At the beginning of training my marathon goal was 4:30 and then I went on vacation and my training went to zilch and my goal became please baby Jesus let me finish this race. However I was thinking that I would be stoked if I could tackle the course in 5 hours.
AND BAM – 4:58:14!!! I am officially a marathoner!
I was fearful of the 6 hour cut off and being swept up by the bus. I mean it’s SF so there’s no bus like at the Brooklyn Half. San Francisco is basically “hey at these times we open the streets and start shutting down water stations and you may have to run on the sidewalks soooo there may still be a finish line up”. To be honest I don’t know which is worse… the bus sweeping you up or all that. Anyways, neither of those happened to me and I AM A MARATHONER!!!
Ok, let’s talk about the days leading up to the race. Nervous, check. Excited, check. What have I done feeling!!!, check. I focused on drinking water in the five days leading up to the race. I walked a lot and tried to just focus on being positive. On Saturday, I hydrated and worked on my playlist for the big day. The boy and I drank coffee and stayed in our PJs until pretty late in the day. I didn’t eat too much since my tummy was full of nerves and kind of upset. We headed into SF around 5:25 to meet up with my running buddy for a 6pm dinner at an Italian place and get our carbo loading on. I ate up there and had an amazing glass of red to tackle the nerves. My homegirl was sweet enough to let me crash in her hotel room since her sister had cancelled. I said goodbye to the boy and focused on just chilling with my girlfriend and getting ready for race day! Aghhh!
My plan was to enjoy the first six miles of the race and stay a steady pace while the crowd thinned out. At that point, along the Golden Gate Bridge, I figured I’d pop in my earbuds and start enjoying my playlist for a little boost. I figured there’s so much energy at the beginning of a race that I wouldn’t need the music and at mile 6 the music would give me a sort of second burst of energy. In addition, I was pretty concerned about my phone lasting the entire race since I felt like I would need my music at then end (which I did!) and finding family and friends post race. I also decided not to run my besty Strava since he’s a HUGE battery suck. It all worked out and my phone even last post race for some photos, uber, and facebook. This just makes me want a Garmin GPS watch more.
I decided to focus on running my half just like any other race. Once I hit thirteen, I would focus on three more miles and getting to sixteen. At that point, it would be all about two mile increments until I hit twenty miles! Once I hit twenty miles, I would start my backwards counting to the finish. For me, this worked out really well! I would have to say the only downside is that the course wasn’t super well marked. At certain times, there were no mile markers or only mile markers for the other races. SF Marathon runs a 5k, a first half, and a second half marathon and the full marathon all at the same time. Also some of the mile markers were in crappy spots. I mean, this is a far from magical mile marker placement.
Also this course was crazy hilly which I knew but I think I managed to run strategically. I think on a flatter course, I could have been a bit quicker but this just makes me feel like it’s even more of an achievement. This first half is filled with steep San Francisco hills and the bridge has an slight incline so that’s a bit tricky too. Miles 12-17 are in Golden Gate park and those are truly rolling hills which I wasn’t as prepared for but I did a pretty good job. However by mile 19/20 I had to include some walking on the hills since my body was definitely feeling it at that point. The last 6 miles of the course are flat – thank baby Jesus! Still by the time I hit the end, I doing a combination of walking and running. I did manage to run the last .6 miles strong and cross the finish line with a smile. It was warm and sunny and I didn’t even need my post marathon blanket. It should be noted San Francisco has been having unseasonable warm weather for the past week which freaked me out! Last Sunday was the hottest day with a high of 82! This is pretty much of unheard of for a SF summer. Luckily it had cooled down this week but even by 6:00am this Sunday it was 60 degrees.
Early Morning shot as I made my way to my corral.
I was rocking my shorts and tank top so I felt ready if the sun should pop out early. It wasn’t scheduled to come out until 11:00am right at the time I hoped to finish. Thankfully it stay pretty moderate, very little wind, and cloudy until about 10:45am.
Half way done. The runners for the second half are about to join us. I can’t figure out if this was a bonus or not. A second group of runners all full of energy and ready to go…I’m trying to just get by and they’re like woo hoo mile 3!
Running by Baker Beach and some Michael came on my playlist as I went up and down on all the little hills. This part of the race was super pretty and green which helped.
Mile 15! Just keep swimming, you’re almost to mile 16.
I kept telling myself that’s my walk from my office to the BART train, you got this.
Only about two miles to the finish line and Tupac’s “I get around” came on and I felt like ok, you can do this.
Longest 2 miles EVER!
BUT THEN YOU WALK AWAY A MARATHONER!
That’s all that I got for you, kids. This marathoner is taking the day off and recovering.
Maybe even getting a pedicure for my sad little feet.