Saturday, September 10, 2011

The San Francisco Treat

I could still feel the welt on my left shin from the bike accident from two weeks prior as I toed the starting line at the San Francisco Marathon with Fil, Lauren, Yvette, Brian, and Cara. Amanda and Yueng were doing the half-marathon today (wise decision).

Everything on this early morning felt like a dream. Actually, it was only 5AM, so I could have been still dreaming back in my cozy bed, with Fil next to me, at the hotel. YIKES! WAKE UP! WAKE UP!

With all that seriousness aside, I finally snapped to and came to the realization that I was about to run another friggin' marathon. My first one since Boston. It wasn't just any marathon though, it was the San Francisco F'n Marathon! And any marathon that advertises itself as being "Worth The Hurt" gets a nod in my blog.

I had no idea what I was capable of doing today as far as performance was concerned. My longest and basically only run since Boston was the Finger Lakes 50 miler, and that was a month ago. I felt like I was in sub-3 hour shape, but that's on a bike since that's about all I've been doing in order to get ready for this run. Well, that was before Death intervened and spared my life, only taking my bike and a piece of bone from my left leg in the process. Thanks, Death.

One thing was certain today: the SF marathon course scenery and atmosphere is spectacular!

The backdrop for the start is the majestic Bay Bridge, and the fog shrouded Golden Gate Bridge, somewhere off in the distance about five miles from the start, was going to be the centerpiece of this run. Over the bridge and back...and then tack on 13 miles in the SECOND hilliest city on EARTH (Arlington is #1 after all of the other cities on that list).

(not the scene from Inception)

Is it too late to sign up for the half? I'll even do the 5K!

Even though my nerves were pretty much fried at this point (see previous two days spent driving around California with Fil), I have to admit that the morning air coming off of the Bay was quite refreshing and helped me relax a bit.

But making me a tad bit more nervous were the current morning temps. They were in the high 50's, and expected to climb into the upper 60's/low 70's during the run, which was unusually warm according to Bart Yasso. He was playing DJ and waking the dead this morning, including the fine folks that paid $300+ per night to vacation right along the Fisherman's Wharf. Money well spent.

My nerves were also on edge this morning because I was assigned a pretty low BIB number, based on my Boston Marathon time, which placed me in the "sub-elite" corral. I've never had to live up to "sub-elite" status before, so I didn't want to disappoint and make a fool out of all of the "sub-elite" runners out there. Sorry, guys and gals.

There was actually no separate corral for the "sub-elites" and the elites. We just had to make sure we were behind, but close enough to sniff the elite's undies. To be honest, I could actually reach out and touch last year's winner, Michael Wardian, if I wanted to, which I did before the race started. Cool guy.

I also tried reaching out and touching some of the fine looking elite females, but they would have none of it. Not cool.

The starting gun for the first wave of marathoners, including myself, went off promptly at 5:30AM and all that you could hear as you made your way down the ill-lit Embarcadero were your foot falls, breathing, and the faint cry of 26.2 hellish miles off in the distance.

This better be worth the hurt.

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