Yesterday was a runner’s dream. In true San Francisco summer fashion, the fog hung around to keep the weather perfectly cool and the frigid SF wind that can really wreak havoc on race times stayed at bay and all was set for a perfect race day. I know the weather doesn’t predict race times by any means, but it for sure helps in your favor. And the perfect weather was just the precursor to a pretty much perfect race day.
At 5:30 am Sunday morning I woke up feeling refreshed and rested at Allie’s apartment. I spent the night at her place because she was only about a 5 minute car ride to the start vs. a 15-20 minute ride from my place across the city and knowing that there would be major road closures, I thought that was my best and easiest bet for a smooth race morning commute. It’s also nice because Allie and I have been running races together for almost 5 years and have even traveled for races together, so we know each other’s routine almost as well as we know our own. We fueled up and packed our race bags and gear and set off to the start line for the 2nd half of the San Francisco Marathon.
I kind of laughed a little as the announcer said into the mic, “get ready for the best race of your life” because I thought it was a quite a bold statement. The best race of your life?! Seriously? A little overboard, lady. But wow, I had no idea how amazing this race would turn out to be.
I am one of those runners that literally BOLTS out the gate and the first few miles using up a lot of energy and guaranteeing a slow back half and slowing down exponentially throughout the course. I was determined to keep a better pace, so for the first time in my race career, I ran the first portion of the course with the official race pacers. I picked a group that would get me a PR, but that was obtainable and consistent with my training pace. Pace group 1:45.
The course started with rolling hills that were a little harder than I had anticipated, but I kept up with the pacers as they kept me steady and started the race consistently at 8:00 minute mile pace. I felt amazing coming out of the park for the rest of the flat or downhill portion of the course and I monitored my energy and crept ahead of the pacers for the last half of the course. And I ultimately finished with a time of 1:44:39 with is an average mile pace of 7:59… You guys! That is one second under 8 minute miles and I am in complete disbelief, it took a lot of hard work and dedication to get to this moment in my training and I put a lot of very hard work for this and I am just beyond excited to see the hard work pay off. That means this race was 1 minute and 18 seconds faster than the race I PR’d at earlier this year! What a rush!
Setting a new PR isn’t the only reason that this race was so great, in fact that has really little to do with it. Having so many friends and familiar faces along the course really kept my energy up and my confidence strong. I had friends along the course cheering at mile 7 (Paul and Jono), friends at the finish with cupcakes (!) (Lindsay and Jess), I saw many, many runner friends along the course as well (Jho, Peter, Dario, Gary, Amanda, and JR), and finally a HUGE crew of Concrete Runners at mile 13 where they made a tunnel and cheered me on right at the end. It gave me a huge boost and I was almost moved me to tears by their dedication to us runners. And then I looked up and right ahead of me I saw my friends Gary and Dario so I sprinted to catch them then there was no slowing down as a looked at my watch and realized I only had a little time left to break my previous PR from Oakland in March. The support from my friends and running family was incredible and there really is no better feeling than having those around you support you, inspire you, and root for you to be your best and accomplish your goals. I can’t even put into words how blessed I feel today to have such positive people in my life.