It was a pretty restless night from about midnight to 4 am. Nervous race anticipation? I woke up, had a quick shower and scarfed down some bread and jam and drank some water. We were out the door before 6 am heading to Union Square.
The best thing about the location of our hotel was it was along the street where the gear check bag buses were, so we were able to check our bags far up the street and avoid the crowds. Union Square was so busy with people and so loud! I felt sorry for anyone staying at the hotels around there that weren’t running the race. I wasn’t able to find Instructor S and her group of running gals, but Maddy recognized me so we were able to say hi and grab a picture before starting.
She was shooting for a 4:30 marathon and I was aiming for a 2:15 half so we hung out with the 4:30 pacer at the start line. It took us about 9 minutes to cross the chip mat and we were off, slowly but surely.
It was great chatting with people in the first few miles. Maddy and I were able to run together until we lost each other about 2 miles in or so. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure what my game plan was for the race. I’ve run 4:1, switched to 9:1, but also run 20:1 with Instructor’s S group. I decided to play it by ear, try just walking at the water stops and see how I felt. The water stops were fairly well spaced out, about every 2 miles or so. We ran from Union Square down to Embarcadero and along Fisherman’s Wharf.
The first 6 miles was all fairly flat, and then it was a straight uphill climb for the next mile with a gain of about 250 feet or so. The course narrowed at this point and people slowed down but my aim was to keep running. I felt like I had great momentum and I knew that if I stopped to walk at any point it was going to be hard to get running again.
That hill climb was tough….but it felt amazing…and I knew my hill training was paying off. At the top we got a nice downhill run and some great views. There were some more hills along the way – you just went up and down for several miles after that but I didn’t really notice it until a climb at mile 9 when they had a water stop halfway up the hill. I stopped to walk to down some Gatorade and some water and it was tough getting going, but I was back up and running. I saw a lady with a Strides Running Store shirt from here in Calgary so she and I chatted for a bit and I said hi to anyone I noticed who was TNT from Canada. I was having a great time enjoying the race and the views.
They had an orange slice stop and a banana stop along the way but I bypassed it all. Once I started drinking the Gatorade Endurance I got a tiny knot in my stomach – not too bad – but I didn’t want to try anything new. I was eating my Sport Beans along the way, but unfortunately the bag came open and at one downhill point I could hear my Beans falling out and hitting the pavement behind me. Good thing I packed lots! There wasn’t a ton of on course entertainment in the middle half of the race. We turned into Golden Gate park and it was so pretty running through the trees in there. At mile 10 I realized I was on a great track to reach my 2:15 goal if I just kept running steady….such a good feeling!
Around mile 11 we were on a dirt path for a short bit and this just zapped the energy from my legs. I saw the chocolate mile up ahead though and grabbed some Ghirardelli chocolate squares and stuffed them into my waist pack for later. Mile 12 felt pretty good, but when we hit the final turn to the finish line at Mile 13 my legs were like jelly. I saw the finish and I wanted to sprint hard but there just wasn’t much left in my legs. I looked down at my watch, saw I was still good for 2:15 and it was the best feeling in the world. I crossed a chip mat and they announced my name just before I crossed the finish line.
2:14:56….amazing!!!!! I got my little blue Tiffany’s box from a very handsome firefighter in a tux and went to get my chip cut off my shoe. As I put my shoe on the footstool for the kid to cut my chip off my leg started shaking like you wouldn’t believe…. It was good to be done. I got my finisher’s shirt, some grub and waited from TK and Suz to cross the finish line after walking their half in 4:00. What an amazing race! A tough course, a great time, I can’t say enough about it. I will definitely be back next year.
Overall finish: 2381 out of 12196
Age group (25-29): 434 out of 1998