Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Race Report: San Francisco Marathon - 2nd Half

6 seconds.  6 stinkin' seconds.  More on that in a bit...

The weekend started on Friday when I went to SFO and picked up Jill!  After a fun lunch with her friend Karen we went straight to the expo.  I have learned a little bit about this expo after last year's disaster and knew that Friday was the day to go and NOT Saturday.  I think that the homeless community of SF puts out the word on the street that there is free food and drink at the expo and between the 24,00+ runners picking up their bibs, you are dodging the homeless peeps and runners in the tiny isles of the expo.  The expo is held in a relatively small venue and with that many runners it can get really camped.  I had also forgotten how fun it is to go to an expo with a fellow runner; I think I have become a bit jaded by expos and usually just run in and run out, but we spent over two hours in there looking at everything :)

A highlight of the expo was that I finally got to meet Ron of PunkRockTriGuy!  He is just as sweet and awesome in person as he is on his blog.  A real cool runner with a giant heart.  Go on over to his blog (when you're done here, of course) and check out what he did in SF - the man is an animal!
I also got to meet up with my girl Stacey!  She was running the full and looked calm and collected!  After looking at pretty much every.single.booth, Jill, Karen and I finished up a quick tour of the city before I dropped them off at Karen's apartment and headed home.  Saturday I was super busy with a ton of things to do and before I knew it, it was 8pm and I hadn't eaten dinner yet!  OH NO!  As runners, I am sure you can relate, eating dinner that late the night before a race can lead to some trouble.  So I quickly shoved my usual pre-race dinner of Indian food down my throat and called it a night.  I was hoping for the best...

San Francisco isn't too far away from me in San Jose, just about 50 mins in the car.  So I was able to sleep in to my normal wake-up time of 5 am and get pretty easily.  This is where I started to panic, though.  I wasn't able to "go" before we left the house.  Ugh!  I tried not to let it worry me too much and we left the house, picking up my parents first and then heading into the city.

The 2nd half of this race starts in Golden Gate park and I really like it since we can have time to cheer on the full racers before you head off to your own start.  When we got there at 7, the potty lines were already wicked long.  But I wasn't feeling anything and opted to just use the bushes to do a little "number 1" and hope for the best.  It was a bit chilly in the morning, but nothing you couldn't handle by the time the race started.  It was also a little damp but again, this was actually quite welcomed since I've been doing the majority of my runs lately in 80+ degree weather.  After a warm up mile, I ran over to the waiting area to see some of the full peeps go by.  I got to see Jill and wish her luck and a few minutes later Ron ran by and I was able to run with him a few yards and wish him luck, too!  A great pre-race start!

Finally it was time to line up for the half.  I was in the first wave and this was really nice.  I didn't have to doge too many people before we were out on the course.

Ari and I before the start
My mama, Ari, me and my daddy.
Jill's friend (and mine, now!) Karen and me

I was ready to run despite my inability to "go" before the race.  I just hoped for the best.  I took it really easy this week and did a mini taper so that my legs would be fresh.  My legs do really well when they have had a day or two rest before.  I had mentioned on Friday that I had a few goals in mind - an A,B, & C goal.  I kept my "A" goal in the front of my mind and really thought I had it in me.  I lined up with the 1:40 pacer and we were off.  Right away I could tell this pacer was going for a different strategy than I wanted.  He was going to bank some time in the beginning by going out a bit faster than the needed 7:38 even splits.  Although my legs were warmed up, I knew within a half a mile that his 7:00/mi pace was too quick for me and I backed off and let them go.  I knew that the first 6 miles are the hardest of this race, where you are hit with the majority of the difficult hills and didn't want to bonk early.  I kept the 1:40 pacer in my sight through mile 3 but always knew he was going a bit fast and let him go.
Mile 1-7:46
Mile 2-7:44

I was cruising along pretty well and my legs felt good.  The weather was perfect but I was already getting warm.  Between the dampness in the air and the coolness of the day I was sweating which was weird.  But again, I felt good and keep plugging along.  Throughout this time we are winding through GG park and again, it's pretty hilly.  My whole strategy for this part was to take the hills conservatively and then use the down hills and flats to really fly.  I think I was doing this rather well since each hill was pretty manageable.
Mile 3- 7:53
Mile 4- 7:56

My pace was a little slower for what I needed for my "A" goal of a 1:40 or sub 1:40 but I also knew that once we got out of the park there would be plenty of time to make it up with a big giant down hill from miles 6-7 and then throughout the remainder of the race.  I wasn't feeling at all like I was expending or pushing myself too much, just cruising along.   At the end of mile six, before you hit the Height street there is this weird sharp turn and really, really, steep hill you climb before you get out of the park.  Many people were walking it, but I picked up my feet and pushed forward and headed out of those god-forsaken hills of GG park.
Mile 5- 7:34
Mile 6- 8:09 (the big final hills)

When we hit Height street I started to pick up my pace.  I was feeling pretty good and then all of a sudden I could feel my tummy getting a little angry.  I was going to Gu at this point and thought better of it and figured I could wait a little longer.  I really used the long down hill here to my advantage and had Ari meet me close to the bottom of mile 7 with some Nuun water.  It tasted so good, I took a few sips and threw it back to him and told him to meet me at the finish!
Mile 7- 7:41
Mile 8- 7:29

At the beginning of mile 9 my stomach was mad!  I had to go!  I was so angry at myself.  I had done everything wrong the day before.  I was kicking myself for waiting to eat so late and was now paying the price.  I started to look for potties at this point and there were none to be found!  I was hurting and I needed to stop!  I got through mile 8 and finally found a potty.  I opened a few doors and they were all bad!  By the 4th door I opened I just went in and prayed it would be quick.  Right away I felt a bit better and took off.
Mile 9- 8:08
Mile 10- 8:30

Through mile 10 my stomach was still not happy with me and I felt like I needed to go again!  Ugh!  It was so hard to run with my stomach cramping and I could see my "A" goal going out the window.  I tried to collect myself and remind myself I only had a 5K left but my stomach had other plans.  By mile 11 I found a final potty and had to stop, AGAIN!  After I got out I just couldn't collect myself.  With all the stopping and starting my legs felt like led.  I also hadn't gu'ed and only had taken water from Ari around mile 7.  NOT SMART.  By the time I started running again, I felt like my tank was just empty and I was doing everything I could to just keep moving. 
Mile 11- 8:30
Mile 12- 8:26

I had done so well in the first half and now I felt like I was crashing and burning.  By this point we were going through a pretty ugly part of the city and it wasn't helping me to stay motivated.  I contemplated taking a Gu, but with no water stops left I knew it wasn't going to do me any good.  So I started cheering on the full runners around me and reminding them how well they were doing and that we were truly very close to the finish.  My watch was also showing I was way long on the course.  I attributed this to the fact that I stopped so many times but I also didn't get to run the tangents very well.  When we finally hit AT&T park with just a mile left I cut a few corners and just put my head down and ran.  I didn't have much left in the tank due to no gu and no hydration.  About a 1/2 mile from the finish I saw Maritza and her great sign and that gave me a huge boost!  And about 15 seconds after that Aron came up behind me!  I was surprised to see her!  We exchanged good lucks and I took off.  I've been practicing in every run sprinting the last .3 or .2 of every run - long and short.  So with .3 left I sprinted to the finish.  My finishing kick was just the boost I needed and I ran in with a smile even though I knew I had even missed my "B" goal.
Mile 13- 8:25
Mile .1 - 8:00/mi pace

I stoped my watch as I crossed the finish line and saw 1:46:10 and was so bumed.  My "B" goal was to break 1:45 and I missed it by 6 stinkin' seconds.  My official finish time was 1:46:05 - 6 damn seconds over my "B" goal. 

Aron and I congratulated each other and I took off to keep walking.  My legs started cramping right away and I knew it was from lack of hydration and nutrition.  I had ran a smart first half but the wheels fell off in the second half.  I had run well considering all that I put up with, and for that I was proud.  But I'm bumed I didn't get to reach my real "A" goal and run better.  This was the day to have a good race, the course, the weather and I let it slip away.  I learned something valuable though: eat early the night before!!!

I did have a blast at this race.  I enjoy it every time I race it.  It is very well organized, everyone on the course from the volunteers to the racers are supportive and you couldn't ask for a more beautiful city to run in :)  I know I have a better time in me and I look forward to next year and breaking it.

When I finished my race I got to see my friend Rhea!  The back story behind her:  When I started racing a few years ago Ari would see this woman running ahead of me.  She is quite unique in that she is a transgender woman who wears all pink, running skirts and is Filipino.  She is always about 5 minutes faster than me and so when Ari sees her he knows I am soon to follow.  She is very easy to spot and Ari took to taking her picture at every race, LOL!  She is unique and he would try to explain what she looked like to me and I would never get to see her at the starts.  Then in February when I ran the Kaiser SF Half we ran into each other at the start and I introduced myself.  She is the sweetest person!  I got to see her at the finish on Sunday and she ran the full in 3:15!  I think she has gotten a bit faster than me :)
I got to see Sam again, too!

The Finish!  I'm a little dazed, but that Jamba Juice was the best!

Rhea and me!!

I'm proud of how I ran and I did learn a lot from the race.  I had wanted to use the race as a good way to see where my fitness is at the moment and I'm pleased with how I did - I"m not discouraged.  I know bathroom issues are a problem, but I also know if this had been a full I probably could have corrected what was happening since I would have quite a few more miles ahead of me.  I ran strong the first half and even in the second half with all my issues.  I had a smile on face the entire time and that is what was important. 

I am so proud of everyone who raced this weekend, L.B., Page- both with huge PR's!, Jill, Aron, Ron, Stacey and everyone else!  This is a tough course and everyone did awesome!  Congrats racers!

I got to spend the last couple of days hanging out with Jill but I will fill you all in on our shenanigans in another post :)  Thanks Jill for hanging out with me!

Next up for me is a trail race 1/2 on the 8th of August, then, if no other road races present themselves, I'll keep up with LB training and my next full marathon is Lake Tahoe in September!  It's been a great summer of racing and I'm excited to see how the fall goes.

Congrats again to all the racers!  I've been off the last couple of days so I'm off to check in with all of you!
And...don't forget to enter my giveaway!!
Happy Hump Day and Happy Running!


d.a.r. said...

What a bummer that your race wasn't what you were hoping--six freaking seconds??? Ugh!!! My last half was like that...fourteen flippin' seconds from my goal. So irritating in a race that takes two hours, haha!

And holy speed demon--you are SO fast! I don't think I could do a 5K at that pace, haha!


I say drop the six seconds and round down! I wish I could hold speeds like that! Rock on girly!

Katie said...

ohhhh girl. first, i always get COMPLETELY stressed out if i can't go the morning of a race, and i end up taking like 200 tums & rolaids so i won't have to go during the race, which is a bad idea because that means later in the day or the next day - WOW! it happened the morning of my tri and i was jumping up and down in the bathroom before the swim wave because i was so mad!

also, i'm sad for you that you didn't hit the goals you wanted, but this is AMAZING fast and i'm proud of you! i think my last 10-miler wasn't much faster than this, HA!

AND the pictures are super cute, esp the ones of you with your man & your fam! cutie cutersons!

ok i think this is long enough now - G says you rock, too! ttyl!

Bethany + Ryan said...

ugh, 6 seconds! i was 3 seconds over my c goal for Boston, lol. i did a tri this weekend and my time was 1:18:01, lol. 2 seconds would have made a huge difference. it's always fun to go back and think all the differnce places you could have shaved off a few seconds! lol. good job nonetheless!

shellyrm aka jogging stroller mama said...

What a great race. I can't believe how fast you are WITH potty stops! Great job. So glad you enjoyed it that makes it even better.

Morgan said...

Girl you still did great! Congrats! I don't know if I would've been able to hold such a pace with tummy troubles. Way to make the best of a rough situation and finish strong!

Sarah Woulfin said...

The GG Park hills are tough. Nice job kicking it in at the end!

Heather said...

You are such a speedster, awesome job on the race! Even you potty-stop miles were speedy. :)

I really want to run a S.F. race someday, I have never been there!

Marlene said...

Too funny... I was readong Aron's report earlier this week and she mentioned seeing you, but I totally didn't clue into that fact that it was YOU! Still getting to know Katie A. ;)

Anyway, you ROCKED it!!! BIG CONGRATS!

Teamarcia said...

6 seconds or not I still think you did awesome! Congrats! And I love that you eat Indian food the night before--so funny!
Glad to see your mom there--so happy she's doing better!

Marathon Maritza said...

Sorry you had a rough time out there, but I still think you did great and you were looking strong when I saw ya!

Yay for another race in the books, girl!

Jamoosh said...

Well, shadoobies! So close and yet so out of reach - damn intestines. You'll get it next time. Still, a pretty darn good race.

ajh said...

I enjoyed your race report. Does everyone who runs the half do the second half? Do you drink coffee? Coffee in the early am before a race pretty much takes care of bathroom problems for me.

Anonymous said...

awesome job despite the tummy issue girl! sometimes there is nothing you cna do about it & just got to push through. Sad I missed seeing you that day! I was out running the course in reverse trying to cheer my girls on!

Jill said...

The best part of that race??? Knowing you were out there on that course with me!! You did so awesome, girl! You are going to knock that marathon outta the water come this fall! I wish I could fly out and cheer you on! Missing you tons today, I'm totally in a funky fog :(. And NO, it's not cuz I miss that monster beach bug ((HUGS))

MCM Mama said...

Girl, you are wicked fast. I'm impressed with your time, especially considering your tummy issues. You are going to do great at your next race.

Layla said...

I must say, you have the fastest bathroom splits! LOL Seriously, I think it takes me longer to get the door locked!
Great job at getting through everything. At this rate, Tahoe's hills will be easy-peasy for you.

Staci Dombroski said...

I think you did awesome! Sorry to hear that you did not make your B goal :( You will kill it next time :)

B.o.B. said...

GREAT JOB despite the tummy troubles. Just think 6 little seconds shall be blown out of the water at your next half. :)

Kudos lady! (And I'm sooo jealous you met Ron!)

A Runner's Mind said...

Felt like we were on the course with you....great descriptions! Impressive times even with the unplanned stops! That happened to me once...had to take a side trip into Old Navy since no portapotties were anywhere in sight! Lost a few seconds eyeing the merchandise too!

Christy said...

Thanks Katie!! Great job with the race!!!!

LPT said...

I HATE IT when my stomach messes up a long run! There's nothing you can do about it, but it can be disappointing nontheless. I think you got an awesome time despite what you went through.

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

you stopped twice and still rocked it out! I know you are definitely goal driven so this will make you bonkers for a bit, but seriously you are doing so many races and really pulling it out every time! It's amazing

Denise said...

look at that time...with stomach issues??!! you did great!!!

also love that when you were down you sucked it up and cheered on the other runners. very cool.

aron said...

you did pretty freaking awesome especially considering all the stomach issues! nice job and THANK YOU for pulling me along at the end :) i was dying and needed something to chase.

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