My first race of the year was Bay to Breakers! I’ve wanted to run this race for awhile now, and I figured this would be a good year to do it, with me living in California and my sister living in Oakland. Since I’ve been in Los Angeles for business school these last (almost) two years, I haven’t been able to run regularly and my pace is now nowhere close to where it used to be. I miss running fast and can’t wait until I can start running regularly again!
I signed up for Bay to Breakers back in November after having run three races that month, determined to train better for this race. I, of course, couldn’t resist signing up for the inaugural Breakers Bonus 3k, making the race a 15k! I managed to work my way up a few up to 6-6.5 mile training runs and figured that it’d be sufficient for a 9.3 mile run.
Anyway, so I flew up to the Oakland Airport on Saturday morning, had lunch with my sister, and then took the BART to downtown San Francisco to pick up my race packet from the expo. I spent $18 to purchase a ride on the Express Downtown Shuttle to get from the finish back to the start, where I would be able to hop back on the BART to Oakland.
Morning: I didn’t sleep terribly well at the airbnb– no surprise, I usually don’t sleep very well the first night anywhere and especially not before a race! I woke up at 6am, got dressed, and ran to Starbucks. It ended up taking a little longer than I planned because I went the wrong way, lol. It’s hard figuring these things out before I have any caffeine in the morning! I had half a bagel, half a banana, and some Justin’s honey peanut butter for breakfast. It was probably around 7:20am and 54 degrees by the time I left the house. The temperature felt pretty good, but I was concerned it’d be windy and overcast in San Francisco, so I went with my tights and quarter-zip long-sleeved top. I ran the 0.8 miles to BART. From there, it was only a 10-15 minute ride to the Embarcadero stop. I was excited to see other runners in costumes (I know, I should have dressed up!) also on the train.
When I got off the train and got to the ground level, I was surprised to see that it was actually sunny! While slightly concerned about it being too warm, I couldn’t help but also feel somewhat pleased. I’ve been really lucky that it’s been sunny every time I’ve visited San Francisco!
Pre-race: I was assigned to Corral C, but decided to go to Corral D instead based on an estimated pace between 10:00 to 11:00-minute miles. Seconds after walking into the corral, I saw my first naked runner just standing there, waiting for people to take photos with him. I was expecting to see some naked runners at the race and it was just as awkward as I imagined, lol. I just avoided eye contact and quickly moved my way up. It was probably 5-10 minutes before 8:00am when I got to the corral, because shortly after, the announcer was getting the runners in Corral A riled up to start and tortillas started flying through the air. I was pelted 5x on the head with tortillas! The announcer split up each corral into 2 groups, so, according to my Garmin, it was 8:39AM when I finally started the race.
Miles 0-4: The start was slow. There were a lot of people and it took some weaving to actually run. I was aiming to maintain between a 10-11 minute/mile pace, but mostly going by how I felt. After the first mile, there’s a slight incline, but then when you get to mile 2, it gets really steep on Hayes Street Hill for about 2/3 of a mile (average grade of 5.5%, steepest grade 11%). I may have stopped 1-2 times to walk before deciding that I should try to run slowly. Along that street, there were lots of people that were dressed up having house parties.
There’s a short downhill after Hayes Street to finish off mile 3, followed by a small incline and minor changes in elevation during mile 4.
Miles 4.1-7: At the start of mile 4 was Golden Gate Park! I was pretty excited to get to the park– from there, it’s mostly downhill AND there are some cool sights. I’ve been to Golden Gate Park before, but it turns out there’s some cool stuff that I missed during my previous visits. At this point in the run, my pace actually had started to pick up and I was feeling pretty good, but I decided to stop to take pictures and refill my hand-held water bottle.
Conservatory of Flowers
Miles 7.1-9.3: Shortly after starting mile 7, the large windmill comes in sight. I regret not stopping to take a photo of it! The split for the 15k runners occurs probably around mile 7.4 when you hit the water– 12k to the right and Breakers Bonus to the left. From there, we ran along the ocean– it was sunny but a bit windy, with no trees or buildings to slow the wind. Whenever the wind would stop for a moment, I would feel too warm, but then the wind would blow again and it’d feel fine. Great ocean views though! There were a lot less runners and spectators at this point, and although I was keeping a decent pace, my feet were growing tired of hitting the pavement and I walked some in miles 8 and 9. The finish felt good– my watch says the last 0.34 miles were run at a 9:37 pace.
Post-race: I felt pretty good at the finish, although it didn’t take long to start feeling cold from the wind! After getting both of my medals, I managed to get some yogurt, flaxseed milk (not that good), and sparkling watermelon water before I gave up on the crowds and headed for the shuttle. Getting on the shuttle was a pretty easy process– they had lines of buses waiting to pick people up, so the wait wasn’t too long. There was some traffic getting downtown, so it was a 40 minute ride on the shuttle and then a short walk to BART. While waiting for the train, I saw a girl in a costume that was throwing up in a trash can while her boyfriend (in a matching costume) held her hair and comforted her. I’m going to guess they didn’t run, ha. It was almost noon by the time I emerged out of the 19th/Broadway BART station to meet with my sister for a post-race lunch at Montclair Egg Shop!
Since this is the first 15k I’ve raced, it’s technically a PR. Wohoo! I’ve indicated below when I stopped for pictures during my mile splits.
12:50 –> Hayes Street Hill
11:37 –> Conservatory of Flowers & water refill
9:41 –> waterfall
11:14 –> bison
10:37 –> ocean view
3:15 (0.34 miles)
Bay to Breakers + Breakers Bonus (15k)
May 20, 2018
Official time: 1:45:26