I should start off by saying, that despite the anticlimactic ending to the race ( due to the theft of the medals),and the lack of porta-pottys, this event was the best one Ive walked in so far. You couldn’t ask for better weather ( 60 degrees at start time) and you could actually hear the announcer loud n’ clear. The crowd was upbeat and everyone was very friendly. Its difficult to describe what its like when 2000 people from all over the country, gather before sunrise at a foggy seaside park in San Francisco preparing themselves for a quick 13.1 mile jaunt to Marin county and back.
The course itself was much more physically demanding on me than anything Ive ever done before, mainly because of the roller coaster-like hills and off road trails that access the Golden Gate bridge. What made it all worth while though, was the spectacular scenery. I can see why this event was voted one of the best 1/2 marathons in the entire world. From flat paved roads to steep dirt paths ,along the beach, over the GG bridge , through tree covered parks and old military forts, this route has a little bit of everything.
I started the race at the back of the pack, so there was lots of room to maneuver and I had a clear view of the people in front of me . One thing that I noticed right away was that there were very few, in fact maybe only a handful of walkers . I’m not talking about those people who take fast little tiny steps and call themselves runners, I’m. talking about the serious ones whom I call ” technique walkers”
As far as my own performance goes, I think my walking technique and pacing have improved dramatically . I felt more comfortable in my own freestyle form. It was automatic this time, I didn’t have to constantly observe myself for proper foot placement and that sort of thing. I think after months and months of practicing the very basics, they’re finally burned into my brain. My endurance has improved as well. I was able to climb all of the hills without tiring though, I did get quite short of breathat times. I attribute that to my daily walks through town which also has a lot of hills.
Now the asthma part, On a scale of 1 to 10 , (with 10 being the worse), I would rate my symptoms at about a 5 with spikes up to 9 after climbing hills or doing short sprints. As I said before, I used my inhaler about 8 times during the 3 hours ( this would make a pulmonologists cringe..) I definitely could breath better after each spray but the longer I walked, the less that effect lasted. Even though the last few miles of the course was flat, by the time I reached mile #12, the inhaler didn’t help at all. So for now, it looks like 3 or 4 hours is about all my lungs can take regardless of the topography. Makes me wonder if I will ever be able to do a full 26 miler which would take at least 6 hours to complete. Perhaps if the course was entirely flat or downhill, Id have a better chance at it.