Monday, July 31, 2006

SF Marathon Half Race Report

(This is my post from forums, with original commentary to follow)

I participated in the San Francisco Marathon this weekend by running the Second Half Marathon. This is a pretty unique set up where you get to choose which half to run- so I chose the later start time (8:20 versus 5:50... ugh) and the easier half. It was pretty interesting joining up with a marathon in progress. I admit it was tough watching the suffering of some of the full marathoners the entire time. Plenty of people walking, stretching, crying, puking, etc. When we started at 8:20 we were running with the 4:30-ish marathoners, so there was a lot of passing going on. Then again, it was pretty cool to see other full marathoners looking really strong toward the end. Some of their excitement rubbed off on me (for example, two girls running together saying "we're there... we did it!" as they approached the finish)

The race was really well organized with a big expo, great shirts, medals for full and half marathoners, and an organized finish area. Not too much post-race grub, but lots of restaurants nearby. I can't comment on the first half of the marathon, although I'm pretty familiar w/ the scenic and often hilly territory. However the second half was not terribly hilly and also not terribly scenic. The park is lovely, the Haight is allright, but the industrial district was pretty lame. But it got pretty again toward the end when you hit the waterfront, circled round AT&T Park, under the Bay Bridge and finished along the Embarcadero.

My race goals were pretty relaxed, as I have been building my mileage quite a bit lately and didn't put a lot of importance on this race. I was pretty worn out the week before and didn't exactly taper or rest up for the half. My Half Marathon PR is 1:44:56 from February, which I didn't expect to beat. I tried to focus on running my best and having a good time.

Unfortunately I do not have any splits, which does lead me to one complaint about this race: the mile markers were for the full marathoners, and only noted on the side where the 2nd-halfers were, which was always one-tenth short of the mile split. For example: "Mile 25! (second half: 11.9)" I could have used these to get mile splits, but I just wasn't into it. Also, not knowing my pace helped me not stress and just enjoy myself.

I got off to a rough start with a serious stomach cramp in the first mile. It worked itself out by mile 4 or so, but my pace was slow (I even stopped to stretch a couple of times) and I missed my chance to get in any kind of groove. The 1:50 pace-group passed me and I never saw them again (although I heard that a lot of pace groups came in way fast). Next thing I knew we were out of the park and FLYING down these steep stretches of city streets. You could really pick out the full runners from the halfers on those hills- several of the full runners were kind of shuffling down in pain while us fresh-legged halfers just flew down. I was feeling better and had picked up the pace, but was feeling dehydrated and fatigued. The rest of the race went by pretty fast, and suddenly we were near the finish.

I came through the final stretch with a good kick and stopped my watch at 1:50:38. I got a medal and my chip removed, and went back to watch my friend finish in an awesome 2:16. We hung out downtown for a bit and headed home. What a fun race, I really recommend it!

offical result: 1:50:36 8:27 average pace 29 of 344 in AG (F 20-29)/ 104 of 1191 of Women/ 362 of 2059 overall

Next up: more base building Thanks for reading!

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