What kind of idiot makes a hilly as hell race as their goal race of the year? Yeah, I'm just not a very smart person when it comes to running…. Or anything else for the matter of fact. However, I chose the race, I am stuck with it, no choice!!
I was a bit disappointed this year, but it is still a lot better than most of the race expo I've been to. Safeway gave out these awesome containers with various nuts combo and it was awesome! We also got some Paul Mitchell's shampoo samples.
Race packet pick up:
Very quick- no lines at all on Friday. I heard it was crazy on Saturday though.
As usually, having 25,000 women all gathered at union square can get a bit crazy. We got dropped off by my husband at the Westin Hotel for potty needs. We then walked to union square. Luisa (my running partner) and I went to our coral (7:30-8:59) and said good bye to my niece.
Our coral got pushed up closer to the front and I started to panic when I see the sub6 min sign next to me, are we gonna get run over?? Oh well.
The race started on time. 30 seconds after the gun started, we crossed the finish line. And for nike womens marathon, means that we are lining like right behind Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan.
Get my garmin started… Wait a minute, what happened to my fields… I lent my watch to my friend Luisa, and it came back with all the fields messed up. The only thing I can use is instant pace, which is obviously useless, and I can only tell my pace for the previous miles when it shows briefly AFTER the mile has been completed. Not good.
Mile 1: 7:52:<— WTF, this is my 5k pace…. Feeling nauseous, imagining I will be walking the last 3 miles because of this. Puhleeeease slow the heck down. I give it that this is a slight downhill mile, leaving downtown, heading to the embacadero.
Mile 2: 8:27
Still too fast for my fitness level, I wasn't sure if what I was feeling was okay. I know this is not suppose to be easy, but I shouldn't feel like its hard work either. Running along the embarcadero, heading towards fishermans wharf. I felt like I was working slightly hard, and panic a little. Trying to look for pacers to see if I'm doing okay,
Mile 3: 8:30
Hit a couple of steep hills, but just one block long. Head up, down, then up down again around aquatic park, ghiradeli square. Life is good. I am feeling a bit better now, found my groove. Looked up and saw someone holding a pacer board. 3:20 marathon sign. OMGF. should I slow down or hang on as much as I can??? I don't even know what pace 3:20 marathon is since it is so out of my league. We also have our first real hills here after aquatic park climbing onto fort mason. I powered up this hill, and surprisingly, I was able to control my breathing and recover very quickly.
Mile 4: 8:37
I've done a tempo run here on this route before, so I was just trying to remind myself that. It was very foggy that day and you cannot see the Golden Gate Bridge at all, sorry visitors, or else, this is one great route to run with awesome views!
Mile 5: 8:33
Still running steady, but I know as soon as I hit mile 6 with those hills I will no longer see the number 8 in front of my pace. I also saw some cool street dancing on our left side and got me excited! I was tempted to jump in and hang out for a few sec, but that might not be a good idea if I was trying to PR.
Mile 6: 8:52
Here we climb up from crissy field up to the Golden Gate Bridge.
Look at the massive amount of people powering up this hill
So I was a bit surprise that I was able to maintain 8:52 for this mile since its a non stop climb for a mile. It takes you up from sea level on crissy field up to the base of Golden Gate Bridge. Then it continue on to my biggest fear, the presidio. It is one massive hill that never ends. A lot of people slowed way down here. There is a girl that was very strong, apparently trying to get her friend Carmen to run a sub2 half marathon. Every 10 seconds, she would turn around and say “Carmen, you are looking strong” “Carmen, power through the hill, you got it”…. It was getting a little old, but she was doing her best to encourage her friend which was really struggling.
Mile 7: 10:43
Here you can see, I started my dreaded walking breaks again, I was a minute faster than last year at this mile, so I did cut down my walk break. To be honest, could I have run those hills more instead of walk? Absolutely. What worried me was if I do power up these hills, would I have enough energy to play catch up on downhills? Or even survive when I get out of the cliff house area and finish running on the flats? All these kept coming up on my mind, and because of my way below average hill running skills, I decided to walk a bit here and there to preserve some energy.
Mile 8: 7:52
I love downhills. I know I've lost a lot of time on the damn presidio hills, so I must make some time up here and I got it. I was also a little bit concern about my quads shredding running this fast, since there are two more hills I have to conquer. I didn't care, I tried to relax and just let gravity do the work.
Mile 9: 10:00
This is the rolling hills area in the neighborhood where they give out oranges and wet napkins. Wet napkins ???? I later found out its for people who were eating the oranges so their hands won't be sticky. Seriously, what kind of race does this shit??!! I'm trying to PR, why would I be worrying about eating oranges and wiping my hands…oh well. I was really struggling, I had to fight my massive devil thoughts of wanting to walk. I gave in many times but I try not to walk more than 10-20 steps. I kept looking at the clock to see if I can make any of my goals, because my garmin is not showing ANYTHING. But I cannot do math while running. *gives up*
Mile 10: 8:30
This is a combo of some uphill and my downhill miles. I just looked at my garmin data, and I ran down this very steep hill between 7:00 and 7:30, really using it to make up my lost time. Here we run down from the crazy rolling hill neighborhood down sea cliff, gorgeous view. My husband said he will be taking picture for me on great highway and I was looking for him as well. Yep, he was on my left and he got some pic of me!
Mile 11: 8:42
Continuing with this mile to get ourselves into the golden gate park. I'm sure part of this is still the residual of speed from the downhill splits, since at this point, fatique was setting in, and I'm paying interest for the loan shark I borrowed for running so fast at the beginning.
Mile 12: 9:25
I really hate the golden gate park. Here we have a mile long slight incline. I can see it but it wasn't like the ones I encountered earlier. However, I was tired, just all over tired. Mentally I was almost done. Honestly, nothing hurts right now. I was tired, overall fatique, yes, legs a bit heavy, but nothing really hurts. I really need to push and finish strong. I have absolutely no idea if I could PR at this point since I have no garmin data to look at. The only thing I can go by were those clocks by the mile marks but apparently I can't add. At this point, I was in survival mode,I had alot of evil thoughts of wanting to walk, but I really tried not to. I can't remember if I walked or not, maybe a few steps on some steeper sections, but probably not much. I really want this over with now.
Mile 13: 8:12
This is a slight downhill. As you can see, I can no longer keep the 7:xx pace like the earlier downhill areas where I flew down. My legs are getting heavier and heavier. I know I am very close to the finish line, I was very grateful that this was downhill. I don't think I can keep a sub9:00 min mile if this is flat…. Where is the finish line for god sake???
Mile 13.1: ~7:10
I never remember to press the stop button on my garmin, so I don't have this last bit of data,but just moving my cursor along the last bit of the garmin graph, my best guess was it was around 7:10.
Official time: 1:56:01<——— can I not just run 2 seconds faster to get it below 1:56???? Well, I didn't have my damn watch to look at, so I had no clues was that close.
I will take this though. I ran the Nike 2011 was 2:04:xx, more than 8 min PR.
My HM PR was 1:57:58 on a flatter than pancake course.
Overall, I am very happy with my result. I missed my stretch goal of 1:55, but I do understand that this is a tough course, especially for someone who has a major weakness on hills.
Things I learn from this training cycle:
- Ryan Hall training plan works (even though I did not follow it carefully, I move around the workouts in a very dangerous fashion, like running all 3 hard workouts within 4 days etc)
- I am not very injury prone and response well to hard speed workouts, but I should not take this for granted
- I really need to embrace the hills if I want to continue to race this course.
- Check garmin to make sure everything is functioning day before the race, not during the 10 second count down.
- I believe I have it in me to get below 1:50, it may not happen next year, but I believe it will happen with hard work.