Race Summary: Quick, efficient expo. Early morning bus ride through the city to reach the start. Hilly course with good amount of on-course support and spectators. Beautiful run across the Golden Gate Bridge.
This was my 2nd RnR SF half marathon. I also ran the inaugural race the year before. For the second year of the race, the organizers decided to completely change the course.
Since I’m in Sac, SF is only a short 1.5-3 hour drive, depending on the traffic. We love going to the city, though parking and driving there is not the easiest. Since we were bringing the dog, we found a dog friendly hotel near Union Square. Even though it is the touristy spot, it was located where I could walk to the finish line (shuttles took us to the start from the finish line) and actually is in a decent location to a lot of restaurants.
The expo was at the Moscone center and as per usual with RnR races, it was efficient. I didn’t have time to explore the expo because the wife and dog were waiting outside the building. But I do appreciate the quick packet pickup.
For my usual pre-race pizza dinner, we ended up at Pizzeria Delfina in the Mission District. Originally we were going to try out Flour & Water, but the wait was too long. This pizza joint is located adjacent to their italian restaurant Delfina in a small location. The kitchen took up about half the space and there were a few small tables as well as a long counter. Somehow we wound up getting seated at the counter after only a 5 minute wait.
Race morning I woke up super early as per my usual routine. The hotel didn’t have in-room coffee so around 4 am, I ran across the street to a 24/7 pharmacy and picked up some nasty tasting coffee. I then made my way to the finish line at Civic Center Plaza. There I boarded a bus to the very west side of SF (northwest corner of Golden Gate Park). I sat next to an older gentleman who said he had done a ton of Rock’n’Roll races. We discussed some of the races that we had both done.
The start line had plenty of porta potties and there was no wait should you need to relieve yourself, which I liked. My friend and her husband were also running the race but they were running late and we didn’t end up seeing each other.
All RnR races have corral starts. I lined up in my corral and we were off. The beginning of this race is a little disheartening. You run about 1/4 mile and make a right turn and face your first hill. This is a long slow upwards climb so its best to mentally prepare for hills. Also because we were running through many neighborhoods, there is a noticeable dearth of bands on this course compared to other RnR races. We wound our way along the western coast of SF and towards the Golden Gate Bridge around mile 4. I had run across the bridge the previous year at the inaugural RnR SF race and knew the bridge is not flat. Many people were stopping when they reached the bridge to take a selfie. Since I had done this last year with my friends, this race I kept pushing and tried to pick up my pace since I had a slow start with the early hills. After crossing over the bridge and back, you then run along the north end of SF past Crissy Field, the Palace of Fine Arts, and down towards Fort Mason. Upon passing Fort Mason, we hung a right onto Polk Avenue and headed south towards the finish. This was a little deceptive because there were a few more hills in this area prior to a downhill to the finish. By mile 11 at Fort Mason, my legs were pretty shot with the up and down hills and I was just hanging on to finish.
Final chip time: 2:16:34
I felt good about that time given all the hills.