Monday, October 23, 2006

Marathon Race Tome -- Part I

I awoke ahead of my alarms (yes, 2 were set just in case), about 5:00AM. I laid in bed for a while and tried to wrap my head around the fact that today is the day that I've been training for what seems like forever. At 5:30, I get up, shower, and dress for the day--all the while taking sips of water and eating a plain whole-wheat bagel I bought the night before.

I didn't feel like eating at all but I got about 1/2 of it down. I make coffee for Sis and I. She's in a room down the hall with her husband and 2 kids. I expect her to arrive in my room and finish getting ready at 6:00. Somehow I was put in a room that is actually a suite of some sort--2 beds in 2 rooms which was very nice since I could move around very early without waking up
my daughter who was asleep in the 2nd "room".

At 6:05 sis comes in. We both sip our cups of coffee, and try to down more bits of bagel and some juice. We were both very giggly at this stage. My daughter gets up and gets dressed and just shakes her head and both of us--telling us repeatedly that we are crazy.
She plans to walk us down (2 blocks from the hotel) and take pictures us of at the start.

At 6:30, after triple-checking that we all had everything we could possibly need, we leave our room. We walk to the elevator and when the door opens we're greeted by women that look just like us. All dressed like they are going out for a morning run. My daughter was the only one in street clothes.

Outside the hotel, the street was just packed with women headed towards the start. We got there in about 5 minutes and found a LONG row of porta-poties. Sis that my daughter take a picture of us in front of them--it was like heaven to her. So with 25 minutes
left to the start, we wait in line. Sis somehow picks the longest line, that somehow just takes forever. When all that was done we only had 5 minutes to get to our corral.

The weather was very comfortable. Almost too comfortable for that time of morning in San Francisco. I didn't feel cold at all in my tank and shorts.

My daughter walks us to the intersection barrier and gives us both a hug, and leaves to find a good vantage point to photograph the start. Sis and I push our way to our corral (12 - 14:59 mile) and wait a very short time before we heard the starting gun. The line moved
surprisingly fast. We actually got to the start at 7:06 on the nose. I started my watch when I heard the shot, because we were told that the course closes promptly at 2:00pm and we had to factor in any start delays. We found out later that they did keep the course open
much later than 2:00pm.

The first mile was completely effortless. It didn't feel like we were running at all. I didn't feel it in my breathing, or my legs, or anything, it felt like walking. It was the easiest mile I have ever done--EVER. Actually the first 4 miles were super easy. I was very careful of our pace, slowing
us down when we were going too fast--all in all these first 4 were done at around a 13:30 pace. Perfect for us.

The crowds were great. Lots of TNT cheers "go team", but since we were both in pink (hair and all) we got a lot of "go pink team". So that was a nice boost in these early miles.

We passed by several porta potties but they all had super long lines. Sis doesn't have a strong bladder and we had to get serious about stopping soon. She spied a public restroom at a park about 100 yards away from the course with only a couple of people in line
(or so we thought). So we run off to the bathroom. While Sis is in there, I slather on some biofreeze on my knee. I didn't want to say anything, but that old ITB pain was coming back and wanted to nip it in the bud if possible. I didn't want to say anything outloud--
I didn't want to acknowledge it to anyone.

The bathroom turned out to have a long line INSIDE the bathroom, so all and all the stop cost us 6 minutes. For each mile during the marathon, I would shout out how many miles we had in "The Bank"--these are miles that we could use in the later on if something bad happened and we had to slow down. We used 16 per minute miles (a 6:59 marathon time) as the zero point.
When we started the race, we started 6 minutes in the red, and as our good miles progressed we would soon be in the black. But, with this bathroom trip, we "spent" our minutes and we were back to almost nothing in the bank.

And....the BIG Hill was coming at mile 6 and I had no idea how well we would do against it.

For mile 5 we tried to make up a little time, looking back, it was probably too fast--Sis kept asking me if we were running faster than normal, and for some reason I couldn't get a good read from the Garmin. Turns out mile 5 was fast for us--12:25. But we started
building our bank again.

Then we came to the hill. The hill lasted nearly the entire 6th mile. Lots of runners were walking it. We trailed blazed through the packs of slow walkers, either power walking or running--but it was hard to dodge all the walkers (some walking 6 abreast,
and on the left). Up ahead I spotted a girl that I have seen before who was wearing rainbow legwarmers. "See that Chick" I tell my sis, "I am NOT going to let her beat me in this race!" A group of runners nearby overheard me and shouted "You go, girl! We're with you on that one!".

I retrospec, I should've made sure she was running the full marathon!

With that hill done (around 14 minute mile), we were greeted with a nice long downhill--we just let gravity do its thing and our bodies went along for the ride--that mile was done in 11:39--the fastest mile we EVER done together. We still had a couple of more miles of up and down, that we pretty much handled the same way.

At mile 10, Sis announced that she could tell that my knee was bothering me. "No, it's're seeing things" I tell her, but then whisper to her that I just don't want to acknowledge the pain.

Finally around the 11th mile or so, we hit the Great Hwy...on the Ocean...and the cool fog. We both felt pretty good at this point and were continuing to bank those miles. The goal was to have 20 minutes in the bank by mile 20. A mile or so passes and, we turn into
Golden Gate Park, here where the half marathoners split off from us. And yes..I did pass the chick in the rainbow leg warmers, and then found out she was a half marathoner!

The miles in Golden Gate park started off fine. It was hillier than we thought--or it felt that way. It was very pretty and a nice break from the ocean fog. Around the 14th mile, my sister started to lag behind a bit. I asked her if my pace was too fast and she told me that I should keep setting the pace and that we will just keep catching up. If she needed me to slow down,
she'll speak up.

I should mention here that my sis tried and ate everything during the run (to this point), bananas, luna bars, power shots, you name it. I tried to tell her not to, but she can be very stubborn.

Mile 16 was bad. Sis really slowed down and I stopped and stretched so she could catch up. She said she felt naseauted and a bit dizzy. She decided to stop at the porta-poties to "sit awhile". So sis goes off to the port-a-pottie for some alone time. Meanwhile, I'm lathering on BioFreeze on both knees.

and we still have to run 10 more miles.......and we only have 14 minutes in "the bank".

PART II Coming Soon


Blogger backofpack said...

Oh, now, that's just mean...leaving us hanging like that! Already your course description makes me want to run this marathon. Can't wait to hear how it all turned out! Hurry up!

8:41 PM  
Blogger JustJunebug said...

i cant wait for the rest!!

5:49 AM  
Blogger Nicole said...

First half sounds great! I felt nauseated to so I feel your sister's pain.

6:25 AM  
Blogger Sonia said...

hahaha not fair! We want to read the rest!! That really sucks your knee bothered you so early in the race.

8:25 AM  
Blogger Kurt said...

I see your into BDSM. Torturing me having to wait for the rest now!

9:52 AM  
Blogger runnergirl said...

You are just plain mean! We want the rest!! I sure hope that ITB held up for you the whole way.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Wanna-be 5k-er said...


Wanna see how you guys did!!!

So far I am on the edge of my seat...


7:17 PM  
Blogger Firefly's Running said...

Oh....COME ON! You leave the good part...and NO pictures to boot.

7:23 PM  
Blogger Dori said...

What a great start. I can't wait to read the rest! Sorry I haven't checked in with you in a while--the Nike Women's Marathon seemed like it was so far away and now it's over.

I love that you dyed your hair pink! I hope you post pictures of you and your sis. Good job!

8:33 PM  

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