There was no reason why I ran this particular race. I am not a San Francisco Giants fan. In fact, i don't even follow baseball. But the race was smack dab in the middle of my 16-week training program for the New York Marathon this coming November, and I had to run a 14-miler that day anyway, so i just went for it.
It was a good event, decently organized IMHO. I also think that one can not complain about running any race in San Francisco, since it almost always seems to be perfect running weather (at least when i'm there) at somewhere between 50 and 60 degrees in the morning, with great and inspiring views of the Golden Gate bridge (course-dependent, of course). The prospect of running San Francisco's hills can be daunting, but the course for this specific race was mostly flat. Starting right outside AT&T Park, the course heads up the Embarcadero and turns around just past Crissy Field. It ends up inside AT&T Park, where (if you were looking), you could probably watch yourself cross the finish line on the Jumbotron. Fairly picturesque.
|At the starting line. Adrian was not thrilled to have to wake up early on a Sunday.|
|About 4.5 miles in, with the Golden Gate bridge in the distance.|
|Selfie at the halfway mark.|
|The view from the bleachers.|
As far as my performance, this was slower than my previous finish at the San Francisco Marathon (2nd half), that i finished in 2:13:34 a little over a year ago (I keep forgetting to post about that). However, at the risk of sounding like i'm making excuses, i ran a completely different race back then: it was done with a goal of finishing under 2 hours. Meaning, i timed my performance to "peak" on that day and pushed the pace as much as i could. In contrast, this weekend's race was "just another long run," with no taper involved and no particular time goal. In fact, come race day, my legs were still sore from the 7-mile tempo run I did 2 days prior (not to mention the 4-mile "easy" run i did the day after that).
That being said, i'm quite happy with my finish. As with the Phoenix Marathon, i run-walked my way to success, and had enough gas in the tank to finish strong. In fact, there were four people who i "targeted" during the race: the tall guy in the orange shirt, the stocky guy in the orange shirt, the lady with the blue Camelbak, and the lady with the red Camelbak. Early in the race i imagined that we would pace each other. I took mental snapshots of them to make sure i didn't confuse them with other people. Unfortunately, every time i slowed down to walk, they each moved farther and farther away (one at a time, they weren't running together, after all) and smoked me. Dejected, i put my head down but stubbornly stuck to my 3:1 run-walk ratio.
Somewhere between the midpoint and the last quarter of the race though, each of my "targets" slowly came into view. And slowly, gradually, inexorably... i smoked each one of them in turn. Booyah! I know it's not nice, but a small part of me hopes that they recognized me as the slow guy they left in their dust, and despaired in the realization that a run-walker ultimately beat them.
Personally, i can't sing enough praises for the run-walk-run method. It's allowed me to get back into the groove of things without injuring myself the way i used to all the damn time. It lets me run at practically a tempo pace for almost the entire race, as long as i intersperse walking breaks in between. It allows me short "intermissions" to enjoy the course and take in the views instead of just plowing through. It gives me time to takes selfies. It rests me enough that i can sprint at the end and not feel half dead after i cross the finish line. Honestly, it works so well for me that i almost feel like i've found a "cheat code" to running.
|Sprinting to the finish with plenty of gas left in the tank.|
Let's face it: i'm never going to actually win a race and i'll probably never qualify for Boston, but to get back to marathon running at 40, to consistently do it injury-free, to enjoy myself, and to (hopefully) keep improving, that's an achievement unto itself. So, yes - run-walk-run FTW!
So am i ready for New York? I don't know for sure yet, since i have 8 more weeks of training to go. But the way i feel now, i'm going to gingerly say yes.