San Francisco Marathon Race Report

I’ll try not to bore you too much with this race report. The San Francisco Marathon was on Sunday, August 3rd, me, Michele, Annette and Bailey stayed at the Hilton near Union Square and decided to walk to the race. We were all in Wave 8 which was scheduled for a 6:25am start, so after talking to the Concierge he said maybe 15-20 minute walk, this would get us good and warmed up and he also said everyone else would be doing it, HA!

We had all our running gear out and ready before we went to bed, I think we all slept pretty good, I woke up a few times, but went back to sleep. Here are a few pictures from our hotel room before we headed out. Keep in mind it is very cool in San Francisco, I think the forecast was originally sunny and a high of 56, but the sun decided to wait and come out when we finished the marathon close to noon! So it was pretty cold to us hot weather runners!

Bibs and running gear

Bibs and running gear

Bailey - time to get ready for her 1st Marathon!

Bailey - time to get ready for her 1st Marathon!

Michele - Time to move girl!

Michele - Time to move girl!

Bailey excited/nervous? to get started

Bailey excited/nervous? to get started

I think we got out of our hotel around 5:30am, we saw runners getting into cabs, hmmm, maybe we should have done the same? But, after a few blocks we did see some other runners walking toward the Bay. Annette and I both had dry bags, I had actually put on my fleece pants to walk down to the race, they were nice and toasty for the windy/chilly trek down to the start. By the time we got down to the Start area, used the port-a-potties, saw runners running (other waves), found our spot, shivered a bit, took some photos, drank a little water, it was pretty much time to start. We saw the Wave 7 go by and noticed the 5:00 pace sign go by, so we jumped in and started too. It was slow going for quite a while.

Mile 1 started at the Ferry Building along the Embarcadero, very crowded, not even weaving at this point it was so crowded, at some point we did start weaving around people. We all stayed together until around mile 3, we lost Michele, she got ahead of us. About mile 3.5 I started looking for the port-a-potties, I already had to pee! I hadn’t had very much to drink, but I knew we would be coming up on the Golden Gate bridge about mile 5 and there would be nothing for a while. We found a public restroom off the path, we wasted about 3 minutes there. Annette called and talked to Michele, she was a another bathroom at mile 4.

We were anxious to see the Golden Gate Bridge, as soon as we got past mile 4 or so we saw it, OMG, we were going to run over that? It was amazing to see in the distance, just HUGE! We were all still together, we somehow found Michele, took some pictures, I had stuck a disposable camera in my skirt and Annette had her camera phone. And then came the first steep hill, it was going up to the bridge, it was very steep and crowded, it was almost impossible to run up it because of the people and grade. We finally got up the hill and started running across the bridge, or up the bridge I should say, this was a little past mile 5. We were also met by people running back across the bridge and cars, lots of cars, and it was very windy, I would take my throw away jacket off and on. The bridge finally leveled out and we headed down a bit, which was nice for a change, we actually did a lot of weaving at this point and made up some time. I never felt like I was running on a bridge, just a road, except when I would look up and see the red support system! But, I thought it would be scary, but it wasn’t at all.

Once we got to the end of the bridge, we ran up another hill to Vista Point, a lookout for the bridge, where there was a water/gel stop and another photo opportunity, you can see the bridge in the background, but the picture is not the best of me or Annette :(. I was feeling pretty good, still no pain in my back and no side stitches!!

Annette, Me, Bailey, Michelle

Annette, Me, Bailey, Michelle

When we got back across the bridge we where welcomed by more hills, this were steep again! But, we also knew that Bailey’s support team would be close by, around mile 10. I couldn’t believe how good I was still feeling. Usually by mile 10 I’m feeling tired and ready to quit or slow down. Right past mile 10 there was Bailey’s best friend Amber, who had water, pretzels and a huge sign made up, it was really nice. I had my fuel belt, so I didn’t need the water but took a couple of pretzels. Off we went.

It was still windy and cool, nice running weather, around mile 11 we were entering the streets of San Francisco, up and down on 26th or 27th street through mile 12. This is where we saw Bailey’s Mom who had a tray with water, pickles, bananas and pretzels, she was in tears, it made me tear up too. She was hugging Bailey and telling her how proud she was of Bailey. It was very sweet.

We were soon entering Golden Gate Park around mile 13, thank goodness we would be losing a lot of runners and the half marathon mark. We need the port-a-potties again, we could hear the music and announcer for the half marathon, yeah!! Halfway, I was noticing a pain in the arch of my foot, uh oh. Keep running. We turned off and it was like a breath of fresh air, a wide path and we weren’t trying to avoid running over people anymore, it was just us, the marathon runners, I love saying that.

We used the facilities and after about a half mile I looked to my right and there was this group of bison just grazing, right in the middle of the park! I had to stop and take a picture, it was so neat! I lost Annette and Bailey when I stopped, I started running again and knew I could catch them, but all of a sudden my foot was really hurting and that’s not all, my insides said “I know this isn’t a good time, but I don’t care, find a bathroom”. Great. I would run some, walk some, at one point I didn’t know what to do, I had to go, not cramps or anything, just had to go, NOW! I saw a volunteer and asked where the nearest bathroom was, he said just up the hill. I was hoping I could make it. I did.

Whew, that was too close, didn’t waste any time, in the potty and out. But, oh no, my foot was really hurting, I was almost at mile 15, I sat down on the curb, took my shoe off just to make sure I didn’t have a rock or blister on the arch of my foot, nope. I rubbed my arch for a few seconds, put my sock and shoe back on and started running again, what was I going to do? I had 11 miles to go!

The park was really nice and quite, lots of dogs and their owners out, without leashes, which was odd to me. But, lots of stuff to keep my mind off the foot. I was all by myself, tried to talk to a guy about his mileage, since mine was off at mile 16, my Garmin said about 16.5 and I tried to ask him what his mileage was, but he had his iPod in and couldn’t understand what I said, blah, blah. Foot still hurting, trying to ignore it and enjoy my run. I was running up this small incline into what looked like another park, even though we were still in Golden Gate Park when I heard my name, twice, looked around and there was Bailey over by the bathroom, WOW, this was nice, she was waiting on Annette who came out right as I stopped, so we started running together again.

We were running around a lake of some sort, lots of ducks, and then out onto a street that took us past a beautiful flower garden, where I had to take another picture, we had a nice downhill for a bit until we turned onto a sidewalk and up into another part of the park, my phone rang and it was my cousin in Memphis, quick Hi, quick gotta go running a marathon can’t talk, we were now about mile 19.

We would soon be in the Haight-Ashbury area, very neat, lots of people out cheering for us in this section, we also had Bailey’s Mom and Step-Dad for more snacks and water. There was about a mile through this area, and then another great downhill, Annette and I ran way too fast down the hill, oh well, it was fun and then I think we had a few more uphills :(. We were close to 20 miles and this is what gets me, when everyone starts saying, your almost there, not far now, you’re almost done! NOT, we still had an hour to run, 6 miles, and my foot was not feeling good, but there was nothing I could do, but run. We were making lots of turns through the streets, heading back towards the Bay.

We saw Bailey’s support crew again for the last time, but I’m not sure exactly where we saw them, all I know is that it was on an uphill and we were walking up it. Sometimes we would walk halfway up the hill and run the rest of it, this seemed to work pretty well, saved quite a bit of energy. After that last stop with Bailey’s family I kind of started running by myself. I don’t know how or when, but I just looked up and I was alone, but I wasn’t stopping, no way.

When I reached mile 24, thank God, I knew I was going to beat my Little Rock Marathon time, I didn’t know by how much, but it didn’t really matter, I just wanted this stupid shoe off my foot! So I kept pushing, I saw a water stop ahead and grabbed a small cup of Cytomax, which by the way, my new drink of choice, love it!! Thank you Cytomax! I just kept saying to myself, 20 minutes, just 20 more minutes and you’ll be done, that was the longest 20 minutes of my life! Then I saw AT&T Park, that was pretty cool, too tired to take a picture, I don’t think I did anyway, there was a big curb, which that was really cruel at mile 25, just one more stinking mile!! Amber, Bailey’s friend was at mile 25, all smiles with snacks, no don’t need anything just for it to be over, I told her Bailey and Annette was right behind me and see you later, keep moving.

I could see the Bay Bridge, I knew it was right there, but where, where the hell is the finish line, that’s the longest part, the last tenth of a mile, you know it’s right there, you can hear the announcer calling out names, I wondered if he would call out my name, I was from Arkansas after all, but he didn’t, I really didn’t care, it was over. The clock said 6:11:XX, but the actual race started at 5:30am we didn’t start until 6:20 or so, my Garmin said 5:11:XX, chip time was 5:14:23, about 22 minutes faster than Little Rock. Now where can I sit down?

It seemed like I had to walk forever just to get my medal and then something to drink and then I couldn’t find anyone, Michele came up to me and said I’ll be right over here after you get something to eat, I grabbed some snacks and headed back and she was gone, so I sat down on the curb and waited for Bailey and Annette, never saw them. I finally felt good enough to get up and get my dry bag, as I was looking for the dry bag area Annette called and told me where they were. Annette and Bailey had finished about 1 minute after I did.

It was a great race, the wind was a little more than I like, but the temperature was perfect for running, the course was great, lots to see, not much crowd support, but that’s okay too. I would definitely recommend this race.

We had really great Mexican food at a bistro called Colibri, I think, but it was delicious along with a great Margarita that afternoon/evening, that’s about it. We stayed in San Francisco until Wednesday and walked tons and saw as much as we could. We had a great time, I’ll try and get some pictures posted on Flickr.


4 Responses

  1. Oh Cheryl this is so wonderful! You certainly rocked San Fran! Piece of cake!

    “It was just us, the marathon runners, I love saying that.” Now that is the bext thing I have heard all day! I remember feeling that way at my first marathon. WOW!

    You rock, girlfriend! I thought all I’d hear was “hills, hills, hills.” But now you have motivated me to try this race one day! 🙂


  2. OOOO Colibri is good too!!! YUM!

    Great report. Yup the hills are nasty. Glad you enjoyed the Golden Gate Bridge!


  3. Congrats to all of you!!! 🙂

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