Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The San Francisco Marathon 2011 Race-Weekend Report

Well, the San Francisco Marathon 2011 is in the books and I have to say, was something to behold.

First and foremost, I want to thank my wife and daughters for putting up with Dad during the train-up and execution.  We had a great weekend in San Francisco touring, wandering and eating and it’s always amazing to see them at the finish line, regardless of my performance and result.  

One of the more enjoyable experiences of the weekend, was back here in Monterey on Friday before we left.  I had read about the runner’s secret in preventative foot medicine, the pedicure.  As the father of three daughter’s it was something that always baffled me, “What is the appeal of this pedicure of which you speak?”  So wifey offered to take me in and get my dawgs worked on prior to the race.  We decided to make it a family affair and obviously my two youngest were delighted that we did.

Although one could make the argument that Livvy enjoyed the massage chair more than the actual pedicure and manicure.  More than once I looked over at her while she was getting her toes painted to find her head and back shaking to the beat of the embedded, machine powered beads with an enormous grin on her face.

As for me, my feet are so destroyed from constant running, blistering, healing and callouses that my experience felt and looked more like outpatient surgery at the podiatrist. 

I was a little nervous that something would get nicked or cut, but it turns out the lady that does this a hundred times a day actually knows what she is doing.  Imagine that.  At the end of the day, my legs felt refreshed and my feet felt great.  I could feel the warm ball of energy from a day of non-running building up in my gut and I was anxious to burn it off on my sexy new toes.

We headed up to San Francisco for a day of flea-marketing at Treasure Island and an evening at a nice Italian restaurant Et Tutto Qua.  Things might have been perfect were it not for our cab not showing up and forcing us to walk the nearly two miles to the restaurant.  The evening was redeemed however by a fantastic meal and the amazing experience of taking an eight and ten year old to their first “really nice meal” and having them enjoy themselves.  We had a great time.  Truly.

Back to the hotel we went (via cab this time, thankfully.  I still can’t believe my wife walked all that way in her heels) and it was time to hit the sack.  I was a bundle of nerves and I’m not sure I went to sleep before midnight to be honest.  The plan was to have the ladies drop me off in the AM at the race start and head back to the hotel room for some additional sleep.  This worked great and I honestly can’t thank the girls enough for rising with me in the dark.  Amazing I tell you.

I arrived at the start ready to do some damage and feeling like I could run through a brick wall.  I found my good friend and associate Mike and we gave each other a fist bump prior to our start.  I started in Wave 6 with the intention of running something in the neighborhood of 3:40-3:45.  This I knew would mean passing a lot of people and I felt like it would be a better experience than the Marine Corps Marathon where I was less the fisherman reeling people in than I was the fish.  In short, I wanted to pass some folks.

So aside from that, what you ask, was the plan?  I’m not really sure to be honest.  I had two things running through my head.  The first was that I have never really pushed myself beyond what I think I am capable of achieving.  Time after time, I finished runs of ten to twelve miles at sub 8 minute/mile paces while thinking, “I had more there, I know it”.  I had also prepared. Never had I missed a long run (and in fact added some) despite many family requirements and I had mixed in a fair amount of speed work to boot.  The second thought was that if I set my watch to hit a 350 marathon I could do it.  I know it.  These two rivers of logic met at the confluence in my brain that somehow produced the thought of, “You know Marcus, if you laid the hammer down, you might hit 340 or even better.  Go run like an idiot and see what happens.”  Now, I know how this sounds, but hear me out.

One of my fondest memories back in high school was mountain biking with my step-father.  We basically used to go crazy flying around the woods of Tahoe, both of us acting like we were nine, and somehow managing to not kill ourselves.  When I went to college, my step-father gave me a story from Outside magazine where the author had described his Irish Setter and how it used to “run around like an idiot”.  The moral of the story was that for all of our toil and trouble in life, sometimes we just have a bit more fun when we dump our misgivings and trepidations and well, act a little more idiotic.  It worked for us.  We had fun.

So there was my plan in all its glory.  Run like a goddamned Irish Setter and buckle up.  Little did I know that when you run like your hair is on fire, the wall you may hit ends up feeling like it could be seen from orbit.

By Marcus with 2 comments


Great post Marcus! It was a blast running with you and you really did run a phenomenal race! Now get back to writing and finish the rest of the story. I hate being left on the edge of a cliff...

It was a challenging and exciting race, great race report. Thanks for sharing !

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