Friday, March 8, 2013

Frisco Fridays: SFM Representative In Charge

One of the perks of being a San Francisco Marathon Ambassador is representing the San Francisco Marathon.

Most of the time, this representation is virtual - I tweet about the race (follow me @RunnerLuis), I'll post and share things on Facebook and right here on this trusty blog. The personal representation is mostly informal - I have nothing but good things to say when fellow runners talk to or aske me about the San Francisco Marathon (and I say those good things because I mean them).

But there have been a few times where I'm on official SFM business, serving in an official SFM capacity. Friday will be one of those days.

I'm going to be the person in charge of the San Francisco Marathon's booth at the San Diego Half Marathon Expo. For nearly five hours I'll be manning the booth, will help people sign up for the race, will answer questions about it, will show off my medals and the LA/SF Challenge medal as well and will spread the love of my favorite marathon.

I've done it twice before, but there were differences.

I was at the LA Marathon Expo last year and hung out for about 5-6 hours, got to talk to a few people... well, more than a few people I suppose... and spread the love for SFM. Also, at the San Francisco Marathon Expo itself I was there for most of Saturday doing the same.

The difference of course was that I was not alone. I was not in charge save for about an hour when the staffer at last year's LA expo booth went on her lunch.


Alone. In charge. The man.


I'll do well. I think. I hope.

Either way, I'll come back here and report on how it went.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Taper Madness Driving Me Mad

Taper time, you would think, is great.

After months of hitting it hard every week and capping off those weeks with long runs of 13-15, 18-20 and even a 22-mile run, it seems like lesser-mileage weeks and long runs of 12 and 10 miles would be quite appealing.

It is, but it isn't.

While I've run eight marathons, there are constant reminders that that figure doesn't put me in the veteran marathoner category. Taper time is one of those times. I'm now tapering once more, preparing myself for the LA Marathon, set for March 17, and I can't say that I'm entirely happy about it.

I understand the science behind tapering. You need to rebuild and strengthen up your muscles; you need to get mentally ready as well and you've gotta enter the marathon well-rested.

But when you've been hitting it hard for so long, anything short of that seems like you're at a standstill. Midweek 6- to 8-milers become 3- to 5-milers, 3-5 becomes two... what are those distances? It's more challenging to get up for a three-mile run when you're used to knocking out 6-8 milers. Sometimes, those short runs feel like you're just spinning your wheels. It feels like you are just going through the motions because you can't get into that same mindset and rhythm you do on longer runs.

Typically when I get to three miles I've just gotten into my stride and am looking forward to tackling the meat of the run, so when the run is over at that point instead of just getting started, it's an entirely different monster.

Multiply that feeling by a thousand and that's what taper feels like to me.

In some ways, it feels like you're losing your edge, and that the fire burning inside of you is slowly flickering away.

I'm going into this taper with a bit of an open mind though. I didn't exactly have the best experience in my last marathon (a 5:10 finish at Long Beach) and I felt like I was stagnant in my taper, but I think that marathon was soured by lack of training, not the taper portion of it. I fizzled in Long Beach but that wasn't because I felt like I fizzled during my taper.

I'll probably feel like I'm fizzling this time around too, but I have a much better training base and will feel confident once I'm out there on March 17.

I just have to get there in one piece.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Frisco Fridays: A Glorious San Francisco Shot

It was a great moment.

When I approached the finish line of the 2010 San Francisco Marathon, I felt proud. I felt kind of grown up.

I'd run one marathon before, but this one, the San Francisco Marathon was different. My first marathon - Surf City earlier in the year - was special, so special, and nothing could have taken away from that. But this one was me proving that Surf City was no fluke.

I'd trained for San Francisco by myself, had chosen to run the race, had devised a training plan and executed it by myself. This was my coming-out party. This was me proving that I was indeed a marathoner.

And so when I got close to the finish line, I had to express myself.

I struck what is perhaps my favorite pose of any race picture I've had taken of me.

It was epic.


Me saying "I did it!"

Or me saying "Look at me now!"

If you don't know, I plan my poses. I think one of the best things to do in a marathon is to pose at the finish, so you can have a great picture of a great moment. What better moment to show yourself off a little than when you are crossing the finish line (!) of a marathon? So, I plan my poses, before and during the race. At some point, it helps me kind of hang on, keeps me mentally engaged. And then before I know it, the finish line is fastly.... well, maybe not that fast... but it is coming up. Then, time for a pose.

I'd played around with this arms-extended pose, so when I came upon the finish I made sure there wasn't anyone around me (can't have people photobombing my glory), thrust my arms out to the side and... well, there you go.

I just happened to look up at the camera. I remember that vividly. I scanned the ground, off to the side and then just as I was about to step over the finish line I looked up and there was the camera, and it had caught me.

So, ultimately this picture was a series of events that led to a great moment for me. This is it. This pose is it. I haven't repeated it in a finish line shot yet. I mean, I'd be kind of ripping myself off a little bit. So I've left the extended-arms pose alone.

In some ways, that's appropriate. Surf City 2010 was my first marathon, but San Francisco 2010 was my moment to show that I was indeed a bona fide marathoner.