31 July 2011

2011 San Francisco Marathon: 1st Half Marathon Race Report

BACKGROUND: I had a coupon for ten dollars off registration AND I really needed a race to motivate me to train through the summer. My summer training went okay in that I put in quite a few miles and really introduced interval training. I did have illness, vacation, injury, and what not to contend with. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give my training a 7-. (Ha! I'm such a teacher. I can't help but put that minus mark in there!)

I did NOT train for hills. I have this uncanny ability to be UNABLE to properly read an elevation chart. Plus after Big Sur I didn't think it would be a big deal at all. I also never believed that I would ever set a PR on this course. Hills are my mental kryptonite. I really should work on that.

RACE DAY: I was honest about my anticipated finishing time and was put in the proper wave. Even though the race started at 5:30, my wave didn't start until 6:12. The race organizers were strict about wave assignments, which I appreciated after the madness that was the Nike Women's Half Marathon last October. However, it appears that many others were not honest about their anticipated finishing times or they were deluded. I've concluded that this must just be a part of race culture.

Bart Yasso was there with his shtick. Yasso seems to be everywhere. This morning he interrupted the announcer discussion of the 41 flags to represent the 41 fallen family members of a group of runners to tell a group of women that he didn't get the memo about the socks. Knee high bright colored compression socks are so IN! Fastinistas! Blah! Yasso'd!

Crossed the start line and found myself immediately behind some chick fast-walking. This course has a three hour limit so this surprised me. Weave, weave, weave. Lots of runners. Thick! Congested. I'm happy to report that I remembered that my husband said to move to the city side of the street so he could get a picture of me. He did around the one mile mark.

When I hit the first hill at Fort Mason, I took a little walk break because I told myself that I wanted to have fun. I think I'm still suffering from Post Big Sur Hill Stress Syndrome. I continued running fairly quickly. The initial miles sort of blurred together. I rarely looked at my watch. I was just in the flow I guess. I didn't try very hard; I know that I could have pushed myself faster, but I wasn't sure about what would come next on the course. I didn't do a drive through of the course. I was just cautious. Again I was certain that I couldn't get a PR, so I didn't try.

I really like bridges. I'm not sure that I am a tattoo person, but if I were I could see myself commemorating my running with bridge tattoos. So far I have Bixby and the Golden Gate. I was quite looking forward to running the GG, but I didn't realize that the best part of running the bridge was reaching the other side for the turnaround and seeing the city far off in the distance. I live for that stuff. I actually mentally lost track of my mileage on the Golden Gate Bridge. I thought I was on mile 8 when I was really on mile 9. How awesome is that? That has never happened to me before. I could have run faster on the bridge had there been more than one lane of space for me to run.

Coming off the bridge I knew I had about 5k to go. Huge downhill portion led to my fastest mile. While running downhill all I could think about how much this downhill running was going to hurt, but I followed that thought with the fact that it would hurt tomorrow. So I had this little mantra, "This will hurt. But it won't hurt until tomorrow." After the downhill came the hell of 26th street. Up, flat, up, flat, up flat. Yikes! I backed down too often and slowed down. Boo on me! I should have done better.

Made it to the end and finished in 2:25:27. This was two minutes faster than the Nike Women's Half Marathon which was less hilly than this one in my opinion. I know that I could run this faster if I did it again. My mental game is off. I dread the unknown and am too cautious.

AFTERWARD: My husband commented on the odd waves. Apparently four women running slowly abreast in tutus preceded me by like two waves. He wondered how that happened. I swooned at his critical anti-tutu stance. I also love that he believes that I must always be faster than anyone clad in a tutu.

AFTERMATH: Leg pain and headache. I blame the hills and not eating and drinking enough afterwards.

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