Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The San Francisco Marathon 2014

The SF Marathon
Michigan Bluff Photography - Myles Smythe
San Francisco, CA
Mileage - 26.2
Time 2:43:42
AEG - 1,529ft
Pace - 6:14
Place - 13th Overall

Moving to the bay area in February opened the door to a wide variety of races, many offering comped entry with a qualifying time, the SF Marathon included on that list. So I took advantage of my recent effort at the Rock'n'Roll Arizona back in January.  A sub-2:40 finish gave access to elite seeding and VIP treatment pre and post race, a nice perk at a major marathon I must say.  Come race morning, that wasn't the only thing on my mind.  The question was whether or not I would be prepared after a recent layoff from runner's knee.  

My buddy Jon flew in from Phoenix on Saturday looking for his own destination race and a chance to enjoy the cooler summer temps. It was 114 when he left and 59 degrees race morning.  We never found out why the marathon started so early (5:30am), at least we had plenty of time to relax afterwards.  Following a typical pre-race warm up I was good to go.  A strong field of runners gathered at the line of the Embaradero Sunday morning ready to take on the mileage and hills of San Francisco.  

The early miles went by rather quickly as we made our way through the Wharf, past Chrissy Field and up the first climb onto the Golden Gate Bridge.  I was doing my best not to get carried away knowing there was a long way to go yet. My splits were all over the board and the hills, turns, and wind never allowed me to settle into a comfortable pace. I caught the first female half way across the bridge, exchanged a few words of encouragement and never saw her again.  Not going to lie, I thought she was going to catch me later on, somehow I managed to hold my own.

Finishing kick at mile 26
At mile 10 I started to think the second half wasn't going to fair well.  Fortunately there were enough guys around to keep me motivated to run hard, especially through Golden Gate Park. I focused on getting to mile 20 where we would begin the decent back towards the bay, those miles didn't come easy though.  Then it became a matter of mental checkpoints to reach the finish. "Get to AT&T Park and you have less than a mile to go" is what I kept rehearsing. Lead changes continued throughout the race and as we rounded the stadium two guys passed me. Normally this would be defeating to the point of slowing down, instead I chased them to the finish.  Crossing the line under 2:45 was a big victory for me given my current fitness and a difficult course.  Overall it was a great day and Jon and I enjoyed the rest of weekend in the city. As always, a huge thank you goes out to the race staff and volunteers for allowing us to tour one of the country's finest cities on Sunday morning! 

Results posted here:

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