I really wasn't sure how this race was going to go. But I think that was actually the best thing that could have happened. Let me back up, before going into the race, I knew that I would be doing it under the Jaybird Sport flag. They offered for me to race it for free and do an Instagram take over for them. So I would be posting to Instagram stories during the race.
I would have 3 "golden ticket" bracelets that I could give to three runners out on the course that would give them a set of Jaybirds. So this meant I would be Instagraming and handing out the bracelets while running. I didn't know what kind of expectations I should have on my speed, so I decided to set them very low.
The morning of the race, I had an english muffin with half a banana, peanut butter chocolate chips, and coffee with 2% milk and collagen. I got onto the Jaybird Sport Instagram, and started updating right away.
I took an Uber down to where the shuttles were picking people up to get to Golden Gate Park for the 2nd half marathon start. I ran the first half in 2015 and it starts at 5:30. I've gotta say the 7:30 start time for the 2nd half was much appreciated (especially by my boyfriend).
Speaking of my boyfriend, he saved the day again (I always forget throw away seats when I race in San Francisco) with a long sleeved shirt he was planning on donating to Good Will. I forgot throw away sweats from home, so I snagged it on my way out and I am SO GLAD I did. When we got to Golden Gate park, the fog was socked in and it was very misty and cold.
The porta potty lines where quite long, but not terrible. They did have porta potties for each start corral, which I thought was a great idea. The Jaybird crew filmed me while I did some warm ups and drills, and then I got in my start corral.
I promised myself to start off slow so that I would not have a repeat of what happened in Seattle last month. I didn't want to have a racing heart and feel bad by mile 3 again. So I took it nice and easy and made sure to take really deep breaths. Miles 1, 2, 3, 4: 7:47/7:44/8:02/7:56. I did an Instagram update at mile 3 and felt extremely proud of myself for not dropping my phone and smashing it into a million pieces.
The first part of the course had a lot of undulating smaller hills, but nothing too bad. I let gravity to the work on the downhills and ran a little faster, then pulled back on the uphills to keep a nice even baseline. Miles 5, 6, 7, 8: 7:32/7:50/7:48/7:19. I gave aways two of the bracelets in these miles and it was harder than I thought it would be to communicate to the receivers what I was handing them. But I think I got the job done. I also did a couple more Instagram stories in this stretch.
Miles 6 and 7 had some good uphills thrown in, but they didn't last long and the downhills on the other side were quite steep. I thought I would fly a little faster, but I had a harder time getting into a groove going downhill without feeling like my body was slamming into the concrete every step.
I think I signed off the Instagram stories around mile 8, but had one more job to do – call the video guy at mile 12 to let him know I was coming so that he could film the finish. One the hills flattened out at the end of mile 10, I struggled to keep running fast on the flats. Miles 9, 10, 11: 7:39/7:39/8:03.
I wished I had done a better job looking at the elevation gain map so I could have been mentally prepared. We came out of the fog around mile 6, and by this point it felt hot. Even though I don't think the day got over 70 degrees at any point, I think the lack of shade on this part of the course, combined with the juxtaposition to the foggy dark park made it feel warmer than it was.
Coming down the chute to finish with the full marathon runners was emotional. You know that saying, "if you are even losing faith in the human spirit, go out and watch a marathon"? Well turns out that it still affects you running next to them. Even more so maybe.
As you can see from my Garmin data, I did a terrible job of running the tangents. I ran almost 13.5 miles instead of 13.1! Part of this was due to the Instagram stories – when you are running and talking into your phone with your arm stuck out in front of you, it is only fair to the other runners to get off to the side and out of the way. I definitely felt a bit self conscious talking into my phone, but I got over that quickly.
Miles 12, 13, 13.5: 7:54/7:59/7:31. I threw my arms up at the finish line and felt really really happy for having pulled together a good solid race. Seattle definitely shook my confidence so it felt really good to finish strong.
And I think – even if you have a bad race, you should still throw your arms up and stomp across that finish line! You still ran a race, no matter what. You finished something that many people are afraid to start.
After I crossed the finish line I felt like my heart was racing really fast. But that was the only time in the whole race, so that was good! And it calmed down very quickly.
It was really fun to see the Jaybird Crew at the finish line. Getting to know all of them was really the best part of the weekend. They were all individually such cool people with interesting hobbies and talents of their own in addition to running.
Something interesting to me was that I ran this race in the about the same time as the Kaiser Permanente half back in February, but I was wayyyyy happier with it. I think that is due to running more consistent splits, and adjusting my expectations to where my fitness is at right now. Every race cannot be a PR, and expecting that is a great way to set yourself up for failure. Even if you aren't actually "failing" – you still will be in your own mind. Running within my fitness and within where I am at right now in my training made a huge difference. Both mentally and physically I was much stronger throughout. I'll take that as a win for now!