Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Warning! Women running!!!

For reasons I find hard to explain, I found myself running the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco. Also hard to explain why it hadn't quite sunk in and I was planning an awesome girls weekend out in the Bay Area.

We explored the Sausalito area on Saturday and Muir Woods (damn! those are some big trees).  Anyway, I was of course late to packet pick up and I had to get in line... a line that looped twice around Union Square.  45 minutes or so after that, I made it to the tent, where I got my packet and got to walk around the expo.  I must say, quite a lame expo.  Ok, not SUPER lame, but all Nike stuff and nothing too useful.  I needed GUs and compression socks, none of which I was able to find there.

Big a$$ tree!
I decided to go across the street to Niketown to see if I would find my socks.  WHOA!  It's like they were giving out gear for free.  Hundreds of people, DJ playing loudly, I wanted nothing but to get out of there.  I did find a pair of socks.  Red ones... not great, but good enough (in case you were wondering).

The "Expotique""
Race morning I woke up early as usual, showered and got ready.  I had created a "strategy" to run my personal best.  I didn't have a bracelet with my pace, but I certainly had mile by mile how strong/slow I should go to be able to accomplish my goal.  I grabbed a green Sharpie and wrote it one mile at a time on my arm (wish I had taken a picture, cause it looked cool).

Walked from our hotel to the Start Line in Union Square and OH MY GOD.  I have NEVER seen more women altogether in my whole life.  I heard there were roughly 28,000.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  That's a whole lot of estrogen.  The mood was weird.  I swear... That was way too many girls talking about nails, hair, make-up and how they got a blister right before so and so's wedding.  Seriously?  You ARE a runner, just deal with it.

The race started and it was damn crowded.  I was able to run on the sidewalk as the masses of chicks stayed on the road.  It was weird to me that all these girls had signed up to be in that specific start wave while they started off walking.  Sorry but there's no way you'll finish a 10min/mile half marathon or full by starting your race walking. It's that simple.  Anyway, I kept moving forward and was able to stick to my Sharpie-tattooed game plan.  It was also quite a scenic course starting downton and heading east towards the water and going along the coast and through Fisherman's Wharf. We also went up to Golden Gate bridge and back down towards Golden Gate State Park.  It was all really pretty yet foggy and drizzly.  This is actually my favorite running weather since it keeps me cool and I am able to maintain a steady pace.  Somewhere in GG State Park, the half marathon people take a right and off the go to the finish. IT WAS AWESOME. I swear 80% of the people were gone and all of a sudden it became a really enjoyable race.  I had been stuck behind chicks walking the hills in crazy bottle necks that I did not appreciate and I must confess I threw a couple punches... well, not really, but let's just say it was hard to keep my elbows close to my body. 

Around mile 15 or 16 we ran close to the finish area and it seemed cool to be able to call it a day, but I was feeling strong and obviously didn't want to end up doing what I did in Denver.  I kept going.  The next few miles felt amazing.  I was going at a very comfortable pace and was super happy cause it looked like it was uphill so I was stoked!  Once we got off the coast we had to go around a lake which seemed endless.  It had ups and downs, but I was right on track with my goal time.  I just didn't feel like giving up.  Once back on the coast and on the last stretch to the finish, I could feel how my legs were shutting down.  That's always a crappy feeling... but after all I've been through this year, I now realize how much stronger my mind is and I'm still able to tell my legs to keep going.  I must confess... right after mile marker 25 I walked for exactly 60 seconds, and then kept going.  It was a nice little break.  Before I had time to think about it, I was at mile marker 26, but surprisingly couldn't see the finish.  Then 26.2 and I had reached my goal of 4:20:00, hitting 26.2 in 4:16:42, but... where was the damn finish line?!??  I kept running, OH! There it is.  Crossed the finish (that was 26.65 miles from the start) in 4:20:37, so I'll call it good.  No, scratch that, I'll call it PERFECT.  

Happy Finisher!
Of course, the treat of the day, firefighters greeting you at the finish with a Tiffany necklace in silver platters.  Could a girl ask for more?  Nope, this girl was happy.  

This girl LOVES Tiffany swag!  :) 
And of course.. nothing like cruising SF after a morning jog... 

Lombard St. 

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