And I was all of 8 seconds over which is as close to perfect.
The Vancouver America Marathon was a new event brought to you by RAM Racing, the same people who are behind Hot Chocolate which is another race which I have a lot of love for (and the second race I ever paced). It was an unpopular race in general locally, but being I wanted the chance to continue to improve on how I am a pacer for a race. I jumped at the chance.
Packet pick-up was a breeze at Foot Traffic. I was in and out within mins and had my gear check bag.
I had won a race package from Foot Traffic which included pre-race night at the Hilton Vancouver which was a huge treat. I only had two blocks to walk.
We had a delayed start due to issues with the flagging (ironic I just wrote another piece on this). But once the race started this was mostly a gorgeous race. You started through Downtown Vancouver before heading towards Ft. Vancouver. I love running Ft. Vancouver in general and I love it even more when you don’t have to tackle the hill to the waterfront (I consider this a big win). You continued through some of the most industrial parts before heading back to the waterfront. Then you reached my less favorite part of the course, the east industrial area of Vancouver. It was hot at this point and a majority of this was a downhill up hill combo. It just felt brutal at that point and it was lined with some of the most friendly but homeless people you will meet.
This race was super small. And super small on support which is not bad, but if you do this race you might want to bring your own elcectolyetes.
I was on pace almost all away through the race and I was able to encourage a lot of people which is my job when it comes to events like this.
This is the first race for Vancouver America Marathon and there is defiantly room for improvement. I hope to be invited back next year to pace again.
My 6th Full Marathon and my 4th year as an SF Marathon Ambassador was truly the race that had it all and then some.
The SF Marathon celebrated its 40th year. Its a race that takes you on a speculator tour through one of the most scenic places in America. Its been the point in my year I look forward to most every year. It is one of the best races in terms of organization.
I was supposed to run my 6th marathon two years ago and then my back started acting up. I backed down to the half and then life got in the way. And then I decided to finish my business with SF by signing up for my 6th this year. And then training fell apart. Two months ago I was debating on downgrading, hell I was contemplating downgrading at the expo. I honestly did not think I could do it. But after talking with friends I stepped back and decided to enjoy the run. My hope was to finish close to 2014’s time.
Looking back I am glad I pushed through and did it. I am still sore, but I am happy knowing I have made number 6 happen, and I proved to myself I could still dance.
My race started off slightly strong. I have learned a lot in the past years about pacing myself and am finally starting to understand not going out to fast. I was enjoying the first miles on the SF waterfront and I was taking it into the point that I actually did not remember to take photos. I was enjoying it.
The first hill is right after mile 2 and some refer to it as the “Fort Mason Death March” its a straight up climb to the top of Fort Mason. I went in knowing that my hill training was never going to be enough to cover it so I did a slower jog to get up and walked the rest of it.
Marina Park and Chrissy Park are my second favorite miles of the course. Its just the runners out there and you have a great view of the water. I was actually almost faster then I should of been. I just caught my grove.
This is when the wheels started falling off.
The climb up to the Golden Gate Bridge is tough. There is no real way to train for this other then go for it. I walked it knowing I still had a huge chunk of climbing ahead of me after the bridge. Apparently the rule was changed this year that allowed for slower then 12:30 runners to make the bridge. They actually pushed us to the sidewalk which killed any pace I had. The sidewalk was slick and congested.
We made the turn on Vista point and headed back on the bridge. A kind worker unlocked the gate to allow us to climb back on to the roadway. The wind and the mist on the bridge was INTENSE. This is as bad as the bridge has been weather wise.
Then to my number one spot on the course. The Presido. First off this features some wicked downhills that you can relax on but the views are breath taking. I actually pulled a 10 min mile somewhere in here according to FitBit. I was back on pace and loving it.
Then there is that streach of miles everyone fears. The mile plus before you hit Golden Gate Park. Its all up down up. I walked the ups ran the downs, it was my plan all along. Needed to make the energy at Golden Gate Park last.
You know the song “This is the song that never ends”
That is Golden Gate Park.
The last mile before Golden Gate Park got to me mentally. I think it does a lot of people so I was wondering knowing that I had a lack of long mile training if I should of taken the half turn off and called it good as I was besting my time from last year as it was. I knew the next half was going to be tough.
I decided to continue and the park got to me. I did keep pretty well on pace for the first mile or two in the park and then about mile 17 I would say, I was worn down.
I wanted the park to end.
I wanted to burn down the park.
And I was regretting life decisions at this point. But hell bent on continuing. I found my friend and fellow four year ambassador Charles on the course and he encouraged me to continue. That was what I needed.
I got out to Ashbury and I cherished the down hills. This to me is the best part of the second half is the funkiness and all the love you get from the people heading out for brunch.
I probably should not of ran the down the hills as hard as I did. It came back to bite me in the dogpatch and Soma. I just had not energy and was was a great pace fell off the rails. I was still on track for my goal, but I just had nothing in the tank. Mile 20 to about 24 was awful. And then came the announcement. We had to hit the sidewalk, we where being swept.
It took the wind out of the group of runners that had basically bunched up together in their own group at that point. Most of us had our clocks to the point that we had been on pace not to get swept, so it was confusing and heartbreaking for many. But we encouraged and pushed each other forward. People teamed up to make sure we all made it eventually to the finish. To the gent who grabbed me, I thank you. You helped me see I could finish it. I think this is what sets the race apart. The fact that the little clump of people became their own running team. I have never seen it at a race ever.
We got to AT&T Park on a Giants game day and the atmosphere was amazing. All the fans cheered us on and I was able to find it in me to run a bit more to the finish.
My final time was 6:03 but that being said, looking at my Fitbit numbers my distance was a crazy bit off. I was running close to a 6:00 pace which being 2014 I was 5:59. All thing considered it is a win.
This by far is my favorite race every year. I owe the SF Marathon so much love for taking a chance on me to represent when I was just getting my legs under me as a social media influencer.
I don’t know if I will be running another marathon again. Right now my legs are saying no, but we will see where it goes.
And I have a discount on this one.
You can use TSFM2015Bonnie to save 25.00 on the any of the events.
2- The Seattle Marathon (November 29th): I am not an ambassador for them. (But I wish I was) And honestly, this is the race I love to grumble about. Some of this course is really tough and the two years I have ran this it has been so cold. But it holds a special place in my heart as this is where my marathon PR is. This is a stunning course to run as it takes you through Lake Washington, you get to run on the floating bridge, and you really get to see some of Seattle’s best scenery. One of my faviorte parts other then Lake Washington is getting to go in the Freeway Tunnel. You get some of the best echo’s as people love to scream. What I have always loved about this race as it has always stayed affordable, I would really put near or the top of the list when it comes to being a well supported course. Every where you turn you have people cheering for you, people wanting to see you do good. On top of this, the Seattle Marathon staff is super when it comes to communication and customer service to their runners. This course is also one of the best when it comes to being slower runner/walker friendly and they even allow walkers to start together earlier to ease a bit of the congestion.
3- The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon (April 26th): Three of my 5 marathons are from this event. And being it is my first marathon it will always hold a special place in my heart. I have said this before, I can’t explain this marathon until you are there and you run it. This supports the Oklahoma City Memorial Museum and is the biggest fundraiser that the memorial has every year. This is a race you are truly running for a reason. This race starts with 168 seconds of silence to commemorate the victims of the bombing (which leaves runners in tears) , and as you go through out what is a surprisingly scenic, beautiful course you see names of all of the victims. This one also BY FAR has the best water stops. (Gorilla Hill?). The only draw back on this one is the corrals get congested. But I think a lot of this comes from everyone wanting to be so close to the action at the start. The course is beautiful, and not as challenging in comparison to Seattle and San Fransisco, but the weather can push you hard. I can never recommend this race enough to all abilities, all ages and someone who really wants to run for a reason. I promise you OKC, I will be back.
4- Vancouver USA Marathon (June 21st) : The last two years the universe has thrown me curve balls that have kept me from running this one. But I have ran the half twice, and it is always one of my favorite events. And if you ask any of my local running friends, its near the top of their must do list. The half course is scenic (other then a small trek through Vancouver industrial district) as it takes you on the Columbia River and through Fort Vancouver. I also like how the community comes out to support the event, and if you can’t tell this is a common thread in races I have listed. The course has a couple rather challenging spots, but this is a good race for anyone just starting our on the half marathon trail because so many people will be out there doing this for their first one. One of the major post race benefits of this race is you also get the chance to attend the Summer Brew Fest that share the space with the finish line area that weekend for free. I mean FREE BEER? What is better then that? This one is brought to you by Energy Events, and it is a company that really does a lot to help in their local running community. In terms of local Portland races, I can’t put anyone at the list higher then Energy Events.
5- Run to Stay Warm (November 22nd) : : When I am talking to friends in Eugene, this one is my favorite to talk about. Run to Stay Warm is a very small race that takes place in the heart of University of Oregon territory. This is a half-marathon/10K/5K option that takes you through Eugene’s big trail system. You spend time on the water, you go by Autzen Stadium, in some of the best parts of Eugene. The thing that always gets me about this race is every penny out of this races goes to raise funds to help people pay their heating bills in Eugene who might have challenges paying the bill. I run this race every other year (this is one weekend away from Seattle). This is another race that is very all abilities, all ages friendly. This is also a great way to break into the half marathon scene without breaking the budget as the half marathon is 35.00. This is another one where the volunteers are part of what makes it special.
Those are my five. I know I can’t make running all five work this year because of the wierd financial things going on, but they are five that are special to me for all different reasons and the five I will always talk about and recommend.