Race day FINALLY arrived! As I lay there the night before, I kept trying to remind myself, “hey, you are RUNNING a full marathon tomorrow!” Nope – it still didn’t sink into my skull! Wake up was 4:30 am – well, I got up at 4:40 am and D and I quickly got ready to go. I put on my capris and was content with my wardrobe choice, even though I wasn’t sure what it would be the night before. About 10 mins before we were going to leave, I changed into my skirt. There is a seam behind one knee that would drive me bonkers. I also body glided up… this is some foreshadowing, btw. I wore my red compression socks, a brooks short sleeve T, my Tough Chik arm warmers and visor. I was ready.
D and I walked the 8 blocks to the start line and picked up a random “friend” along the way. It was so early when we passed the strip club as the dancers were just getting off work! We made did the bag check deal (giant buses) and our way to our corral – this was Nike’s first year doing them and I thought it went well. It also meant we started two blocks back from the start line, which was odd. We ran into a hotel where a bunch of Team in Training runners were and used their bathroom so we completely avoided any porta-potties. Freakin’ awesome.
In the corral, D and I chatted together and with a few fellow runners. Finally, 7 am hit and we started walking toward the start line. We crossed and started at 7:19/7:20 am.
D told me the night before, “If you feel like you are starting out too fast then you are… slow down”. I heeded this advice. I indeed started out with the 4:40 pace group and was ahead of them for a little while. My garmin was all crabby and wouldn’t stay linked for about 5 mins into the race. The weather was great – cool with some misty business that was pretty refreshing. We ran along the wharf and hit the first hill. I ran up it and felt confident. We got to hill #2 and I ran up that puppy too, although it was a bit more of a struggle! Mile #3, where a bunch of others were walking, I ran it and wondered if I could keep this up. I hit the water stops and drank some water and stopped while I did this. At mile #5 ish they handed out shot blocks so I grabbed those and took off again.
I was about to meet my hill nemesis… mile #6 was completely up hill. Oh my goodness. It started about a half mile into mile 5 and it kept going. And it was steep. I did finally have to walk, which dampened my spirit a bit but I had planned for this in case it became a reality. When we finally crested this beast it was a nice downhill for a little bit but then another freakin’ hill! We just kept climbing! There were orange slices on this hill and they were so refreshing! I stuffed one in my face, breathed for a few minutes and plugged on. I got to the top of this hill and think it was right into mile 8. It dawned on me that my legs were trashed and I had a lot more running to do. I really wasn’t sure how I was going to keep it up.
I had brought my handheld with Nuun in it and a GU and some blok’s stuffed in there as well. I also brought an emergency pack of a glide product since I was wearing my skirt and didn’t want my thighs to catch fire. Once I finally got over that last hill, we came to what would have been an amazing view of the ocean if the fog had lifted. But at that moment, I didn’t care. All I kept thinking about was “WOW! I am running the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco! I am so LUCKY!” I simply embraced the moment. My tired legs became a badge of honor, I ran down the hill loving the fact that I had the most beautiful view and loved that I was there.
Around mile 11, I looked around and saw only 1/2 marathon bibs. Minor panic set in – had I missed the turn off somewhere?! I also realized I was getting really tired so I paused, took a Chocolate Raspberry GU (really good btw! I picked it up from a vendor table at the Ragnar Relay), took a drink and kept running. I kept going and finally saw other full bibs. At last, I saw the area where the half went one way and the full went the other. Mile 13 was also up hill (wth?!) and I struggled a little and had to walk. As soon as I passed 13 though, I got a renewed sense of energy! I could make it!
Yes… this is an epic recap… but it was my first full and a lot happened… at least in my head! I’ll finish the recap tomorrow!