This past Sunday was the 2013 San Francisco Marathon. This post is kinda long with lots of photos, so let’s jump right into it.
I went to the SFM meet up and tweet up. I got to meet many of the SFM Ambassadors, some who I already knew and other’s I was glad to finally meet in person. I was glad that I went and got to talk to so many great people, talk about what distances they were racing and exchange in general well wishes.
I train with a large group of friends in San Francisco and there were 8 of us doing the full and 6 doing the half marathon. We gathered at a friend’s house and ate, drank and enjoyed each other’s company. This was exactly what I needed. It put me in such a great mood and to be surrounded by people who I have known since my first day of running was a blessing. They also surprised me with a special birthday celebration and a wonderful present which I plan on revealing soon. It was a surprise and to have my wife and daughter there was extra heart warming.
I trained aggressively. I wanted this race to be a “me vs. you” challenge. I don’t know who the “you” was, but I trained for 5 months in an effort to “prove myself.” At the start of the race, I was completely calm. I was feeling wonderful from the day before and to know that my wife and daughter were going to be on the course to cheer me on for Father’s day and to be surrounded by friends — there was no room in my heart on race day for anger or frustration.
Over the next 26.2 miles I would:
- sing out loud while running… frequently
- give a guy trying to BQ motivated by the Boston bombings course advice
- high-five the entire Sports Basement crew
- high-five a bunch of 2nd half marathon runners/spectators
- talk to Tony “Endorphin Dude” about his 100th marathon
- say hi to fellow twitter friends also running and give plenty of shout outs on out/back segments.
Mile 1: 8:20
Mile 2: 8:17
Mile 3: 8:44
Mile 4: 8:29
Mile 5: 8:21
I’m really happy with these first few miles. I have to admit that with my speedy start in San Diego, I was staring at my watch a lot of the beginning to make sure I was on pace. At this point we are approaching the Golden Gate Bridge.
Mile 6: 9:28
Mile 7: 8:35
Mile 8: 8:30
Mile 9: 8:44
Mile 10: 8:52
The Golden Gate Bridge (miles 6-9) was gorgeous. Honestly, it’s usually never that clear on race day. It’s typically foggy, windy, wet and cold, but it was absolutely perfect. Everyone that ran this year was blessed with ideal weather and an amazing opportunity for those taking photos.
Mile 11: 8:39
Mile 12: 9:22
Mile 13: 9:28
Half Marathon: 1:55:53
I’m really proud of mile 11… It’s a screaming downhill (-200 ft.) that I purposefully took controlled to save the quads. The temptation here is to fly down it after the climbs/crowds of the Golden Gate Bridge trying to pick up some time lost. This is where home-field advantage comes into play. I’ve been burned too many times at this point. Mile 12 is a climb back up and Mile 13 included a stop to see this lovely lady and take my favorite race day photo.
Mile 14: 8:31
Mile 15: 8:58
Mile 16: 9:04
Mile 17: 9:09
Mile 18: 8:53
Mile 19: 8:58
Mile 20: 9:10
The loops through Golden Gate Park. This was the wild card. Rolling hills through Golden Gate Park. It doesn’t feel like a climb, but you are definitely going up. I would have liked this area to be closer to 8:30 or even 8:45, but I kept it conservative and didn’t want to push it too hard resulting in bonking early. I kept thinking, get to mile 20. If the next 6 miles are low 8’s, a PR is still within reach.
Mile 21: 8:46
Mile 22: 8:33
Mile 23: 8:40
Started to feel some tightness in the left quad around 20 and thought it might cramp. I told it to knock it off and just kept moving. Not this year. I would have likes these miles to be closer to 8:15, but I’m feeling good and running strong. As I cross mile 23, I’ve got three miles to go. At this point, 3:45 is out of the question. Sub-4 is in the bag as long as I don’t crash.
Mile 24: 8:29 – Thought this mile would be faster, but it’s my fastest mile since Mile 5.
Mile 25: 7:58 – This is more like it, PR is not gonna happen, but running by feel. Only sub-8 of the day.
Mile 26: 8:15 – Enjoying the final miles and thinking, I get to rest after this.
I can easily say that this is the “strongest” race I have run. The numbers are perfect. 8:30 on the flats or downhill portions, 8:45 on the rolling hills and 9’s on the uphill parts for a perfect 8:45 average. I couldn’t have asked for a more consistent pace on such a challenging course. There were some massive climbs and some fast downhill sections and I ran it strong enough to be happy across the finish line. I was never close to “bonking” and I left it all out there that I wasn’t sprinting at the end. Look at these splits, they speak for themselves:
1st Half: 1:55:53
2nd Half: 1:55:14
As much as frustration can fuel training, running with love, for the love of it, is a far more sustainable fuel. This race was filled with nothing but joy from the start. Sure there were moments that were tough, but I had a smile on my face the majority of the time. The last 5 months have been a long journey filled with anger, disappointment, and a spectrum of emotions, but at the start of the race, I was able to find peace and allow myself to “release” everything that was bottled up. Sounds very therapeutic, but it was just something that came over me. I felt incredibly at ease.
Thank you to everyone for the well wishes and congrats. Your messages definitely played into how I was feeling on race day. I’m happy to say that I will be enjoying some much-needed rest before I race again and I’m glad to have found peace in 26.2 hilly miles.
Any and all comments are always welcome.