The race started at 6:45am in Golden Gate Park on Sunday morning. I had to leave my house by 4:30 to drive into the city (30 mins), park (20 mins), and get over to Golden Gate Park from my car (another 25 mins).
As we were getting into the park the sun was coming up, and I realized I wasn’t very cold. That is never a good sign for me on a morning when I’m racing really hard. I don’t do well with the heat, and living in the Bay Area has made me completely soft to the heat!!
The plan was to meet Lucas and Anne in the park. Anne was doing her warm up by running from where she was staying to the park, and Lucas and I were going to warm up together. I really really liked having someone to warm up with!! We did some jogging & drills. Then found Anne and checked our gear, did a final bathroom stop, and did some strides.
In a perfect world, I wanted to break 90 minutes. I knew I was a little under trained for that – my tempos have been sitting around 7 min pace, not 6:50s. But on the right day, my coach and I thought it could come together. Plan B was a PR – under 1:34 and change. Plan C was to run as hard as I could for as long as I could and forget about pace.
The race started in Golden Gate Park, had some rolling hills and then went out to the city and down along the water. Our plan as a group was to hold low 7s in the park and then IF I was still hanging on, cut down once we got out to the city.
As we started running, I was feeling good. We were chatting – although I wasn’t talking too much because I wanted to conserve energy. But Anne and Lucas were and I’d chime in here and there. The hills started to roll in around the park and I could tell the effort was probably a little too much for this point in a half marathon. The park was shaded, but definitely muggy and not cool (to me). To a person used to normal summer, it probably felt cold lol!
We were able to able to keep the pace at least under 7:15 through the park. I had taken a gel early, at mile 3, knowing I was using more fuel running that fast. But my stomach backfired a little bit and I wasn’t able to get take anything down but water and electrolytes the rest of the race.
Running through the city streets was in the direct sun and it felt hot. I had some serious cotton mouth lol. Going down hill my hip was acting up a little, but I think that would have been fine if the rest of my body didn’t feel like it was redlining.
I look at these splits and they are disappointing, and not representative of the work I put in. But that’s running for you. Sometimes the day just doesn’t come together. I’m only sharing my feelings of disappointment because I feel like I’m generally a really positive person, and it’s important to share not just the good days, but the hard days too.
While the splits bum me out – Looking at these race photos make me so happy. My friends were amazing on race day. They kept me smiling and focused and our stride is in sync pretty much the whole time. I will treasure these memories forever.
As we approached the final stretch, I saw something that looked like the finish line, then I realized it wasn’t – just a cheer station. I told Lucas & Anne something to the effect that I was pissed it wasn’t the finish line LOL. Neither of them would acknowledge that which totally made me laugh. “FINEEEEE. I’ll kick.” And then tried to pick up the pace a little.
While I’m frustrated that my effort was not equal to the results I felt it deserved, I am proud of myself for giving that much effort. And I couldn’t have done it without my friends.
1:37 on a bad day, isn’t really a bad day. But it wasn’t 1:30 – and that’s ok. I’m still hungry to try again.
Our running community really is special. I can’t that enough.
And I will never stop feeling lucky this guy is always there to wrap me in a big hug, win or lose, no matter how sweaty and gross I am. And he always gets me to laugh.