Back to the race! We arrived in San Francisco on Friday which gave us enough time to hit up the expo, grab our goodies, and a get good nights rest. Saturday was spent doing nothing. Literally. One mistake I made before the NYC Marathon was walking around the city way too much the day before the race. So this time all I did for about 8 hours was sit in the hotel room with the balcony doors open, read books, drink water, and eat a dose of carbs every hour on the hour. When your hotel room has a view like this, I can't really complain too much.
Carb loading really started on Friday, but on Saturday I consumed 2600 calories, 500g of carbs, and 160 oz of water. Needless to say, I'm glad I had my stretchy pants on because I was ready to vomit. I've never actually documented my carb and calorie intake this closely before a race (I know, I know....) so I was hoping that all of this would actually pay off. For the record, I'm boycotting bagels, couscous, and rice for at least 6 months. Saturday night our group headed out for dinner at Barbacco (which was fantastic!) and we were in bed by 8pm. We were still internally on Dallas time so that actually worked in our favor. Much to my surprise, I actually got a good nights sleep.
Sunday morning the alarm went off at 3:50am. Yawn. We rolled out of bed, ate our bagels and began the get ready process. I managed to snap a couple of pictures.
|I'm so glad we stopped for this picture, it is one of my favorites!|
The first couple of miles take you down Embarcadero and past Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39, and all of the main attractions down by the water. I knew these first few miles were flat, so I fully enjoyed it because I knew that was all about to come to a screeching halt. There was one small climb around 2.5 miles in, but that was nothing compared to what was up ahead.
After enjoying those first few miles it was time to see what San Francisco was really made of! Coming up on mile 5 and all I could think of was the Price Is Right game Cliffhangers.....going up! Garmin clocked it at a 408 foot climb. While the climb was a doozy, once you reached the top you got your first glimpse of the Golden Gate. We made our way around and it was time to tackle the bridge! The bridge makes up about 3.5 miles of the course. The clear blue skies and breeze made for one of the most picturesque scenes I've ever gotten to run through. I made sure to look around, take it all in, and as promised....you bet I sang the Full House theme song while running across.
|"You miss your old familiar friends, waiting just around the bend...everywhere you look..."|
I actually got to pass Brandon on the bridge! We exchanged a smile and a high-five and kept on going. My little speed demon was after a PR. Once you make your first trip over the bridge you get to the turn around point just off the bridge. This was the point in the race I wish I had my camera. The view from this point overlooking the water, the bridge, and the city was literally breathtaking. After doing a little loop it was back over the bridge we go. The journey over the bridge consists of a gradual incline followed by a decline, so it really went by pretty quickly. Once we came off the bridge I knew that one of the biggest hills was ahead of us (thanks to doing my research with previous race reports). Before coming off the bridge I took another shot of GU and I am so glad I did. The hill going from miles 9-10 clocked in on the Garmin at 946 feet gain. Ouch and ouch. I shortened my stride, focused on the top of the hill and up we went! At the top of this mammoth was a view overlooking the city, incredible! If there's one thing I can say about this course, you are rewarded for the torturous hills with incredible views of the city.
After you complete that massive uphill you are also rewarded with an extra long downhill! Weeeeeee was that a fun and a welcomed site! I cruised down the hill and entered the Presidio and then we started making our way into Golden Gate park. This was the part of the race where the first half marathoners were going to break off and head to the finish. It was honestly the part of the race that I was a little scared of. It's always a bit disheartening as a full marathoner to have to run past the finish line for those just running the half. They are celebrating with their Irish Coffee and scones and you just wave, and keep on truckin'. I don't like coffee anyways, psshhhh. Mile 13 came and went and it was time to settle in for the long haul.
I was still keeping pace at this point and really wasn't feeling fatigued. One of my initial goals when I started training for this race was that I wanted to run the first 18 miles, on pace, without stopping for a walk break. This stretch of the course was all through the park. It was very pretty with the greenery and such, but it was also a little boring. No crowd support and after awhile, I think we can all admit that trees just get a little boring to look at. Mile 14 came and went....mile 15 came and went....mile 16 came and went....mile 17 came and went....am I really still not feeling tired? This was the part of the race where I started to get excited! Not only was I about to accomplish this goal, but I started to see a new PR in my future. Anytime that thought enters my head my motivation starts to kick it into high gear. I saw the mile 18 marker and the biggest smile came across my face! I ran past it until about 18.5 miles in and stopped for a walk/water break. I actually did something in this race that I never do - I turned off my iPod. For the next few miles I just enjoyed the run and decided to leave it turned off the rest of the way.
Coming up on mile 19 you finally get to exit Golden Gate park and start to head down historic Haight Street. Nothing like the fresh aroma of a little "greenery" to wake you up on your run. Someone was definitely having more fun than we were at that point! Haight Street is a steady incline the entire way up but then you are given a couple of really steep downhills. At this point in the race, downhills aren't exciting. Instead they are quad killers that you approach saying "Oh dear Lord, please do not fall down this hill". I leaned back and took my time getting down these but didn't walk it. This part of the race can be a little confusing because there are a couple of points where they actually split the runners into two different directions. This helps keep traffic light and eventually you meet back up. Honestly, I didn't think it was that crowded or necessary. Luckily I had read those handy dandy race reports from years past and knew this was coming, so I just kept on truckin'.
Miles 24-26.58 (yep...)
The home stretch! With less than a 5K left to go, I knew I was going to hit my time goal so I just kept moving. The last few miles give you nothing spectacular to look at really. There was a spectator around mile 24 who made up a song about electrolytes and water and played along on his guitar. It gave me a good laugh so thank you to whoever you are! At mile 26 you pass by AT&T Park and come back up upon the Bay Bridge which means the finish line was close! At mile 26.4 (yep....) Brandon, Fonzie, and Jer-el were waiting cheering me on to the finish. I knew I had crushed my time and couldn't stop smiling!
MARATHON #2 = DONE!!! 4:52:48
|Happy Father's Day Dad!!!!|
A few weeks ago I set some "non time related goals" for this race, here's an update on those:
- Have FUN! - DONE!
- You're running through one of the most beautiful and historic places, enjoy the damn scenery! - LOVED every second of it!
- Sing the Full House theme song while running across the Golden Gate Bridge...everywhere you look.... - DONE!
- Finish strong. No matter what time I cross the finish line, I better run through it. DONE!
- Find the course photographers (instead of avoiding them) and get some fun pictures taken! DONE - I made sure to smile because I was indeed having fun!
- Don't poop your pants. - DONE!
- Say a prayer of thanks for each mile marker you cross. - DONE!
- Inspire others. - Before and after the race I received so many messages, texts, email, etc. from so many different people and I am so grateful for those! Your goals and aspirations inspire me more than you know. I know a few who are about to race their first 5K/10K/half marathon and I've enjoyed watching you go through the process. It is full of ups and downs but it is ALWAYS worth it!
|Official Race Results|