Finished the SF Marathon in just under 4 hours at 3:58:40, a 10 minute marathon PR and 20 minutes PR for this course! Also managed to raise some funds for Back on My Feet, thanks to everyone who donated! Every little bit helps.
It was a good day out there. I always enjoy this race. It makes me feel like I'm going down memory lane as I pass by several familiar spots and neighborhoods I used to live in. It has a great vibe with all the great views, rockin' live music and DJs, awesome volunteer support, lots of aid stations and cheering. The Coast Guard was handing out medals this year, which made it very special. The Rock The Bike Pedal-Powered stage is just awesome.
And now for the details:
I started out intentionally slower on the first mile, then found my pace. Had to make a pit stop before Ft. Mason because the bathroom lines at the start were way too long. I was thinking I could catch up to the 3:40 pace group, so I tried to blow through Crissy Field. There was a moving wear Blue to Remember contingent there that cheered us on. I was just a few minutes behind, so I tried not to lose more than a minute or two on the hills. It was hard to pass people on the bridge, and had to stay focused on pushing the pace. It was quite foggy, so even though the view was misty, it's always mind boggling to see all the little colored dots of thousand of runners on the Golden Gate Bridge and realize you are one of those colored dots! And we were running on the bridge, not on the sidewalk! There is a fun downhill after the bridge so I tried to take advantage of it. By the time I got to Golden Gate Park I realized I was now a half mile behind the 3:40 group. I knew this because I had my virtual running partner programmed in my Garmin and I could see it. I also made a pace band and I knew how many minutes I was behind them. By the time I got to Stow Lake, I finally saw the leader of the pace group leaving the loop, just as I was entering it. I knew then I was now a good mile behind them, or 10 minutes. I kept on going with my ultimate goal in mind, a sub 4. I knew I needed to have that higher target in mind in order to get me there, so I'm glad I set my race up this way. The hills drained me though and even though the second half is "faster" than the first half, the legs were not, so I couldn't regain my ideal pace. I saw the Daily Mile Team Aid station and said hi to Hugh B., who is great inspiration and support. They had oranges! Though I love Golden Gate Park, I just wanted to get the heck out of there and be done with the loop de loops. I thought I could fly down Haight St., but by now the hills were catching up to me. I just tried to stick as close to 8:00 - 8:30 pace as possible throughout the race and not get farther behind. By doing this I got to an average pace of 9:00 LOL! Once I left the park, I hit the RESET button, and just ignored everything I just ran and tried to click into 10k mode. I was happy at the end I was able to do a 2 mile progression run so I could finish on time. I saw some guys sprint by us within the last 5 miles and thought, WOW! But later on some were walking. Feels good to finish strong with a PR!
I biked to and from the race. Running after a long bike ride is hard, but an easy spin on the bike after a long run actually feels good! I highly recommend it! Running green: I brought my own water bottle to refill at the aid stations every 5 miles and a carb flask to keep my homemade gel mix in. If I have an extra gu packet, I time it so I'm at the aid station near the trash can and deposit the trash there.
Congrats to the female winner Devon Crosby Helms. She has a great blog with lots of recipes.