Wednesday, June 19, 2013

San Francisco Marathon-All Or Nothing

Either all or nothing. My motto for the day. Sunday I had worked out all the different angles and formulated numerous game plans on how the race should go. Started to run and I immediately threw all that away and just went for it. I pretty much knew it would end up to be a crash and burn but, you never know. Anything can happen...

I had barely any sleep in the three days leading up to the Marathon. I'm a victim of my crazy neighborhood and very loud party building along with my three dogs that were terrorized earlier in the week by a giant raccoon outside my window.

 Of course any thing that makes a move or sound is considered a raccoon now!
When I left to go run suddenly they were sleepy...

My training had been sporadic at best and pretty much nil in the last month. Of course the stupid ankle was still sore and I didn't expect it to make it through 26 miles without it talking back to me.
I got up at 3am had my yogurt, berries, banana and coffee. I love being within a short walk to the starting line. I got there expecting insane security but, really it was easy to walk right in to my wave 3 spot.
Dawn was just breaking and it was beautiful. Cerulean sky, barely any fog. Temperature was beautifully cool.

I had decided after much self debate to just go with my "Ultimate Direction AK" vest. I think it was a good choice. I like being self supported and saving time skipping the water breaks.

I decided just for the Hell of it to start with the 3:45 pace group. I figured they'd drop me after a mile. The 3rd wave was moving right along at around an 8:15 pace but, I felt good and very well knowing I'd pay for this later. The ankle was stiff but hoped it would loosen up after a bit.
By mile 4 I was running an 8:30 pace and beginning the climb to the bridge. I kept with the flow but was definitely feeling the burn.
courtesy SF Marathon

Coming off the bridge I was hitting around 8:33. With a little bump to 9 minutes going to the top of the Presidio. I just kept telling myself hang in there, this is the highest point in the race.

The unfortunate issue was that my ankle really began to get cranky and I was struggling to keep the pace. By the time I hit the park I had decelerated to a 10 minute pace. My brain started to work against me and I felt the onset of "crash and burn".
As we split off from the half marathon and headed down south through the park it got a bit lonely and people were just sailing by me and my legs were turning into lead. For the first time I had to walk and get my heart rate down a bit. My ankle was getting worse. 
I just fought my mind from going into that dark place. I knew I ran this all wrong. I was kicking myself now. Oh well. There was still a chance of a sub 4 but, I had my doubts.
Just before I headed up to Stow lake I had to stop and do a stretch. It felt so good I wanted to stay there forever.
Right then my friend "Keli Keleman" launched by and he looked great. That got me moving again and off I went.

Stow lake is my beast. Just like last year I had time to think about how awful I felt and I'm running this meandering circle around the lake. I was so grateful to start heading back towards the Haight.
At this point the 4:00 pace group came through and I hung on for dear life. I did pretty well for a mile even though my heart rate was way up in the red again.
At the top of the Haight my ankle was throbbing and I knew all my goals had disappeared down the road without me. Now it was just a struggle to get through this.
To get away from my cloud of disappointment and self loathing I tried to figure out a better avenue to get through this.
Ahh! just fucking enjoy it!
So first off I started to walk a block, run a block until I recovered a little bit. I started stopping to pat dogs along the route and said a few words to various characters along the way. At one point through the Mission I actually a stopped to help an old lady cross the street through the runners. The cops were laughing and everyone was cheering and I began to have fun.
Crossing third street I ran into my friend Daniel who had blown out his knee and was very disappointed about it. I walked awhile with him and offered whatever encouragement I could and began running again.

I would stop to take photos of the bands and actually did a mock Samba dance in front of a great Samba band. I swung my UD bottles around like big titties and everyone laughed.

When I hit AT&T park I forced my self to run it the rest of the way in and gave a couple of funny poses as I crossed the finish line.
I was never so glad to be done...

Afterwards I waited around for my friend Mary but, she had already blazed it and finished around 4:10. I finished with a miserable 4:30. Twenty minutes slower than last year.
Well I got a medal and finished the race. My ankle issues have really been disconcerting for me. I really love to run but I have to get beyond this stuff before I can improve. 
It's a few days off and on the bike for a little while. You know I think it's ludicrous for me thing I can seriously compete at my age. I need to just chill and enjoy the running and biking and stop driving myself crazy thinking I'm ever going to get a whole lot better at this point in my life.
I still have a shot for a Boston qualifying at Santa Rosa but, if it doesn't happen, it's not in the stars. I don't think I can afford to go back there anyway. I'm as poor as shit and the future doesn't look promising. I need to just live in the moment and enjoy what good things come my way.

I am thankful to still be alive, to run and ride, to have friends, dogs, a roof over my head, job and I just need to not worry about my extravagant goals that really are impractical in the long run.
Just want to give it everything I have and come out smiling. That in it's self is a tall order.

The San Francisco Marathon is such an amazing experience and it's the race I'll do every year till I die.