“2nd half marathon? What does that mean,” you may be asking.
Well, you could choose to run the full or the half (not unlike other races) – but when choosing to run the half, you could pick between the 1st half and the 2nd half. Interesting, right? I was intrigued. I imagine a good amount of extra planning goes into this event with two separate start and finish lines, but it’s a great way to encourage people to repeat this race. They have all sorts of programs to encourage repeaters – The “Half if All Challenge” (1st and 2nd half marathons (in either order) on consecutive years), the “52 Club” (for people who’ve done 52.4 miles over 3 years – both halves followed by the full), and more. Smart, SF Marathon. Smart.
I chose the 2nd half because there was a more relaxed time limit, and I heard the 2nd half’s course was less difficult. (What a lazy sentence I just wrote, huh?) I loved the 2nd half. (And I would love to rock the 1st half next year.)
I started the morning by rolling off of the Greyhound bus around 5am. I freshened up a little in the Greyhound station’s bathroom, then made my way to the race.
I have a couple of rotating outfits that I like to run in, but I’ve been getting less persnickety about the whole thing as the year goes on. Right before leaving my apartment for San Fran, I just grabbed the last clean outfit I had and thought, “this’ll do.”
Conveniently, the start line/shuttle bus stop to the 2nd half was only blocks away from the Greyhound station. I walked on down, picked up my bib, and got on the shuttle bus. (There was a shuttle that took you from the start of the race to the start of the 2nd half.)
While sitting on the shuttle, I overheard a number of interesting conversations. I heard a woman say that she hadn’t done a full marathon in years and wasn’t sure if she could do another one or not at this point. Of course, I piped up. “Whoever just said they donʼt know if they could now or not – you could. You can do anything if you believe you can.” Iʼm so obnoxious, right? But she looked at me and smiled. Everyone around us smiled, and we all became friends. So, it was all good.
There was this super cool man on the bus named Dana who had a hilarious story about being an “ultra-half-marathoner,” which was his best way to succinctly explain getting totally lost on the course and doing extra miles. He also was talking about training for a Half Ironman! I was happy to have him perking us all up and brightening out mornings.
Once the bus got to the start of the 2nd half, we had a good amount of time to kill before we all started. Little groups formed around standing heaters. I met some people doing their first race, and some people who race all the time. I met someone from London who had flown all the way to California for this race! (It was her birthday celebration.)
I felt a bit bad, because I love meeting new people, but I’m pretty sure I was not giving off quite as much energy and love as I like to. At some points I was basically falling asleep standing up with my eyes open. (However, I knew once the race started, I’d be into it. Of course, that doesn’t help the new friends I met by the heaters… Oh well.)
Eventually, some full marathoners started passing by, and we lined up in our corrals. Before you know it, we were off!
I love San Francisco, and I love the runners there. You know how I’m always talking about my dance running and dance walking? Tons of people do it here! I saw lots of people jamming out as they ran by. I used to feel kind of foolish, thinking I probably looked like an idiot when I was rocking out, but everyone looked cool. We all knew what they were doing. It wasn’t odd or out of place. They just looked comfortable in being silly and they looked like they were having loads of fun. Power to you, dance runners!
And this is where I’ll pick up tomorrow.