It’s so hard for me to believe that after so many months of fundraising, training and waiting my trip to San Francisco came to a close a week ago. Last week at this time I was sitting on an airplane for what felt like the thousandth hour heading back to the east coast.
There is so much I could say about both my trip and the race, but I’ll try to keep this short 😉
We arrived in San Fran early in the afternoon on Friday. After checking in at the hotel we had planned to meet to go to race pick-up as a group but Lynette, her husband (who was running) and daughter and I must have missed everyone else as we couldn’t find them and headed to the pick up on our own. I was worried that we’d get stuck in a crazy line but we didn’t have to wait at all. They had a lot of people working the pick-up and when we were there it was going really smoothly.
After picking up our kits we headed over to the expotique where they greeted everyone by putting our names on the big screen when you walked over a sensor that read your chip. Pretty cool!
There was also an Instagram wall where photos using the #werunsf hashtag were being featured.
It was pretty crazy in the Expotique
So we didn’t stay there long, we headed over to find our names on the windows at Nike Town!
I was so sure that my name would be up too high to have my picture taken with it, but was super excited once I fought my way through the crowd that it was at street level!
Once mission find our names was accomplished we strolled around San Fran until it was time for me to go back and pick up my sneakers from Nike Town. So I left Lynette and co. and went in Nike Town which was a MAD HOUSE. Seriously the lines were crazy on the women’s floor and it was so loud in there I got a headache
Luckily there was a very short (i.e. 2 or 3 people) line on the men’s floor where you picked up your reserved sneakers so I didn’t have to wait in the line downstairs with 50+ people in it!
Once I got back to my hotel room I was really ready for bed. I had been up since 2:30 am Nova Scotia time, and it was now 6pm San Fran time ) meaning I’d been up for about 20 hours. But I had been invited to the Team in Training VIP Reception for the top fundraisers (of which I was not one, I was there as a guest). At the last minute I had found out that Cara (who was a top fundraiser and the person who had invited me) wasn’t going to come so I had planned to miss the reception but she and a few others convinced me I should still go. I had changed some of my clothes in my suitcase when I found out she wasn’t coming and felt pretty out of place in my jeans and wrinkled shirt (I couldn’t find an iron in my room!) but I went and listened to the speeches and enjoyed the view below me
After the main part of the reception was over I headed back to the hotel and went to bed. This Nova Scotia girl was tired!
Saturday morning I woke up early and headed out to do sightseeing. I heard others talk about how they didn’t want to walk too much on Saturday so they could save their legs for Sunday. I had, had both Thursday and Friday off from and real exercise, and am so used to running on “tired” legs that I wasn’t worried about that. I which I had worn a pedometer but I’d guess that I walked about 15km or so on Saturday wandering around the city.
At supper time I meet up with my team to head over to our inspiration dinner which was, for lack of a better word – inspirational.
Come Saturday night my biggest worry was how much more I still wanted to see, and I only had Sunday afternoon to do it. I was so worried that I’d need a nap after the race on Sunday and would then miss out on the rest of the sights. That’s when I made the decision not to wear my watch on Sunday. I wanted to be oblivious of my time so that I could take the course slow and enjoy the experience of running through San Francisco and hopefully finish with enough left in the tank that I could have a bath and then head right out Sunday afternoon.
Sunday morning was an early morning – but luckily didn’t feel that bad since my body was still on Nova Scotia time! I remember waking up and being so cold in my bed that I was scared of how cold it was going to be outside in my shorts and tank top.
I ate some oatmeal, drank a bottle of coconut water and headed down to meet the team. Then it was time to get in our corrals. I think the biggest race I’d been in up until now was 8000 people, and this race had 31,000 people in it. That’s still hard to wrap my head around. Even in my corral there were so many people it was mind boggling.
After what seemed like hours (but was really only an hour from the time we entered the corral) it was time to go!
Almost immediately I was glad I wasn’t worried about my time. It was so packed I don’t think I could have passed people if I had wanted to. I wasn’t sure what my plan was as far as running. I had thought about running 4:30 walking :30 or running 10 walking 1 but without a watch all I had to base time on was the songs playing on my iPod. I ended up running the first 5km without stopping (except for water) and from there on out would run a song or two and then walk as I counted to 30.
And then the hills started coming.
And they didn’t stop. Someone said it was nothing but hills for like 5 miles. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but there were certainly a lot of them! I ran the first two, but then we started getting into hills that were so steep that 95% of the people in my view were walking them. I don’t know if I could have run them if I had wanted to. I actually weirdly like sprinting up steep hills, but some of these hills were so steep I don’t know if physically I could have done it without falling.
At the top of the biggest hill I knew I was going to see Amanda (with Team in Training) so was excited at the prospect of seeing her. I didn’t realize it but I stopped and took this photo just seconds before she came into view.
Ignore my finger…I didn’t really come to a full stop so was running and taking photos 😉
It wasn’t long after this I started hearing my name, and there was Amanda jumping up and down and screaming my name. She gave me a hug and I kept going, and I knew. I knew that the worst hill was behind me. And I still felt great. And then I saw the first down hill. Most people are afraid of downhills. I’m crazy and I like them. The secret to downhills is you need to commit. You can’t have any hesitation and just go for it. I flew down that hill and to from there continued a run/walk interval that I’m assuming was like run 5 or 6 min, walk 30 seconds. As each mile marked and km marker came I knew I was getting closer, and the key thing was – I wasn’t tired.
Mile 10 came and went, then somewhere before mile 12 Derek (our TNT run coach) was there. He ran with me for a few minutes, made sure I was doing okay, told me where to go (as we were nearing the area where the half marathoners were splitting from the fulls) and ran back to his post.
Not long after the split I saw the mile 12 marker. I had 1.1 miles to go. The clock read something close to 2hr 50 min. I knew that the clock at the start was at 20 some minutes when I started. Even though I wasn’t going to for time I felt good and only had a mile to go. I went into the race hoping that even without my watch I would finish in under 2 hr 40 min. I did the math – I had at least 10 minutes to cover that mile and get in under 2:40.
Anyone can tell you that the last km or mile of a race is always the longest, and this was no exception. It didn’t seem like I would ever see that finish line – but then there it was! And the clock read under 3hr when I crossed.
Final time of 2:34:36 when I wasn’t pacing myself or pushing myself? On a super hilly course? I’ll take it!
I was really surprised to see my 5K time was 35:45 and 10K time was 1:13:25, considering I felt like I was going snail slow I thought my 5k time was more like 45 minutes!
After the finish line were were crammed (and I do mean crammed) together and moving slowly. I’ve never been so happy to get my hands on one of those tin foils blankets in my life. We had to walk a fair ways before we got our necklaces
and then there were super huge lines to get your photo taken with one of the firefighters. No thanks. Where is my food? I got my finishers bag from Whole Foods, my shirt and then went to check in at the TNT tent.
People. I was so cold. My hands turned white and ceased to work. I ate my food while shaking (while everyone else around me acted like they weren’t even chilly) and ended up putting my finishers shirt on over my two tank tops just for another layer of warmth.
I stuck around long enough to see Cara Goucher talk
and then headed for the shuttle bus back to the hotel which was located approximately 50000 miles away. In all fairness all of the shuttles were a million miles away. I was such pandemonium that I was worried I was going in the wrong direction and would have to walk all the way back to find the right shuttle. Thankfully that wasn’t the case. I found the bus and got inside and it was WARM. Thank you! I didn’t care how long I had to sit on the bus, it was comfy and warm!
When we got further into the city the sun was out and it was a really beautiful day. I got back to the hotel
Took a warm bath and drank some coconut water
and got ready to head back out on the streets!
I had an absolutely amazing trip and run, and got some pretty fab bling too!
I really adored San Fran and hope that I’ll be able to go back some day with J. As for the race, I would do it again in a heart beat. Seriously, I’d happily do it gain tomorrow given the chance. It was hilly and crowded (and a spectator who decided to cross the “street” ran right into the side of me at one point) but it would be nice to do it on a less foggy day so I could better enjoy the views.
And that, concludes my Team in Training – Nike Womens Marathon 2013 adventure.
And what an adventure it was.