your clothes is better than using the holes but I feel like I should never disobey a pace leader.
The start of the race was right on Embarcadero, sandwiched between the Bay Bridge on one side and the Ferry Building Clock Tower on the other side.
San Francisco is such a great town, picturesque and so progressive. I just love it here.

The course took us straight down Embarcadero, past all the piers and towards the Wharf & Ghiradelli Square: 
From there we went along the Marina, always heading toward the Golden Gate Bridge.
The first killer hill was around mile 3 I think, which was the entrance to Fort Mason. I walked all the uphills.
I think I see the Bridge!
We're getting really close now! 
I believe this is the uphill that is heading up and into the bridge. On all the hills I just put my head down and focused on getting one foot in front of the other.
Our original race strategy was to get to the Golden Gate without walking, getting across and back, and then we'd do a walk/run combo until the finish line. 
That would have worked out just fine except for this monstrous hill right after the bridge. I walked the entire thing again:
Right around here I was passed by a guy carrying a tuba. Do you have any idea how demoralizing that is?!??! Thanks a lot, Tuba Guy. You're pretty awesome, doe!
Only 1.1 miles to go....
Heading into the finish, there's one more uphill into Golden Gate Park. You really have to dig deep to get over this one.
Love that the Event Volunteers were from a motorcycle club. These guys were just awesome (they got up early for ME?)!
Still smiling at the finish line because I'm ecstatic that I was able to finish. I hadn't run since the 9 miler I ran in Seattle 2 weeks ago, so I far exceeded my expectations for this race.
I finished in 2:53, very happy that I came in under 3 hours. 

  • Staggered time starts meant there were less people and less chaos than when I ran this race in 2010.
  • There were 6 water stations with Nuun (LOOOVE!!) and Water
  • The weather in San Fran always seems to be cool and overcast. Perfect running weather
  • Love the Motorcycle club volunteers
  • Scenery is totally San Francisco and totally awesome
  • Running over the GG bridge distracts you for FOUR entire miles! 
  • Great post race snacks. Nothing like See Jane Run, but I got a full bottle of Muscle Milk, bananas, more Kettle chips
  • Shuttle buses back to the start line were pretty efficient even though the lines were looooong. 
  • The hills seem unavoidable since it's San Fran, but I can still complain about them!
  • The spectator game is totally lacking here. Not much crowd support to speak of, I'm sure because of the insanely early start time. 
  • Didn't see the first water station until almost mile 3 I think. I may not need it physically, but mentally I need to know there's water available frequently. How about putting the 1st water station at mile 1.5? 
  • It's San Fran, so there's not much to complain about EXCEPT: the race medal. Gosh is it plain and plain and plain. Snore. C'mon SF! With all the talent this city attracts, someone should be able to come up with a nice medal design. 
Totally running this one again next year. I keep saying that about all the races I'm running lately but I know I can't keep going back around the country to the same places I've already been. I need to save my traveling budget for seeing new places. 

But I do recommend this race and WOULD RUN IT AGAIN IN A HEARTBEAT! 


  1. Congrats on a great race! What was the weather like? I am so in awe of all of you guys running races in the middle of summer! Today it was 92 degrees by the time I got into work at 9:30am!

    I loooooove San Fran and totally want to do this race now, but I am sure the hills would eat me alive. I might have to roll down them to pick up some speed so I could finish before the cut off ;)

    1. SF is always overcast, so it's GREAT for running! If you do this one, I totally recommend the First Half--it's more scenic than the second half and it sells out first. :)