What an amazing experience!
On a beautiful Sunday morning we got up at 4am and were ready to run for Animal Place. We spent the night with the wonderful Roni. She taught us what Carbloading really was and served us cupcakes, caramels and Pumpkin Spice Soy Milk the night before, haha, that was incredible!! She also had us spend the night in her King Bed, so no wonder we were fully rested and excited for the race the next morning. Thanks to her we even had the chance to treat ourselves with an exceptional pre-run breakfast 🙂 Thank you, Roni!!!
At about 5:30am we headed towards San Francisco, found a parking spot in one of the super expensive parking lots (no surprise in SF) and got ready for the race. By the time we got there it was still dark but when we left the parking garage the sun was saying ‘Good Morning’. What a glorious day!
Our next stop was less spectacular, the bathroom. We waited there forever and also had to drop off our stuff at the gear check afterwards. At least we got to take some important photos while waiting in line to share with the entire world on instagram! Everyone was of course waiting for updates (at 6:45 in the morning, haha!) – not really I guess.
So, time flew by and it was almost start time (7am) when we arrived at the gear check. One lady told us she had been waiting TWENTY minutes. oh nooooo!!! Thankfully, the volunteers picked up speed in taking on the bags packed with clothing and after-race goodies, but we were still running late! Haha, this never had happened to me before!! The first (and most ambitious) runners had already crossed the start line while we were still on our way. So embarrassing. Gigglingly we arrived at the start and slipped through the fence. Yep, and there we were, running our half-marathon in San Francisco for the one and only Animal Place!! ❤
Thanks to the organizing team of the US Half we got to see some scenic pictures afterwards at least. So that’s what it looked like while we were rushing to the start, pretty neat, huh 😉
Also, here are some impressions from the start. If you look very closely, you might spot us slipping through the fence, haha!
I have to admit, I was a bit exhausted just from running to the start and I was worried I might have trouble with side stitches (I tend to have these all the time). Also, the first stretch of the half-marathon starts with a hilly part, yes, a small hill, but when you just ran like crazy and your body still is a bit cold, it’s not the healthiest way to start running 13.1 miles.
Anyway, we were lucky and made it over this hill and once we hit the road to Crissy Field I started smiling again. The main reason for that was my big love, the Golden Gate Bridge! I ran this bridge so many times, but I still love it and get really excited for it 🙂
The course followed all the way along Crissy Field, then, in order to get up to the bridge, we had to climb pretty tough hills, ugh! Why did we not do any hill training, argh! So it was bound to happen that we (mainly I) had to walk a bit, but hey, that way we got to enjoy the scenery, right?
Anyway, we made it up there, passed the Bridge Round House at the Vista Point right before we made our first step onto the lovely GGB 🙂 Isn’t she just gorgeous!!! So we crossed this wonderful piece of architecture and got to look at her from various angles: from the top, from underneath, from the east and from the west. Once back on the San Francisco side we had most of the hills behind us, and especially I was SO happy!! While running over the bridge, I thought of all the wonderful animals at Animal Place I was running for: all the hens I held in my arms in the past months or Susie, the first pig ever in my life I gave a belly rub, and the lovely turkeys gobbling from joy. But I also thought of all the wonderful people I met through this amazing organization, and our friends and family, they all were cheering for us, and I could feel my phone vibrating due to messages popping up on instagram, facebook and per text messages. It was just incredible!! But I also thought of all the exceptional supporters of Animal Place who donated to our cause and who made it possible to raise all this money to support their crucial work!! Amazing!! I even had a few tears in my eyes (I sometimes get really emotional when accomplishing amazing running goals, ha!). Thanks to all of you!!
Anyway, back to the run.
As we headed downhill from the bridge I listened to the coolest songs ever, of course, because this run was just awesome to begin with!!
The course took a little detour along the ocean towards Fort Point and back. Very scenic!
Well, since I get emotional easily on these kind of runs as pointed out earlier, I had another small congestion of tears in my eyes. I was so overwhelmed – again. But I also thought of our dog who waited for me at the finish line last year, but left us this year, sadly.
When we could spot the banner saying ‘finish’ I was just filled with happiness and joy! My husband and I crossed the finish line together holding our hands up high, so everyone could see our ‘Animal Place’ signs on our shirts.
We received these wonderful medals, too 🙂
As I said in my first sentence of this post, it was an amazing experience!! Not only the race, but also the fundraising with Animal Place! People who I never met before were inspired by our doing and wanted to support Animal Place by their donations. Together we raised almost $800 for Animal Place and I’m thrilled that we achieved this goal together!! Animal Place was incredible supportive, shared our fundraising page endlessly on all their social media outlets – we could not have done this without them, that’s for sure!!
If you wish to donate to Animal Place, there’s still time to do so on our page: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/simonehasenbein/ushalfmarathon
Everyone who donates will be entered into a drawing to win a box donated by VeganCuts! 🙂
If you ever want to accomplish a similar goal like this, I can just say: DO FUNDRAISING!!! Support an organization that you believe in and that has a very special place in your heart, as Animal Place has for me. That’s the best motivation ever! Why don’t you just sign up for a race right now, and start fundraising! For Animal Place!! Of course!!!