Recently over the summer I went on a trip to San Francisco to run the trails there and more importantly, run a 12k across the Golden Gate Bridge.
The days leading up to the race I decided to take on the Dipsea trail (highly recommend) with my cousin. For those of you who don’t know what the Dipsea trail is, it is about a 7.5 mile trail that leads from Mill Valley to Stinson beach and has an annual race every year. The trail is absolutely beautiful but very difficult I must say and I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
The trail starts with three flights of stairs and trust me it was a lot, but what was cute was that past Dipsea trail runners have marked the steps with plaques of their accomplishments of “defeating the trail.” So I channeled my inner Rocky and took my time running up those stairs. The rest of the trail is woods and tall trees with open meadows and lookouts. You are literally running over a mountain so the first half of the trail is all uphill and the steepest part is called “Cardiac Hill” in which the name matches the toughness of the hill. After a quick stop to look at the view we descended down and followed my cousin’s mantra of “run on the flats and fly on the downhill.” When we got to Stinson beach we turned to look at what we had accomplished and it was very rewarding, so I celebrated with my melted KIND bar and stretched listening to Michael Jackson.
After many days of sightseeing and being your typical tourists I went to bed ready to wake up at 6 am to run across the famed Golden Gate bridge. After my alarm went off I quickly got ready and reluctantly put on a long-sleeve shirt because everyone warned me that it would be cold and windy on the bridge. I grabbed some blueberry waffles and headed off to the race shuttle in Sausalito.
I don’t know about any of you but showing up to a race by yourself when you have no idea what is going on is very hard. I struggled to find the starting line and ended up going into the wrong group at the starting line but either way I was ready.
After the horn went off we started going downhill and running along the beach working our way to the winding hill that led up to the bridge. The hill felt like forever but I focused on hanging onto the person in front of me to mentally push myself up the hill. When we reached the top I realized how high the Golden Gate bridge is and felt the wind rushing through my hair but I swallowed my fear and ran onto the bridge.
Side note: They don’t close the bridge for the race so thousands of runners were running on the pedestrian side of the Golden Gate bridge.
Running across the bridge was amazing! The view and the perfectly blue water around us was so mesmerizing that of course I stopped on the side to take a quick selfie ;). But being the newbie that I was I didn’t realize how long the bridge was (1.7 miles long) and that it has a slight uphill before descending at the end. As I reached the end of the bridge I smiled for the race photographer and set off to finish the remaining 3 miles along the beach. As I made my way along the beach I felt the sun beating down and regretted wearing a long sleeve shirt when it was 75 degrees out!
Finish line in sight, I sprinted to the end as they called out my bib number and paused my watch. 58:45! a new PR! I guess something about the bridge made me run a little faster??? I walked to the food area and grabbed my swag bag with tons of food and my finishers medal. This race and the course was amazing so I recommend it if you are looking to run a 12k in San Francisco.
After the race, there was a bakery that I had been meaning to go to in San Francisco called Mr Holmes Bakehouse. Home to the famous Cruffin (croissant and muffin combined with yummy filling) and tons of really good pastries. I finished a 12k so why not go celebrate with donuts??? It is also really cute in there and Instagram worthy so be sure to stop there if you are in San Francisco.
What I learned from running this race and the trails in San Francisco is that if you need to shake up your workout or want to try something new, sign up for a race in another state (or country why not?!) and explore the area while you are there.