First organized race: Emerald Across the Bay 12k

I came in 924th out of 2711 runners, with a time of 1:05:08 (a 8:44 mile pace). I was shooting for an hour, and thought I could do it, but… I guess I’ll need to train more. Results are available at

This is the first visible step in my progress towards running the SF Marathon in July (and running it under 4 hours). Thanks to Haley for suggesting this as a New Year’s resolution. Also, thanks for flashing us. Very nice.

So, what would I have wanted to know beforehand?

Safety Pins
I forgot about safety pins until the night before and had to stop at Safeway on my way to the race. Easy to forget because pinning a bib to your shirt is not something you normally do.
I showed up at the shuttle pickup location wearing what I would run in, plus a sweatshirt. It was about 48 degrees (9 deg C). I would have been much more comfortable if I had worn sweatpants, and possibly even a jacket. This isn't the Marines, and I don't have to look like a hard ass anymore.
Bring your crap
Okay, this is going to vary from run to run, but for the Across the Bay 12k, I'd say go ahead and bring your backpack with stuff you will want after the race with you to the starting point. Obviously, don't bring valuables, but I was glad I had put my fanny pack with my car keys and some cash in with my sweatshirt. For Bay to Breakers, there's no sweat service, I can't say what's normal yet.
Push to the front
If you are going to run a respectable pace, and are starting with the commoners in the last wave because you don't have any time to qualify for a better start position, get to the front if you are going to start fast. I probably could have gained 2-3 minutes by starting at the front.
Tape those nipples
Actually, I knew this before hand. I think my 3rd Marines 10k tank top has blood stains from where my nipples were beforehand. This is especially important if you wear cotton. Cotton is evil. Moisture + cotton = sandpaper. Point being, it's hard to keep track of which shirts happen to hit you just right to leave you in pain, and no one is ever going to know you wear band-aids on your nipples when running more than about 5 miles. Unless you go an post to your blog about it. If you like, you can actually find specially made nipple protectors like NipGuards.
Next up will probably be Bay to Breakers, also a 12k, but I don’t know if I’ll break an hour with the hillier course. Bay to Breakers is a much larger run, I’m going to sign up, now that I have a time to give them, since I should be able to get into the second wave behind the actual competitive runners.