Tag Archives: Golden Gate Bridge

The other side of San Francisco

I had a blog topic all planned out for tonight, and it was a good one too, but then I had to go and scrape the back of my car into the back of another chick’s car while leaving Pilates, and now, well, my mind’s not exactly in the right place. So, tonight my friends a San Francisco photo story you shall get and a bucket of ice cream I shall get.

It wasn’t all about the blue box:

SF skyline.

It only took me 10 minutes to find my name WAY up there.

Route map at Niketown.

Triplets of Runnersville take on SF!

Pre-race wine, oh yes please!

Big, fat, lonely sea lion.

Bay Bridge.

Golden Gate Bridge.

Favourite running chicks enjoying a post-race Bay cruise.

Can’t go to San Francisco and NOT have California bad-boy wine.

Twilight at the Ferry Market.

And that was San Francisco. Thank you to my favourites for making a most beautiful, memorable trip.

The Tiffany Report

No one said the robins’ egg blue road would be an easy road. I knew there would be hills, massive hills; I knew I’d likely feel that familiar nausea at some point in my lungs; and  I knew I’d probably face the inner turmoil of whether or not to continue to run or cave in to an early walk break.

But I was NOT prepared for a run akin to trying to run through Metrotown – BC’s largest shopping mall, featuring the most ignorant shoppers who walk at a snail’s pace 5, 8, and 10 across blocking any which way around them or through them.

The early morning start.

Me and my running chicks.

This year’s NWM had 22,500 participants; 22,000 of who I swear were walkers. And these weren’t racing walkers, oh no, there was no walking etiquette with them whatsoever. They walked on the right, they walked on the left, they walked dead centre, and they walked 5, 8, and 10 across, some in multiple rows.

Can you imagine how difficult it was to try and race through that? (And yes, I did try!) My finish time was a walloping 23 minutes SLOWER than my fastest half marathon just five months ago, and I had close to an extra kilometre on my Garmin from all the weaving! Every split I had, was significantly slower than it should have been. My first 5 km was 5 minutes slower and my first 10 km was almost 10 minutes slower. Not cool.

I tried going fast, I really, really did, but there was no getting around these people. Most of them were Team in Training walkers (it was like running through a sea of purple) and so I tried not to get annoyed or frustrated with them in the beginning, I mean they were out there for a great cause and all, but after awhile, it was just bloody ridiculous. My body may or may not have barged squeezed through their ranks a few times.

One of the walkers actually yelled at us runners not to weave around them as we were climbing up one of the hills alongside a cliff that was quite narrow near the top. She said it was dangerous … apparently them coming to a dead stop to snap a picture of the Golden Gate with runners coming up behind them wasn’t dangerous at all though.

Speaking of hills, there were a lot! I tried counting, but lost count after like the sixth hill. There were big hills, long, winding hills, short, rolling hills, never-ending hills, hills, hills. At first I was doing great, running the entire length of them despite the walkers in front trying to circumvent my efforts. But by the time I reached the big hill at 14.5 km, I was feeling the evil nausea in my lungs and had started to hear the devil on my shoulder telling me to walk. I made it halfway up that hill, before caving in.

Even with the uncouth walkers and the disappointingly slow finish time however, this race had a factor in it, beyond Tiffany, that I know will have me going back for more. Its beauty. This was honestly the most beautiful race I have ever participated in. The scenery, from start to finish, was oh my god, jaw gaping  and oohs and ahhs escaping between the wheezing gasps of breath – especially at the top of those hills. We had optimal views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, and on one of the long descents, we were coming down around a corner and all of a sudden you were high above the beach with waves crashing below and the Golden Gate off in the distance. Beautiful.

The Golden Gate was featured quite prominently along the run.

When I saw the windmill in Golden Gate Park with just about 1 km left to go, the motivation fired up in my belly and despite the pukey feeling in my throat, I pushed hard, and by golly I finished that race with a glowing smile on my face … could have had something to do with the tuxedoed fireman handing me that coveted blue box 😀


  • 6:45 a.m. BG before: 10.3
  • Temp. basal: -50 per cent
  • Distance: 21.77 km
  • Average pace: 6:27 min/km 😦
  • Time: 2:23:33 😦
  • 10 a.m. BG after: 11.1
  • Temp. basal: +50 per cent (2 hours)

Next time, rather than race it, I’m running the half, and documenting the beauty around me, NOT racing it.

The necklace has the line ‘I run to be…’ What word would you insert after the ellipsis? 

San Francisco: stairway to heaven

The hills were unavoidable.

It didn’t matter how much I tried to block my eyes, avert my eyes, shut my eyes, in San Francisco, I was surrounded by hills. And not mole hills. Oh no, these suckers were straight up, stomach in your gut, oh my god, what I have I gotten myself into hills.

Lombard Street: One of the world’s crookedest streets featuring eight tight switchbacks, which were designed out of necessity as most vehicles in 1922 could not ascend the 27% grade!

On most occasions, I am not a fan of knowing the route of my races or even my long runs before heading out. I don’t want to know if I’ll be having to run rolling hills, or descend down stairway to heaven hills, I don’t want to know if one of my running partners has picked a route that I hate or a route that bores the hell out of me. When it comes to my running, I live in a world of ignorance where everything comes at me in surprise. And I like it that way!

Now, that being said, it probably wasn’t the wisest thing to book a trip to the city of an upcoming race – two weeks before said race! Especially if that city is San Francisco.

I knew when I signed up for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon that there would be hills. And I knew they would be significant hills. But it wasn’t until we drove into the city, and I saw those cable car hills (straight up, oh my god hills!) that it suddenly hit me. Oh freaking crud.

The stairs of Telegraph Hill: 800 steps of straight up stunning beauty, sculpted gardens, art-deco buildings, beautiful homes, and even wild parrots.

I love hills, we all know that, but these hills, I was sweating just looking at them. Seriously, I was on my tip toes just walking up them, I couldn’t even imagine having to run them, let alone descend them. I hate running downhill!

It was at this point, Mario suggested I go against my number one rule and actually look at the route, get a feel for what I’d soon be getting into. Thank heavens for smart husbands.

Mr. Smartypants.

One click of Google and my apprehension had been cured. The NWM half-marathon route shows NO cable car hills, and in fact, only two real hills to contend with. The first hill is between the 10 and 11 km mark and has an approximate maximum elevation of 290 feet. The second hill is between the 13 and 14 km mark and has a max elevation of 345 feet. I still have no idea how high that is, and quite frankly I don’t want to know … I can’t change all at once you know 😉

Further Google searching had me discovering this race route will also feature a beautiful, eclectic mix of urban, ocean and forest views AND a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge too. I love bridges!

Sooo, just wondering, is it normal to start belting out the Full House theme song every time you drive across the Golden Gate Bridge? Because that’s exactly what happened to me 😀

In one week, my friends, I will have completed a race I have dreamed of for more than a year now, and I will have received my Tiffany’s ‘finisher’s’ necklace, handed to me by a San Francisco firefighter. Oh yum.

Now what the heck was I being all trepidatious about anyway? 😀

And that completes my California Trip No. 1 backlog of blogs, which is a good thing given that I’ll be leaving for California Trip No. 2 this Thursday! Eeeeeeeeeee!!!