This photo shows Baker Beach where we ran to the 4-mile turnaround point and then to the Sand Stairs.
At the entrance to Baker Beach (left), you see this warning to explain how dangerous things are on the beach. Perhaps they should have had a sign like this at the start of the Sand Ladder - which was very hazardous to a person's health.
On the right, you can see my self-portrait showing the beach behind and a little portion of the Golden Gate Bridge. This training session was the last time that I would be running with a beard.
Running in the sand was really challenging. I experimented with running in the dry sand, and then running at the point where the waves have just come in. That turned out to be the best plan, but you had to ensure that you did not go too close to the ocean, because when the waves broke on shore, they came in fast and then the running shoes got heavy!
These sand ladder pictures give you a bit of an idea of how steep the slope is and how the steps never seem to end. Since I started my practice run at the 4-mile turn around point, I hit the sand ladder after only running for 1/2 mile. Plus, no hard swim or bike just before! Well, I started running up the stairs pulling with my right hand. I had my Heart Rate monitor on, and noticed that my HR jumped right up to 171 - which is too high for me on a run. So, at about the half-way point of the sand ladder, I switched to walking fast. But, my HR did not drop and stuck at 170. That was a very good lesson for me on race day, and I walked the actual ladder on race day. I was in a heavy pack of walkers, and the only option to pass was to go up the middle. But, the thought of trying to pass, going up the middle in deep sand was too much and I just stayed in the line and walked.
On the bottom left, you can see Chrissy Field where the run began and ended. On my run practice day, I took a little break and walked the area where the transition would be and to try and visualize where the finishing strip would be.
What did I learn from the Run Practice on D-4?
I learned that the sand ladder was wicked, and not to push myself too much on race day. After experimenting with where to run on the beach, I had a good feeling about how to pick out the optimum line. I also found out that, even though this run starts out and ends with a level portion, most of the run consists of up/down/up/down & beach. So, I knew that I should save some energy for the latter portions of this run.