If you have been a follower of my blog for any length of time, you know that the San Francisco Marathon means the absolute world to me. It is no secret when I decided to start taking my social media and running and making them work for me that they had been the first ones to see the power in my story and given me this amazing platform to be able to share my story. This is also the first time in over three years that my focus was not tied up other places and that I got to focus on my running.
The training cycle had been interesting for this. I dumped a lot of races that I would do just to do during the spring and early summer in Portland due to both personal reasons and I wanted to focus my energy on this race. I think this was a smart move, but towards the end of the cycle I was dealing with a super tight IT band.
So I was literally walking into this not knowing what would happen.
My adventure started at the expo. If you have ever been to a SF Marathon expo, this by far is one of the easiest most runner friendly expos ever. You start with the shopping area to have a chance to get any TSFM goodies that suit your fancy. Then you can head to the back to pick up your number and gear bag. Your shirt is located at the next table and I had zero wait.
The shirts are my favorite shirts every year and I am still wearing my first one pretty constantly. Long sleeve green layers and they fit so well.
Anyhow. Friday I worked the app both to tell runners about the runner tracking application. It was a mix of technical support and being an ear to some of the runners who came in a little nervous. I always have a blast working the expo as an ambassador because I get to talk to so many runners from all over the word and see some of the most inspiring people I have met, my fellow ambassadors.
Sunday’s race morning started with the very short walk from The Green Tortise which has played host to me for two of my three years. It is so simple to get to the start line from about half a mile up the road. I checked in at the ambassador tent and found one of my favorite people on the planet and got a long overdue hug. Then I made my way to drop my bag which was super easy; as all you have to do is look for the truck that corresponds to your bib number.
I found my wave rather quickly but was starting towards the back. It felt like it took forever to get to the start. But being back at the main start line this year is amazing. I ran the second half last year and the energy isn’t the same.
The first few miles went almost perfectly according to plan. Your first few miles are in the waterfront section; from the Ferry Building, past Pier 39 to Marine Park and into Crissy Fields. This is truly breathtaking as you can see the Golden Gate Bridge breaking through the fog.
The first major hill is leaving Crissy Field and I knew going in I was going to need to conserve energy so I took it slower, but I could tell that my having to pull back on training because of my IT band was going to hurt. But I did not loose that much time here.
Now, one of the landmarks of running this race is being on The Golden Gate Bridge. Please note, if you are looking to PR, sometimes the congestion is going to get to you. It did for me here. But it is worth seeing it. Even in the fog, it will truly be something you will never forget. I did end up getting my pace killed at this point but I was ready for it.
You can check out a video here:
After making the tour of the bridge you have to head to the part of the course I compare to almost all other courses, Baker Beach. The fog was pretty thick but being able to see the ocean from that angle is always something that sticks with me.
The course is very well supported and you barley have to look before you make a water stop. You do need to be patient at the water stops; some of the water stops got overwhelmed by runners. Just be patient, and you will still get your water.
I was struggling at this point of the course because of how my training got fouled up so I decided just to do what I could and peel back to enjoy the race more.
After Baker Beach you head into Sunset which is an up and down part of the course and pretty residential. I enjoy seeing the true nature of SF.
The finish line is in Golden Gate Park and it is stunning. I was 49 seconds off of where I had hoped to be on this course and I am perfectly okay with it. I was more emotionally tired then anything because this is the first time in a long time that I got to push myself and run for me. I pushed hard, I tried to fight back from loosing the time I had banked (and I had a good chunk of it)
I have tried for the last three years to sum up how much The SF Marathon means to me, but I have truly as they say left my heart in San Francisco. This race truly reminds me what I am capable of when I set my mind to it.
I am so honored to be part of the ambassador family. Please stop by and check out their recaps.
Sheena: The SF Marathon – a half marathon+ of emotion
Erin: the 2016 San Francisco Marathon race report – DNS