What’s the one thing that a blogger should NEVER forget when travelling? Well, it’s the one, and ONLY thing I left at home on accident. My Aircard, meaning I had no internet in the hotel while I was in San Francisco this past weekend. Yes, I could have paid the ridiculously high fee to get internet, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
So let’s recap a great long weekend, shall we? I took Friday through Tuesday off of work to travel to San Francisco with my mom for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon. On Friday I caught up on errands around the house, packed, and the headed to my parents house for dinner and to spend the night. We got up bright and early on Saturday for our flight which was relatively painless. We arrived in San Francisco around 1pm and took a shuttle to the hotel which was near Union Square. Yes, it’s far more expensive to stay in that area, but we wanted to be near the start of the race on Sunday morning.
We immediately headed to pick up our race packets, hoping it would be a quick process. So WRONG. The line looped around union square twice and took almost 2 hours. When I did this race in 2009, we picked up our packets on Friday, it took only minutes. If I have the chance to do this race again in the future, I’m coming in on Friday just to beat the last minute crowds.
After picking up the packets, we went straight to dinner, which also took a few hours. Obviously this was to be expected since there were 25,000 runners in town that night. We ate at Cheesecake Factory and it was delicious, well worth the wait.
After dinner we decided to wander around town a bit, it was gorgeous evening.
The weather was fantastic over the weekend, perfect for the race. In fact, I was bummed to go home since our weather is still in the 90’s. I wish the fall weather would get here already.
We called it an early night and headed back to the hotel fairly early. Turns out we were also in for a show. When we got back to the hotel, I noticed they were setting up some sort of stage on the street outside our hotel window. I thought it might be for the race, but turns out they were hosting a free street dance show.
The show featured all types of dancers and a live band. It was really fun to watch from the comfort of our room and went on for about 3 hours.
On Sunday morning we woke up about 5:15 am after getting pretty much NO sleep. I’m not sure if it was the nerves/excitement about the race, or the caffeinated tea we drank late that night (we thought it was decaf), but we had trouble getting much sleep. I think in all, we probably got about 3-4 broken hours.
It didn’t matter much, the excitement woke me up, and we made our way to the starting line. Whereas the packet pick up was a mess (Nike – please mail them next year!), the starting line was great. Crowded, yes…but organized and easy to navigate.
I love the feeling at the start of this race. There’s something really cool about dancing and cheering with 25,000 other women while we all warm up to run together. Lots of fun.
I didn’t take a lot of pictures during the race it’s self since I only had my phone. The weather was PERFECT, cool and even misty at times.
Mile 6 – (not the only) but the longest gradual uphill of the race.
My mom rocked the race and I am so incredibly proud of her. It was such an honor to be part of her first half marathon experience.
We finished around 3:30 and collected our Tiffany necklaces from the hot firemen. Which, let’s be honest, is why we do this race (oh yes, and raising money for an amazing cause). We wandered the finish line expo a bit but quickly made our way to the bus line to get back to the hotel. The bus line wait was LONG, and it felt longer because standing in line after going 13 miles is the last thing you want to do. Probably the most painful part of the journey is standing in that damn line. I found it funny that they had three food stands set up along the line which might give you an idea of how long it actually was.
We finally made our way back to the hotel and showered/ice bathed and decided a celebratory dinner was in order. (DUH!) I used Google walking directions to my favorite SF restaurant, Bistro Boudin Cafe, and we set off. I wish I had take a picture of the route I directed us to. I’m certain I found the tallest/steepest hill to walk up in San Francisco. Seriously, people were actually giving us words of encouragement as we climbed that sucker. It was worse than the race. I will NEVER live that down with my mom, I should never be allowed to direct us again after that one.
We finally made it to the restaurant and ate the BEST dinner EVER while overlooking the harbor.
We shared a shrimp cocktail (their cocktail sauce is made with horseradish and absolutely delicious) and sourdough bread. Then we split a crab Mac & Cheese, and an amazing Cobb salad.
And because we could no longer walk any further due to that blasted hill on the way to dinner, we took the trolley home.
There was a quick stop for a sweet treat on the way home, and an early evening to catch up on the sleep we missed the night before.
Monday was our last day in San Francisco and it started out with a text from Southwest telling me our flight was delayed a few hours. They later changed our flight time 4 more times, but at least we had more time to explore the city. So we took the 1 mile walk down to the wharf to check out the Ferry Building.
I’ve always wanted to go to the Ferry Building, but never had a chance until this trip.
I loved every gourmet second. We got there just as they were opening so it wasn’t too busy. I picked up some of the coolest snacks; including Coconut Jam(!), Dark Chocolate Sauce, a Coconut Chocolate Bar, and finally had a chance to try the famed Blue Bottle Coffee.
Cafe Mocha – delicious.
I also picked up some sweets to eat back at the hotel after lunch. Lunch was a chili sourdough bowl at Boudins, then we tried French macaroons that I bought that morning.
Oh, yeah, and a Gingerbread Cupcake. Absolutely scrumptious.
Shortly after we headed to the airport, while standing in another long line (a theme for the weekend) at the check in counter, Southwest moved our flight an hour earlier. They had to move us to the front of the line and push us through security just so we could make it to our gate in time to…you guessed it…stand in another line since the plane hadn’t actually boarded.
Overall it was a GREAT weekend with my mom and I can’t wait to do it all again. In fact, if we don’t get into the Nike race next October, we’re planning a girls weekend to Santa Barbara. I’m counting the days.
…and for those keeping score, this means I can cross off two items from my 30 in 30 list. I’ve done 1 of 3 half marathons (I have another schedule in January and the 3rd in April),and spent a girls weekend with my mom in San Francisco.
If you made it all the way to the end you get a gold star…this was a long one. Thanks!