After sitting at the airport in Seattle for 2 extra hours I finally made it to San Francisco and found Col and Bryan before noon. Bryan had picked a great hotel right next to the expo so they showed me around and we waited in the line to go into Niketown which was filled with pink gear. It was rather crazy but they also had some fun free "activities" - photos, you could have a message put on a shirt, and a dj. We decided not to buy anything mostly because the lines were so long and pink is not my color. I met up with the gal that I bought the race spot from - June Fujimoto - which made me feel better - I had been a little worried about not really having a spot and traveling all the way and stuff. But I got my bib - 4702 and timing chip. We wandered around town some, checked out the expo which also had really long lines, and went on a search for bagels. It turned out to be a long walk - luckily while I was on the verge of bonking we found a place and ate. I think we went back to nike store and they were out of anything in a small or medium size in everything - it was just crazy.
I was also starting to feel the fact that I really had only slept about 4 hours the night before. We hung out at the room some, prepped our race stuff, had to go to two stores in search of gatoraid and bagels for breakfast and had dinner in the room so we could stay in comfy clothes. I had a hard time deciding exactly how many gels I would need or want - I think mostly because I was so tired I had a hard time doing the math of when I would want one. Bryan was nice enough to let me sleep on the bed while he slept on the floor. I passed out around 8:30p and slept like a rock.
I woke up only once and it was because of a dream that I had left my shoes at home and I was wandering around the transition area looking for running shoes. The alarm went off around 5:30a or 6a - the hotel was very close to the start so we did not have to get up to early. I took a quick wake up shower, nibbled on a bagel (to tired to deal with cream cheese) and got ready to go.
The start was really crowded - it was hard to find the dry clothes drop off area but some one pointed us in the right direction. After dropping our bags off we weaved our way through the crowed to find a good spot to start from. We lined up in the 9 to 11 min mile pace section, not to far back or forward.
We did not hear the gun go off for the start but we did hear everyone cheer but we did not even move. It was strange there was no pushing or anything like at other races. I mean a group of girls next to us still had starbucks cups in hand. Once our group started moving it was more of a walk than anything else until we got to the start line then some people at least started to run/jog. I think a lot of people did not really pay attention to the paces groups, I mean there were a lot of walkers in front of us - which made it hard to get going.
The course was the best way to see the city.. I saw Fisherman's Wharf and smelled the sourdough, ran past the marina, saw the Golden gate bridge basked in the morning sun. By far my favorite sight was rounding a corner and seeing a huge beach with layers of waves crashing. It was amazing.
The amazing views helped distract from the challenging hills and I felt pretty good. Though my legs were defiantly feeling tired and heavy. By the half mark my stride had shortened and Col was pulling away from me constantly.
The lucky (smart) half marathoners then turned off towards the finish while the (crazy) marathoners continued 3 miles out and back in a park. I was so jealous of them. The course became less crowded but it seemed that 95% of the people left were part of team in training - it was a sea of purple... It was a bit much actually. Then they run the half marathoners back in with the marathoners to go though the nike+ tunnel which was very cool - it had large images, music, inspirational quotes... Then they make the marathoners see the finish for the half while you have to keep going out the opposite direction. At this point I only catch up with Col while she walks the aid stations - and she tells me she has a secret goal of beating Bryan's Portland Marathon time from the week before (sub 4:30).. I was not feeling it. By Mile 18-19 I just let her go and I was glad to see she did not wait for me. My hips were really tight which made it really hard to stride out but I just kind of chugged along. I only walked the aid stations and kept up on my nutrition plan and sort of slipped into the same mind frame I had during IMC where I knew if I kept moving I would finish sooner. I still wanted to finish under 5 hours so I focused on that and not how tired or tight I was.
The loop around Lake Merced was just plane painful - there were not as much to look at so I just focused inward to keep moving. I also ran along the side of the road on the softer trails or even in the grass just to be nicer to my feet and joints. I was releaved when I headed back on to the great Highway along the beach - I knew I was coming into the finish and there was something to look at. Around mile 25ish or so Bryan was cheering - he took a pic and told me that Col was probably 10 min or more in front of me (which I sort of assumed). Then he was really nice and ran with me the last mile till I got really close to the finish. It was a nice distraction to talk to him and I was just happy to be almost done.
Once Bryan left me I tried to pick up the pace for the last little bit to/through the finish. And I finished in 4:45:43. I was really happy I finished a full 15 min under my (loose) goal time.
The finish was swarming with people everywhere. I got my tiffany box with necklace and a finishers shirt (later discovered that I messed up and grabbed a Half Marathon shirt). They had ran out of Jamba juice which really bummed me out but had plenty granola and yogurt(so not the same). I found Col and Bryan and we checked out the finishers merchandise tent - both Col and I got a long sleeve shirt. We found our dry clothes, changed then went down on the beach to stand in the water to "ice" our legs for a bit while trying not to be pulled out to sea.
I spent a few more hours in town before heading home that night. I got home late and took Monday off from work because I could not really move with out pain of some sort. My abs and hips were especially sore. I spent most of Monday asleep or on the verge of sleep. Amazingly on Tuesday I woke up and was able to walk with minimal pain or soreness - still moved slow but not as bad. I wound up with a cold for most of the week after so I did not work out and just focused on getting extra sleep. In all I'm happy with my time and I know I have a lot of room for improvement but the race went well for just coming of of IMC recovery and not really doing much training for it.