Monday, July 27, 2009


The San Francisco 1st Half Half Marathon was a lot of fun. Terry, Mike, Carol and I ran together the entire way. The goal was to take it easy, enjoy the view, and have fun. And that's what we did. Our 2:22:09 finish time reflects that.

The trip up to SF was full of mishaps. The flight was initially delayed over an hour and then unexpectedly moved up nearly 30 minutes so we almost missed the last call to board. Once on board, we had to sit on the tarmac for 30 minutes due to delays in SFO. We finally took off and then when we hit SFO airspace we had to circle for an additional 30 minutes before we could land. On the ground the luggage carousel went on the fritz causing delays in getting our bags. Luckily the trip on BART was uneventful; dropping us off within 2 blocks of our hotel.

Mark Twain's immortal quote about the warmest winter he ever spent was a summer in San Francisco is so true. What a shock to the system to go from our 90+ days in LA to SF highs in the 60's. It was hard to believe that it was summer. During the day the weather was actually very nice, but the wind kicked up periodically making it seem colder than it was.

Race morning was cool; ideal conditions for the race. At the starting line at Mission and Embarcadero the sky was calm and clear. Terry had convinced me to wear both a short and long sleeve shirt. The long sleeve could just be tied around my waist if the day warmed up. Our wave, #4, started just before 6:00 a.m. We expected to be done long before the day began to warm up which was usually well after 10:00 when the sun finally burnt through the fog. After spending a couple of chilling evenings in SF, Mike convinced me that I should also wear my jacket. He thought it would be really windy and cold on the bridge. The jacket ended up tied around my waist before the race even started. The long sleeve stayed on the entire route. I could probably could have done without, but since I had it I wore it.

Race conditions were wonderful on the city. Running over the Golden Gate Bridge was a real treat. As is often the case the bridge was shrouded in fog. From afar only the bottom of the bridge was visible. On the bridge we could see about half way up. As we went out over the bridge the fog grew thicker and thicker. Our clothes got increasing wet. Once we turned around on the other side and started the return trip, it was so foggy you couldn't even see the bridge from a distance. The fog made the metal expansion joints very slippery so you had to be very careful. Back on the mainland, the fog dissipated and we continued on in ideal conditions.

Mike was our timer and we used a 5:15/0:45 run:walk ratio. The last 4 miles of the half were rolling hills. Terry and I kept pulling away on the ways. We had to be very diligent in holding ourselves back to Mike and Carol's pace. After mile 12 we had a really hard time staying back, but we ended up all crossing the finish line together. Our pace was a leisurely 10:51/mile. Overall the race is a well run event. There is a wave start with nearly an hour from the first wave to the last. The waves are necessary to control the flow of traffic over and back on the Golden Gate since the runners only get half the bridge. Congestion is already noticeable on the bridge with the wave start, without it the whole race would come to a virtual halt on the bridge.

This was our first trip to San Francisco and the city was everything we expected - fun, funky, alive. The city is very walkable and there is more to do than can be crammed into a weekend trip. So we stuck to the usual tourist things - rode the cable cars, walked Fisherman's Wharf from Pier 54 to 39, had clam chowder in a bread bowl, saw the seals at Pier 39, rode the #3 bus and the F trolley, Lombard Street, the Painted Ladies at Alamo Park and ate some good food. Some of the best food was the pre-race pasta we had at Ristorante Umbria - the food was to die for and service superb. After the race we enjoyed a great casual lunch at the quirky atmosphere of the Grove Cafe in the Marina District.

BART and Jet Blue got a safely and efficiently back home to some real summer weather back in Covina. I went for a 5 mile walk in Bonelli in the late afternoon. The same wind that made the 60 degree temps miserable in San Francisco, made the 90 degree temps tolerable in here.

I ended Week 8 with 4 days running & 37.1 miles on a schedule that called for 5 and 41. Back at it tomorrow.


Bob - said...

Nice run Darrell , was in SF for the first time last month...awesome place to visit!!

Wes said...

I love San Fran. There's this little restaurant down on the pier, Scomas. It's to die for. Dee Dee and I were there over a fourth of July weekend, and I ended up buying sweat shirts. LOL... Very cool place (pun intended) to have a race this time of year ;-)

Sarah said...

Yep, you can always spot the tourists in SF during the summer. They're the ones wearing shorts. That weather sounds nice right now! 100's here in Portland. : P

Jean said...

Great job, Darrell! Glad to hear you had a nice race and such a great time in San Francisco. Sounds like it was fantastic. And the menu at Ristorante Umbria looks phenomenal! :)

Joe said...

Great report, Darrell. Sounds like a lot of fun. The type of race you can use. A hoot you talked to Bart Yasso. That is cool. I'm looking forward to hearing more. I like the unconventional R/W ratio as well. Looks like it worked fine for you.

Fog and cool in July, eh?? Hard for this midwestern boy to imagine but I know it is true. All those night games with the Cubs vs the Giants have taught me :-)

I'm so thrilled your running is getting back to your normal. Six weeks now, dude!!