This Sunday I ran the SF 1st Half Marathon. Ironically, I signed up for the full marathon the day before I discovered I got a number to Boston! Needless to say, after Boston I was not too eager to train for another marathon, and dropped down to the half. The SF Marathon is unique in that it offers not one, but two half marathons on race day. They split up the course, allowing people to run either. Though I was bummed I wouldn’t be receiving the Berkeley/SF Challenge medal (from running the Berkeley Half and SF Marathon within a year of each other) I am psyched to challenge myself to do the second half next year!
Race day started out bright and early meeting friends in Berkeley where it was not bright, and more late than early. We left Berkeley at 4:15 and were safely in SF for the start. I had looked at the course elevation beforehand, so I had expected a strong climb leading up to the Golden Gate Bridge. Running over the bridge in a race was even cooler than I anticipated. B and I had run over it when we visited a few years ago, but running with a large group on the road was very cool. What I didn’t anticipate were the rolling hills in the neighborhoods after the bridge and before Golden Gate Park. Those were torture. Overall, I felt great and was soo happy I did the half, rather than the full. Getting carded for my Irish coffee at the finish was a perfect ending. Maybe next year I’ll do the 2nd half and eventually the full. (hold me to it!)
I never have been. My mother said I didn’t cry much as a child. I of course cried at the funerals of my aunt, Ganga and Nana, but otherwise, I’m sentimental, but not emotional. Maybe it’s the suppress-your-feelings Irish-Catholic mentality, who knows. I’m not one of those girls that starts sobbing after a few beers on a Saturday night. Sorry but I can’t be someone I’m not.
That being stated, I cannot think about last year’s marathon or this year’s upcoming marathon without my throat getting tight. The weekend after Marathon Monday 2013, the NYRR held a race to let Boston know they were in our thoughts and prayers. At the start, they had a time clock stopped when the bombs went off. A girl from Hopkinton sang the National Anthem and when her voice broke the crowd helped her finish. As I ran across the starting line with the song “Sweet Caroline” playing, for the first time in my life I didn’t curse Neil Diamond. And when I crossed the finish line 4 miles and 31:59 later, I was sobbing.
I am so excited for the Boston Marathon this year. I honestly think about it 20 times a day. I am not afraid, I am proud of my city and for my fellow crazy runners. The only thing I am nervous about on race day is my emotions. I’m concerned that seeing crying people on the sidelines might make me cry. I’m worried that the emotions of the race will cause my throat to clench and my breathing to get harder. Running 26.2 miles is hard enough, but running with an emotional load on your back. Eek. So if you’re out there this year, I have this advice - Cheer. Loudly. And excitedly. And with the biggest smile you’ve had on your face in a while. Offer high-fives. Make jokes. The best way we can take back this day, our favorite day, is to show the world how we unite as a people. In memory of the three souls lost last year, in honor of those whose lives are forever changed, we must cheer. We cannot cry. We must run on.
When I woke up this morning, it was pouring. I hoped if I waited it out, I’d get a clear afternoon and be able to do my long run. Well, I was able to get out there, but it was probably only dry for about 1/3 of it. However, that didn’t put a damper on my run. I mapped out 22 miles, going over to Lake Merritt, down to the water and then challenged myself with going around the Cal stadium. Finishing this way meant a 200m gain over 2.1 miles, followed very quickly by another 250m gain over 1 mile. These were miles 15-18, so though Heartbreak Hill will be a bit later (mile 20ish), it is only a 91m gain over .5 mile. Doing this definitely helped me get over the mental side of the hills and if I keep up my training, I think I’ll be over the physical side of it.
As with many of my past runs, despite the gross weather, I could not help but smile and feel incredibly fortunate that in just a few short weeks (23 days!) I will be returning home and running the Boston Marathon with the brave men and women of the Boston Fire Department and their friends. Whatever challenges we face on race day are nothing compared to the challenges BFD faces on a daily basis. I am truly honored by this opportunity.
This blog initially served as my day-to-day training record for the 2010 New York City Marathon with a little bit about how I have fun in the city. I finished my first marathon in 4:17:48 and had the time of my life. I also raised over $2000 for Camp Casey. Post marathon this blog followed some of my continued healthy endeavors and races and will provide me with a place to record great running articles, quotes or facts I read. Now, as I embark on my second marathon adventure, follow me as I work toward a lifelong goal - running the Boston Marathon!