The title is quite fitting-took it from the slogan on a tank top that I got at the Running Divas booth at the expo…
Anyway, I will start this race report off by the numbers…
1:49:21, 8:20 pace
miles 4-5.9-24:19 (8:23 avg)
miles 8.9-10.9-16:40 (8:20 avg)
mile 12.9-13.1-1:47 (8:31 avg)
And now the report:
The day started for me around 4:30 am…thank god I was still on New York time and I got to sleep early the night before!! And learning from some other bloggers’ reports on the road, I made sure to bring bagels and PB with me, not knowing if I could find them so early in the morning. I then went outside to do a weather check…
…OK, I broke a cardinal rule of “nothing new on race day.” I wore my new Flyers
fitted top (however, I have 2 other tanks of the same style, so I knew it’d be no problem…however, it seemed a little too chilly to wear the running skirt I wanted (as the material was a little too thin) so I chose my brand-new black RollerGirl
skirt. However, as it turned out, the ensemble could not have worked better.
Around 6:15, I met up with my Flyer teammate JM at a nearby Starbucks and got my caffeine fix before waiting for our other 3 teammates. After a few minutes, teammates MD, NH and UH showed up and we all started walking to where the buses were that would take us to the start line in Golden Gate Park. I have to say, the whole process went smoothly. There wasn’t much of a wait for the buses, and once we got on, the seats were relatively comfortable, there was a restroom on the bus (obviously these guys took a cue from the Flyers when it came to traveling in style!)
We arrived to the start area in plenty of time, though the restroom lines were quite long. Was ok, we all just chatted, made other final race preps, tried to stay warm (the weather was cool, misty and cloudy…which I knew would make for absolutely perfect race weather!!) took camera-phone pics…finally, checked our stuff and headed for the start. Both halfs and the full marathon had wave starts-we all started in the 2nd wave, which would be 5 minutes after the first. The start had very little fanfare…didnt even hear a starting horn, all of a sudden, there were people moving forward and its like “oh crap, we’re actually starting!!”
The first mile was a combination of adrenaline, a slightly downhill start, and “SexyBack” on the iPod. 🙂 I was warned about the hills, and sure enough, the next coupla miles humbled me a bit.
Despite the hills, Golden Gate Park is a very pretty place to run…actually reminded me a little bit more of running Prospect Park in the Brooklyn Half (as opposed to my home base, Central Park.)
One very minor complaint about the half-starting with mile 3.9 for the half, we didn’t have our own mile markers…we had to share with the full (they had regular mile markers, ours were on the .9 mile.) As you can see above, it sorta messed my split capturing up a bit, but it was a little tougher to calculate pace…which might have been a good thing, I could just concentrate on enjoying the race and obsessing less about pace.
Anyway, after about 6 miles of hills in the park, I was ready to get out onto the streets…as nice as the park was, the streets were the best way to see the city!! Mile 7 went through Haight-Ashbury, which was actually my favorite part of the race…was the most lively and festive part to me. And oh yeah, some more favorable terrain. The next mile had an uber-steep downhill…I was so waiting for my quads to rebel, but everything seemed to be working fine still!! Was really enjoying this course.
The next few miles were a little more industrial (not to mention the last killer hill in mile 9…man, I thought we had enough already!!) Even though I had taken in gel, sports drink, etc…I did feel myself fading quite a bit in the late miles…could have been as a result of poor pacing. I felt, in a way, like I did in NYC when trying for sub-4…except this case, I had a shot at sub-1:50, which I wasn’t sure was possible with the terrain of the course. Once I spotted AT&T Park (where I was gonna go later in the day!), I knew there was only a little over a mile to go and tried as hard as I could to step it up. The final stretch, along the Embarcadero, with views of the water, was very nice and the cheering crowds at the end helped motivate me to a strong finish. Yeah!!
Afterwards, got my medal, finisher picture, food and drink (they were much more generous with the drink than the food) and went to claim my bag (this needs work for next year too-not a lot of rhyme or reason when the bags were lined up.)
Great race!! This confirms 2 things I suspected…
1-The half really is my best distance-it’s the one that when I’m trying, I’m the most consistent with. (And was thrilled with this time, given the tough terrain…makes me wonder what I’m capable of with a little less hills)
2-I’m really burned out on racing in Central Park, and a change in scenery was very necessary to get the fire back.
I would definitely do this race again in the future. I would love to do the second half again…or maybe try out the tougher first half? That 5:30 start time is a little tough to swallow though…