Race: Kaiser Permanente SF Half Marathon
Date & Time: Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014 @ 8:00 a.m.
Where: San Francisco, CA
– Course map
– The course starts in Golden Gate Park and heads east for an out-and-back on the Panhandle. Then it comes back through GGP, and finishes along the ocean with a 6 mile out-and-back along the Great Highway.
– The course is unusual in that it’s not a closed loop – the start and finish are ~ 2.5 miles apart, which allows for a net elevation loss. (I’ve heard the net loss is ~100-150′.) Besides that downhill, it’s fairly flat with some small undulations in the first half — basically, it’s a PR-friendly course.
– From everything that I’ve read and heard, the first half of the course is beautiful but can be crowded, while the 2nd half is be brutal mentally, if not physically. Even though it’s flat, the last 6 miles cover a straight stretch of seemingly never-ending out-and-back, which will be a huge mental challenge, especially since it’s at the end of the race.
– I’ve heard it’s easy to go out too fast on this course. Good thing to keep in mind on race day.
– AEW warned me that the pavement on the Great Highway was quite uneven when she ran the race in 2012, and suggested that I wear more cushioned, protective shoes. Anyone else have feelings/thoughts on this?
– Worth noting because this can really make or break the PR-ability of this race. For now (Wednesday night), the forecast is high of 55/ low of 38F. Cloudy, with rain and drizzle possible (30% probability). Winds at 3-6 MPH. Pretty ideal!
For the 4th (road) half marathon in a row, my goal will be to go sub-2 hours. (You can see my half marathon progression here.) Based on my Foster City 10-miler time from 3 weeks ago, the McMillan Calculator thinks I should be able to run a half marathon in 1:57:17. I don’t usually put a lot of faith in those calculators, but I would certainly love to solidly go under 2 hours. We shall see!
– As with the Foster City race, I plan on running with my Garmin covered. Don’t mess with success!
– Try to pace an even/negative split.
As I mentioned above, this will be my 4th attempt at breaking 2 hours. The major difference this time around is that I feel way more confident. Having completed many more race-specific speed and tempo workouts, in addition to running a great race at Foster City 3 weeks ago, has made me feel more comfortable with the idea of holding race pace for 13.1 miles. In contrast, I was very freaked out and anxious at the very same thought for the previous half marathons, and just hoped that “race day magic” would carry me through. I don’t want to jinx myself, but I feel fairly confident that I’ll break 2 hours on Sunday, barring anything crazy happening on race day — which of course is always possible.
Anyway, I’m excited to race on Sunday! Will I see any of you there? Also, if you’ve run this race before — any tips or advice?