Sunday, July 29, 2007

7/29/07 San Francisco Marathon

Family vacation with marathon on last day. Planned this one far in advance as a way to see the city and get a race in. Arrived Thursday evening and stayed at the race headquarters hotel, easy walk to the 5:45AM start. Long all day walking and shopping on Friday. Laid low the second half of Saturday while Jody and the boys did more shopping. Great fun family time. Now it is awake in the morning darkness and off to the race. I have a calm attitude with no real expectations for a great finish time. Supposed to be a hilly course. My goal is just to enjoy it but also break four hours if possible. Dark, cool and foggy (this is SF) at the start.

Start - This race is huge!! 4,500 in the marathon but another much larger group in the 1/2 marathon. Two half marathons going on here, one for the first half of the race, the second half marathon will start later, at the midway point of the full marathon, garunteeing a crowded field thoughout. Find my corral and sit on the sidewalk till just before the start.

Mile 1 - Rolling party. Just go with the flow. I can see the 3:50 pace group ahead of me. There is no need to pass them, in fact it would be wise to make sure that I do not pass them, that will be my goal for the first miles, keep them in sight but do not pass.

Mile 3 - Nice and flat along the water. Easy way to start.

Mile 7 - Uphill and onto the Golden Gate Bridge. This is so cool, I have been looking forward to this for almost a year. We are being crowded into one lane of traffic however and are running elbow to elbow. Too crowded, too foggy, too windy, too cold.

Mile 10 - Glad to be off the bridge with more room to run and very comfortable temperature. On track with the 3:50 pace group in sight ahead.

Mile 12 - Running easy up and down some hills, I can not help but catch up with the "Cliff Bar" pacer. Nice pack of twenty or so runners, I settle in.

Mile 16 - Not thinking of the pace, just hanging with the group. Relaxed and easy, this is a fun time through Golden Gate Park.

Mile 20 - Haight/Ashbury and we are looking at some nice downhills. This is a wonderful four hour tour of the city.

Mile 22 - I am tiring now. Pace group is getting ahead of me, but not by much. Maybe 30 feet ahead of me, I could catch them if I really wanted. All of a suden a race official runs in front of me, with a roll of tape, cutting me off from the 3:50 pace group, and he directs me down another road. This is part of the rolling course closures designed to allow some traffic to get through. I will recconect with the others in a few blocks but for now I am in the lead with everyone following me.

Mile 23 - Tiring. Thinking of walking. Going uphill. Lets make a deal, I will run to the top of this rise and see what is ahead after the sharp turn and walk there if needed. Reach the top, turn right and see a just needed, beautiful downhill. Keep running.

Mile 24 - Back to full course, but the pace team is way far ahead. I had lost them when I needed them most. Hells Angels directing traffic. A few short walking breaks

Mile 25 - Baseball stadium. Onto the boardwalk, I have seen this on TV. This is where Barry Bonds hits the home runs into the water. Great distraction.

Mile 26.2 - Hang on the the end. Very pleased with time. There is the family just rolling out of bed. Shower, breakfast and BART to the airport. Great weekend, great race. I would like to run this one again.

995 of 4250

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