AFC Half Marathon: Perfect Weather and a Few Hills

We’ve been excited to run our first San Diego race since we moved here several months ago, and the America’s Finest City half marathon yesterday morning didn’t disappoint! On Saturday afternoon, we headed to the AFC Fitness Expo held at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina to pick up our bib numbers and check out the vendors exhibiting.

We love a good race expo!
We love a good race expo!
Proud to be racing in San Diego!
Proud to be racing in San Diego!

There were lots of energy bars and drinks to sample, but ZICO Pure Premium Coconut Water proved extra generous by not only giving away entire bottles of their product, but also giving away whole cases following the race on Sunday. We were impressed! Between us we purchased GU Roctane Energy Gels to fuel us during the race and a SPIbelt to hold keys and other items to ensure our runs are hassle-free. 

Sunday morning came pretty early, even for two people who wake up by 4:30 a.m. most mornings to work out. We make sure to choose running apparel the night before a race, and arrange all necessary items (headphones, energy gels, bib numbers, timing chips, etc.) ahead of time, as well. There’s nothing more annoying than a.) searching for something when you’re half asleep, or b.) forgetting it altogether. Runners have pre-race rituals because they work. Our pre-half marathon breakfast was a bagel with a little cream cheese, coffee and water.

Clearly 4:45 a.m. on a Sunday is a fairly quiet time for downtown San Diego.
Clearly 4:45 a.m. on a Sunday is a fairly quiet time for downtown San Diego.

Though traffic was light heading toward the San Diego Zoo parking area (where buses picked us up and shuttled us to the start line near the Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma), it definitely took a solid 30 minutes to park once we exited the interstate. The start line was on Fort Rosecrans and provided beautiful views of both San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

About 8,000 people ran the half marathon this year!
About 8,000 people ran the half marathon this year!

The first couple of miles were fairly hilly and wound through the fort and into Point Loma. From there it flattened out and followed San Diego Bay and Harbor Island along the Embarcadero to the Star of India (the world’s oldest, active ship).

Around Mile 7, we decided to run on our own races, and G picked up his pace. Until this point, we’d never separated during a race we’d run together. It was something we talked about ahead of time, and it’s definitely important to know what your individual race potential is. (Stay tuned for an upcoming post on running with a partner vs. running alone.)

The course continued through a portion of downtown San Diego, and we both felt good until around Mile 10.5 when “The-Hill-That-Lasted-Forever” began. Honestly, Miles 11-13 were a steady uphill climb to Balboa Park that just wouldn’t end. Wow! Thankfully, the finish line was located on a downhill in front of the Hall of Champions, making it easier to sprint the final portion.

Before and after: We had a great time!
All smiles, before and after!

Despite the hilly finish, we had perfect weather and got to see a lot more of our city which makes us so happy! With just 8 weeks until the Long Beach International City Bank Marathon, we’re more focused than ever.

Have a great week!

GnC

3 thoughts on “AFC Half Marathon: Perfect Weather and a Few Hills

  1. Nice write-up! I got to the parking area at the zoo around 4:30 and there was no traffic. Didn’t realize they were giving out cases of ZICO, should have stuck around a little longer. Good luck with your training for Long Beach, haven’t run that one yet.

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