Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hey Soul Sister

Nike Women's  Half Marathon 2011 Race Report

Pre Race Thursday

Not at all organized.  Not at all packed.  The flight out was the next morning.  I tried to be organized, but that went by the wayside with a midday doctor's appointments.  I also had my sister coming down from Los Angeles to accompany me on the trip.  Amazingly, flights were much cheaper out of San Diego going to San Fransisco that out of Los Angeles to San Fransisco.  Go figure.  I wasn't quite ready for my sister, either, the house wasn't quite up to par for company, but since it was my sister, she really didn't care that I hadn't vacuumed or mopped the kitchen floor yet.  Once my sister Donna was safely delivered to San Diego, we went out for dinner and I probably should have stuck with just one drink, but since I didn't have to drive I went for a second.  Have you ever tried to pack after two drinks?  At least I had all of my race gear pre planned and I purposely wore my running shoes on the flight.  Everything else was a mystery as to why I packed it.  I was missing a few things, but it's not as if we were going to the middle of nowhere.  One major thing to forget was my camera.  I did have my cell phone but it's not quite the same as an actual camera. I never think to use my cell phone camera. Obviously.

Pre Race Friday

Up bright and early.  Donna slept in the Aerobed on the living room floor.  She woke up with a couple of Hotwheels cars, Elmo (the Muppet), and a Transformer toy.  I guess my grandson didn't want her to get lonely.  The male cat, Lumpy, was intrigued and woke her up just before her alarm went off.  I guess he figured she could get his breakfast... 

We made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare.  No major issues, but I was the lucky recipient of a random search.  I found it odd that they swabbed my running shoes.  No pat down.   We  hooked up with the Heffers on the plane, then we were off.

Once in San Francisco, my sister and I trekked to our hotel to freshen up a bit, then went to the expo at Union Square.  It's at this point that I realized I forgot my camera, but did use my cell phone camera for a few shots.  My sister took a picture of my name on the Niketown wall, but has yet to send it to me. I stole this one from AKA Alice:

This was the billboard over Niketown, adjacent to the expo at Union Square.

Donna and I spent enough time at the expo to retrieve my race number and swag, walked around the expo and Niketown a bit then met up with some of the Heffers at the Hyatt for lunch.

A spectacular view!  I've never seen San Francisco so clear... Not bad for a cell phone pic.

Me & Donna

Post lunch photo op... Charlie's Angels?  Betty,  me,  AKA Alice.

AKA Alice and I have the paparazzi pose down,  but I'm not sure what Elsie was doing... 

Since I didn't have the sense to take a lot of cell phone pics, there's a lot of gaps that I can't remember clearly, perhaps a little alcohol was involved, but we did attend a happy hour at the Hotel Palomar where the Heffer's stayed at,  and had dinner at John's Grill to celebrate Elsie's landmark birthday. BTW, John's Grill has some pretty good martini's.  

I must add that a big part of this weekend was celebrating Elsie's birthday, and the cool thing was that friends and family kept showing up, which was a complete surprise to her.

Pre Race Saturday

My sister and I pretty much did our own thing with some random shopping and did a little sight seeing.  We decided to take a cable car up to Fisheman's Warf since the restaurant was in that general direction.  After about a half hour wait, we entered a cable car, then went about a block, then the driver stops and announces that there's a protest and he can't move the cable car until it passes.  Here's some of what transpired:

"Welcome to San Francisco!"This is only about 15 minutes worth, captured on my cell phone, but we were there for about 45 minutes.  We could have jumped off, but it was more interesting to see what was going on. 

Once we got going again, we made it up to Fisherman's Warf  and  I relied on my sister for directions to the restaurant.  I discovered that my sister isn't great with directions.  We ended up walking about 4 miles to find the restaurant that turned out to be only about a mile and a half from our hotel... 

I  do much better with  rice dishes for my pre race carb load dinner instead of pasta, and we had reservations for Ozumo, for sushi.  The restaurant was lovely and looked like the perfect spot for date night.  Next time I'll bring Hubs there.  I so wanted to have an adult beverage, since they had an awesome drink menu, but adult drinks were out since race day was the next morning.  The sushi was wonderful, however, the highlight was dessert, which was dark chocolate fondue:

So yummy!

Race Day Sunday

The morning went rather smoothly, and there were really no glitches until I got outside and realized that it was already warm at the crack of dark.  This wasn't the cooler San Francisco weather that I was anticipating.  I had on a long sleeved running shirt and leggings.  The hotel wasn't too far from Union Square, but I decided that since we were already less than a block away from the starting area that I would change shirts right then and there.  At least I thought enough to have a short sleeved shirt in my gear bag.  I ducked into a small store front entry and changed.  Looking back now, I should have gone back to the hotel and changed into shorts.  I was already feeling warm and the race hadn't started yet. 

As Donna and I made our way to the race area, we became stuck in a sea of people.  There was no direction of where people observing should go and where runners should go.  I handed Donna my gear bag just in case we became separated from each other, and we did, and I just sort of found myself in a corral and stayed there.  There really weren't corrals, just signs with paces.  It probably didn't matter where I started since I really wasn't going for PR.  Getting strep throat a couple of weeks before really messed with my training and stamina.  It was all about finishing and getting the bling.

While waiting for the race to start I chatted with a couple of ladies who live in San Francisco and have ran this race several times.  I really wanted to start the race with someone I knew, as several people from our track club were running, and the Heffers were somewhere near by in the mayhem, but it was OK.  This race has a really good vibe about it and everyone seemed pumped up.  About 15 minutes after the starting gun went off, I made it to the start.

Everyone kind of winces at the thought of running up and down the hills on this course, but I was OK with the hills.  I was ready for those and actually ran (slowly) up and down those hills.  Thank goodness for those practice runs on the Torrey Pines hill! 

I think this is somewhere in Golden Gate Park, perhaps around mile 9???

My issue was the lack of stamina to take me running to the end of the race.  Not being able to get in that last long run of 11 to 12 miles due to getting sick messed me up. It was also humid and I went through two 20 ounce  bottles of electrolyte.  For a half marathon I normally need just one 20 ounce bottle and rarely finish it.  I was so sweaty.  Right before mile 10 my body was telling me I was done.  This was also at that point where I saw a friend from the track club, Judy, and I thought we could finish together.  Judy was having a really good day, and after about a mile of running with her I just couldn't keep up running.  I had to walk. I was exhausted.  I walk/ran most of mile 11, and slowly ran mile 12, but it was running, just because I knew I was so close to the finish. 

I finished, and turned to a lady right behind me and said  "I have to high five somebody!" She humored me and obliged.

So happy to be finished!

After about a week, the official times have been posted, and I clocked in at 2:41:52, a whole three seconds faster than first reported.  This is my second slowest race, but I really wasn't racing, I was needing to finish just to get my Tiffany & Co. bling. 

NWM on the front, "I RUN TO BE" on the back.
  I've been wearing the necklace since the race and have only taken it off to take the photos of it.  It was worth the effort.

After the race I finally found some of the Heffers and a few track club friends, but it took me over an hour to find my sister.  Cell phone reception was next to nil at the finish line, and I didn't coordinate where to meet up with my sister after the race.  We finally found each other then waited in line for the busses to get back towards Union Square, which was actually smooth considering having to shuttle 20,000 people.  People were in a good post-race mood.  The bus dropped us off right across the street from our hotel, which was so sweet.  We weren't that far from Union Square, but I guess they were dropping off people on side streets to avoid a traffic mess. 

After a brief rest and a long shower, Donna and I walked towards Market street to grab a quick something to eat.  We ended up at Burger King just because it was fast and I was hungry now.  I know I could do better than Burger King.  We thought about going to Subway for sandwiches, but there were no seats.  After running 13.1 miles the burger was pretty good.  Then it was mani-pedi time at Nordstroms.   

Post Race Monday 

 Looking down Lombard street

Donna and I stayed an extra day in San Francisco to do some sight seeing (we walked from Union Square to Fisherman's Warf) and we took the BART to visit my brother and his wife who live in nearby Fremont.   I'm not sure why I didn't get a picture at my brother's house, but I know my sister did, and I'm waiting on that pic, too.  We had a wonderful visit with Karl and Ellen and they made dinner for us.  The visit was way too short, but it was wonderful catching up and talking about their eldest daughter's wedding plans. 

  The BART station on the way back to the hotel.

Post Race Tueaday

Tuesday was all about getting packed and getting home.  We made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare and had a last hurrah lunch at an airport bar.
This airport bar had awesome Bloody Marys...

At lunch I asked Donna if she thought she could run a half marathon, and she said that, based on the people she saw finishing, she thinks she could do one.  I have a feeling I might be doing a return trip to San Francisco if she decides to complete her first half marathon.  She's already running 5ks.  

Life is somewhat back to normal and I hope to get back to regular blogging.  The weeks before  the half marathon were busy, then getting sick really threw me off.  I now have the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon up next in December, so the training continues.

Song from Friday, September 30, 2011:
In Da Club - 50 Cent