San Francisco Half Marathon Recap

For this years SF marathon, the original plan was to run the full marathon with my older brother, while my other two brothers ran the second half. The brother doing the full had some things come up and wasn’t able to properly train for a full, and so we dropped it down to the half as well.

Then, both that brother and I ended up not being able to be in SF at all. One of the reasons was because my IT Band pain was still preventing me from running much. It was incredibly disappointing not being there. However my other two brothers still did the half. For both of them, it was their first half marathon!

I ran the full last year, which was my first full ever. You can read my SF marathon race recap here! We also lived in the bay area for a bit (I used to live in Berkeley) and here’s a list of the best restaurants in San Francisco!

SF is unique because they offer the full marathon and two different half marathons. You can either run the first half of the full, or the second half. They also have an ultra, where you run the marathon course twice! My brothers ran the 2nd half of the marathon.

green is the 1st half, blue is the 2nd half

We decided to do a Q&A, rather than the traditional race recap. Enjoy!

My two brothers who ran the half!
  • Did you enjoy the training, explain why/why not: 
    • I ran mid range distances(two to three miles) two to three times a week and I ran longer distances on Saturdays starting at five miles and incremented until I reached twelve miles. The shorter distances were not as fun because I ran the same route after work and it was usually hot. The longer distances were fun because I ran them in the morning on a more isolated trail along a river. I would also listen to the fighter pilot podcasts on my runs because it helped the time go by faster.   
  • What kind of area did you do long runs (along main roads, on trails, mostly flat, or was it hilly?) and what time of day would you run:
    • I ran on mostly flat outdoor trials. I learned early on that I didn’t like running on major roads with lots of traffic. During the weekdays I’d run after work and weekends I would run earlier in the morning.
  • Was it hard to make time for running:
    • No, I was fortunate enough that my internship gave me three hours of paid exercise leave each week. I also go into the habit of running Saturday mornings so once the habit was built it came pretty easy. 
  • What shoes did you wear:
    • I wore a pair of nike zoom pegausus 34. 
  • What did you eat before the race:
    • We went out and ate italian food, I had pesto pasta. For breakfast I just had a chewy granola bar.
  • What did you eat during the race, and at what mile did you eat it:
    • I had some race gummies that were given to my so I don’t remember what brand they were but I at them in the middle of the race.
  • What did you drink from the aid stations:
    • I avoided electrolytes and mostly drank water. But, looking back I would have drank more electrolytes.
  • How was the crowd support:
    • Good, some people offered beer which I thought was strange.
he’s the one in the blue long sleeve
  • Would you recommend this race to other first time half marathoners:
    • It was expensive but the route was really enjoyable and the weather was good. I would recommend local half marathons.
  • How was the weather and did you like it:
    • Weather was clear which was a little odd for San Francisco. The temperature was good although it got pretty warm towards the end all and all I really enjoyed it.
  • How was the post race snacks:
    • They were mediocre. They had bananas, manderine oranges, and some weird bars that only came in coffee and some other flavor. 
  • How did it feel crossing the finish line:
    • It felt good, my feet were hurting pretty bad and I had a strange pain in my upper left thigh under my glut so I was happy to be finished(although I didn’t look it in the photos of me crossing).
  • Did you use any mantras or positive phrases to help keep you going:
    • No, I was mostly motivated by passing people and not letting them pass me. Of course some people did pass me here and there. But I feel like I passed more people. 
  • Did you ever hit the wall:
    • My only “wall” was the physical pain but my endurance training helped prepare me.
  • Did it make you want to run more half’s to improve your time:
    • Kind of, I enjoy playing basketball or doing other varied athletic workouts like rock climbing and I felt like training for the half dominated all my physical activity. So, if I really wanted to run more and improve my time I feel like I’d have to keep training more which I don’t really want to do. I will likely keep running distance occasionally though.
  • Did it make you want to run a full:
    • Kind of, I just don’t know if I could train as much for a full.
  • Was the course harder or easier than expected:
    • There was more downhill than expected which I didn’t enjoy.
  • Where did you feel the most pain during the race and after:
    • My feet, in my achilles and around my ankles.
  • How did you feel the next day and the following week:
    • The day after my feet still hurt and my thighs and my quads were sore. That only lasted the day after, then I was okay.
  • Did SF offer good race swag:
    • Yeah, I got a free quarter zip for registering early which was nice. They also had some random boxes of free shirts from last year’s race.
The half marathon finishers!
  • Did this experience make you want to run SF again?
    • No, the price tag is what would really keep me from running it again.
  • Do you think training at high elevation and racing at sea level helped you:
    • I did feel a burst of energy throughout the first half of the race before my feet started hurting.
  • If you were to train for a half in the future, what something you would do differently now that you have experienced it (either during training or the race itself):
    • Drink more electrolytes and try more gels during my long runs.
  • Did you wear a fitness watch during the race to keep track of pace or did you just run based on effort:
    • I wore a fit bit but I used it in combination with a paper bracelet that told me the pace I should be keeping to get under two hours. It was really useful, I got it from the registration expo for free and I would recommend it. I also made sure I was in front of the two hour pacer.

Hope you guys enjoyed this recap Q&A! Congrats to my brothers and all other finishers of the SF marathon! My mom, sister, and future sister in law did the SF 5k and they loved it!

For race finishers, don’t forget to check out my post of how to speed up recovery post marathon! For anyone who is preparing for their first race, here are some other helpful posts! What to eat during a marathon, and running tips for beginners, and best running gear!