This was such a fun race! To rewind a little – I have been struggling with runner’s knee since President’s day. After a long training run I went for a hike and aggravated my already inflamed knee. Rest and building up my weak gluteus minims muscles/hips has been the prescription for recovery. Two weeks before the race, what should have been peak weak, I was at a horseshow in Vegas. While I was moving A LOT for the show, I opted to not run while I was there Thursday – Sunday, and let me knee rest. I came home from the show and was able to run 8 miles, pain free! So I decided to go ahead with the half marathon.
Promptly following that decision, I was graced with a 101.4 degree fever and head cold. More rest! I felt so tired and run down. Still though, I was feeling very anxious about the race. I even had a friend say this race just didn’t seem meant to be, was I sure I wanted to do it? Yes, of course I wanted to do it! Maybe not the smartest decision, but I wanted to run.
So I kept resting and stretching and worrying. My very patient family, boyfriend, and dog putting up with me not wanting to walk more than 15 feet to go to dinner, for dog walks, ect.
On Sunday morning, my knee felt ok. Not much pain. I took 4 Motrin before I left the house with my pre-race breakfast of a banana. The start line was on the Great Highway in San Francisco. My parents drove in with me from my house. About a 20 minute drive that time of day with no traffic. They dropped me at the shuttle at 4:00am. The shuttles got organized and took us to the start lines where we waited until the start at 6:30. To stay warm, I wrapped up in a heat blanket. You can buy them on Amazon here. This way, I can give my family my things to hold and avoid gear check. I will say the gear check for this run did seem very well organized. Big UPS trucks carted things between the start and finish line. There was also a TON of bananas, and bagels and waters for everyone at the start and finish lines.
The race started off and wasn’t too congested. My corral was #3, and we moved pretty quickly and got spread out. It was nice to not have to wait very long to start. I think I ran a pretty smart race knowing my injury could flare up. I kept the pace slower for the first couple of miles – around an 8:30, and ramped up to my normal pace of 7:20 until mile 8.5 when the pain in my right knee came back with a vengeance. It was a more intense pain than I was expecting. I used the Hal Higdon method of walking through the aid stations for the last 4.6 miles and tried to focus on keeping my core tight, my glutes under me, and making sure my feet were striking the pavement the correct way.
The course itself was a lot of fun, along the Great Highway, then over the Golden Gate and back. The course after the Golden Gate is the route I normally use for my 14 mile training runs, so I really enjoyed that. There was also a contest to see who could run the big hill along the Great Highway the fastest in mile 3. That seemed like a great way to burn out early, so I didn’t go for it. I loved all the cheering sections, circus performers and even a section of drag queens. The energy was awesome and the volunteers where amazing.
My overall chip time was 1:47:33 (mile pace of 8:13). Not my PR. And not the time I wanted. But I am remembering to be grateful I got to run the race at all. And now I know that rest is not the enemy, and I can trust my training is enough to get me through even when s**t happens.
I would recommend a Rock n Roll race to anyone. From elite runners to someone trying their first half or full marathon. The organization is really impressive. My family loved the runner tracking, and the overall experience was great.
Oh and not to forget the post race meal. I always eat a cheat meal after a race. You spend so much time eating to fuel your body and carefully constructing your meal plans. No wine or fat the night before for me (neither sits well in my stomach). So I say go for it. We went to Perry’s on Union and I got THIS. Good decision. Happy running everyone!