After a four month hiatus from racing, I was back in the saddle and ready to go for the Rock 'n' Roll SF Half! This was going to be my first Rock 'n' Roll race and I was stoked, I heard so many great things about this race series!
Let's go to the expo!
The expo was held at the Moscone Hall which is a great convention venue! This is where a lot of the major conventions in SF are held!
Yes, yes I am!!! Let's Rock!
I went on Friday afternoon, so the expo was really really quiet. It was great! I picked up my bib and got my free water bottle. I then grabbed my t-shirt and clear drawstring bag and some free samples (Starbucks Via Orange, Bio Freeze, and Coupons)
I then moved on to the race merchandise area which was basically a full Brooks store. Lots of stuff to choose from and lots of great race merchandise. In an effort to save some money I just bought a hat. I then moved on to some of the vendors. Got some GU, a new Sparkly Soul headband, and snacked on some free samples.
It was super low-key and I really enjoyed wandering around which is not something I normally say about expos. I'm sure if I had gone on Saturday my experience would've been much different but going during a slow time was great!
After grabbing my stuff it was time to head back home! Getting excited for Sunday!
So I wasn't really sure how this race was going to go. I had basically run this course backwards last July when I ran the 1st Half Marathon during the SF Marathon weekend and had completely burned myself out running up some hills before getting to the bridge. With this in mind I approached race day just hoping to beat my previous SF race time - 1:48:08.
I knew I needed to take the first hills a bit slower and not attacking them as I normally do because I needed to pace my miles. So I got a restless night of sleep and 4 am rolled around, let's do this!
A friend met me at my place and we drove into the city together. We parked around 5, got on a shuttle bus around 5:30 (you had to take a bus from the finish area to the start area because it was point to point) and were at the race area by 6am with a half hour to mill around and get into our corrals. Of course a last minute bathroom run combined with a long line meant I ended up in the corral overflow area. Not sure why we couldn't all fit.
This cool cat is ready to run!
At the start, they did something interesting. They had corral 15 (reserved for walkers) start ahead of everyone else. I thought this was weird and would cause congestion but I figured RnR had figured this out and it wouldn't be an issue. I was curious at the very least to see how it would work!
So the walkers started as 6:15, the elites were off at 6:30 and then the rest were right behind. They had staggered starts for each corral but it was very fast. I was in corral 2 and I felt like we went directly behind corral 1, maybe corral 1 was just the elites and I was confused.
Anyways, we were off. Flat for a second and then to the hills we go! Up and up until we go to the bridge. We did meet up with the walkers and it was... okay. They took up about half the course and it was annoying to get stuck behind them but we were past them in about a half mile or so. My mile 2 it was just runners! On the bridge it was pretty congested since it was only one lane for each way going over the bridge. Luckily I was out front far enough that it was fairly spaced out.
To the bridge we go!
And now back the other way! Look at all the runners!
Once over the bridge, we had lots of room to run. We ran along the coast and it's my favorite. The sun was coming up over the bay and there wasn't any fog so you could look back and see the Golden Gate bridge and you could see Alacatraz out in the water. THIS is why you run SF!
It was at this point that I was more aware of my pace. I was watching my pace but hadn't really been pushing it through the hills because I didn't want to burn out but I was cruising safely to a new SF PR and I was feeling great! After some scenic bay views, we turned back into the city and well those hills from mile 10-12 were killer. Augh, these were rough with lots of hills!
After that though it was all down hill. Around mile 11 I realized I was on pace to actually beat the PR I ran in Disneyland. This was a huge motivator! We cruised into the finish area and it was great all downhill and I was tantalizingly close to my PR! I was trying to catch this female runner who I had been following for about 5 miles but wasn't able to catch her. Darn!
I crossed the finish line, grabbed my medal and loaded up on all the snacks! I could barely carry them all!
I then went and waited for my friend who was also running and I also needed to check my time to see if I had beaten my PR! I didn't think I had but wanted to see what my official time was.
Official Time: 1:44:34
Only 16 seconds slower than my PR!!! Augh! I know I should've been so excited that I ran as well as I did but it was only 16 seconds! I was so close to a PR! I'm immensely proud I ran this race this well. The hills were killer and I was able to properly pace myself through them which makes me more optimistic for the SF Full Marathon in July. I felt great at the finish too!
I grabbed my sweats and waited for my friend and checked out the area. The Neighborhood was the headliner for the race and they were nice to listen to and it was fun to be at a "concert" in the middle of the Civic Center.
Overall, I had a great time. The course was really well laid out, the "after party" was fun, and I liked the overall vibe of the race. I went into it pretty relaxed and ended up having a great race! If there is a Rock 'n' Roll race in your area, I would definitely check it out!
Will I do it again? Maybe, I think one year I'm going to buy the season pass and just run a bunch of them in the year!
- Great swag
- Great course
- Great post-race area
- Great medal
- VERY well organized - the Rock 'n' Roll series is a well oiled machine
- I was expecting more rocking - I felt like most of the bands I passed were still setting up or warming up. Not a lot of rocking.
- Walkers up front created early/unnecessary congestion