Sunday, August 03, 2008

WOO! Race Report!

First off, I got very little sleep last night...Maybe at best 3.5 hours. I just wasn't sleepy and had a hard time falling asleep. Then, of course, I woke up at 3:00AM, 1/2 hour before my alarm.

The drive to SF was nice. I had some time to drink some coffee, water, and eat a few grapes. When I arrived downtown, the parking garages that were listed as opening at 4:30AM, were still dark. Luckily there were quite a few parking spaces on the street, and even better the meters aren't enforced on Sunday. I noted the street where I parked, and headed to the Ferry Building (this was about 5:25). My wave didn't actually leave until 6:25 so I had plenty of time to use the potty, stretch and find my place.

I found the 5:00 Marathon pacer easily. Her name is Marie, and ran the 135! mile Badwater Ultramarathon) just 2 weeks ago. Talk about amazing! She told us that we'd be running 7/ones (run 7 minutes, walk a minute) and we'll be walking through the water stations. She'd also said she would talk her head off the whole race, but also offer advice on nutrition, fitness, etc. Sadly I didn't hear much of this.

We set off at about 6:26 AM. Our wave was the last one and seemed a bit crowded, but it kept the pace up.

Mile 1: 11:26
The first mile on a race is always easy for me. It's the adrenaline. My Garmin beeped 1 mile about .10 before the marker. I thought it was a glitch. So far so good. I stayed pace with Marie, although I wasn't close enough to hear much of what she said.

Mile 2: 10:47
Super fast (for me). Still felt okay with the pace. I assumed Marie was banking a bit of time for the rest stop coming at mile 3. Our walk periods were only what seemed to be a few seconds. We chugged on. I think we hit Fisherman's wharf and pier 39. So far it was really quiet. Really no spectators--one of the drawbacks of such an early start. Mile 2 was hard for me, the excitement of the start gone, faced with the thought of the miles ahead of me, and starting to think I was a bit crazy to even consider this pace.

Mile 3: 12:31
At the rest stop Marie instructed us to drink up not only the water but also the sports drink (very important she said). I waited for my drink to be poured, drank down both drinks and headed off. I looked for Marie's sign, but couldn't see her....then I found her...about 50 yards ahead of me. Arrg...time to kick it up. Feeling better about running.

Mile 4: 11:00
Caught up with Marie's group, or within 10 yards from her. All is good, running along the water towards the bridge. Started to pace myself, doing my own walk breaks and running faster to catch up with Marie, foolish or not, it's what I felt like doing. Talked a bit with a barefoot runner...nice guy...and even though I really can't stand shoes, I wouldn't even think of running a full marathon without shoes.

Mile 5: 11:40
Another rest stop (I think), more catching up with Marie, and seeing the hill up ahead that will take us up to the GG Bridge. Eek! Doing a little more walking now, even though I feel like I should bank a little time for the hill. Picked out a bag of sports beans from my pack and tried to gobble them down, even though I didn't feel like it. What I really feeling like doing is hitting the porto-potties, but the lines are just too long to justify it, so I just continued on.

Mile 6: 13:59
See the bridge..see people running on the bridge...and there's no fog! Sweet! What is not sweet is this dang hill I have to "run"....decide to use my banked minutes and power walk it instead....many others around me are doing the same...There's got to be a downhill at some point, right?

Mile 7: 11:31
Lost Marie on the hill and I'm on my own. Still see the barefoot runner, so that was a comforting sight. It's really different running without either a ipod (the literature said "please, no ipods", but most people still had them), or my sis. I was left alone with my thoughts. The official photographers were on the bridge in what seemed to be like every quarter mile. I tried to smile for the cameras and to make sure I was running. My shoulder and knee started to twinge a bit, so I pulled over and smothered them with some BioFreeze (LOVE that stuff).

On the bridge, they closed down 3 lanes, one for each way and one as a buffer between us and the cars. We had a lot of honks and hollering..which helped push us along. I don't really remember even looking out at the water or anything.

Mile 8: 11:56
Still doing okay, off the bridge on the Marin side, around the parking lot (there were real bathrooms, and real long lines), and another aid station to load up on water and drink, then it's back on the bridge.

Mile 9: 11:53
WTF? the 5:15 pacer just passed me! How can that be? According to my watch I'm still doing 12 minute mile averages and on pace to do a 2:30 1/2....I heard the pacer saying something about being a bit ahead of schedule so I calmed down.

Mile 10: 12:35
This mile sucked! The lane was so narrow and there were so many people walking (some side by side) that I had to run/slow/walk/dodge almost the entire time. Walking always feels better and it's hard to get running again after an abrupt stop...then the roadblock happens again. I'm starting to doubt my calculation.....on whether 12 minute miles for 13 miles equals a 2:30 1/2. Running is not the time to do math....

Mile 11: 10:51
What? I can't believe a dumb calculation error. 12 minute miles would bring me in at 2:36, not 2:30; Marie wasn't banking time, that really was the pace for the 2:30 half. I felt like an idiot. There's no way I'll be able to make it up at this point. But we're off the bridge and it's all down hill. Let's see what I can do!

This is the wonderful part in a race, where you know you're gonna finish and get a medal, even if you walk (or crawl) the rest of the thing...It's a great feeling, but not a good motivator.

My right calf is starting to do a funny thing down this hill, it's like for an instant, the entire calf muscle feels like it's compressing to the size of a golf ball, and right before it threatens to hurt, it relaxes. These "contractions" went on for a good part of this mile and I'm praying they don't turn into a charlie horse.

Mile 12: 14:00
More hills, all up...more hillier than I expected. My ITB (which hasn't plagued me since Nike Women's), in my left leg is starting to twinge. More BioFreeze.

A few more spectators, but then it is after 8:00AM now and people are starting to wake up. There was a cute little boy (about 5 years old), on the sidewalk with a little table and a Big bowl of Pretzels...A handful of pretzels never looked so good!

My body starts telling my brain that finishing at 2:40 would be perfect, and that I should take the rest easy. My Brain listens, and I just go along for the ride. I do have volleyball tournament finals on Friday, and it would not be good if I'm too injured to play (not likely at all, even if I pushed a bit, but I was weak minded at that point). I remember my blog post stating I'd be very happy with a 1/2 marathon time under 2:45. Seriously, I have done only 3 runs over 4 miles to prepare for this race, what the hell was I expecting?

Mile 13--13:33
More hills, approaching GG Park, try to crank up this last mile, but it's hard...I know I'm going to hit the goal doing this walk, walk, jog thing, and there's no one to tell me otherwise and I really don't want to be sore tomorrow. I know the end is just around the corner.

Mile 14 -- 11:06 (pace)
Kick it up a bit for the last 10th of a mile. Maybe I can do it under 2:40, but body tells me, 2:40 is just fine...thank you very much:

Official finish time: 2:40:10, pace 12:13.

Grabbed my medal, mylar blanket, water, and took the shuttle back to the start. The overcast day that we LOVED during the run, was giving me shivers now and all I wanted to do was to get to my car, turn up the heat, and find a Starbucks. Took me wandering around for a 1/2 hour to find my car (must take better notes next race Alzheimers really kills car-finding abilities).

I was able to get warmed up, get some coffee, drive to make it home by 12:00 in time for nice long shower and lunch. Turns out I LOVED the early start after all!

Hours later, I feel great! I might be a little sore tomorrow, but won't have the marathon hobble. My energy is just zapped, but I'll chalk that up to the lack of sleep more than anything else.

Well...I got 10 weeks until Nike's Womens...Plenty of time to get those needed long runs in.

I'm thinking a 5:30 marathon might be in my future!


Blogger Firefly's Running said...

Nice job!!

7:48 PM  
Blogger leslie said...

What a great race report1 I ran the 1st half too, and it's so much of a blur with some highlights that I loved reading what you wrote, because it helped me fill in the blanks! Wasn't it a fun run? And aren't you glad it's over?!?!

7:58 PM  
Blogger Julianne said...

Congrats!!! You did a great job today. :-) Can't wait to see how much you'll improve at Nike Women's!!

11:07 PM  
Blogger Sonia said...

Woohoo!!! Super happy you had a great race! When you said you found the 5h marathon pacer, I tought you had hidden from us that you were running the full!!

5:04 PM  
Blogger Dori said...

Congratulations, RB, on your well-run race! Great report, too. I'm amazed you can remember each mile. Keep up the good work. :-)

7:35 PM  
Blogger *aron* said...

awesome job and great report!!! it was a great day and i loved the early start time! so exciting you are doing nike too - cant wait to read how that goes!

2:37 PM  

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