Not So Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon San Francisco

My Life as a Runner > races > Not So Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon San Francisco
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A tad over 5,800 runners took up on the inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon after running the streets (and a bridge) of San Francisco on a cloudy Sunday morning. It was a classic San Francisco morning with a few drops of rain and fog over the Golden Gate Bridge. About 55°F. By the time I got to the Start area about 6:45 am, runners were already in the coral groups or in lines for a potty visit. I still wanted to check my bag in, so I walked over to Ghirardelli Square. Having dropped it off, on the jog over to the Start area, I heard the gun go off. I guess they started without an anthem or I totally missed it? I thought of visiting a toilet but there were still people lined up, so I just decided to hold and see what happens.

I had run San Jose Rock ‘n’ Roll Half before, so I knew what to expect. Local bands and cheerleaders. Banging and shouting loud, waking up the neighbors. They call it Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon for nothing. Spectators and funny signs were few. But I was fine with that. After a couple of miles, we past million-dollar homes of Marina and went into Presidio. I had guessed Marina well-to-do residents would not want any bands blasting music on a sleepy Sunday morning, so I thought this was where we started to see and hear music. We ran under a big inflated Rock ‘n’ Roll arch. I saw the first cheer group but still no music. I did see an Elvis but he wasn’t singing or playing the guitar… Maybe, they’d strategically position a band at the top of upcoming Presidio hill, so that runners could take their minds off from the agony of running up the hill? Huh, no bands there, either. 5 miles into the race, we were already on the bridge and all I heard there was the traffic noise and the wind. What did they call this race again? As I was approaching the end of the bridge, I finally started to hear some drum beat. The course took me under the bridge on a gravel trail around the base of vista point (btw, this is a super spectacular spot to see the bridge and the bay, up close with both), and the beat became louder. Up the hill again and there it was, a band… of three guys banging on some sort of drum. OK, I am sure the sound coming from the drum and the guys shouting had some sort of tune, and it was different from the sort of Journey or the theme song from Rocky. But I thought San Francisco offered much more interesting musical talent. I saw another Elvis at the very end of the bridge, directing and shouting ‘sharp corner coming up!’ Between there and Finish line, I saw two bands playing and that was it, as far as I can remember. I did not run for the music and I don’t follow local music scene or anything, but others might have been disappointed by the lack of rock ‘n’ roll in this race. Just sayin’.

Rock-n-roll half marathon San Francisco finisherMy time was 1:38:40 and my goal was to finish in 1:40:00. This gave me a hope for next Monday’s race and finish it in a decent time. BQ for my age group is 3:25:00. With my longest run so far this year being 15 miles, once, I’d be crazy to go for a BQ and I had not been planning on it. But could I beat it if I tried? As of today, I don’t have any new injuries and I don’t even feel sore from yesterday. Should I try and see what happen? Even if I shouldn’t, it would be hard to resist the temptation of getting a BQ. I only live once. The 10-day weather forecast shows pretty good running condition for next Monday.

  • Dan
    April 8, 2013

    That’s odd that a RNR race was lacking in bands. While they don’t always have the MOST rock bands on the course (that honor belongs to the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon), they always have SOME variety of bands making noise. I wonder if it’s the Bay Area music scene or if the organization slacked off on this inaugural year.

    Either way, it looks like you did well on your tune-up. Good luck with the marathon!

    • Koji Kawano
      April 9, 2013

      Possible that bands just didn’t show up or canceled at the last minute and the organizer could not get replacement. Thanks always for your comment!

  • imarunner2012
    April 9, 2013

    I’d go for the BQ, at Boston right?
    You probably know this, but resist the urge to go out fast. There is so much energy at the start of Boston that you can easily run the first mile a minute under you pace. You’d think the crowd would hold you back, but they are charging also. The energy can stay with you well into Framingham and by then you will have drained your batteries down to far to sustain the rest of the race.
    I’ve run it five times and the energy is always there. It feels like the most important race or even day in your life. Go for the BQ, but be smart.

    • Koji Kawano
      April 9, 2013

      Thanks, Andy. I totally agree with you. In my first Boston, I learned it hard way. This time, I am going to try contain myself and watch my pace.

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