Race Day, Recap, Run!

Golden Gate Half Recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Golden Gate Half to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro  (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Sorry this took so long!!  When I left you last I was doubting my ability to run this race.  After a restless night of tossing, turning, trying to ignore the crazies next door and likely running a fever, it was rough getting going in the morning.   My first look in the mirror actually scared me!   I got ready slowly, debating my outfit the whole time.  I knew I was going to run the race but I also knew it wasn’t going to be a race.   One last weather check had me wanting to cry- it showed a 40-50% chance of rain.   Seriously?!  I hadn’t recovered from the previous weeks rainy race.  So I bundled up- capris over compression socks, arm sleeves and a windbreaker and my Buff® around my neck.    It crossed my mind that I may be over dressed but I figured better to err on the side of caution right?
Due to the parking nightmare of San Francisco, I had picked my hotel based on proximity to the race.    I had a short half mile walk to the race start.  I was soon surrounded by thousands of other runners waiting for the race to begin.  I was also officially confronted with the fact that the race started uphill.  Ouch.   I met up with another BibRave Pro- Brian– and we chatted.  It was nice having someone to talk to pre-race, I usually try to just not freak out.  😛    The National Anthem was sung and the race started right on time.

This will be a little different from my usual recaps, I knew my only hope was to get across the finish line in one piece and not hate myself or running after.  To that end, I never looked at my watch during the race.  I didn’t even look at the splits for another 2 days.   This race had nothing to do with pace or time.   The odd thing was that I ended up predicting my finishing time within seconds.   I had tried to give my mother a ballpark time just so she new when she and S should head down to the finish line.  Nailed it!  😛

Miles 1-3

Outside of the hill right at the start, these miles were predominantly flat.  We headed out through the Marina and the Presidio.  The race had around 4000 runners but things felt really tight.  It actually helped pull me along, looking back, these were my speediest miles.   It wasn’t raining but the fog was so heavy it was misting and I realized my sunglasses were more of a hindrance than a help.   I ended up carrying them for the next 8 miles.   I just went with the flow and enjoyed what I could see of the sights.   Parts of the course were parts of the SF marathon course so I thought I knew what I was in for.  I was wrong.

Miles 4-5.5 ish

My calves were starting to tighten up a bit so I was thankful for the first hill.  That was until I became so nauseous I was almost sick.  Ok, new plan- walk all the hills.  It’s cool.   The course was very windy so there were plenty of times we could see the faster runners ahead of us, it was kind of cool.   There was a lot of up in these miles so a lot of walking.   There was a particularly long hill leading up to mile 5, we ran up it to a turn around before running back down towards the bridge.  I passed Brian on my way up as he was coming down- he told me I had about a mile to go to the turn around.  Damn I forgot the hill was that long.  But that’s ok- I may have been sick but I could still rock a mean downhill- I kind of flew all the way the bridge.

Miles 5.5-9.8ish  The Bridge

I was looking forward to running the bridge again as I was hoping I would be able to see more than last time.  Unfortunately, it was just as foggy.  We ran the walkways instead of the road this time and I liked that much better- it seemed less slippery.  What I hadn’t counted on was the bottle necking.   It hadn’t really thinned out so it was hard to pass people.. or be passed.  Also, this was the race of selfies.  I have never seen so many people taking pictures mid-race before.  Dodging people became an art form.    I was also starting to feel very tired.  Once across the bridge we looped around Vista Point and down back under the bridge.  #1- a downhill trail?!?! Sweet!!  I ran like a 5 year old sprinting to the finish.  #2- you can run under the bridge?!??!  So cool!

Right after that we climbed what felt like the worst hill to me back up to the bridge.  That could have have been due to my maniacal sprint down the trail though.  😛   From there it was back across the West Side of the bridge.   It had finally thinned out so there was more breathing room.   My Buff® was coming in handy though- I had it over my face and was breathing through it for most of this section.  I felt like it had grown colder and I could actually see my breath.

Miles 9.8-11 Fort Point!!

Just off the bridge we looped under this side on a paved path.  As we were coming down a small hill I could see Fort Point on my left- when I realized that I could see runners running up to the Fort and turning around I wanted to do a little jig.   There was a field trip in 6th grade where we went to Fort Point and I remember loving it.  I was so excited that we got to run by it.  I even tried to photograph my excitement.

Miles 11-13.1

Once leaving Fort Point, we were on a dirt path along the bay.  The last 2 miles were flat and I was starting to feel sore.   I just tried to focus on the ocean to my left and Crissy Field to my right.   I was alternating between running and walking and just kept making my way to the finish.    We left the dirt path and turned onto Marina Drive and suddenly there were people cheering.  We were close!  Closer than I thought, I rounded a corner and suddenly the finish line was there! I had made it!

Finish- 2:30:17

The finish line was crowded and a little crazy but my mother and S found me fairly quickly after I was handed my medal and a water bottle.     We moved away from the crowd and my mother, knowing how angry I was with the previous week’s finish asked how mad I was with this one.    Not one damn bit.   For once my brain and my body were in agreement- I was already pushing the limit by just being out there, whatever pace I could pull off was great.  I walked when I needed to and didn’t berate myself for it, which is rare.  I tried to enjoy the race and the course as much as I could.

Which brings me to- the course!!!  People, this race freakin’ rocked!  I loved the course.  And I say that even with the 1200′ in elevation gain.    To me, this race offered some of the best things to see in San Francisco and half of it was covered by fog and it still rocked.  This is definitely a race I would like to run again someday.    Maybe when  I am healthy and can actually enjoy it?  😛  All the organizational details can be found here in my BibRave review.

This was my last half of the year.  It may not have gone the way I had hoped when training but I am ok with that.  I did the best I could that day and that’s all that matters.  😏😏😏


Run!, Training

Week 45 Training Recap

Training for:

  • Golden Gate Half

It’s the final countdown!    Race day was Sunday and I was hoping to get in a solid week of running before that.   Unfortunately, that was not the case.    The aftermath of the very wet Harvest Marathon took a toll on me.  Boo.

Monday- Rest   I was feeling a little rough so rest was awesome.  I was also afraid to even attempt putting on a sports bra after the chafing hell leftover from Sunday’s race.  Boo.

Tuesday- 45 minute recovery run  Sick.  I didn’t even make it through the work day.   I felt horrible and looked like crap so my boss kicked me out.  I made the long trek home and took a very long nap that felt more like a coma.

Wednesday- 2.5 miles.  I still felt wobbly but I wanted to try and get my legs moving.   Putting on a sports bra was a little uncomfortable.  Boo.  I lasted for a slow 2.5 miles on what was most likely my last time running the lake path until next year.   Good night lake.

Thursday- 3.6 miles Shouldn’t have done that.   I wasn’t feeling so great but I didn’t want to only have Wednesday’s run before race day.  So I headed out for a few miles after work.  I told myself to stick to 3 miles but I allowed the thought that this was likely my last work run until next year get to my head.  I ran on until the 2 mile point, not thinking about the fact that it was getting colder and the return trip was uphill.  I crashed hard.  Shouldn’t have done that.

Friday- Rest Felt like crap.

Saturday- Rest?  The plan called for a shakeout run but I was feeling crappy and didn’t want to figure out the logistics of that in San Francisco.  Instead my Fitbit says I covered almost 7 miles walking around San Francisco and it usually runs short so I figured that was enough.

My mom and I headed up to SF early and picked S up from college along the way.   The plan was to hang out around the Embarcadero during the day, pick up my race packet and head to the hotel.  The hotel was within walking distance of the start and then S and mom would come down to finish line on race morning.  I started to feel worse during the day but I tried to chalk it up to a bad pepperoni pretzel.  Wishful thinking.  After finding dinner a nearby burger place, I still felt horrible so I headed to bed early.  I also got a little bitchy.  Sorry mom and S!   I was tossing and turning, alternating between freezing and burning up.    Then to make matters worse- a large, loud group of guys returned to the hotel room next to ours around 1:30am.  They were the loudest, most obnoxious group of people ever.    It sounded like they were slamming into walls.   I can only imagine what the poor people below them heard.  ☹ I just wanted to sleep.   I was beginning to wonder if I should even race.

Sunday- Golden Gate Half….. could I do it?

How was your week?

Have any hotel nightmares? or chafing nightmares?

Would you have raced?


Race Day, Recap, Run!

The San Francisco Marathon Recap

I can’t believe this post is here.   How did the 6 months since I registered fly by so fast?

I was also seriously doubting that I would be able to write this post.  I was losing my mind the 2 weeks leading up to race day.   I even had a back up plan all picked out.  I was going to have some valid (to me) reason to quit at the halfway point and then say I was going to run a local marathon in October.  And then come up with some reason by then why I couldn’t.  This was still in my mind even on expo day.

Race day dawned all too quickly.  I stayed in bed until the last moment.   I got up, got dressed, panicked a bit and we were out the door.  Disclaimer moment- the way I fueled for this race was specific to me and my weird stomach- I in no way recommend it.  I did not eat anything prior to the race.  My Camelback was filled with  orange Gatorade and I had Honey Stinger chews in the front pockets.

Ashley was awesome enough to drop me off as close to the start as possible before she parked and Uber’ed to the Second half starting line.   I felt like I needed a bathroom but couldn’t find the port-a-potties.  I stood in the line for the one pier bathroom I saw but decided screw it about 5 minutes before they closed the gates to my starting wave.   So I lost my throw away layer, took a place near the 2:30 half marathon pacer and took a deep breath.  Wave 7 started right on time at 6:22 and we were off.

Miles 1-5 Hello, speedy.  10:40, 10:48, 11:08, 10:48, 10:54

I started at what felt like a comfortable pace and just tried to enjoy the sights of running along the Embarcadero in SF.  Ocean views, boats and the prettiest McDonald’s I’d ever seen.  I saw Coit Tower in the distance.   I came up behind the 4:55 pacer and tucked myself in behind them.  I heard the guy say that he was planning on running everything but the hills- those he would walk.  Perfect!  That had been my strategy anyway.  Hit the first water station-  I walked through and drank some water.   Mile 3 included the first hill but it was a baby one so I almost ran it but forced myself to walk.   Yeah, remember how that pacer said he would walk the hills?  His walk was my running pace.  We ran into the Presidio and I caught up with the pace group again.   We were looping around towards the bridge and all I could see was the fog around the bridge.   My mother was tracking me via the app and she sent me a text telling me to watch my pace.  No problem as up next was another hill…and it was bigger.  I took 2 Honey Stinger chews at mile 5. My Garmin was also about .25 miles off the mile markers.

Miles 6-10 Hello bridge.  13:00, 11:11, 11:20, 12:07, 11:34

Totally lost the pace group on this climb.  I kept them in my sights until the bridge and then they were gone.   I had been looking forward to running the bridge and enjoying the sights but Karl had other plans.  I thought I was prepared for fog but yeah no.  This was more like rain.  The mist was making me wet and the bridge was drenched in water.   There were metal plates that were slick and I almost face planted twice.   I slowed down as my shoes filled with water.  Grrr.  Once across the bridge we looped Vista Point before heading back to the bridge.  The aid station as Vista Point was having some issues- they had run out of premixed Nuun and were low on filled water cups.  I still managed to snag one but I was glad I had my Camelbak and was sipping on Gatorade every mile or so.   Then I was heading back over the bridge and I was done with the fog and the water- I wanted off the bridge.   Coming off the bridge led to another hill but it was a little drier and less foggy so I was loving it.   I took another 2 chews at mile 10.

Miles 11-15 Kind of a blur.  10:46, 12:55, 12:45, 11:42, 12:43

Downhill holla!  It was too short.   I was bouncing back and forth with the 5:10 pace group.  What the hell?  I was on track for a 2:30 half and they were ahead of the 2:30 pace group.  They eventually left me in the dust so I have no idea when they finished.     I started to slow down but can’t pinpoint why, I was still walking the hills and there were a lot but  I was running a decent pace on the rest. We ran through city streets until we turned into Golden Gate Park.  The second half runners were merging with us and the first half runners were heading towards their finish line.  I didn’t even think about following them.   I hit the halfway point at 2:33:13.  Ok, a little slower than I hoped for but still good.  I had been told the second half was less hilly so I was hoping for a negative split.  Oh, naive Slacker.   Miles 14 and 15 were a longish out and back and it was a bit mind numbing.   Mile marker 15 was also in the wrong spot.  My watch said 14.5 miles and I knew it was ahead anyways.  Grrr.  2 more chews around 15.

Miles 16-18 Uh oh miles.  13:03, 13:29, 13:54

We were deep in the park looping paths and I passed an aid station around 15.5   They were also having troubles keeping up with the demand.  I felt ok so I grabbed a cup of water and kept going.  Just before the mile 16 marker, things changed.  My stomach cramped in a very bad way.    I knew there was a bathroom 1/2 mile behind me but the thought of adding distance to already long race was too much.  So I walked more than I would have like and ran when I could.  I knew the next bathrooms had to be around 2 miles farther.  I am sure that at any other time, I would have enjoyed looking at the park around me but I just wanted the hell out of the place.  I felt like we were looping around forever.  I could even hear the First Half finish line but had no idea where it was coming from.   Let me out!  We were finally out of the loops and running past the First Half finish, I just kept looking for the bathrooms.  Aid station!!!  I ran towards the port-a-potties but it didn’t have toilet paper.  Nor the second or the third.  WTF?!   Success at the fourth.   And nothing happened!!  Stupid stomach.  Since I wasn’t breaking any speed goals I made sure to use the hand washing station before running on.  I have to say the cold water felt amazing.   Considering the pitstop in mile 18, I have no idea how it came in at only 13:54.  Ashley started texting me encouragement at this point along with my mom so I had those to look forward to.

mile 16.5 ish
Miles 19-21 Park, still?! 12:33, 12:18, 11:38

I’m still in the park?!  Yes, it was pretty but I felt like it was taking forever.    As we were finally coming out of the park there was a group of ummm, homeless men to the right.   They were cheering on the runners as we ran by.  One shouted out the he had heard that cannabis helped increase stamina.  Ummm, thanks?  I admit it made me laugh though and I dug myself out of my park coma as we headed towards Haight-Ashbury.    I glanced at my watch around mile 20 and knew I was slower than my 20 mile training run but it is what it is.  These hills were no joke.   I ate 2 more chews at mile 20 and water at every aid station.

Miles 22-24 Headphone time.  12:55, 12:28, 12:55

The beginning of the city streets were pretty and interesting to look at but I needed a kick in the pants so I turned on my music around mile 21.  Yes, I ran 21 miles with nothing but sounds of my breathing and the sounds on the course.    I only had one earbud in so I could still check out my surroundings.  I passed a Taco Bell/ KFC combo and the smell of fried chicken made me nauseous.  I passed cool looking houses and homeless tents camped on the sidewalks.  I passed the scariest Burger King I’ve seen in my life.  I ran passed a man in jeans, heeled boots and a black lace bra singing to the runners.  I won’t lie, I was getting tired and my hips were hurting but I kept trucking.   I did have to slow down for a cable car to go through the course.  The last few miles were very industrial.

Miles 25-26 Damn is the bridge ever getting closer? 12:30, 5:57, 12:05

Yeah, I did something funky to my Garmin there and by this point in the race, my watch was reading 1/2 mile longer than the course.  AT&T Stadium and the Bay Bridge were looming but they seemed like mirages in the distance, never getting closer.    The crowds picked up as we got closer- it was a game day so there were people heading into the stadium.   We ran around the stadium and back onto the Embarcadero.   I wish I could say I was running this last bit but it was more like run 100 yards, walk 100 yards.  Text messages were coming in constantly from friends and family in the last 1/2 mile but I just ignored them.   Turns out my mom was posting my time updates to Facebook while I was running.

26.2 Holy crap.  5:22:27

Crowds were cheering, under the bridge and to the finish line.  I actually did it.   I crossed the finish line and stopped my watch.

Then I just stood there, I had no idea what to do next and there wasn’t much direction.  I was finally handed a bottle of water and pointed towards the medals which were farther away than I was used to.   From there, I found a picture line but still little to no direction from the volunteers.   I marched in place while in line and responded to my mom’s texts and then Ashley’s.  Then I was out of the picture line and headed towards food tables where volunteers handed me a banana and bar of sort but no bag to carry them.  I didn’t have the manual dexterity to carry all that plus my pack which I had taken off at some point and I was starting to get emotional.    I ended up standing in the road just past that and started crying.  What was wrong with me?!  Ashley called me and I headed towards where she said she was but I was feeling very lost.   I found her and her sister and calmed down a bit.   They asked me how I was feeling and what I needed.  I said that physically I was feeling ok but I didn’t really feel like food.  I was really craving a Diet Coke.  Ashley’s sister went and found me a soda while Ashley and I headed to the challenge tent to pick up my California Dreamin’ medal.

I am not sure how I went from being a hot mess for 2 weeks to never even doubting that I could finish come race day.   The fog made me wheeze during the bridge miles, the hills kicked my ass but I just kept running.  I saw the turn off for the first half finish but it never seemed like an option.   I was slower than I would have liked but I just kept moving forward.  I walked more than I would have like but I just kept moving.  I somehow managed to thank volunteers on the back half of the course, I talked to another “marathon virgin” on the course and spoke to one of the bad ass ultra runners.   I am not a talker during races.  At the finish a guy thanked me for pushing him.  Umm, what?  Turns out he focused on my socks for the last bit and followed me.

It’s been 2 days and I still haven’t processed a lot from the race or training.  There will probably be another post coming.  And a whole lot of thank yous to people.

You guys, I ran a marathon!!!!



Run!, Training

The SF Marathon Week 18 Recap

Race week, no, marathon week- holy crap.

I feel like it just last week that I was writing the post about signing up for the marathon.   In some ways time flew and in some ways, I wish that I had had more time.   I don’t think you ever really feel prepared for a race let alone your first marathon but I felt like a wreck.

Monday- Rest  With my last longish run of 9 miles the day before, I knew I wasn’t running today.    It was another day of flats at work and trying not to freak out.

Tuesday- 3.1 miles  With the race so close, I knew I wanted to run but also didn’t want to go crazy with the miles.  Especially since week 17 was such a small one.  I thought abut running in work town to expose myself to more humidity but decided that was silly.  I thought it would be akin to trying to run ALL the miles right before a race.    So instead I headed to home town and temps of 93 degrees.  Why not dry out the lungs? 😛    My calves were so tight.  They might have gotten better if I had run more but as it was a short run, they never loosened up.  It stressed me out and I headed home for a date with my foam roller.

Wednesday- Rest  Not only did I think 2 days in a row would be silly, this was also the day I dropped a  FULL 5 gallon water jug on my left foot.   Son of a monkey.  I later found a bruise where it hit my stomach on the way down too.

Thursday- Rest Yeah.  I fell off my chair this day and re-bruised the same foot.  Like fall on the ground, legs splayed in a dress.    What the hell?!

Friday- 2.21 miles  Last run before race day.  I had the day off work and I forced myself to stay in bed until 9.   Once up, I headed out for a very short run.  Figured the heat wouldn’t be too bad as I was only running for 2 miles.  I didn’t take the fires into account.  Oops.   The smoke from the Sobraones fire has been burning for over a week and the smoke coming our way made for a severe air quality warning last week.    My legs felt ok but I was disgustingly sweaty and gasping for air after a slow 2 miles.   I had taken a 24 oz bottle with Ultima in it and I drank the whole damn thing.  It was only 2 miles!

essentials, right?

Then I headed home to pack for San Francisco and to try to not stress.  I watched a lot of Lost.   😛

Saturday- Expo day!!   Ashley picked me up and we headed north.  We made good time and checked into our hotel before heading for the expo.   Seriously, roads and traffic in San Francisco are a giant cluster f***.  Who designed that crap?   It took the Uber driver 20 minutes to go less than 2 miles!  It’s not even the time that made it stressful- that actually happens in Paso all the time but in apparently in SF red lights mean nothing and everyone loves their horn.    Grrr.

I won’t lie- the second we got out of the car at the expo, my heart rate spiked.  My Fitbit says it hit 105.  Ha!   We wandered around the expo a bit and picked up our bibs.  I caved and bought a San Francisco marathon 3/4 zip.  I hadn’t wanted to buy anything until after the race since I wasn’t even sure I was capable of finishing but they were selling out too fast.    From there it was back to the hotel after picking up a pizza for me.    I piled up my clothes for Sunday, tried not to panic and was in bed by 9.   Once we had linens for the pull out bed that is.  I think we frustrated room service that night.  😛     Surprisingly, I slept a decent amount of time. But race morning arrived all too quickly.

Sunday- Race day!!     To be continued…

Anyone as accident prone as me?

Do you ever buy race themed apparel?

Share something!



Run!, Slacker, Training

Never say Never?

So, about that marathon thing.   And how I said never.

This has been simmering for a while.   A long while.   January of 2015 saw my first (and only so far) 25K.  16 miles.   While that is still 10 miles short of a marathon, I was out there for 5+ hours.    That started me thinking.   Yes, I was still 10 miles short but whatever marathon I chose wouldn’t have 3000+ ft in elevation gain or involve actual mountains.    But a trail 25K was still a long way from a road marathon.   The seed was planted.

Then last fall, in the middle of my running funk, I read Ultra Marathon Man by Dan Karnazes.   That book will give you all sorts of crazy ideas.  Plus he eats pizza while on crazy long runs- how awesome is that?!   Now, a marathon was a crazy enough idea for me.  I wasn’t going to running in Antarctica or any 200 mile solo runs.   But even then it was still just a seedling.  It was still a maybe someday, far away.

New Year’s saw me stating emphatically that this was going to be the year of no goals.  After spending 2+ years chasing a sub 2 half and failing, I was burned out.  Some health issues added to that as well but I was feeling fried.   This was going to be the year to just enjoy running.  That is still the plan.   With a twist.

Running is a lot like shopping at Target... You intend to run only $30 5Ks and before you know it, you're registering for $175 marathons!!:

Back in January, in one long text message session with Ashley and Heather, we started talking about The San Francisco Marathon.  Ashley loved the race and Heather and I had always thought about running it.  So we made plans to all take a road trip and run one of the half marathons.  San Francisco has 2- the first half and the second half.  I joked that if I was going to San Francisco, I was running the Golden Gate Bridge.  So we were running the 1st half.  Cool, right?

Then a week or so later, they decided they wanted to run the full.  Well crap.  What do I do?  I had 2 choices- run my first full marathon or deal with public transportation in a very large city all by myself for the first time in my life.  Both were scary propositions.

I chose the marathon.

Never+say+NEVER+with+   anything++running+related...+   "Never+could+I+run+a+5k."   ....+DID+IT!+   "Never+could+I+run+a+10k"   ...+DID+IT!   "Never+could+I+run+a+   Half-Marathon."+   ....DID+IT!+:

Here’s my thinking- it was already in the back of my mind, so why not San Francisco?  I had 2 friends running it and it was a city I’ve been wanting to visit again for a long time.   The potential for hills was a little intimidating but I’ve said repeatedly that I hate flat courses, right?   Plus Golden Gate Bridge! And friends!

But I still wasn’t ready to commit.   Remember back in January when I asked for Excel help?  I was cobbling together a training plan.  I affectionately call it the McHig plan.  I took my customized McMillan plan from last year and worked it into a Hal Higdon Novice plan for marathon training.    I started training for SF the first week of February.  Surprise!

Before I would register though, I needed an escape plan.   My first 16 miler falls in the beginning of April.  I told myself if I completed it and hated myself or running after I would pay the change fee and drop to the half.  If I pulled it off and felt ok, training would continue.  Next step would be to complete a 20-22 miler in late June, early July.  Same rules applied-I could drop at the race expo before the race.   And lastly, if all hell breaks loose, there is a finish line at the halfway point.  I could call it there and Uber myself to the finish to meet Ashley and Heather.


I had a training plan, friends to run it with and an escape plan -all I had to do was register.   Except when I tried to register in February, the website refused to cooperate.  It wouldn’t let me use my discount code- Ashley’s an ambassador!- and it kept throwing up an error message.   I missed a price deadline because of this.  Finally after a few weeks of Twitter conversations and emails back and forth with the staff of the SF Marathon, I was able to complete my registration.  Holy crap, I registered for my first marathon!!

I wasn’t going to tell anyone until post SLO half but I wasn’t very successful.    After some Twitter convos and IG posts, I decided to come clean.   I had my first panic attack after that blog post– ha!!  Shit just got real.  People know now- I have to follow through!  Also, now my crazy shoe buying lately seems a little more understandable.

Did I bite off more than I can chew?  My plan is deliberately long, I know I will miss a few runs along the way.

Ever run San Francisco?

Words of advice?!!? Please!