Race Recap: The San Francisco Marathon (2nd Half) 2019

Still trying to catch up on my race recaps for the year but better late than never!

The San Francisco Marathon continues to be one of my favorite races – I love seeing so many friends along the course and running through our hometown streets (literally, the course runs past our home). 2019 was my third year running the race, my second year as an ambassador and my first year not running the full marathon. With the Chicago Marathon on the horizon and my injury not fully healed, I decided to play it smart and register for the half marathon.. but more to come on that.

Although I try to keep this recap as unbiased as possible, just a disclosure that I was a race ambassador again this year!

Events

  • Full Marathon
  • Half Marathon – First Half
  • Half Marathon – Second Half
  • 5k Fun Run (Saturday)
  • 5k Race (Sunday)
  • Ultra

Expo

This expo is fun – I highly recommend going on Friday so that you can take your time, walk around and enjoy yourself. This year, I went on Saturday after the 5k Fun Run to help out at some of the tables so unfortunately, I didn’t spend a lot of time looking around. Pro tip: If you think that you’ll run the race the following year, make sure to register at the expo for THE LOWEST price + an additional discount.

5K Fun Run – Saturday

Instead of the free official shakeout run in years past, the race hosted a 5K Fun Run this year. The course wrapped around Fort Mason, also where the expo is also located. It felt a little cramped with the number of runners but it was a nice way to shakeout before the Sunday races (assuming you don’t go too fast here). Know ahead of time that this fun run will probably not be your 5k PR.

Half Marathon (2nd Half) – Sunday

I was pretty relaxed about this race since it was a half marathon and I had zero intention of truly racing it (lol in hindsight). I definitely don’t recommend being as relaxed as me.. if I left just 5 minutes earlier, my Uber/Lyft would’ve been half the price – watch out for the pricing surge on race morning. Luckily, I arrived with just enough time to use the bathroom, talk to a few friends and then line up in my starting corral. The corrals were crowded – I had friends who couldn’t even make it to their corral and had to start outside the corral gates so plan to arrive early!

The second half marathon course turned out to be as fast as I hoped that it would be – there seems to be an argument among local runners about which half is easier between the first and the second.. and let me tell you after my experience, it is 100% the second half. We start off on a long downhill in Golden Gate Park followed by some rolling hills, though I don’t remember noticing anything significant. From there, you leave the park and have another nice long stretch of downhill as you run towards the Mission-Potrero Hill-Dogpatch area. Know that there are uphills along the way but every time you go up, you run down after. Although the second half is not as “scenic” as the first half, you get to run by the new Chase Center and Oracle Park (formerly AT&T Park) on the way to the finish line.

Now let’s talk weather.. I heard a lot of complaints about the weather being too hot. Maybe it’s because I didn’t run the full marathon or maybe it’s a result of the three years I spent in North Carolina but I didn’t find it to be that bad. I recall low to mid 60s maybe? Plan accordingly.. dress for warm weather and pay attention to hydration!

And my personal results? A HALF MARATHON PR OF 5 MINUTES (1:43:18), on a day where I thought I was just going to jog and barely make it to the finish line. Honestly, I don’t know if I’m more shocked that I PR’d unexpectedly or that I finally executed negative splits. The half marathon distance is still my least favorite distance but I feel a lot better about the distance after this race execution. Now I can’t wait to see what I can do when my injury is finally healed!

What’s Next?

Here are two great fall races (and discount codes) in the Bay Area:

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Race Recap: 2019 Across The Bay 12k & 5k

Recap coming SUPER LATE (oops!). This was race #2 in the Run the Bay Series Challenge – it was my 4th year running the race and my 1st year running the 5k.

Events

You can choose to run the 12k or 5k and I still highly recommend choosing the 12k. Even if you need to walk most of it, the 12k takes you over the Golden Gate bridge along a really pretty course.

Bib Pick Up

Runners are able to either mail their bibs or pick them up from Decathlon – I highly recommend choosing the mail option.. though I keep forgetting to do it for myself.

Course

So I’ll only talk about the 5k course this time since that’s what I ran. The course was ok – you start at Aquatic Park and run up the big Fort Mason hill, then down Marina Blvd before turning around. It’s not a fast 5k course but you pretty much know that going into it. There are only two aspects that I would change – finish line ribbon and awards for the 5k. I finished in 7th place for Women Overall and 15th place for Overall so my changes wouldn’t have affected me but it was majorly disappointing to the runners that I raced hard against. Like I mentioned earlier, I highly recommend the 12k and will hopefully run that distance next year depending on my training schedule and injury status.

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What’s Next

Interested in running the Run the Bay Series Challenge? Register online with code RepresentKH to save 10% and run the East Bay 510k on Sunday, October 13th. Remote options are available.

Race Recap: San Jose 408K 2019

Finally, my first time running the San Jose 408K in person! I opted for the virtual option for the past two years so I was excited to be able to actually run it this year with the rest of the Represent Running/Decathlon ambassador crew. It did not disappoint!

What: San Jose 408k
When: February 3, 2019
Where: San Jose, CA
Distance: 8K

Bib Pickup

The pickup locations were hosted at the Decathlon store in San Francisco and in Santana Row in South Bay. Unfortunately I couldn’t make either of the pickups, but luckily I found a friend to help me out! The race series also offers receiving your bib by mail for $10 – always super worth it but I never remember.

Parking/Logistics

Everything was easy as it usually is with the Represent Running races. The race started at 8AM and I arrived around 7:20AM with more than enough time to spare to use the bathroom, get to gear check, take pictures and warm up. Side note: the race is point to point so I had Cade drop me off at the start line and then drive to finish line to wait for me. For those who drove themselves, they had the option of running back to the start line or taking a shuttle.

The Race

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I think this was my first official 8K so naturally it was a PR (lol). The course was flat and fast going from Downtown San Jose to Santana Row. We lucked out and missed the rain; I was even running with direct sunlight in my face for a bit (that part wasn’t so lucky). The course got a little boring to me at times, especially since my music cut out after the first couple miles, but it was an overall good race. I finished in 4th place for my age group, missing 3rd by only 6 seconds!

Post-Race/Swag

The post-race festivities were cool – after all, you’re in Santana Row! The race provided special offers from the restaurants that were specifically for runners… like bottomless mimosas. Additionally, runners received a race shirt designed by Cukui, a race medal and FREE RACE PHOTOS! Super worth it, IMO.

Up next in the series: San Jose Shamrock Run – sign up with code RepresentKH to save 10%!

Race Recap: 2018 Across The Bay 12k & 5k

This is race #2 in the Run the Bay Series Challenge. I have run this race 3 times now and it never fails to disappoint.

Events

You can choose to run the 12k or 5k but I highly recommend choosing the 12k. Even if you need to walk most of it, the 12k takes you over the Golden Gate bridge along a really pretty course.

Bib Pick Up

Runners are able to either mail their bibs or pick them up from Sports Basement – you get 20% when you show your bib at Sports Basement.

Shuttles

This is only applicable for the 12k – the shuttles were extremely organized but I still recommend getting to the line early to avoid the stress of missing the start. There was a slight mishap this year where a couple of the shuttles got lost on their way to the start but my experience was great.

Course

Runners start the race by running across the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco – if you’re lucky, Karl the Fog will take the day off and you’ll have a sunny race day! Then runners run past Crissy Field and through the Marina. Despite a couple of tough hills, this was definitely a fun course with a lot of downhills and flats.

Things that I would do better

Regarding the actual run – nothing. I would maybe try to stick around and enjoy the post-race festivities in the future!

Interested in running the Run The Bay Series Challenge? Register online with code RepresentKH. Remote options are available.

Race Review: 2018 Silicon Valley Half Marathon

ONE WEEKEND. TWO RACES. FOUR MEDALS.

This year Meb Keflezighi teamed up with Represent Running to revive the Silicon Valley Half Marathon. And it was EPIC.

The weekend events included a 5k and sunset yoga on Saturday, and a 10k and half marathon on Sunday. This is definitely a race to put on your calendar for next year, here’s why.

Expo

The expo was more of an outdoor food truck festival – which is AWESOME! There was live music, food trucks and vendors. There was not an overwhelming number of vendors but enough to walk around and check out the tents, if that is your thing. The expo was also held in downtown San Jose so it was nice to check out some of the restaurants and bars in walking distance.

Race: 5k

It was hot, like 80+ degrees in the sun hot. The 5k was at 3:00 pm on Saturday and that is probably the only thing that I would change. The course was flat (it’s San Jose, duh) and ran along the Guadalupe River paved trail. The trail was not crowded at all and I surprisingly came close to a PR. Also, free race photos! #winning

Race: Half Marathon

Similar to the 5k, the half marathon course was flat and fast. Had I not run seven miles before starting the half marathon, I probably would have smashed my PR. I enjoyed the course having grown up in the area and getting to run through downtown San Jose to Santa Clara but I have to admit, it is not the most scenic race. Yet despite it lacking the scenery, the race made up for it with live music along the course and awesome volunteers. And more free race photos!!

Swag

Aside from the free race photos, I brought home a lot of swag from this race. First, 5k runners receive a short sleeve tech shirt and finisher medal. Then half marathon finishers receive a bag, quarter zip long sleeve and medal. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! By completing both the Silicon Valley Half and the San Jose 408k Race to the Row, you receive a challenge medal. And by completing both the 5k and half marathon, you get an additional challenge medal.

It’s a year away but I’m already pretty stoked to run this race again!

Race Review: 2017 East Bay 510k

Yay, officially completed the Run The Bay Challenge (San Jose 408k, Across the Bay 12k and East Bay 10k)! Check out my review and be sure to mark your calendars for this series in 2018!

What: East Bay 510k
When: September 17, 2017
Where: Berkeley/Emeryville, CA
Distance: 10K or 5K

Bib Pickup

Bib pickup was extremely easy and quick. The pickup locations were hosted at multiple Sports Basement locations around the Bay Area so it was convenient to choose the one closest to you.

Parking/Shuttles

Parking was easier than bib pickup was! The race started at 8:05 AM so we arrived at 7:00 AM and parked in the IKEA garage as the race instructed us to do. There were many parking spaces and we had more than enough time to board the shuttles to the start line.

Pre-Race


We met up with the Represent Running crew at the start line because we had to get our pre-race picture first, duh! But also, if you check out the start line signage behind us in the picture, you’ll notice that it is being designed THAT morning. SO COOL, major props for a totally unique idea!

The Race

Well I can’t say it was the easiest 10K that I’ve ever run, but did you really race if you found it to be easy? The race sets out on a dirt path at first.. careful here since there were many ankles that were rolled. Then you find yourself running next to the bay with views of San Francisco – very cool but windy. Shortly after, you’re running along 880 and then over the freeway into Emeryville. It was my first time running in that area so it was a cool experience. I set the bar too high on my first 10K so while I don’t expect to ever PR for a 10K, I did come in 2nd for my age group so I’ll take the victory.

Post-Race


Can you say photo ops? There were a lot of places for an awesome post-race photo (#forthegram). There weren’t many vendor tents but we did get to go to IKEA for breakfast after the race.. so overall, it was a fantastic Sunday morning.

Race Review: Big Sur International Marathon

As of April 30, 2017, my second marathon is in the books! It has been a long month of recovery after Big Sur but now I am happily back to reviewing, blogging and best of all – running.

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Location:
The entire area of Monterey/Carmel/Big Sur is amazing, you can’t go wrong with where you stay. We used VRBO to rent a house in Monterey near Fisherman’s Wharf and the shuttle pick up. Everything was extremely easy! If you’re visiting the area, make sure you leave time for the Monterey Bay Aquarium, downtown Carmel, the 17-mile Drive in Pebble Beach and Point Lobos. There is A LOT more to see but those would be my top recommendations.

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Expo:
Fantastic! It was a little cramped with so many people – I would recommend people to go at less crowded times so you have a chance to look around. The expo had a lot of cool stuff but was still small enough that it was not completely overwhelming. (P.S. I met Bart Yasso!)

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Swag:
Definitely some of my favorite swag!!!! At the expo, runners receive their race shirt and race program. Then the race mails a copy of the local newspaper following the race – the local paper lists all of the finishers and their times! Lastly, I can’t forget to mention the medals. The medals are each hand-crafted and are truly one of a kind.

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Race Day Logistics:
Woke up at 3:00 AM to walk to the shuttle. Although it was early, it was cool to be with all the other runners and to make new friends! The bus ride takes about an hour to the start line, where you then wait with all of the other runners for until the start time. It sounds miserable but it was definitely a sight to see. There is food, coffee and water – I recommend getting in line fast and quickly finding a seat on the ground. As more buses make their way to the start, the ground fills up as runners find a place to sit.

The Race:
Difficult – assume that it is going to be more difficult than everyone says. Beautiful – at the time, I didn’t appreciate the beauty of the race because I felt like I was dying. Looking back, it is easily the most beautiful course that I have ever run. Great support – from the famous grand piano to the Taiko drums to the fresh strawberries, everything was amazing. When I finished the race, I said that I would never do it again… but I would totally do it all again. Plus I still got a PR, so there’s that. 🙂

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Race Review: Not So Normal 3/4 Marathon

1/4 Marathon? 1/2 Marathon? 3/4 Marathon?!

Yes, you read that right. I ran a 3/4 marathon distance (19.65 miles) as a training run for my marathon – placed 6th Overall, 2nd Gender.


 

What: Not So Normal
When: April 2, 2017
Where: Carrboro, NC
Distance: 3/4 Marathon

The best part about running this race is that it is truly local. That being said, you do get the feeling of being part of a community but you don’t get all of the swag and support that you would get from a large for-profit race. The race also supports amazing local non-profits – Orange County Rape Crisis Center, First Pages and TABLE.

I have had the pleasure of volunteering and running this race for the past two years. While it is small, I definitely recommend checking it out if you’re available and in the area!

Race Review: Bull City Race Fest

  • What: Bull City Race Fest
  • When: October 16, 2016
  • Where: Durham, NC
  • Distance: Half Marathon

Before the race, I heard positive and negative reviews. Runners either loved the beauty of the course or hated the hills of the course. Although I agree with both reviews, this has to be one of my favorite courses. (I’m also biased because I PR’d! And it was perfect running weather.. lol)

Expo: The expo was a lot of fun! I loved that it was not too big and overwhelming at the Durham Convention Center. The race included a bib, shirt and digital race bag so the pickup was pretty simple. I easily found my friends at Fleet Feet Carrboro/Durham and grabbed a few tanks from 73threads. If you haven’t heard of 73threads, you need to check them out right now! LOVE THEM… see my tanks pictured below.


Essentials: The weather forecast showed a low-mid 50s sunny morning so I went with my short sleeve Nike shirt and shorts. My 2XU compression sleeves were a little more for warmth than they were performance – I like wearing a pair for recovery as well. I also packed lots of tape since I’m still dealing with plantar fasciitis and well, can’t forget my Garmin!

Parking/Pre-Race: SUPER easy and really close to the starting line near the American Tobacco Campus. There were plenty of port-a-potties – actually, I’ve never seen such efficient bathroom lines at any other race.


Race: Just like every other race.. decently sized and crowded with anxious runners. At the start line, I found myself stuck behind the 9:00 min pacers when I was planning on starting in front of the 8:30 pacers.. oh well, there was plenty of time for catch up later. The course was beautiful and it was hilly. Runners were guided through downtown Durham and through the Duke campus. The downhills were long and the hills got slightly steeper in the last couple of miles.


Post-Race: Beer, music and food trucks! aka: a lot of lines, but all worth it. Definitely try out this race if you’re in the area for next year! I promise the hills are manageable and you can even PR like me!

Tarheel 10 Miler/Fleet Feet 4 Miler


Dropped into the Fleet Feet 4 miler in Chapel Hill this weekend in hopes of not making my plantar fasciitis worse.

I did the 10 miler last year and struggled with a 9:47/mile pace. The course is difficult to say the least but pretty as it runs through UNC. This year I wasn’t exactly in better shape due to my injury but the 4 miler felt good! The course was awesome with a few hills and I came in with an official pace of 8:04/mile (missing 3rd place in my age group by 6 seconds!).

What an awesome way to start the weekend. 🙂