29 July 2012

2012 San Francisco Marathon: 2nd Half Marathon Race Report

Background:  My training for this tanked.

When I started training, I was employed at one place with no plans to leave.  Then one of those once-in-a-lifetime job opportunities popped up.  I applied and interviewed for the job.  That was stressful.  I got the job offer, and then had to resign from my other job of eleven years.  That was also stressful.

Then as soon as the oppressive summer heat hits, I started feeling this very persistent pain and discomfort in my right IT band.  I initially thought it was my shoes.  New shoes seemed to do the trick.  Then the pain would return.  Sometimes at mile 4.  Sometimes at mile 5.  It was unpredictable.

I rolled, and I rolled, and I rolled.  I screamed through the rolling.  My IT band has issues.

Then I vacationed for a week in Washington, DC.  Because of my IT band issues, I decided to NOT run in DC.  Wise move considering that running in the DC humidity and heat would have really destroyed me.

The week off seemed to help.  I continued rolling.  And stretching.  And stretching.  The pain and discomfort seemed to be absent from many of my runs.  My last eight miler featured NO problems.

Because of the injury and the stress, I skipped a few runs here and there. Or I made them easier.

It wasn't the best training cycle that I have done.  Therefore, my goal was to finish.

Yes.  Just to finish.

I knew that I didn't have a PR in me.  I didn't train to PR.  I trained to maintain my running in the summer so that when marathon training starts, I'm ready.  Plus, I wanted to baby the IT band.

Alarm Failure:  Oh my goodness.  My alarm went off, but I didn't hear it because the ringer was turned down.  Stupid smart phone user.

I woke up 37 minutes before I had to catch the bus to the start.

It was a little stressful.

But I made it.

The Race:  I didn't find the start area for the second half marathon to be particularly well-organized.  I couldn't hear the announcer.  The announcer didn't repeat anything.

This meant that I didn't start with my wave.  Oops.

Whatever.  I hurt no one.

The first six miles of the second half marathon is in the Golden Gate Park.  Slight hills.  Repeated often.  I knew that the park featured the most uphill portions.  I wanted to make sure that I didn't go out too hard.  I actually kept telling myself to take it easy and run my own race.  I even thought, "This isn't a race."  I really didn't want to hurt myself.  I was clearly mentally out of the race.

The park dragged.  I really wasn't enjoying myself that much.  I was so glad to get out of the park and onto Haight Street.  A bicyclist trailing a sound system provided the right music to make the race fun.

Then some painful downhill.  I don't like running downhill on steep grades.  Scary and it hurts.  But I survived.

And then around mile 7.5, the familiar IT band discomfort popped up.  Then disappeared.  Then reappeared.  It wasn't persistent, nor was it particularly strong.  But it was enough to disappoint and discourage me.

I finished with a time of 2:25:24.  Better than I expected, honestly.  Maybe better than I deserved.  It was actually my fastest half time for a race in San Francisco.

Because I have now ran both halves of the entire San Francisco Marathon, I got a fancy Half It All Medal.  It spins.

Afterward:  Strangely, this bad performance is motivating.  I felt like this was my worse race, but it wasn't my worst time.  I wonder how I could have done had I actually been able to train well.  I feel strangely compelled to do more hill work in my training.

But I know that I need to work on that IT band first.

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