We arrived in S.F., parked and walked a few blocks to Union Square. Thank God there were other runners to follow because we really didn't know where we were going.
Wow oh wow, I could have never imagined the energy that was there from all the people filling the streets of Union Square. I used a porta potty (hard to do in the darkness) and then texted Bootchez, my running partner so we could find each other.
Finally I heard someone yell "Lisa!" and I looked to my right and there she was. After some introductions and a few pics we headed off to our corral.
We were packed like sardines in the corral. I felt something poking my foot so I had to take my shoe off and could barely bend down to do so, it was that crowded.
After a few more pics we began to hear some cheers but since were kinda far from the start line we had no idea what was being said.
Finally we started moving and as we rounded the corner we could see the start line! I fumbled to take my iphone out and get these pics:
|(taken by my husband before the race offically started)|
Almost to the start line:
There was a lot of weaving in and out of people the first few miles. And since we were running amongst tall buildings I lost the signal on my Garmin. I didn't realize that's what had happened though. I heard the beep and thought I had bumped arms with someone and accidentally paused it. I fiddled with it starting and stopping it and my blind eyes could not read the display so I didn't know if I had paused or restarted the damn thing. Finally I got a signal but was annoyed that not one mile into the race my Garmin was screwed up.
Also, I had my music on (it was low and I only started it so I wouldn't have to remove my phone from my ifitness belt mid-run) and the same song kept playing. WTF??? So I had to take the phone out and try to get my playlist to shuffle but it wouldn't. Ugh. Finally I got it to start and all was good. I didn't really listen to the music but it was there in case I needed it.
Miles 1-3 were basically weaving in and out of slower runners and walkers, hopping on the sidewalk and trying to avoid dropped jackets. A little frustrating but we enjoyed the scenery, vibe and entertainment.
Crowd support and entertainment were awesome and really energizing. At about mile 3 there was a little hill. I think I ran it and then there was another smallish hill that I think I ran/walked.
Mile 6 was the beginning of a 1 mile climb. The road narrowed at this point and it was really congested. I ran slowly until I had to walk. We stopped to take a pic which provided a brief rest.
Then it was back to the hill. Bootchez suggested walking the middle portion of the hills and surging at the top. OK, what the hell. So as we approached the top we ran.
We had a brief break from the hills but then another one began and then another. OMG, they never seemed to end. We ran, walked, and surged. Man oh man I had read that the hills were tough but one cannot appreciate how tough they are until you are actually on them. This gives you an idea of what they were like.
Somewhere at mile 8 I heard someone yelling "mommy" and over my music, the crowd cheering and the runners I recognized my daughter's voice. I had not expected to see my family until the finish line so this was a really really nice surprise.
She didn't realize that the sign she made for me was backward until her brother kindly told her :)
Here is the sign in all its glory. She was so proud!
And this is a somewhat blurry picture of Bootchez and me at mile 8:
|(notice many of the people are walking)|
It began to rain shortly after this picture was taken and I began to get tired and had to take more walking breaks.
At around mile 9 the race volunteers were handing out orange slices and I took two. I had to walk and eat them because trying to chew, breathe out of my mouth and run all at the same time didn't work. I welcomed an excuse to walk anyway.
I felt bad that I was walking and felt that I was slowing Bootchez down but she assured me that all was good. Can I just say that I had THE best running partner ever. She encouraged me when I needed it, told me not to worry about the time and was just so supportive. I had no idea that I would need that as much as I did, especially in the last few miles.
We continued on and finally rounded a corner and there was Ocean Beach and a DOWNHILL. We booked it here. At the top of this hill you could see the finish line and finishers village. So close but yet so far!
We made our way into Golden Gate Park and it was here at mile 10 that the 3 mile incline to the finish line began. I was pooped and was really struggling but Bootchez was there supporting and encouraging me. All I wanted was to finish and get my necklace.
Somewhere along the way I spotted Katye - Long Legs on the Loose. She heard me say her name and turned around. I told her she didn't know me but that I read her blog and had one too. She asked the name of my blog and I told her and she acted like she knew it (after the race I realized she may have remembered me because I bought a Bondi Band from one of her fundraisers). Anyway, sweet girl that she is she turned around (she had been running back into the runners) and ran with us for a minute or two. Thanks Katye, that was fun!
At this point it was all about getting to the next mile. At mile 12 (aka chocolate mile) we grabbed some Ghiradelli chocolates from the volunteers and headed toward mile 13. It seemed it would never come.
All I wanted to do was walk and I developed a cramp under my left rib cage at about mile 12.5. And OMG, we rounded the corner and there it was:
I was holding my side but I was determind to run (albeit slowly) to the finish line.
Bootchez was AWESOME, pushing me to the end. Look at her fist pump here:
My son was taking the finish line pics and sadly didn't get one of me crossing the finish line so I will have to wait until the race pics are published.
But I did get these pics:
Chip time 2:41:27
Eleven minutes slower than I had hoped but given what I now know about this course and the walking breaks we took, I'm totally good with this.
Amazing and hard are the two words I have been using to describe this race. I'm so glad I bit the bullet and registered for this back in March or April. And I'm really lucky to have shared this with Bootchez. Her enthusiasm and energy were inspiring and I loved every minute of it. It was an amazing experience and one that I'll never forget!
And yes, I would totally run this race again!
p.s. L.B., I changed my blog header just as you suggested :)