The Giant Race Half Marathon, 2011

Posted by Lauren

A few months ago I was dining at Tacolicious in the Marina with two sorority sisters, Suzie and Katie. We discussed signing up for the Giant Race and I tried to convince them not to fear their first half marathon. You can Fear the Beard, but it is silly to Fear the Half.

Suzie’s got her hand up in the air, Megan’s third from the left, and I’m wearing a gold sweater acting like a teapot!

Later that week, registration opened up and I immediately signed up. I forwarded the info along to two other AOII’s, Megan and Taylor. Unfortunately, Taylor was recovering from a skydiving accident so she didn’t think it was a good idea to sign up. (Thank goodness I didn’t break any bones when Kyle pushed me out of a plane!)

While Katie and Suzie decided to skip this half, Megan, however, signed up! Megan is my AOII friend who just got engaged (remember when we went bridesmaid dress shopping?) Well, she’s been training for this race for a while and we were both PUMPED to run!!

Friday Night Lights

Friday night at AT&T Park – aka home of the 2010 World Series Champs – aka the San Francisco GIANTS! – was Runners Night. The Giants took on the Houston Astros (boooo) and they won!

  1. A half hour before the game, Megan sent me a text informing me that her fiancée Paul scored two extra club level tickets. This was my first game at the club level and it was definitely an experience! I never knew they had memorabilia displays up there!
    Check out the bobbleheads throughout the year…
  2. …and lots of World Series gear!
  3. Dense fog coated the stadium all night.
  4. Yup, that’s what #winners look like.
  5. Megan + Paul convinced me to walk around the stadium. I’ve never been near the giant glove and coke bottle. Surprising, no?
  6. These were great seats! When I interned for PWC we sat one level lower, but the club level had a way nicer, enclosed, area full of the best smelling food!!! (see below haha)

  1. Megan + Paul split a gourmet baked potato. The baked potato bar had everything from chili to brisket to garlic butter to bacon to jalapenos to…. etc!
  2. The finished product. Oh sweet heavens.
  3. But me? I ate some oatmeal I prepared at work. HA! Oatmeal/oat bran + flax seed + banana slices + blueberries + Oikos greek yogurt. I also brought some pre-popped kettle corn for game snackage.

We walked around the stadium during the bottom of the 6th… it was chilly out!

Megan + me

Megan + her fiancée Paul :)

I owe these two for always being so accommodating and letting me stay in San Francisco with them! Thanks you two! You’re better than family ::cough::

The Giant Race

Friday night’s oatmeal was a great segue into Saturday morning’s oatmeal! I cooked up some oats, stirred in crunchy peanut butter (thanks for sharing, Paul!!) and drank some coffee brewed by Megan. Paul also lent me the awesome orange + white sweat band you see there so I could be a BO$$ on the course.

Paul drove us to the starting line and I just didn’t have enough time to go to the bathroom. Before the race started I already had to tinkle. Well, maybe this technique would make me go faster?

The start line was “powered by” PG&E, one of the official race sponsors, meaning everything  their solar cell generator powered it all. Nifty! A choir sang the National Anthem and 3… 2… 1… we were off!

Runners darted under the bay bridge, up the Embarcadero, and past the Ferry Building.

For the San Franciscans eager to get to the Ferry Building’s Farmer’s Market, it was basically a realistic game of Frogger!

Facts:
Above is the only hill of the race.
Before this hill I went to the bathroom.
I think it took me 43 seconds.
TMI?
Anyways.
I am terrible with hills.
I took it nice and slow.
What goes up must come down.
I rocked the long legs on the downhill to catch up with my pace.

More Facts:
I keep my camera app open on my phone while running.
I can easily snap pictures.
I saw this studly man below….

Me: OMFG Brian Wilson!!!
Me: “Will you take a picture?”
[not even waiting for his response] SNAP.
Me: “Oh, wait. It didn’t take. Sorry!”
SNAP.
Me: “Cool! Thank you!!”
The 1:40 pacers: “Was that the beard man?!”
Me: Yeah!
[Texting picture to Nicole and Kyle]
Other runners: “How cool!” “Did you get a picture?”
Me: “Yeah! Uploading to Facebook right now!!”
Me: Focus, Lauren. Where did those 1:40 pacers come from? Hurry your tookus up!

Best Mile 5 pick-me-up I could ask for :)

I reached the turn around point and was feeling good. In the background of that house you can just barely see a shape sticking up, that’s the Golden Gate Bridge. Good job with the fog, San Francisco. Not.

On my way back, Wilson had a significantly larger crowd.

The race culminated on the Giants’ field! Running on to the field was amazing, I just wanted to hide in the dugout and wait for Saturday evening’s game!

The Expo

After the exciting finish inside the park, I tried to catch my breath, drink some water, and take in the glory of the field.

Hey race volunteers, would you take my picture? The sweat band does a good job of making my ears stick out, doesn’t it?

On the field, San Franola Granola and Chobani treated runners to yogurt parfaits. I chose strawberry chobani with two helpings of granola (raisins, roasted/salted & unsalted almonds, flax seeds, wheat bran, whey protein powder, rolled oats, and other amazing stuff!)

San Franola is a health-minded granola company, specializing in a hand-crafted snack, presented in an iconic package, representing the most food enthusiastic city in the world.

I already ordered a bag of it online and I’ll share more info on these glorious clusters when the bag comes in the mail :) Seriously, amazing.

I followed signs up the stairs to the concourse, where there were more goodies to stockpile. Safeway sponsored the recovery food zone (apples, bananas, bagels), aptly named Safeway Finish Line Market. I picked up my goodie bag, t-shirt, and of course the coveted Timmy bobblehead!!

Continuing the walk through the park, I found myself in runners utopia. Clif Bars, Pop Chips, Snyder’s pretzels, fresh ground honey-roasted peanut butter, donuts, wine, gear… and the list goes on!

Paul and I kept our eyes peeled for Megan, who emerged smiling with her Timmy bobblehead in hand.

This race was amazing!!!!!! I can’t stress it enough.

Compared to Rock n’ Roll marathons, which are much more $$, this pricey race is one I will recommend 100%. On their Facebook page, a lot of runners gave negative feedback on the availability of medals (apparently they ran out of 5k medals so they were giving 5k finishers half marathon medals – but then the half-marathoners didn’t have any) as well as the traffic jam of the 5k finishers and half-marathoners in the last 2 miles. It looks like the organizers are taking the feedback, ordering more medals, and making notes for next year. Problem solved!

Thanks for signing up Megan, glad you had a fun race! Looking forward to many more!

BTW, my finish times keep switching around from gun time to tag time. I don’t really care what my official time is, but if I am top 3 in my age group, I hope I can get some swag from Athleta, another race sponsor. A week or so ago they sent an email out saying: “all women who finish top three in their age-group (1st – 3rd) will receive a special congrats from Athleta“… we shall see.

I am glad that I didn’t die out during the last 3 miles (like I sort of did at the Salinas Valley Half). I tried really hard to stay sub 1:40 and I am proud that I met my goal of the day.

The 1:40 pacers licked my heels from the hill at mile 5/Brian Wilson photog moment until the very finish. For the last three miles, I listened to one of my favorite bands, Play It By. Something about the electric guitar, Kyle’s voice, and the fact that I know everysingleword by heart puts me into a good running groove.

Giant Race, I loved you.

Question: Are you a baseball fan?

Question: What’s your favorite kind of granola? Any great recipes? Link away!

-Lauren

Comments (7)

  1. kristinerunningonhungry

    HELL YES! You killed that 1/2! I hope you were top 3. . . that is AWESOME!

    Um I am so, so, so jealous you got a picture with BWeezy! I contemplated it for a minute then kept going. . . major regret!

    Reply
  2. glitzglamgranola

    Omigosh this looks like such a great weekend! First the fun game on Friday night and then an awesome race on Saturday! It sounds like you did *AMAZING*! You should be so proud of yourself!! I hope you get something super cool from Athleta! And I’ll have to try that granola!! I actually have never made my own granola (somehow this seems wrong) but plan to make some of Julie (PB Fingers) recipes soon!

    Reply
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