The SF Marathon

San Francisco Marathon race recap: Another 26.2 in the books! I almost didn't do this. 4 days before the race I woke up with excruciating back pain. I couldn't even get out of bed! I figured it may have been from moving a heavy box the day before. It was a struggle to put on my socks and shoes and carry my bike up the stairs. I was ready to cancel my race. I did yoga twice a day and tried to stretch to help ease the pain. I noticed it was helping. Each day it got a little better. I went to the expo anyway, with the mindset that I wasn't going to do the race. That was a mistake because I got "marathon fever". I picked up my bib and brought it home and had a last minute brainstorm to go to PSOAS Bodywork & Massage and use the pre-race tune-up coupon to help fix my body. It worked! The therapist smoothed out all the tightness and pain spasms I was having and I had a lot more mobility than when I went in. I did a test run around the block and realized I could run without pain so I decided to go for it, do the race as a training run and at least see how far I could go.

I set my clock super early and did an hour of yoga before the race. My plan was to run easy and avoid hunching over. Whenever I did that, I would feel a twinge of pain. I focused on running tall, looking at the horizon. I was lacking power and could not accelerate without risking pain, so I avoided doing that. I just stayed in cruise control the whole time and actually enjoyed the running. No high fives! Going uphill was fine, but I was worried about the downhills. I had to slow it down and keep my stride in check. A couple of times I fell out of form. Ouch, not doing that again! I never ran injured before so it was a new experience for me. I became aware that there were lots of other folks doing this that have physical challenges to overcome. They inspire me.  We are all just pushing our bodies to see how far we can go for various reasons. My reasons are: I enjoy running, the physical and mental health benefits of running, the marathon ritual, reaching goals, being a participant, being a part of the running community. This time, I really stepped outside of myself to check my motive. I was surprised at what I could do if I gave myself the chance. I got to practice being flexible and let go of the results. I'm glad I did it but also wondering about my mental health. Marathon runners are admittedly a crazy bunch.

I ended up finishing with a time of 5:06. It was nice not to worry about the time and just finish, though it was hard to let go of that.  I will continue to incorporate the yoga stretches as medicine into my daily routine. The yoga is helping be more aware of what is going on in my body. I should listen to it more, and be careful about lifting heavy things before my race!

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