Friday, August 3, 2012

The SF Half

I felt somewhat prepared.  Especially compared to the two previous half marathons, which I barely trained and had considered dropping out of.  I slogged through them, felt awful.  Moved on.  Life settled (we found a place to live, right near my favorite trail!) and I began to run on a more regular basis.  I felt good.  My goals; 1) stay out of the porto-potty 2) meet or beat my time from last years race.

The group for this day would be two good friends and my cousin.  We met dark and early and made our way over to the city.  It didn't seem as crowded (18,000 down from last years 25,000) but we all dropped our bags and made our way to our wave starts... mine was the caboose.  As usual.  My friend H is a new mom and this was her first race.  She did not have time to train and was content to push it to mile 8.  In fact, H is the one that invited me to run my first half!  So now it was my turn to nudge her.

This was the first time that I have repeated a race.  There is definitely a psychological advantage knowing what to expect.  The first 5 miles are very enjoyable and easy.  The hill up to the GG bridge is the 'beginning'... the trek over the bridge is deceivingly difficult.  Since there is cross traffic, I saw H coming out of the turnaround of the bridge.   It was here that goal number one disappeared.  A porto-potty visit was essential.  I was bummed, but what can you do when nature calls?!  The alternative was not an option.

 After the bridge is the second toughest hill, and I actually allowed myself to walk the last bit of it.  It turns out my walk was faster than my 'run' though.  It was at the top of this hill that I finally caught up with H.  A beautiful stretch that overlooks the coastline.  We meandered down the hill together.  Little pep talking.  I felt strong.  I was surprised.  When the course started heading back up, H said to go ahead... since I felt I still had a little in the tank I decided I would.  I was shocked to be passing people.  Granted, they were walking, but I wasn't.  And I was passing them.  That felt awesome!  It was this part of the course that hit me hard mentally last year.  I didn't feel prepared for the relentless unending UP... it still felt long.  But I got to the finish line 7 minutes ahead of last year!  Goal 2, check!

H crossed the line not far behind me.  She did it.  She ran the whole thing.  Her longest run in training was 4 miles.  I just can't believe her mental toughness.  I don't have it.  I kept telling her how impressed I was.  Seriously, I could not have done it.  We made our way back on the shuttle and BART and met up with the rest of the gang for some post-race commraderie.  I really love that part.  So much fun to chill and chat, compare stories... and manage the pain (ie booze!)...

I was shocked that, although I was super tired, I was not sore!  I did take the rest of the week pretty easy.  Today I began training for the Golden Hills Marathon!  Yes, you heard correctly.  I don't know what has possessed me, but I am going to go for it.  This race calls me!  Today I did the first 4.3 miles (section one as I call it)... after the killer hill, I was rewarded with amazing vistas!  I feel good.  I don't know how I'm going to cover 26.2 but then again I didn't know how I would ever cover 13.1...

here we go!

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