Wednesday, July 29, 2009

SF Marathon Part Deux

I see Lisa already posted, but I have to throw my two cents in. . .

I had a truly great time. I also PR'd. Of course it was my first half as a runner, so it was a given - unless I suffered a total meltdown.

During the first 5 miles of the course, I made a strange observation. Everyone was silent. There I was running down the road surrounded by lots of other runners and it was dead silent - no conversation, no laughing, nothing. I wondered if this was typical for the start of a race.

While training, I ran all of my long runs by myself, so I found it humorous to hear all the Garmins from other Run/Walkers going off around me. I often had to hold my wrist up to my ear to check if it was my Garmin beeping. It was quite entertaining.

I was lucky enough to have an once in a lifetime experience while on the course. At one point, the course made a left turn onto a street that had metro tracks running down the middle. I saw the runners ahead of me make the turn after crossing the tracks, as you would in a car. Just as I was approaching the tracks, a race official directed me to turn before crossing the tracks. This put me on the wrong side of the road with no one in front of me. I got to feel what it is like to be in front (that is if I didn't look at the runners on the other side of the tracks). I savored the moment until I was eventually passed. I might spend the rest of my running life as a back-of-the-packer, but for about a tenth of a mile I tasted greatness.

I was so pleased with my finishing time of 2:47:51. It's a great place to start. Next up . . . the Dean Karnazes Silicon Valley Marathon half in October.
I only have one complaint about the entire event. I didn't get a banana! I was hungry toward the end of the race and spent the last 2 miles imagining how much I was going to enjoy that post-race banana that I love so much. After crossing the finishing line, I declined water and had little interest in the heat sheet or even the finishing medal. I looked and looked, but no banana. I watched with disappointment as other runners eat bananas, unknowingly taunting me. I had fallen from running god to outcast in a matter of miles. Well - that's Square Peg Running for ya.


SF marathon

Lara is working on episodes two and three.  We hope to be caught up soon so we can start sharing our blog/podcast links! This past weekend was the SF marathon.  It was my first large event with over 20,000 participants across the various races.  I was short of a PR by just a few minutes due to one stop and those SF hills but I had a wonderful time, which is what counts.

We headed down to SF on Saturday to attend the expo.  It was a runner's paradise of free samples and all the products you could and couldn't imagine.  I had to restrain myself from buying things but it was a great opportunity to check out what is out there!  We were lucky enough to hear Denise Austin speak a bit on nutrition followed by a talk by Dean Karnazes.  It was great to hear his inspirational stories and to my relief I discovered I am nowhere near as "enthusiastic" as some of his fans! I will no longer worry about following some of his races and snapping a few pictures here and there.  The expo was followed by the runner's pasta dinner.  I had been looking forward to meeting other participants in the race but mostly people just ate and left.  It was though a good carbo load and part of the entire race experience.

It was hard to sleep the night before the race.  We had to catch an early bus from near the hotel to get to the starting line of the second half of the marathon.  We learned (fortunately the easy way) to make that bathroom stop as soon as you arrive because soon the line was endless!  It was cold and misty in Golden Gate Park and it was hard not to be anxious as we watched some of the marathoners cross the half-way point while we waited for our turn to start.  It was amazing to be able to walk/run through the streets of SF along side athletes of all experience levels and capabilities from first time marathoners to seasoned veterans while not having to stop for lights and traffic.  The course was also well equipped with the ever important aid stations and bathroom stops!

I struggled a little throughout the race but kept a quick and steady pace.  I remember feeling the ocean breeze with just one mile to go, excited but glad to be finishing.  I met some great people along the way but those SF hills worked some different muscles and I was ready to finish.  My mom and step-father were at the finish line waiting to take pictures to capture the big moment.

I definitely have the bug and look forward to attending even more large destination/urban races.  Events like the SF Marathon generate inspiration and excitement no matter what your experience level is.  There's nothing like the gift of having three hours to reflect, enjoy the outdoors, and share the competitive spirit all while contributing to your health and overall well being!