Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Here are some of the details of the Nike Women's Half Marathon 2007:
The night before we left for San Francisco, I only had about 4 hours of sleep, so I was going on pure adrenaline all day Saturday. In a couple of the pictures I've posted (in yesterday's post), to me, I look incredibly tired. That night I barely slept. I was thinking about the race and just couldn't sleep, kind of like a kid at Christmastime, anticipating the day ahead.
My brother, husband and I made it to the start area at Union Square well before the crack of dawn. I tried to find Leslie and Denise, but it turned out that Leslie's cell phone was out and it was just too hard to find Denise in the huge sea of runners. I moved up to around where the 10 to 11 minute milers were waiting towards the back of that corral, thinking I would be OK. My brother and husband took a few pictures of me waiting in the dark with other runners, but the pictures turned out fuzzy.
Once the start gun went off, it took well over 16 minutes to arrive at the start line, which activates the timing chip, and that's where I started my Wireless Run Tracker GPS on my cell phone (WRT). It was slow moving after the start because just about everyone in front of me was walking or sort of jogging. I also noticed that my WRT was not in sync with the mile markers on the route. My WRT would beep several hundred feet before I got to the mile marker. It took a while but I started to weave in and out of the walkers where I could, but in some areas it was just too hard to squeeze through so I had to be patient. It was like that for the first couple of miles, then I was able to ease into a about a 9:30ish minute mile pace, until mile 6, where it bottle-necked and people started walking up hill. I had no choice but, again, to be patient and wait for an opening to run up hill. That hill was about a mile up, and I was able to run up past people who were struggling with it. There were a few more hills to go, one that was a little more steep, but I felt confident that I did all that hill training in my neighborhood, so the San Francisco hills were challenging enough but not a huge struggle. We ran through some beautiful neighborhoods. I wished I had some sort of camera hat or helmet cam to take pictures without stopping because I would look around and be amazed with the views and some of the architecture. The view after mile 10 was spectacular. The weather was crystal clear and we could see the beach/ocean ahead. At that time I didn't realize that was where the finish line would be - at the beach. At mile 11 was the chocolate. The handed me about 6 Ghirardelli chocolate squares. I wasn't sure what to do with them so I shoved them in my already crowded hydration pack. Towards the end there was a tent/canopy that we ran through which played movies of people running, perhaps celebrities, reciting words of encouragement. I really didn't pay attention because I was trying to pick up speed there and it was a little dark in that longish tent/canopy thing. At mile 12 I tried to put on the speed but I was once again stuck behind people, and I had to slow down. I thought I may have PR'ed this run, based on my WRT time, but it did not match my chip time, and the course distance was a little off on my WRT, as it gave me 13.5 miles. This is the first race where my WRT was that off from the chip time and distance.
I broke even on my time. My official time of 2:19 is about what my personal record is, but my brother reminded me that this course had some serious hills, and the other course I PR'ed (at the San Jose Half Marathon 2006) did not have much in the way of inclines or hills, and I should consider this an improvement. One little thing, though, is that I didn't put an estimated finish time when I registered, so I was put in a starting corral with the walkers. Even though I was able to change corrals, it still wasn't far up enough with more of the runners. Don't get me wrong, it's great that there was a huge contingent of walkers, and I have great respect for all of them getting out there and participating -- I was just in the wrong corral for my average mile time. I've learned to take each race as it is and quit doing the "if only I did X different" thing. It is what it is. Live and learn for next time. I'm still feeling good about my finish time and I felt fantastic on race day. This race was good for my psyche.
Here's some of the great points about this event:
*Seeing Leslie again - Which felt like seeing a dear friend I've known all my life.
*Meeting Dori, Michelle, Elizabeth, Julie, Margaret and Denise, and a few others - sorry I don't remember their names!
*Perfect weather. It was crystal clear and mild.
*My brother and husband trying to run ahead of me so they could cheer for me. (I think they ran about 9 miles.)
*Running somewhere near Fisherman's Warf and seeing the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.
*After the last summit, after around the 10 mile mark, turning the bend on the hill and seeing the beach/ocean down below. It was breathtaking.
*The chocolate mile.
*The cute guys in black tuxes, with silver trays full of little blue Tiffany & Co. boxes with while satin bows, which had the finisher's necklace inside.
*The finish line area was at the beach.
*At the end of the day - Sleep.
I plan on participating in this race next year, arrive on Friday instead of Saturday, plan on staying in a hotel near the event, arrange to spend more time with my running friends, and take advantage of all of the services the Expo has to offer.
The media has been saying how much better this fire disaster has been handled in comparison to Hurricane Katrina. People displaced who are staying at Qualcom stadium are being well taken care of and constantly asked if they need anything. People are remaining calm and there is very little threat of looting in the affected neighborhoods. I did hear of only one incident of attempted looting, but the authorities were on it and have already apprehended the two accomplices. Several homes were lost, and unfortunately one life was lost, but everything is being handled well, and most people are cooperating. My home is currently not in any danger, but things can change so quickly, so we have certain items ready to go, just in case. My father lives close to one of the fires and he's ready to come to my house if the authorities tell him to leave. Everyone in my neighborhood is home, but have remained indoors. A few of my neighbors have friends or relatives who have been displaced staying with them until they're able to return back home. Hopefully, their homes are still standing. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone.