You might not know it by looking at these pictures, but this was not a good race for me.
I felt fine at the starting line and was even able to jog a little bit during the first mile, but all the moisture in the air from the dense morning fog really exacerbated my asthma, and the seemingly endless hills made my leg muscles cramp up almost instantly.. (You know, I’ve done this same race three times , and I swear ..they added a few more hills!)
By mile 3 , I was so short of breath, I pretty much walked the rest of the way. My legs and lungs just couldn’t handle it .
After only the first 6 miles, it was evident that this was going to be a torture race. Instead of racewalking parts of the course as I had cleverly planned, I ended up going into total survival mode , propelling myself forward any way I could without cramping up.
I think what saved me from dropping out of the race all together , was my fixation on the 3 hour pace runner and her big yellow sign . Hovering just above the pack and within constant eyesight , I could see the bouquet of balloons she was carrying– It gave me something positive to focus on. We had been passing each other on and off, and towards the end, she knew I was struggling. When we got to mile 12.9 ( mile 26) she slowed slowed down, reached out for my hand, and literally pulled me into the finishing chute.. What a sweetheart! She hit her target goal 2:48:45 to the second! and let me finish a few seconds ahead of her.
As for the event itself, in my opinion it’s a bit over rated. It was way too crowded(over 14,000). Runners were treated like cattle at the finish line, and as always… the post race food sucked. (c’mon, a bottle of hot lemonade and a dried- up biscuit? )
They need to take a few lessons from the Portland Marathon organizers and start treating all of their participants like winners, not just the ones who finish in 2 hours.
Hey I love San Francisco, but I don’t think I’ll do this race again.
What made all this torture worth while , was getting to spend the weekend with some very special people( you know who you are) and the kindness of that pace runner ( whoever you are) .
Next race is in eight weeks