Race Recap: Kaiser Permanente 2015 San Francisco Half-Marathon

Kaiser Permanente 2015 San Francisco Half-Marathon| almost getting it together

The Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half-Marathon is held annually on Super Bowl Sunday. If I was into eating buffalo chicken dip and drinking beer and watching football, it would be a perfect way to at least balance out the junk the Super Bowl usually introduces into people’s bodies. I’m not into watching football but I am into the idea of running a race instead of my typical long run.

I’ve kept my fitness level at the point where I am running at least 12 miles one day a week for the past two years. I haven’t done any speed work or tempo runs since the beginning of October (and I have ran one race, the Nike Women’s San Francisco Half-Marathon, since then) so I didn’t expect to go out and get a PR… I thought at best I would run in the mid 1:50s.

Kaiser Permanente 2015 San Francisco Half-Marathon| almost getting it together

Laying it out for the Insta.

Sunday morning I woke up, made some oatmeal and coffee and headed out. I have been eating toast with peanut butter and banana pre-long run but I always eat oatmeal before a race so I thought it would be good to stick with what works. I add a little honey for added sugar on race days as well. The night before I always eat pizza and a salad.

pre race coffee and oatmeal | almost getting it together

Standard race breakfast: oatmeal, bananas, peanut butter and a little honey for added sugar.

I didn’t expect parking to be such an issue. I wanted to park by the finish line so I could leave things in my car and not worry about taking a shuttle back after the race. I was a little later than I wanted to be (is anyone surprised?) and the good parking on Ocean Beach was gone and I ended up parking at least a mile and a half from the finish line. I took a shuttle to the start then realized in panic I was at the end by all the strollers and walkers.

I nudged my way up towards the 8:00-8:59 minute mile corral and instantly ran into one of the women I run with a lot at the San Francisco Road Runners group runs, Rosemarie. She asked what I wanted to run and I said 1:50-something, as long as I was under two hours I was fine. I decided that I would just run with her and her friend and not go out and try to actually race. I’d never run a race with people before (I mean, I’ve started with my friends but not finished with them because one of us is faster than the other), I’d felt slow the past couple long runs I had done and I thought I would just rather enjoy it then push myself and be disappointed when I didn’t run a time I wanted (aka the 2014 Montour Trail Half-Marathon).

Kaiser Permanente 2015 San Francisco Half-Marathon| almost getting it together

I geek out near all bodies of water that involve the Pacific Ocean.

The course runs through Golden Gate Park, to Ocean Beach, 2.5 miles down the Great Highway and then back and finishes in Golden Gate Park. Mile one was a little slow weaving through people and it was around 9:25. By mile four I had finally started warming up and we settled into around an 8:35 pace.

The course really is flat. I didn’t think I believed people when they said it was flat, but it really is. I actually ran through the park on my own a few weekends ago when I skipped the group run. Did you know there are buffalo in Golden Gate Park?

Miles 7-12 are on the Great Highway, which is the western edge of the city along the Pacific Ocean. I thought it would be SO FUN to run by the ocean but you really can’t even see it because of the sand dunes and also running five miles on a high way is super boring. Everyone warned me it would be boring and I ignored them. Miles 7-9.5 literally felt like they would never end.

My feet randomly started hurting but I didn’t want to say it out loud and actualize the pain. I am running in Mizuno Wave Riders 18 but the shoelaces are super short. I bought A lace locks at Fleet Feet when I bought Gu but then realized I actually needed them for my Mizunos.

I ended up running a 1:57, which I can’t be disappointed in for running with friends and chatting the entire time. I think it’s a good reminder for me that not every race can be a PR, even if the past few (minus the epic failure that was Montour) have been.

Kaiser Permanente 2015 San Francisco Half-Marathon| almost getting it together

Post Race at Golden Gate Park.

This race was super well-organized. There wasn’t a race expo and they send you your bib which I honestly kind of liked. It’s nice to not have to plan your Friday or Saturday around picking up a race packet. I thought the shuttles to the start were efficient and even though it was a bit of a hike from that drop off to the start, it was fine. (It’s my own fault for not being any earlier.) Water and Gatorade were at great spots and they had both at most stops. They also have people telling you pace times at each mile which I really like. (This is also the first time I’ve ran a race without music for a while.)

I thought the food after the race was a little lackluster, if that’s something you look for in a race. They had bananas, milk and chocolate milk and weird twinkie-like things. I had a Picky Bar in my bag (rather than a protein shake, which I’ve been doing, after A reminded me of the importance of a 4:1 carbs to protein ratio after a hard workout) so I ate that as I drove home.

Kaiser Permanente 2015 San Francisco Half-Marathon| almost getting it together

Post-race (and post shower, obviously) photo with my medal since I didn’t take any actual race photos.

I then spent an hour texting back and forth with Kay trying to decide where we could find waffles in San Francisco (more difficult than you would expect) before finally settling on Straw. (Most waffle places here are like holes in the wall or coffee shops where all you do is order a waffle and brunch isn’t involved.) I proceeded to eat an entire waffle and a bunch of eggs.

straw sf san francisco | almost getting it together

Plates were cleaned.

Overall, I had a lot of fun and I’m glad I ran it. It was really nice to have a pressure-less race.

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to this race but all thoughts and opinions are my own!

Chat with me:
Do you have any upcoming races? Have you ever ran the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half-Marathon? What did you do for the Super Bowl?

26 comments on “Race Recap: Kaiser Permanente 2015 San Francisco Half-Marathon

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Susie @ SuzLyfe on February 3, 2015 6:57 am

The Chicago Half Marathon is touted as this amazing race where you get to “run on Lake Shore Drive towards the beautiful skyline and along the lake!” Well, guys, you are on a highway, and you can see neither the lake nor the skyline. So it is just boring. Oh, and that raise is terribly organized. And doesn’t end at a park with a windmill.
How di dyou find the one flat race in all of San Francisco???
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Heather @Fit n Cookies on February 3, 2015 7:17 am

What a beautiful race! I like the idea of sending you your bib, or at least having that option. It annoys me when I have to travel so far for a bib or plan a stay around expo hours.
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Sarah on February 3, 2015 8:06 am

That race course looks gorgeous! I’ve done a lot of races where I just run for fun. It takes away that pressure of running a PR every time which just isn’t realistic. I’m glad you enjoyed yourself!
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Kay @ Kay Bueno on February 3, 2015 9:52 am

Wow. That race is super pretty. Having biked down the great highway to the zoo, it pretty much always sucks to be on it. I need to do a race in Golden Gate eventually.
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Amanda @ queenofthelandoftwigsnberries on February 3, 2015 9:54 am

What a great accomplishment. I bet it didn’t hurt that your race was so gorgeous!
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Chris on February 3, 2015 9:54 am

Nice job! Sorry your run got boring a little bit. I think miles 0-0.01 and everything after are boring. Haha! I actually watched the Super Bowl at home because I had a billion things to do and I multitasked like a champ and got most of them done!
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Channing C. on February 3, 2015 9:57 am

I wish I could do something like this, but I’m so out of shape, and don’t go to the gym nearly enough as I should :(
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Marcia on February 3, 2015 10:21 am

Congrats Cassie! That looks like such a gorgeous course and wow–flat?!? I’m jelly of such a pretty day as we’re buried here under 3 feet of snow.

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Larissa on February 3, 2015 10:38 am

This sounds like a fun Sunday race! Way to just enjoy it rather than push yourself – I think sometimes that’s a good refresher. And still, your pace is killer in my book. :-)
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Ashley @ A Lady Goes West on February 3, 2015 11:54 am

Nice work on the run! I can’t believe you consistently do a long run even when not training for something. That’s impressive! And yes, the buffalo. How weird! Looks like you had a great brunch after your half though! :)
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Farrah on February 3, 2015 12:00 pm

The one and only half marathon I’ve ever run was also in SF! But it definitely wasn’t as flat. (That was probably my favorite stretch though because it was by the coast and super pretty! :] ) I miss the ocean! <3
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Michelle Kim on February 3, 2015 12:17 pm

I’ve run this one a few years ago, and yeah. That Great Highway part is no fun because everyone is just waiting for the turn around!
I go to school at SFSU, so I spent a lot of time running there :)
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Erin @ Her Heartland Soul on February 3, 2015 12:20 pm

What a beautiful place to run!
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Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine on February 3, 2015 1:24 pm

What an awesome FUN accomplishment! Way to go friend! XOXO
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Rachel on February 3, 2015 3:20 pm

Running with friends makes a world of difference. My first half I ran with my buddy and had a great time. Second half I was alone and despite having awesome tunes, I was lonely! Great time even if it wasn’t a PR. :) Good job!

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Melanie on February 3, 2015 3:28 pm

Your time still seems good to me considering you were chatting the whole time! :) I always have pizza as my pre-race dinner too! Congratulations on another successful race!
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Charlie on February 3, 2015 3:31 pm

Wow looks like fun race! I’d love to run in SF one day and fun over the bridge!!

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Lauren on February 3, 2015 4:35 pm

NIce recap that looks so pretty! Also waffles are an A+ post-race choice.
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Kaitlin on February 3, 2015 6:04 pm

This was my first half in SF and I really liked the course! Such pretty views and got to love that sunshine :)
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Ange @ Cowgirl Runs on February 3, 2015 6:52 pm

Sometimes it’s so nice to just run a race without a “plan”. I love the medal and great call on the waffles and eggs after. Refueling like a champ.
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Whitney Carney on February 4, 2015 8:31 am

I’m so glad you had a great race!! I can’t wait until my hand heals and I can start training again. I was hoping to do one this spring, but now it looks like it may have to be this summer. Maybe some day we will run a half together. That would be so fun! :)

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Kim on February 4, 2015 6:24 pm

I love those shorts! They look super cute and comfy!
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Nicole @ Foodie Loves Fitness on February 4, 2015 11:37 pm

Great job!! Always love me some waffles!

I had a low-key Super Bowl: I watched the game at home with my hubby and made us some yummy food – sweet potato nachos and green bean fries to be exact!
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Matt on February 10, 2015 8:25 pm

Congrats on the great race!

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Cassie on February 21, 2015 10:22 pm


[…] of research on brunch with friends (as Kay can attest to when we spent over an hour trying to find waffles in the city). I am always late on giving people gifts because I put way too much thought into it as well. […]

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