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San Francisco 2nd Half Race Report

Last year I ran the first half of the San Francisco Marathon. It was tough but the views and running across the golden gate bridge were thrilling. It also was at the somewhat beginning of my ‘racing’ career, if you want to call it that. So this year, since I was going up there for work, and am in the middle of training for the Camarillo Marathon, I thought well I’ll give the 2nd half a try, therefore I’ll have “ran the whole course.” I’ve heard that the 2nd course is much easier than the first but still rather exciting and it travels through Golden Gate Park and also through Haight Street and then finishes down on the Embarcadero.

Let’s just go over three things real quick. Easy is not a word I would use to describe this course. Scenic isn’t exactly a great adjective when talking about the course. I say it now, but I will NEVER run the full!

So I worked the expo on Friday and Saturday and it was quite packed in there. It blows my mind that so many people who are so particular about what they eat before a race and what they do during the race, sample every single little thing in there. Gus, juices, gels, granola, anything that’s free, they go crazy on, it’s like these people haven’t eaten for days. So worked that, had a little tweet-up/meet-up and it was great meeting so many people. Here are a few of the pictures.

Newly Ironman (Ironmanned? Ironmenned?) and one of my favorite people, Ron!

Aron, Laura and myself at the tweet-up

Finally got to meet Karin, who had an awesome race on Sunday!

All those, minus a few, who showed up for the tweet-up and meet-up. Some left before the picture was taken, but it was fun to put faces and actually meet people who I regularly talk with!

Doing a little work… :)

The day started off bright and early and Page and I got dropped off by spectators extraordinaire Tara and Maritza. For some reason, my mind just wasn’t into it. The entire time I was thinking about the race before hand I just wasn’t excited or anything really. I was just feeling a little blah. We walked into Golden Gate Park where we seemed to be a little lost and just kept following the marathoners to the 2nd half start line.

We finally met up Kristin, Aron and Stephen and were all gathered around chatting and without much notification, people in front of us started running and we realized the race started? So we were off. I squeezed into the first wave and ran about a mile with Aron and then she took off like a speed demon. I didn’t want to push myself during the race and my legs were feeling a bit heavy still from the whole shoe debacle and I was tired. I got to mile 1, 2 and 3 and the hills were killer. I NEVER run hills. Like never, ever so they were a little difficult. They were making me tired and I just was cruising along. It was very strange because for some reason I just wanted to cry. I have no idea why but I just saw the spectators and ran and wanted to cry. Right around mile 5 or 6 we were out of Golden Gate park which I was excited about. The park was a little boring for me and I wanted to be more in the city.

I also realized I don’t do well when you’re doing loops where you see where you make a u-turn, or where you see where you’ll be running in literally a minute. I’m good at out and backs, but I felt like they randomly had us running places to just get mileage so it wouldn’t be a short course.

Little did I know the city had many more hills! I was not pushing myself at all and just kind of felt like I was going really slow so when my garmin was beeping my splits I was a little surprised, but my mileage was way off according to the signs posted along the course. Finally we were at mile 7 and 8 and I knew the end was nearing. I just felt like I was trotting along, it was weird and reminded me a little of the Malibu Marathon where I felt like it was taking me forever but it really wasn’t. It was another twilight race for me with the random “I want to cry moments” and the random bursts of speed. I remember the roads being really tore up, I wasn’t used to that at all since a lot of the time I run on paths but I remember just trying to find a path that was the most consistent on the course. The hills continued and finally we hit mile 9. That is when Claude the Garmin lost satellite and I was sad and wanted to cry again. HA! What is wrong with me?! My splits up till then were pretty decent though.

I remember running past a lot of industrial buildings and before I knew it I could see the bay bridge and I knew the end was coming soon. Finally.  I ran past Giants stadium and it was cool to see it and how close it was to the ocean since I’ve only seen it on TV, but since they are the Angels nemesis, I wasn’t impressed. :)

Then onto the bay bridge and through the crowds and just like it started, without much excitement, it was over. I grabbed some food and then a Jamba Juice and walked out of the finish area to find Page and be reunited with everyone. I saw my time was 1:52. I couldn’t really believe that I ran it that fast when I was in such an odd mood, but being only 5 minutes off my pr on a much more difficult course, I’m more than happy with it. My first mile splits were around 8:14, then at mile 7, I was running 8:24 and my final splits were 8:34.

I don’t know how anyone could run that full course. It is insane. I would be crying on the side of the road in the park if I ran the full. That’s for sure. The 2nd half wasn’t as great as I thought it would be, but that’s just where the course travels. The finish line area was great and I re-qualified for the CA Dreamin’ series again, so I got another medal and jacket!

We all ate at Gordon Bierch afterward just like last year and it was delicious! I love hanging out with my friends up there and I miss them so much when I’m back home! A lot of these girls are some of my very best friends and such an encouragement to me! I just love SF!

So overall, a great day, a fun, different and interesting race, and some delicious food and chatter with friends. I finished off the weekend in Walnut Creek, perusing a few shops and enjoying my time there.

Last night I ran a 10 miler on tired legs and once I started going I was fine, but it was those first few moments when I wanted to kill myself. I got lost on my run and ran 11 miles, but the last one was a speedy 7:10. I think I just wanted to get home. I’m feeling better about upping my mileage and hit 100 miles yesterday for July, which is an all time high! :)


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  • Reply Jose

    Whoa! I’m in that picture of you and Karin, checking my iphone and taking a breather from all the expo madness. :)
    Great race report! I just uploaded mine, we should figure out a hashtag for all the #SFM2010racereports, or something :)

    July 28, 2010 at 10:16 am
  • Reply Billy

    Ha – I’m sure your friends at SFM will LOVE this rave review of their race. Nice job lil sis…but what’s with all the crying? HTFU Koo!

    July 28, 2010 at 10:30 am
  • Reply Jocelyn

    Sound like a less than thrilling run, but still you rocked!! Its always a nice surprised when you are kicking ass and you though you were sucking

    July 28, 2010 at 10:49 am
  • Reply X-country2

    I’m always so jealous of your bloggy meet ups!

    July 28, 2010 at 10:54 am
  • Reply Bryan

    It was very nice to finally meet you at the expo on Saturday. See you in Long Beach in October.

    July 28, 2010 at 11:01 am
  • Reply Sassy Molassy

    Dang girl, that’s an awesome time espec. for not feeling great about the run. I bet those hills were just making you feel sluggish. And it seems like you’ve really picked up your pace lately so maybe you just aren’t realizing that your speed has increased overall while you are racing? I know that has happened to me before.

    July 28, 2010 at 11:19 am
  • Reply Heather

    Wow congrats on the great times! I can only hope that I do that well when I run the Nike Woman’s in SF in October. I heard that Golden Gate park is killer….thanks for the heads up!

    July 28, 2010 at 11:38 am
  • Reply Naomi

    Great race report! I am with you; as I was crossing the Finish Line for the 1st half, I made up my mind that there’s no way I’m doing the full. Fun to see you again, come back and visit soon!

    July 28, 2010 at 11:45 am
  • Reply Cocomama

    I WAS CRYING TOO! Figured it was just TOM though. My fave was the rough looking bikers in leather and beards clapping and giving me a thumbs up. SF is a GREAT race.

    See you in LB!

    July 28, 2010 at 11:55 am
  • Reply J

    I seriously would love to go to San Fransisco – maybe not to run the race but definitely see all the sites! Great job on the race!

    July 28, 2010 at 12:24 pm
  • Reply Robyn @ Wannabe Writer Runner

    Congrats on the successful race! San Fran doesn’t seem like a place I’d like to do a race, those kills would kill my leggies.

    July 28, 2010 at 12:26 pm
  • Reply ilovesteaks

    yeah, I was one of those full marathoners “crying” on the side of the course. I even walked off of the course and got really close to the duck pond. Anyway it was good to see you a few times out there on the course.

    July 28, 2010 at 12:56 pm
  • Reply Aj

    Just got back from a bitty hill workout (2 miles! boo hoo!) so I feel ya! SF is so freaking hilly! Nice job cranking those hills and miles out despite the odd mood.

    July 28, 2010 at 12:58 pm
  • Reply RoadBunner

    Great job! Glad I got to see you!!! I personally really dislike the second half of the course. Bleh. I run in the park all the time and it is mind numbing for me, and then the rest of it is just ugly. But that said, I’ll probably do the full again next year :)

    July 28, 2010 at 1:09 pm
  • Reply Marathon Maritza

    Yay! Great job on the race.

    I really don’t like the 2nd half that much…kinda fugly. But not as hilly as the first half, although still difficult.

    Basically, I’m saying it’s a sh!t show and it’s ok and you did great. ♥

    July 28, 2010 at 1:25 pm
  • Reply Ron

    It’s always great to see you Danica.

    All the best,


    July 28, 2010 at 1:44 pm
  • Reply Ally

    Umm, you ran 11 miles on a workday?? I’m impressed! And afer work? You’re a rockstar, Danica! Way to go. You’re officially my hero.

    Also, I hate courses like the one you described–I hate U turns and seeing the runners further ahead than you. Meh.

    Yay for another fun medal!

    July 28, 2010 at 1:51 pm
  • Reply Beth

    Congrats again, that is an amazing time! I agree about the full, after having finished it with many rounds of crying, it will not be one we repeat! And yeah, the second half was pretty blah, too industrial.

    July 28, 2010 at 2:40 pm
  • Reply Tara

    Are you sure you don’t want to run the full with me next year??? ;) lol The 2nd half is fugly & I am pretty sure it’s pure evil especially after the monsterous hills in the 1st half. Love when you come to visit ♥♥♥

    July 28, 2010 at 3:38 pm
  • Reply nicole

    Great job d!!!!!! I am always on the verge of tears too!!! I miss you like crazy and can’t wait to see you in October!!!!!

    July 28, 2010 at 6:59 pm
  • Reply Katie @ Healthy Heddleston

    Wow good job, you are amazing and way to push through!

    July 29, 2010 at 5:38 am
  • Reply Lisa

    Great job getting a 1:52 without really trying!! Just think what you could do if you had a flat course and put your mind (and training) to it.

    I’m sorry the course didn’t live up to expectations.

    Congratulations on a race well run.

    July 29, 2010 at 8:21 am
  • Reply Kristina @goodnweird

    Way to rock the race! that is such a hard course, totally puts to share any hills i run out in VT.

    July 29, 2010 at 9:02 am
  • Reply Michigan Runner Girl

    Loved this post, great race re-cap. I just have to say that while I am super sorry you had a not-so-great race, it was good to know I’m not the only runner out there who has felt like crying during a race – and is baffled by it. This happened to me earlier this month during a (hot and humid) 15k. The course included one killer hill, and it did just that to me. I managed to get to the top and just wanted to cry. Weird thing is I do run hills a lot, but something about this one and the ridiculously humid weather got me. Love your blog! – Heather

    July 29, 2010 at 9:28 am
  • Reply Kim

    came to your blog through ron’s… i was up in sonoma for vineman 70.3, and went to SF after for a few days – but flew out on the morning of the marathon. would have loved to run part of it, bc sf is just so beautiful. i wound up running 5 miles down by the ferry building, but one day ill be back to race. great job out there! congrats!

    July 29, 2010 at 12:13 pm
  • Reply Heather

    love all the pics! good job!!

    July 29, 2010 at 1:25 pm
  • Reply Carla @ I Run, You Run

    Seriously, sometimes I think I was born to be poor, because if I see free food, I’ll eat it even if I’m not hungry! (And I even try stuff I KNOW I don’t like! WTF.)

    July 29, 2010 at 1:29 pm
  • Reply The Laminator

    Oh, poor Danica. I wanted to cry along with you. Sorry your heart wasn’t in it for this one. Still a pretty good time for a half, no? I agree though, the first half is probably more worth it to run than the second half.

    July 29, 2010 at 2:43 pm
  • Reply Janna (Janna's Keeping it Real)

    Awesome time lady! Did I read that right though?? 100M for July??? Hotdamn.

    July 30, 2010 at 4:58 am
  • Reply Glenn Jones

    Awesome time for a difficult course!Great seeing you at the expo. I’ll catch you in Long Beach and Dana Point!

    July 30, 2010 at 10:09 am
  • Reply aron

    as always i love being at the same races as you <3 great job out there on a tough course! can't wait to see you again.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:01 pm
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