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The San Francisco Marathon: Learning that pacing works and learning to listen to my body

Note: I had the pleasure and honor of being a San Francisco Marathon Ambassador for 2015; thus my event entry was comped. This a true reflection of my experiences.

This was supposed to be my 6th marathon. It was going to be my chance to fight back against the event that literally pushed me to my edge last year.

But alais, it turned into my 20th half marathon.

I had every intention this year to be able to better my performance from last year on the 26.2. But between the weather and my dad having another trip to the hospital my training took a huge hit. I really wanted to push through but I got to the point that every bone in my body was screaming no. I knew if I would of pushed it the consequences would of well sucked. It broke my heart to do it but it was by far the smartest thing I could of done.

I downgraded to the 2nd half which originally was not the one I wanted to do. I wanted to do the Golden Gate Bridge. But it was full. The 2nd is not as scenic (or so I thought, I was completely out of it when I ran the full last year) and if you ask runners it is not as good as the first.

But they are wrong.

My morning started off at the Lululemon “Get Quiet; Get Loud” lounge at the Sens restaurant that gave us a sky view

Entry to Get Quiet Loud Lounge.
Entry to Get Quiet Loud Lounge.
of the finish line. They offered us a small breakfast and a chance to sit down and watch the start of the race activities before grabbing the bus to the second half start line with my friends and fellow ambassadors Heather and Trica.

The bus system is awesome. You walk a few blocks from the start line to a bus that will literally drop you off right next to the start line for the 2nd half at Golden Gate Park. Golden Gate Park has everything that you need to get ready for the race right there; portta potties, bag check that will be waiting for you at the start line.

I did not have expectations going into this race after I let go of my big goal of being able to do the full. I just wanted to run strong and be able to really enjoy the run.

The 2nd half gives you a treat that no other race gets. You get the chance to run past the buffalo paddocks and WP_20150726_020around one of the lakes before joining the main event. Golden Gate Park is a great place to start the run but its also very challenging because of the fact a good chunk of the up hills are here. All that being said, its the best way to see some of the most amazing parts of SF. I caught up to the 2:45 pacer and decided based on Rock N Roll and Vancouver that this could possibly be a good plan.

The pacers had been amazing. I really wish I could reach out to our 2:45 pacers and say thank you because with their help I managed to rectify my huge mistake last year when I went out of the gate way too fast and it turned into a miserable experience. They had also been really willing to talk me through the pacing style.

Once you get out of the park you head into famous Ashbury Heights which is a fun area to run. There had been a ton of people on the roads cheering on runners. Ashbury Heights has some amazing downhill stretches where you can stretch your legs and you really get a feel for the more “hippie” side of SF. Once you head out of the Heights you get to see part of the Tenderloin and SOMA. It reminds me a lot of running down in Eugene, its like running through the best of SF that the tourists do not know about.

The pacer I was working with actually had pulled ahead of his partner. But I was with him and we had banked a small chunk of time so I really got the chance to enjoying the 2nd half which I didn’t last year. And I realized, it is underrated. It is a fun amazing event with its own more relaxed feel.

Right before we hit the water, the pacer told me that I was looking strong enough that I might want to consider jumping ahead which I did. I was feeling stronger then I had on the last two.

As we came back around by the water and AT&T stadium it became a bit chaotic as the Giants had a day game. But by the time we got through they mostly had the Giants fans on one side of the walk way and us on the other. I love being able to run by the game day stuff as it gives you such a great energy.

SF Marathon offers free photos. This is me finishing.
SF Marathon offers free photos. This is me finishing.
The finish line was amazing. Its one of the most well organized finish lines that I have seen. You got in, you got water and your medal, get your finishers photo taken for free and enjoy the huge finish line party that had food carts, a chance to get your last souvenirs and get goodies.

I came back to the VIP lounge and they had a small lunch laid out for us and we got the chance to take photos with the Ferry Building and the Bay Bridge on the background.

The 2nd half was an amazing experience. I actually bested my half marathon times for the year and got a really good idea of what I need to work on going into my next events. I am so thankful to the pacers for helping me find my stride. As much as I hated it, dropping to the second half was the best decision I could of made. I had to learn to listen to my body and what it wants.

It has been an amazing experience to be an ambassador for the past two years. I have learned so much from being an ambassador and really found a confidence in sharing my story. I am thankful to the entire staff of the SF Marathon for their support and love. They will always have a fan in me. I am also thankful to my fellow ambassadors from the past two years worth of teams. They inspire me and teach me a lot, and without them I could not be where I want to be.

Join @TheSeattleMarathon for the running party of the summer: Seattle Marathon 10K

Note: I am a 2015 Seattle Marathon Ambassador.

On August 22nd, at Green Lake Park the Seattle Marathon will host the party of the summer; the Seattle Marathon hosts the Seattle Marathon 10K and kids run takes over historic Gas Works Park. And the Seattle Humane Socitey charity athletes will be there.

The Course

The course gives you great scenic views of Seattle and allows you to enjoy some of the best of Seattle historical buildings, and of course the waterfront as you are making the turn at the Ship Canal Bridge.

This is a dog friendly event (as long as they are on leash.

One of the biggest draws about doing a race in Seattle in the middle of the summer; the weather. The average high is 75 degrees and Gas Works can be quite breezy.

They also offer akids fun run for any kid which is a great way to bring the entire family together.

I have not had the chance to run this race; so this year will be my first year to do it; (as a Seattle Marathon Ambassador to boot) and I am excited. This is also a Seattle Humane Society Charity Athlete headline event. Make sure you look for their table there and check out what they are doing (as it is amazing.)

Until race day, the 10K only costs 45.00 and gives you your choice of color of short sleeve tech shirt. (Really your own color choice is awesome. I know zero races that do this). For readers of this blog, there is a discount code available. Use the contact me button at the top of the page and I will send it to you ASAP.

Seattle 10K

The San Francisco Marathon Recap Part One: Expo (@TheSFMarathon)

Disclaimer: There is going to be part race recap/lessons learned blog. Bear with me. Also I had the honor of being an ambassador for the SF Marathon this year, and my race entry was comped.

This is the second year in a row that I have had the pleasure and honor of being an ambassador to the San Francisco Marathon. It has truly been a life changing and learning experience for me to be able to learn how to share my story with other runners, learning how to promote a race and truly being a leader in my running community.

This year my entire goal was to not let the marathon kick my butt as much as it did last year. But between Portland’s brutal weather forecasts (I hate this heat) and watching my dad go back in the hospital again. It just all kind of fell apart. I did not get the runs in that I wanted, I was also feeling super tight.

I fought the decision up to Saturday but when I came to work my shifts at the expo on Saturday I realized it was not going to be healthy for me to run the full. Literally it would be a situation where it would be bad news. The decision sucked; to the point of tears at the time. But it was the best decision ever. One thing is if you deiced that you need to make the jump, it is an easy process.

The expo featured of course race merchandise from both Reva and this year special things from Luleluemon. There had been races from around the North California area, places to pick up shoes, you could refill your Nuun, stock up on Perfect Bars, check out FitBit and get anything you might of forgotten. (In my case socks)

The expo for me this year was a great experience. Friday I worked with the race management company at the challenge IMG_7335table handing out loyal runner awards, 52 Club and helping answer questions regarding the “Half It All” (both halfs in successive years), “SF Berkley” (running Berkley and SF), “California Dreaming” (Surf City and SF) challenges. I have always said, I love being able to be the one to answer questions and get runners pumped up for whatever is coming their way. People in general had been excited because they had been coming into finish.

The nice thing about where I was, I was able to watch the flow of runners; and one of the things I noticed is how smooth everything flowed. People had been able to pick up bibs, pick up shirts and explore without much chaos. (Saturday was a different story, there had been so many people; get there Friday).

Saturday I spent the morning with the Information Booth crew answering questions. This was one of the busiest places in the expo and the most high energy. The nice thing here was our job was to get you to where you need answers.

The thing about the SF Marathon Expo is it really feels like a big time professional experience. Everyone who is there is there on the mission to help runners enjoy their experience. Its a rare feel that I get from events, and it is one of the many reasons I love being involved with SF.