The San Francisco Giant Race Half Marathon – I didn’t know that I was going to run this race until a couple weeks before when I won two free race entries through the official scavenger hunt that the race ambassadors hosted (shoutout to Leana @lerunssf and Lizzie @busylizziesf!). Despite a couple of personal setbacks (and being an A’s fan), the race was awesome and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun race to run in San Francisco.
- Half Marathon
- Half Marathon + 5K Challenge
- 10K + 5K Challenge
This expo is unique – you get a chance before the race to walk around Oracle Park to pick up your bib, shirt and bobblehead. There were a lot of photo opportunities (#forthegram – duh!) and a lot of cool vendors. I got to be one of those “cool” vendors for the Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon and the Biofreeze Berkeley Half Marathon (15% discount code if you read until the bottom here). Here are my tips for the expo:
- Go on Friday, it’s less stressful.
- Plan out parking beforehand. I ran there so parking wasn’t an issue for me but I know others who paid $18 to park in the parking lot. Know that there is less expensive hourly parking on the street in Mission Bay if you’re willing to walk and put in the extra effort.
- Dress in layers. I was FREEZING.. granted like I mentioned above, I ran there so I could only do so much.
- There were a couple Oracle Park concessions booths open if you looked. I can smell popcorn from a mile away so you know that I was not leaving without a bag of popcorn. Other runners stopped me and asked where they could buy popcorn and I happily pointed them in the right direction.
The swag – AWESOME. All runners get a shirt, bobblehead and medal (psst.. you even get more medals if you complete the challenges). To be honest, I really didn’t want a bobblehead but I opened it and I LOVEEEE it. It almost makes me want to be a Giants fan (lol).
The Course – Half Marathon
This race was an ugly one for me. I went in VERY confident as I knew the course like the back of my hand and I knew that I was capable of beating my half marathon PR from July. We started outside Oracle Park and headed north on Embarcadero. My new Jaybird Vista headphones immediately disconnected and I was without music from the first mile through the rest of the race.. oh well. From there, there are a few hills going up from Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghirardelli Square to Fort Mason before a downhill heading through the Marina to Chrissy Field. This is around where my ankle started to hurt and I noticed my pace starting to fall behind where I planned to be so I pulled back. The stretch going towards Chrissy Field was against the wind and the way back was all on the dirt path on the water side of Chrissy Field. This was probably my least favorite part about the course but runners were able to see the Golden Gate Bridge so I guess that was nice.
The course returned to pavement in the Marina and at this point, my ankle was killing me. I’ve never taken a DNF but I really contemplated taking one as we ran back up the Fort Mason hill before returning back on the Embarcadero. With only a few flat miles left in the race, I decided to finish it out. If I have one real complaint about the course it’s this.. on the out-and-back return, I had to constantly dodge the 10K walkers. There weren’t a few, there were a lot. And they were EVERYWHERE. Maybe it was the ankle pain that had me in a bad mood but this was really frustrating and needed more organization.
We couldn’t have had better San Francisco weather. We’re talking 59/60 degrees at the start and mid-60s at the finish with clear blue skies. But as with any San Francisco day, plan accordingly for all types of weather.
The Post-Race Celebration
The races finish on the ACTUAL FIELD and it was such a cool experience. We walked around a bit, grabbed some snacks and hung out on the grass after. I didn’t find the free beer but I was also in so much pain that I didn’t look very hard. Another important note, the concessions were open again – am I the only one that gets this excited by unhealthy food?!
My personal result? 1:50:34 – all things considered, I’m pretty freaking proud of this. Even though it was 7 minutes slower than my PR and 10 minutes slower than my goal, I have no idea how I pushed through the pain and managed this time. Not sure where this puts me for Chicago as my ankle hurts pretty bad now but hopefully it will feel better after rest, ice and rehab.
Here are two great fall races (and discount codes) in the Bay Area: