Boston is definitely tough act to follow, but there are still a lot of fun races out there, and many more challenges I’d like to tackle. Next up for me are the SF and ET half marathons, both of which Ive done before , but want to do again…. each for different reasons.
The San Francisco marathon choice was pretty much a no brainer for me. Not because of its a very challenging and beautiful course, or the fact that the race is held in one of the most fascinating cities in the world, but mainly because it was the very first race I ever did. It was the race that started it all for me. Its also one of the few races I don’t have to hop on an airplane to get to…lol. Having done this race 4 times already, it’s kinda like comfort food for me. I’m totally at ease with it. No pre-race stress, don’t have to arrive 3 hours early. I know every twist and turn in the course and I know that after I finish the race, I can be home in less than 20 minutes.
Another reason I want to do this race again, is to see if I still have what it takes. In 2007, I walked my fastest half marathon to date( 2:50 ). I’m not expecting anything close to that this time around, as my lungs are pure crap now, but it sure would help my psyche if I could even pull off a 3 hour half marathon just one more time.
On the downside though,the overall organization of the event has deteriorated over the years. The Expo is way out in the boonies now, and the post race food is a total joke. Considering the high registration fees, you’d think they could do a lot better.If it weren’t for the above reasons, Id probably skip this race . In my opinion,there are much better marathons out there for walkers.
If you decide to do this race, do it for the views and the hills, not for the royal treatment, unless you’re an elite runner.
Here’s a picture of me(in long pants no less), crossing the finish at my very first SF half marathon in 2005. The feeling of accomplishment for finishing that race was as intense as finishing my first Portland or even Boston race.
Next on my list, and only two weeks after the SF marathon, is the ET midnight marathon. Forget about PR’ing here,this one you do for the adventure.
I wanna do this one again, because last year I couldn’t fully appreciate how special an event it actually is. I was sick as a dog from dehydration and heat stroke. Not from doing the race, but rather from poor trip planning on my part, and from spending way too much time in the Las Vegas heat in the hours preceding the race. I shouldn’t have started the race at all the way I was feeling, but I had come all that way and I didn’t want to miss out. I finished the race, but it took me 4 full hours to do it and I damn near killed myself in the process. If there was anytime that I needed an IV for hydration, it was then. I was so dehydrated I was starting to get delirious. Judging from my symptoms, it’s a miracle I didn’t go into full blown shock.
But, despite all the bad things that were happening to my body, I still remember how incredibly beautiful and how eerily quite the desert was. There was a full moon that night, and the way the scenery was lit, it felt like we were walking up the side of a huge crater on the moon or something. It was very cool.
This race is like no other Ive ever done. Kudos to race organizer, Joyce, for putting this thing together. For starters there are only about 300-500 participants, and just getting to the starting line is a major feat ( a 3 hr bus ride from Las Vegas). One thing that stands out in my mind, is the sheer vastness of the open desert. The stillness and the sense of loneliness of being out in the middle of the desert in the middle of the night, is very surreal. You’re imagination runs wild!
Of course you’re not totally alone out there, occasionally a group of runners or a single car will pass you by, but in between those welcome distractions, it’s so quiet out there you could here a pin drop. You can actually hear yourself breathing! The other thing that I love about this event, is the special post race breakfast. Talk about UFOS, the post race food and activities are out of this world! Were talking a full country breakfast ,pretty much cooked to order in this really odd coffee shop//motel/UFO gift store, called the Lil’ale Inn located at the finish line in a town called Rachel, Nevada.
Here’s a photo of the actual course and the mountain range that you descend from. The finish line is near those buildings on the left.
This time around I plan to do a much better job of preparing myself physically for the special needs of the desert climate, so that I can enjoy the race and take in all the little things that I missed last year. I’ll also be driving out to the race site instead of taking the marathon bus. And new for this year, they’ve added a 51K race ! Get it? “Area 51” “51K race”. OK you ultrathoners..
Here’s a picture of my friends and I finishing the race in 2008
The Nevada experience will be doubly exciting this year, because on the very same evening of the ET race, I also have a front row seat to see the Man at the Las Vegas Hilton. Getting out to the race site immediately after Barrys show is going to be an adventure in itself, but never fear….I have a plan. More about that in the future post.
Last but not least, though I haven’t decided the exact date or location, I want to do another one of Dave Mc Governs racewalking clinics. They are so much fun and worth every penny of the $175.00 fee. I haven’t done one for a couple years now and I could really use a good review and critique on my racewalking skills ( or lack of). He puts on a clinic for his advanced students in Southern California in October, which Id like to do, but I’m not sure yet, as the Portland, San Jose R&R, and Boston half marathons are all happening that month.