Friday, August 5, 2011

San Francisco Marathon...and beyond!

Steve, me, Steve, Drew post-race!

The race for which I initially created this blog has been run! My brother, his friend, and I all ran the 26.2 miles in San Francisco. My husband ran the half marathon. We all started off together at 5:42 a.m. in the third wave. It was a cool morning in the 50s, and amazingly, not that foggy!

Steves, me, Drew, at the start!
The Bay Bridge, beautifully lit behind us at the start

Overall, San Francisco is a good marathon. I particularly enjoyed the first 13 miles. We began along the Embarcadero, and ran along the coast to the Golden Gate bridge, across it and back, then went into the Presidio, through Golden Gate park, and ended through the Mission.

Drew and I started with even 9 minute miles, right on the agreed upon pace (he will tell you how I crowed every mile about how exactly evenly I was pacing us!). Those first 13 miles were great. It was beautiful to run as the sun was coming up and watch the Golden Gate bridge come closer into view as  we ran past Chrissy field and Fort Mason. There were a few hills before the bridge, and then a doozy of a hill just after the bridge. They weren't bad, and for me, it was great to have a local guide in my brother to warn me and tell me what was coming up. As with any race, it's so important to know the course and be psychologically prepared. He had run the race before, and had done training runs on the course. In addition to the course info, it was great just to have him tell me what he knew about various landmarks and neighborhoods as we ran past/through them. Amazingly, the Golden Gate bridge was not my favorite part. Runners have two lanes, and it was still open to traffic. That made it pretty crowded and pretty loud. I was really glad we were in an early wave, because passing did require both technique and etiquette.

The worst for me were the "rolling hills" in the Presidio, just after the bridge and before Golden Gate park. Between miles 10 and 13, I was done with hills. I said to Drew, "You said there wouldn't be hills! I'm from Iowa!" When we entered Golden Gate park, around mile 14, we decided that each of us was ready to run our own race. I needed to go internal to get strong again. I was not quite in cornered honey badger mode, but Drew was feeling great. I plugged in my music and Drew took off. He ended up with a PR of 3:48 (an 8:42 pace). I was totally happy with the 4:00 I ran. I averaged 9:10 miles, even if the miles in Golden Gate park--pretty much 13-19--were the toughest and slowest for me. Still, I wasn't hurting as bad as the guy in the S/M black patent boy shorts and chains (but he probably liked it...) My mantra in those miles was "you trained for this." A positive mantra really does help! I also break down the goals. I pushed for mile 20 because then it would be "only an hour left."

Indeed, after mile 20 I could smell the barn and I was feeling okay. At that point I knew I could do it and the worst was behind me. There were a lot of downhills after the park as well, and despite the "second half" half marathoners blowing past us, they and the increased number of people cheering helped. The last two miles I was able to significantly pick up the pace.  Mile 25 was fun because of the "tempters" dressed in devils costumes, offering bourbon and candy and saying "haven't you run far enough? Just stop! Join us!" I didn't stop, I ran faster.

Exiting Golden Gate park, refreshed by seeing my husband and bro-in-law cheering
Psyched to be done and have run well!

Marathons are hard. Anyone who has run one knows that, and those who haven't usually think we're crazy. But they're also really fun. Look at us all smiling! Some of it is mind over matter and letting your training take over (miles 13-19). The rest really is enjoyable. It was great to share the first part running with my brother, and it was great to be able to share pre- and post-race jitters and triumphs with Drew and the Steves.

So what's next? Well, the big news is that I will be running the 30th annual Twin Cities marathon October 2, 2011. This will be my 3rd Twin Cities. I will be running for Bolder Options as part of their charity team. That means I need to raise $1000 in order to run! This is a big deal marathon for me. My Personal Page at Bolder Options explains why this race in particular is meaningful for me. Bolder Options is a great organization that promotes healthy bodies and minds by pairing community athletes with youth in Minneapolis. Moreover, there is a sentimental reason behind why I am running. My dad ran the first Twin Cities marathon 30 years ago, and many after that. It will be neat for me to follow in both my parents' footsteps thirty years later. I am asking for your support now. Please visit my donation page and give what you can. You'll see that I have a few incentives too (even if they are a bit specialized...)!!

Many thanks to all who gave to Planned Parenthood in support of my running the San Francisco marathon. It was of course, totally "worth the hurt" (the motto of the San Francisco marathon). I will continue to blog about running and my training and other interesting sport-and-social justice issues throughout the fall.  If you like my blog, please donate to keep me going!

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