Friday, April 8, 2016

San Francisco Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon Race Recap 4/3/16

San Francisco Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon Race Recap
Last weekend I ran the Rock 'n' Roll San Francisco Half Marathon and it went a lot better than I expected. I was mainly scared of the hills because there are none in Davis. However, even with the hills I ran and felt strong, stronger than my last half marathon. What made this run such a great experience were the views and also meeting up with some fellow rock n bloggers and Twitter friends, oh and having VIP was a nice touch too. :)

PACKET PICKUP: On Saturday, after a birthday party in the Bay Area, we headed to the expo. It was almost 3pm when we got there. I had no problems getting my bib and shirt, along with my bracelet for VIP. As a rock 'n' blogger I was allowed one race with free VIP and I chose this one. I was pretty excited to actually experience and see what VIP was about. At the expo, I met up with Laura and also met Ross for the first time. It is always great to meet social media friends. I browsed the booths and bought some GU because I ran out at home, and the kiddos had fun going around with Hubby. Their favorite part was playing games, spinning the wheel, and plinko. 
Rock n Roll San Francisco Expo
Here's my bib and shirt. I always like the designs and fit of the shirts we get at rock 'n' roll races.
Rock n Roll San Francisco shirt and bib
We didn't stay long at the expo because I wanted to get an early dinner especially because the race was to start at 6:30am the next day. I think I was in bed around 9pm.

RACE DAY: I had my alarm set for 4am so I could leave the hotel at 4:35 to walk to Civic Center Park, which is the finish line. That was where the buses were located to shuttle us off to the start. It was about a 15 minute walk from the hotel I was staying at (the Adante Hotel) so I got to the buses around 4:50. The short wait plus bus ride was about 25 minutes to the start line. On the bus, I ate my bagel and talked to a nice lady who was also running the race for the first time.
rock and roll sf shuttle buses
Getting off the bus, you can barely see the waves of the ocean but they were there. It was too dark to take a pic, so I set out to the Beach Chalet Restaurant where VIP was located. It was windy and cool, about 50 degrees outside, so heading inside was great. There was a nice continental breakfast set up inside. I had already eaten my bagel but I did grab a banana and some water. 
Met up with some rock'n'bloggers too. It was great to meet David, Andrea, Richard, and Michael for the first time. It was also great to see Brian and Elizabeth again.
rock 'n' bloggers in VIP
Photo credit: Brian
My friend Laura was also in VIP so it was great hanging out with her there too. 
The best thing I loved about VIP in the morning was you got to stay warm and the start line was so close. There was also a private bag checkin. The bathroom line was pretty short too which is always good. Before we knew it, it was already 10 minutes until start time. Laura and I decided to start out together, I was in corral 4 and her in 3, but she said she'd start out with me. Here's our start line selfie.
Lots of people waiting to start. The race started pretty much on time. We just had to wait for each corral wave to start.

RnRSF start line
Then we were off. I started the RungoApp on my phone and I was set. I really enjoy using this app because it gives you voice navigation, so it tells you where you will be turning on the course and about how much longer you have to run. It is very helpful. Anyway, it wasn't long and we came across what I was dreading about this race and it was of course a hill. To get an idea of the course elevation, here is the elevation chart.

Photo credit:
Here's a pic running up the first hill. Sorry for the blurriness but that's what happens when it's not fully light out yet. My plan was to start out slow and take it easy at the start. My only goal was to get under two hours for this race. The hills helped me go according to plan. I headed up steady and strong.
The downhills were nice. I think I made up some good time cruising down them.
Rock and Roll San Francisco Course pic
Mile 1 - 9:47/mi
Mile 2 - 8:51/ mi
Mile 3 - 8:05/ mi
Here's another hill coming towards mile 3. Mile 3-4 was the run to remember mile.
RnRSF course pic mile 3
It is a very touching tribute to service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Mile to Remember RNRSF
After the signs were the flags. The wear blue crew was very encouraging and very helpful in cheering us on to get up the hill. I loved how the RungoApp told me when I was at the top of the climb. It is such a relief when you see the course leveling off. 
Mile to Remember RNRSF
Next up was the Golden Gate bridge. I was pretty excited to run on it. Part of the bridge was foggy but it was still cool to see as I ran towards it. 
RnRSF Golden Gate Bridge
I was so happy running on it, I had to take a selfie. :)
Mile 4 - 9:39/mi
Mile 5 - 9:20/mi
A pic of the bridge at the turnaround point.
RnRSF Golden Gate Bridge
Here's a shot back on the bridge. The whole bridge part was pretty flat and I was feeling really good especially once I got off the bridge and there was a nice downhill part.
Mile 6 - 8:42/mi
Mile 7 - 8:44/mi
Mile 8 - 8:32/mi

RnRSF Golden Gate Bridge
Photo credit: marathonphoto
It was neat seeing these guys on the stilts. I high fived the guy in blue. 
RnRSF Stilts guy
RnRSF Stilts guy
 I thought this panda was cute too so I had to take a pic. It waved right at me. :)
RnRSF Panda
Mile 9 - 7:41/mi. Had a fast pace due to the downhills. I think this is my fastest mile. Thank you downhills! I continued on strong during miles 10 and 11. I think this is the first time I've felt this good so late in a race.
Mile 10 - 8:33/mi
Mile 11 - 8:49/mi
Mile 12 - 9:32/mi. Mile 12 was tough because we started going up steeply again. I pushed through and could not wait for the hills to end.
Mile 13 - 8:48/mi. Heading towards the finish was a nice downhill run. So glad that I was able to cruise down on in to the finish line. The last .2 according to my Garmin was at 7:04/mi pace. Here I am happy to have finished in a decent time especially with all the hills.
My official time and stats below. I didn't get the time I put down when I registered for the race, but I'm very happy with how I ran.
Got my chocolate milk at the finish!
I saw a good family friend right by the finish line, my Uncle Willy. He came all the way from the Seattle area, so it was good to see him. 
I then made my way to the VIP area and checked out the post race catered buffet. 
It was pretty good. I enjoyed the chocolate covered strawberries and fruit. I may have gotten a couple of mimosas too. :) I put my name down before I got my food for the massage so I did not have to wait long. The massage was perfect after the run. It felt great.
Got a great post race pic with the werunsocial plus rock 'n' blogger crew.
Photo credit: Brian
 Runderfulrunners group pic.
Photo credit: Laura
Overall, it was an awesome race! I really enjoyed the VIP area and believe it is worth it especially if it is cold in the morning. It was a challenging course and I conquered those hills. Believe it or not, I think I like races with hills better than flat courses. The climbs are tough, but I like the downhills too. Another great Rock 'n' Roll race in the books. Looking forward to the next one! Who's doing Seattle? :)
Rock n Roll San Francisco Medal
If you haven't signed up and are contemplating a Rock 'n' Roll race, feel free to use discount code RUNHIKEPLAY to save a few bucks (some restrictions do apply see fine print).
Rock and Roll Race discount code

Happy racing!!

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