Sunday, January 23, 2011

Race Recap: Waterfront 10-Mile Race

It's been a couple of years since I've run a 10-mile race (2009, 1:28:53), and since then I've become a stronger runner and a better racer. When I ran my first 10-mile race, I did it slowly and steadily because I set the finish line as my goal. Today, my goal was to run it as fast as my short, stubby little legs would let me.

Allow me to backtrack for a moment. I joined the San Francisco DSE Running Club at the beginning of this year. It wasn't so much a New Year's goal as it was me realizing that with how much I fork over for races, I should just join the club and hop in on some of their $3-for-members races. While the majority of their races are 5 and 10ks (and they happen almost every weekend, usually really close to my house, which kicks ass all on its own), they have a few 4.5-milers, a series of cross country and evening races, a 10-miler, a half marathon, and a 6-hour race. Race fees are never more than $8 for members depending on the distance, and not only is it a good way for me to save some moolah and run races close to home, hopefully I'll have the chance to meet some more runners in the area.

Earlier this morning I headed down to Ghirardelli Square to meet up with the DSE runners, taking in awesome views of some quintessential San Francisco sites from the Marina District. I don't spend a lot of time in this part of the city, but being over there lets me remember how beautiful this place is.

Ghirardelli Square
Sunrise from the Marina
Light on the Golden Gate BridgeAlcatraz
Hyde St. Pier, home of the Waterfront 10 Mile starting line
After a few hiccups getting course marshals along the route, the 10-mile race began a few minutes after 8a.m. Shortly after, a 5k was held for runners preferring that distance. The 10-mile route was a 5-mile out-and-back running along the Embarcadero, down around AT&T Park, into Potrero Hill, and back along the piers with a finish in Fisherman's Wharf. Luckily, this is probably the flattest stretch of the city. Unfortunately it was not a closed course, so we were on the sidewalk vying for space alongside tourists and residents also getting their exercise.

Waterfront 10-Mile Race Course
While this course was maybe not the most ideal simply because we were tripping over people not in the race (and I had two cars cut me off in an intersection, awesome), that is to be expected on an open course. The fact that the race ran alongside some of the best-known sites in San Francisco on a warm, sunny January morning can hardly be topped, either.

Mile 1 (7:49), Mile 2 (7:53), Mile 3 (7:55): Alcatraz, Pier 39, Ferry Building

I basically knew that as long as I finished this race with a good amount of effort, I'd have a hard time not setting a new PR in the distance. For that reason, I didn't watch my pace and I ran based on feel. I also took in as many of the area sites as I could -- it was such a clear, beautiful morning that it would have been a shame to lower my head and zone out.

Miles 4 (7:49), Mile 5 (7:52), Mile 6 (7:47), Mile 7 (7:53): Bay Bridge, AT&T Park

Looking back, these miles were a bit fast (for me). I think once I saw runners coming back around after the turnaround point, I wanted to hit the halfway mark to know I was on the last stretch of the race, too. As that sped me up, I never would have guessed that I managed seven sub-8:00 miles so far.

Miles 8 (8:07), Mile 9 (8:12), Mile 10 (7:52): Coit Tower, Fisherman's Wharf

This was where I started getting tired. From the point where we passed AT&T Park on the back portion of the course was where more people were out on the sidewalks and I had to do more dodging and weaving. I start passing a lot of people (who knows if they were in the race), but I also had a bunch of people begin to pass me (and who knows if they were in the race either). I actually started feeling a little defeated by all the people and slowed down considerably. Now that I see my splits, I realize these weren't as slow as they felt at the time.

And the best part about DSE races ... the finisher's ribbon!
Overall, I feel really good about this race and all day I've been debating the potential of maybe being able to attempt a 1:45 half marathon in the future. Hey, a girl can dream! One race at a time...

Time: 1:19:17 -- a 9:36 PR
Average Pace: 7:55 min/mile (7.6 mph)
Overall Place: 76 out of 187
Gender Place: 17 out of 88
Air Temp: 55F, sunny

1: 7:49 / 7.7 mph
2: 7:53 / 7.6 mph
3: 7:55 / 7.6 mph
4: 7:49 / 7.7 mph
5: 7:52 / 7.6 mph
6: 7:47 / 7.7 mph
7: 7:53 / 7.6 mph
8: 8:07 / 7.4 mph
9: 8:12 / 7.3 mph
10: 7:52 / 7.6 mph

And, since I realized last week that I'm late in starting my training for the Big Sur 21-Miler, I parked a mile from the starting line to get in a couple additional miles. (Or a warm up and cool down, since that's what good runners do, right?)

Warm-up mile: 8:57 / 6.7 mph
Cool-down mile: 9:03 / 6.5 mph


  1. I always love your pics. They remind me of my trip to SF, and who can forget a Ghirardelli sundae? Great race! You can totally run a 1:45 half. I know you can!

  2. Definitely looks like a 1:45 half marathon is on the cards, well done! I like that ribbon! Love that you ran "on feel"! I always do that. Have a good week!

  3. Awesome splits -- especially impressive for their consistency given that you were running on feel :-)

    Congrats on the PR!

  4. I hope you can appreciate how far your running has come since you moved to San Francisco. You’re hard work has paid off and I don’t see you slowing down any time soon.

    I expect to read about a sub 1:45 and then a sub 1:40 half marathon in 2011.

    All the best,


  5. Lovely pictures and great race (except for tripping over tourists that is).
    Big Sur is a lot of fun. Hopefully the weather will cooperate. I did it a couple of years ago and it was a blast.

  6. Great job! 2 PR's in 2 straight weekends!? Holy Awesomeness!

  7. congratulations on a great race! i have always wondered about the dse running group and just began inquiring about it.

  8. nice pace! and with that time, you have 1:45 for sure.

  9. Another great race! What an awesome way to see the sights around SF, especially on a sunny day. Have fun getting ready for Big Sur - lucky you!!

  10. Hey there! Sorry it took me a little while to get back to you about the 5K on Sunday. I've only done two really easy, really slow 2 mile runs since I started to recover from the I'm not entirely sure if I am up to a race yet.

    My current plan is to just play it by ear...if I wake up Sunday and think I can do a (super) slow for fun 5K, then I'll come over. Otherwise, I'll catch you at maybe Strawberry Hill and/or St. Patrick's Day.

    Good luck in your training!

  11. That Ghirardelli Square photo is really nice!

  12. Hey, good luck. Just to want to share to your some tips on how to be fit and how to make your stamina last longer.

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  13. Great job! Love the photos! One my my races in the future involves Big Sur, so I'm jealous you get to run one! Can't wait to hear about it! Good luck! :)