4 am alarm, still pitch dark. Too early to eat so we get ready and head out into deepest San Francisco for the race shuttle. We are staying right by Union Square. Surprisingly warm. There are far too many homeless people here, awful passing all these people sleeping on the street. We arrive at the Civic Center where a battalion of school buses await. Quite possibly the most efficient race shuttle system I have ever seen. We pull up at the drop off area on the edge of Golden Gate Park, still in the dark when we realize the ocean is RIGHT THERE. Wow. Waves!
We have VIP for this race so walk over to the Beach Chalet where we are warmly welcomed with heating, murals, breakfast and indoor plumbing. Gear check is easy. A very pleasant wait until shortly before the race starts. Suddenly the bathroom lines are very long so we get out just in time for the anthem and the official start. We enter corral 8 and I realize there's a huge windmill right beside us. Its fascinating watching the birds take off and land on the arms until we are at the start, ready to go.
6:40 is our go time, it's beginning to get lighter and to the left there is a gorgeous ocean view. Suddenly we turn right and find a bloody great hill. It's the gift that keeps on giving, it levels out then climbs, then levels, turns left and climbs some more. At the top the sun is just coming up in an orange ball through the mist.
Finally a glorious downhill! We shoot off but I have to stop at the bottom as there's an awesome cheer station courtesy of the Haight. Kev tucks a flower into his water bottle and off we go again.
The next section is pleasantly not uphill. But no, here's the King of the Hill, a timing mat indicates the start of the mile long hill challenge. There are great signs and incredible views all the way up, I just have to stop to take it in while Kev races to the top. Below us you can just see the waves breaking on a beach littered with driftwood and there's the bridge. There's a light haze but no famous fog.
Near the top there is another outstanding cheer station, chock full of energy. I would like to thank the SF November Project and in particular this young man and his nipples for coming out to support us.
Now we head down (then up) toward the big red bridge, just after mile 4. Once on the bridge we are tightly packed on the road, focus on passing walkers and keep on going.
|Seriously, only InknBurn can make my behind look not-awful|
Average pace is over 7 mins/km out and back (kms 7 to 12), it's just not possible to move faster - too congested. But who cares, the view is really something. Another stop is essential when we reach the turnaround at the north end of the bridge, now the sun is fully up. Would you just look at that?! We are diverted onto the pedestrian walkway for the return leg where the bridge workers high five us.
As we come down off the bridge it is getting significantly warmer. I can see Alcatraz off to our left. Now we are passing a park by the ocean, why did I not bring my hat? Oh right, because I didn't sew flowers on to it... This is a tough part, my knees hurt, my upper body hurts and I feel generally crappy. But oh look there's Alcatraz and the bridge behind us and the sun is shining. No, sorry, I still feel like arse.
Onward past the marina then we turn right at Fort Mason to head back into town. A hill, of course there's a hill. In San Fran the hills are truly special, they are bloody steep and seem to level out here and there for cross streets before abruptly climbing again. We pass people lining up for brunch. The bastards!
A left turn, a right turn, and suddenly some damn fine loud music, a disco ball and a gorgeous drag queen. This is my kind of cheer station! Is that the finish line up ahead?!
The RnR Finish Line is magnificent, I have great happiness and energy for about 5 mins. I thought I could sprint this part, but no. Not really.
|Trying not to fall on my face|
We are done right around the time the American Authors start playing in front of City Hall. We pick up the medals, some chocolate milk (Tru Moo - hurrah!) and water before heading over to the VIP area.
|Officially finished tour stop #1 of 2015|
|More tarts had to be fetched shortly after|
Final time 2:42 but worth a slower one for the chance to enjoy the stunning views and awesome cheer stations. I could not have pulled off a fast race today if my life had depended on it. Garmin reports 402m elevation gain. I report happy runners.