2010 San Francisco Half Marathon – Part II: Mission Accomplished!

Finally, it arrived! After meeting up for the pre-race pasta dinner with fellow runners at One Market the night before, I got to sleep early prior to the main event. My hotel near Union Square was great and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it as long as there’s a decent rate available (Hotel Monaco – a Kimpton).

I woke up around 3:30 AM (Pacific) and was more than ready to go, despite the fact that my wave didn’t start until 5:45! Although I had debated how to best get from my hotel to the starting line (about 2 miles away), I decided it would be best to get in a ‘warm up’ run and rely on my own two feet!

I arrived at the (still very dark) starting line around 5:00 ready to go. This gave me ample time to stretch, while enjoying views of the Bay Bridge illuminated in all its glory.

By around 5:20, I was locked and loaded into my wave (three) and awaiting the official start. Conditions could not have been more perfect approaching sunrise, with temps in the low 50’s – a far cry from 100 degree Carolina heat I’d been training in!

Very soon, we were off! The first several miles of the course were familiar to me (albeit without traffic) based on several recent work and personal trips to the Bay Area. We started on the Embarcadero near the Ferry Building and Bay Bridge. Proceeding towards Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf, we passed In-N-Out Burger (I forgot to return for my fix following the race so am noting that here)! Fort Mason soon beckoned with the first full view of the mighty Golden Gate. Heading into the Marina District and Crissy Field, the first hill of the course soon presented itself near Fort Point. With the magical Bay constantly in sight as motivation, I pressed on and soon was running on the road bed of the bridge herself. Though I had previously ventured into Marin County to Vista Point, there was something truly amazing to be crossing with thousands of fellow runners in the early morning, in lanes typically dedicated to traffic. This was running nirvana! I have never experienced better running…period.

After crossing the Golden Gate, we looped into Vista Point (an overlook of SF and the Bay) before venturing back across. Approaching mile 10, I really thought I was nearing the home stretch! Think again! Running into uncharted territory near Baker Beach, the last 3 miles presented challenge after challenge of unexpected hill work. Without a doubt, I lost several minutes on my time with one hill alone (just after crossing the GG). Nonetheless, I would not let a few hills ruin my first running event on the West Coast. I pressed on and very shortly found myself approaching the finish line at Golden Gate Park! Unbelievable.

Little did I know, as I crossed the finish line (still in the fog), I had set a new PR for the half marathon!!! What better place to do it? After a post-race carbo-load (including an added treat of Irish Coffee), I boarded the shuttle back to the Embarcadero and hung out while the full marathon finishers rolled in. What a great experience (less the travel issues getting there)!

I killed several hours after the race just taking in the day at the full finish line, then took the Muni to meet some friends for lunch (and wine) before taking Bart to SFO for my return red eye flight to the East Coast! Mission accomplished! Would I do it all over again? Hell yes!

8 Miles Down…2002 to Go!

I ran a quick 5 miler yesterday on New Year’s Day and a little over 3 today due to brutal Northwest winds accompanying an arctic air mass that moved into NC overnight! At least my pace is picking up (shaved about 30 seconds a mile off)!

I’m looking for a good mile countdown to show my progress as a widget…stay tuned!

Baltimore Half Marathon : Completed

Well, I finally did it!

I completed my second half marathon last weekend in Baltimore. This time (unlike the first) everything went incredibly smooth and without injury!

It could not have been a better weekend…

I flew up to BWI after work on Friday, then grabbed the Light Rail to Camden Yards. Once there, I picked up my race materials and checked in to the hotel. I then got some shrimp pasta (for fuel) at Tir Na Nog Irish Pub @ the Inner Harbor and hung out there for a while before heading back to the hotel for some shut eye.

On Saturday, I headed back to the Inner Harbor for the start of the run. The 13.1 mile journey started at 9:45 sharp. The temperature was about 60 degrees at race start. As for the course itself, there were definitely several hills so I was very happy with my finishing time of 1:57:06 – under my goal of < 2 hours.

The people of Baltimore, regardless of the neighborhood we were running through, were very supportive in cheering all runners on. On a personal note, I haven’t heard as many “Go Duke” cheers in quite a while (I was wearing my Duke running shirt). At any rate, the people of Baltimore were out in full force, providing everything from misting stations for cooling off to gummy bears for much needed fuel. It was great to see such a supportive crowd.

After the race, it was time to relax. I collected my finisher’s medal and recharged with some fluids before checking out of the hotel. I then hung out back at the Inner Harbor for the afternoon where I had a great lunch (crab cakes) at Phillips. They were amazing. Then it was off to BWI for the short flight home to RDU (42 minutes on SWA).

It’s amazing how much you can do in 24 hours!

Half Marathon – Second Attempt!

It’s official…
I’m now a couple of weeks into a training program for my second half marathon!
My goal is to finish this time in less than 2 hours, and hopefully run injury-free (as opposed to Kiawah – my last attempt).
I’m shooting for a late summer run and hoping for good early morning weather!

New Year's Resolution Run 5K

I started off 2008 with one of my resolutions being to run more in the new year.

So why not start off with a 5K on New Year’s Day? I did just that and actually didn’t did fairly well following a time when I hadn’t been running regularly!

The finishing times have been posted and my official time clocks in at 25:36 for a pace of 8:15. Like I said, I’m looking forward to many more running events in 2008.

‘Resolution Run’ Helps People Keep Resolutions @ nbc17.com

100 Mile Club

I know…the mile high club has a better ring to it! But, I logged my 100th running mile with my Nike + iPod this morning!

Since I’ve only been tracking miles this way for a few months, I would guess that I’ve probably tallied up close to 1000 miles since moving to NC (of course, I was *much* more active and had a faster pace before going to Grad school)!

My 100 Mile Certificate

Running Again!

It has been well over a month since I last ran (at Kiawah Island) on December 11.

Today, I finally got back at it after being cleared last week to run again.

I only ran a couple of hours at the Duke trail today but it does feel great to be back at it! More to come! The 60 degree weather today sure helped to get me motivated!

My First Half Marathon!

I successfully ran my first half marathon (13.1 miles) on Saturday, December 11 at Kiawah Island, SC! The temperature was in the 50’s during the run, about 25 miles southeast of Charleston (just north of the Georgia border).

My official time was 2:02:30, which put my rank at 859/1931. I had hoped to come in under 2 hours, but I had a really bad leg cramp around mile 10. I didn’t know if I would be able to keep running, but I pushed my way through it. Despite ending up with a sprained hamstring, I am glad that I completed the run and see it as a significant milestone for me personally.

Here is my “official” photo crossing the finish line!

One Month Til Kiawah

It is less than one month until the big half marathon at Kiawah Island (SC). I really need to get back to training. While I was in New Orleans last week, I managed to work out 4 out of 5 days during the week at the Hilton Riverside Fitness Club (awesome facility).

This week, however, I only ran once at the Duke Cross Country Trail, since I have been fighting a cold all week. It is still not gone, but I really need to hit the trails and get back in my routine.

I blame the 3 hours of leaf raking last Sunday for making me sick….yeah, that’s it! This weekend, the lawn will need to be mowed I think.