Tuesday, January 1, 2013

San Francisco Marathon - 7/29/12

I knew once school started the chances of having the time to train for a marathon was questionable. However, I knew I wanted to do one this year. Since the San Francisco Marathon was right around the corner, I decided that would be it. I've always wanted to do the full marathon, but it's tough course. Since I wasn't setting myself a time goal, it was the perfect time to do it. Plus, the start/finish is located right by our place.

Leading up to the race, I did a good job of getting all the miles in, but didn't do much in the way of speed work. It was kind of nice going into the race not trying to accomplish any goal. I say this, but there's always somewhat of goal. Given the course, I was going to be happy with a sub-4:00 marathon.

The race started very early. Annelyse was running the first half, so we both got up before 4a. We walked to the start and there were these pretty blue lanterns hanging over the corrals. They gave the race a really nice feel. They had a few entertainers along The Embarcadero to give us all something to look at while we waited for our wave starts. For the first time, I wasn't nervous about running the distance. After running four previous ones and putting in lots of training, I knew that I could cover the distance which was a great feeling.

The San Francisco marathon is a beautiful course, but I felt bad for the runners from out of state. Crissy field and the Golden Gate bridge were completely socked in by fog. You could barely make out the bridge. Of all the races I've run in San Francisco, this was the first time I ran on the bed of the Golden Gate bridge so that was a neat experience. 

Miles 13-18 were the toughest for me. The first half of the race was very hilly and took it out of me. The first half ended in Golden Gate Park and I was tempted to go cross their finish line. I knew if I could just make it out of the park and get through the next few miles of uphill, it was all flat from there. When I finally did, I found I got a bit of a second wind with the change of course. The last 8 miles weren't necessarily easy, but I felt much better than expected. 

I made it to mile 25 and passed right by our place.  Throughout the last couple of miles I felt my left calf starting to crap. And sure enough, just after mile 25, it knotted up so bad that it stopped me in my tracks. I could barely even move to the side of the course. I'd never experienced a cramp like that and was pretty sure I wasn't going to be able to continue. A nice couple on the side who were watching the race gave me a banana. After eating half of it and rubbing out my calf a bit, it started to loosen up. Luckily I didn't have far to go and I was hopeful that if I took it slow I could make it.

We had left my car near the first half finish at Golden Gate Park the night before with the intent that Annelyse could drive home and make it to my finish. We knew the timing would be close, but sure enough she made it and I was thrilled to see her on the side right before the end of the course. Just after I finished I heard someone call my name. I turned and it was my mom and my aunt Val who had come into SF to surprise me. They'd both run the SF Marathon when they were younger, so it was pretty special that they were able to see me finish. 

My GPS time was 4:00:57 for 26.55 miles. Unofficially, I met my time goal of running a sub-4:00 had the course only been 26.2 miles. My gun time, however, was just over 4:00. Not bad considering a cramp that stopped me for a couple of minutes and bathroom break. After the race we all went to Paragon for a big breakfast. While it wasn't my best time, I didn't care. That wasn't my goal. It just felt great to have had finished a marathon and that everyone was there to celebrate with me. 

Race Stats:
Overall female: 397 of 2146
Age Group: 70 of 303
Chip Time: 4:04:01
GPS Time: 4:00:57

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