Some things about the San Francisco Marathon that did not make the race report.
How Bad Were The Hills?
What many marathoners feared about this course were the hills. So, how bad were they? Well, several hours after the race we went to a friend's house who lives in the city and I realized that the hills were not as bad as they could have been.
That doesn't mean the course wasn't hilly, just that the course didn't take us through the hilliest parts of the city. Still, the not-as-hilly parts are still hilly. It seems like that once we got off the bridge for good that every mile had at least a portion, sometimes a sizable portion, that was at an incline. Sometimes they were small inclines and other times you wondered when the hill would end.
I was initially looking forward to the last five miles because they looked flat on the elevation map, but I can tell you from having run the course that those last five miles were not flat at all. I don't think it got truly flat until we were back near AT&T Park, so around Mile 25.
The hills were tough but it's a good challenge and running that course is certainly not for the faint of heart.
Hills Take Their Toll
I certainly felt the effects of the hills. I alluded to it briefly in my race recap, but I was on a good pace at the halfway mark, about 10:13 per mile. Now, I think I can finish with a pace of under 10 min per mile for a marathon, perhaps LA, but I'd wanted to stay close to 10 min per mile at San Francisco. But by Mile 20 my pace had fallen off to 10:30 per mile.
I lost a lot of time because the hills wore on me. They took their toll on my legs and my feet. My feet don't usually feel like they've taken a beating 13 miles in but that's what it felt like. I handled the hills okay and everything but they also did their part to slow me down.
So Stinking Sore
After the race, I plopped down on a chair. Not right away, of course, because there were no chairs to sit on right after the finish line. I walked around, took some pictures, drank water, ate food, grabbed food, etc. But once I got out of the chute, I spotted a chair and sat down on it.
My body felt like it got hit by an 18-wheeler, and I couldn't really sit in any one position for too long. Mrs. LB helped me get up after I'd been sitting for like 10 minutes and I walked gingerly with her help. I actually swung... well, okay, Mrs. LB swung my arm around her and we walked. On another day, you might have thought she was helping a drunk walk around. At first, though, that was not comfortable but I adjusted after a while. I sat down on curbs on the way to the hotel, I think twice I had to stop and just sit down.
I felt like hell, probably looked worse, but none of that is going to stop me from running another marathon. That's the price you pay for marathon glory.
Blood, Sweat And Tears
Let's see... I was dripping with sweat during the race so check. Blood? I'm not sure about the blood actually. I had taped up my nips so didn't have any issues from them at all. Don't recall any blood on my shirt so not sure about blood.
Tears? Yeah, I got emotional. It's hard for me not too. At about Mile 17 or 18, as I mentioned in the race recap, I felt that I would finish the race. I knew, I just knew that I was going to get it done. I started to choke up and it started to, well, choke me. It got harder to breathe and I felt some tears starting to well up in my eyes.
After the race, though, I couldn't stop the tears. When I sat in a crumpled heap, soon after Mrs. LB found me, I just thought about how I'd finished a marathon, the stinkin San Francisco Marathon for crying out loud, and how I'd now run two marathons in less than six months. Who would have ever thought I would have run one? So it got to me.
I wonder if after I run like Marathon No. 7 or No. 12 or something if it won't get to me as much. Who knows? Guess I'll have to run those to find out.
M1 - 9:29 M2 - 9:14 M3 - 10:18 M4 - 9:33 M5 - 10:09
These were on The Embarcadero and up towards the Bridge. I felt fresh. I had to stop and fix the belt and adjust my stupid phone on Mile 3, hence the time difference.
M6 - 11:12 M7 - 10:16 M8 - 9:57 M9 - 10:30 M10 - 10:04
These were the miles on the bridge for the most part. The first mile was very slow because of all the congestion.
M11 - 9:02 M12 - 9:50 M13 - 10:52 M14 - 9:27 M15 - 10:50
Golden Gate Park. I believe Mile 11, though, was through a neighborhood.
M16 - 10:26 M17 - 11:03 M18 - 11:35 M19 - 11:22 M20 - 12:57
The hills were starting to get to me. I'm not sure what's up with Mile 20, I think I stopped to GU up at some point...
M21 - 10:17 M22 - 11:01 M23 - 10:32 M24 - 10:56 M25 - 10:45
I thought I could find some strength around Mile 21, and I thought that since I had target that, that mentally I could push through the fatigue and fog in my own head and pick up the pace, maybe throw in some sub-10-min miles. It didn't quite happen that way.
M26 - 10:00 Final .2 - 9:38 pace
I did finish strong. The last mile was the fastest mile I'd run over the final 12 miles so that's a positive.
I always like to look forward to my race calendar at the end of one of these post-race blog posts. I will save most of my thoughts for an upcoming post but my next race will likely be Oct. 17 in Long Beach as I'll be running the first of two fall half-marathons.
My next full marathon? LA on March 20, 2011 unless something drastic happens. I still think there's a chance I run Surf City again, but ... okay, I'm stopping now. Saving thoughts for the upcoming post, probably sometime next week.