Friday, July 30, 2010

Medal Envy

Marlene posted a while back about her medals. It's a little late, but I finally got photos of the kids.

For years and years I threw all my medals into this tin container:

It is pretty much at capacity at the moment.

While I loved getting medals I never really displayed them after the race was over.

Okay, that isn't entirely true. For a few years I've had my first marathon medal in a frame:

A year ago I got some frames and put three medals up above my bed like a headboard. It was nice to choose three to go on display. I picked these three for various reasons:

1) CIM 2009 -- My PR marathon so a no brainer. Hopefully it is willing to give up it's spot one day :) Actually, before CIM my 2008 Napa Valley Marathon was originally in the frame since when I put the frames together that was my current PR marathon.

2) Goofy 2008 medal -- I think this medal represents getting something done that I thought was really difficult to achieve. While I've certainly one-upped the accomplishment, as I've mentioned before the pride never quite equalled that first Goofy experience.

3) Safaricom 2006 -- I traveled to Kenya solo (though with a tour group) to complete this marathon. Going to Kenya was one of the most amazing experiences on so many different levels. I really view this marathon as a good example of how running has incredibly affected my life.

I've seen photos of people who hang their medals from a curtain rod. I don't have any curtain rods above my windows. But who says I couldn't go buy one just for the medals?

Only $8ish from Ikea!
I currently have hanging from the rod all the medals I've earned in 2010.

I had more post-race soreness after SFM than most of the marathons this year. But I did get out for two more runs this week:

Wednesday: 3 miles @ 10:06 pace

Friday: 8 miles @ 10:25 pace; My legs felt really good and I'm hoping I can get back on my schedule next week.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

San Francisco Marathon

The Mario Recap, Marathon #20:
Hit my time goal. Enjoyed the course more than last year. Got to see lots of running friends. Was more sore than I would have liked afterward.

The Full Recap, Marathon #20:

I'm going to let the photos do most of the talking this time...

It was fairly overcast and foggy the entire race so many photos aren't the best.

With all of the marathons I've been running recently, I've developed a pretty good gauge of what effort equates to what finish time. 4:30-4:40ish is a decent pace but not pushing it. Something around 4:25 means I gave it some juice. Higher than a 4:40 I either bonked or am running a mile+ above sea level.

My goal for this race was to get my miles in, but I didn't want to be too sore after the race. I wanted to seamlessly get back into my runs and speed work. I decided I'd shoot for a 4:40 finish. That seems to be my "hilly course" or "I ran a marathon last week pace" so I felt it would be doable for this day.

Take a look at the bouncer at the wave entrance. They seemed to be really cracking down on people not jumping into the wrong start wave this year. I'd be afraid to try it with a guy like that at the entrance.

They had a string of balloons the announcer said was half a mile long in an arch above the start/finish. They had lights on it during the morning which was kind of cool. You can see the Ferry Building up ahead (I didn't have my camera out when I passed it).

In Fisherman's Wharf you pass Boudin and get to smell the delicious sourdough bread baking. Yum! I smelled this place before I saw it and got a photo of the bakers in action.

I had to do some manipulations with this photo because I had the flash on and so the background came out really dark. But it is the Fisherman's Wharf crab sign (the medal from last year).

Horrible photo, but this is Aquatic Park and Alcatraz in the fog in the distance.

Ghirardelli behind Aquatic Park

Another view of the runners winding through Aquatic Park

I have no idea why, but I came to a complete stop to take this photograph.

Hill up Fort Mason leaving Aquatic Park and heading to the Marina. Not the hardest hill in the race due to early placement, but definitely the steepest.

Foggy Bridge from Crissy Field

Running on Crissy Field heading towards the Bridge

Hello, Lover. And yes, we have to run all the way from down here to all the way up there.

Second steepest hill (in my opinion) in the race. Heading up off Crissy Field towards the Bridge.

After cresting the last hill, looking down at Crissy Field and the city.

At this point in the race, I was feeling decent but it wasn't a stellar day for me. I was feeling the inclines a lot more than I thought I would.

Easily my favorite part of the race. No fog horn this year :(

Running on the road-bed of the bridge (this is the only race that does that)

One more :)

After the turnaround on the Marin County side of the bridge, heading back towards San Francisco. This is the only out-and-back in the world of marathoning that I don't mind. In fact, I never even realized it was an out-and-back until just now when I captioned this photo!

The hardest hill (in my opinion, due to length) of the race comes after the Bridge. I think this was taken somewhere near the top of it. I strategically planned to walk and eat a gel through most of this hill.

As with every hill in this race, every good up deserves a good down. Quads say, "Oww!" There is Sea Cliff & Richmond in the distance.

Running south through Richmond towards Golden Gate Park. This section had lots of freakin' rollers.

Right after getting into Golden Gate Park at mile 12.8ish of the race. At this point, I slightly regretted forking over my $35 at the expo to switch to the full marathon. I stayed to the right.

I have literally run thousands of miles in Golden Gate Park. I know every incline and turn of the main roads of the park. While this is mentally comforting, it is also mentally exhausting. Upon entering the park I thought about where the race went and knew it was a really far distance. I knew every hill that was coming up. Quite frankly, while it is cool to run in the park with so many runners, I dislike this portion of the race the most.

I hit the 13.1 mat at exactly 2:20 on my watch. Right on schedule.

My Park

There is a point in the park where the race turns (the western-most point of the race). When I got there I thought about how close we were to the beach on the west side of San Francisco. I then thought about how we had to run ALL the way back to the water on the east side of the city. Sighs. Bring it.

This point of the course is literally 0.6 miles from my home. All I had to do was run right instead of left. I drove to the start/finish and was going to leave my house key in the car but decided I'd carry it on me just so I could bail at this point if needed. I assessed my situation and stayed to the left.

I think I felt my lowest while running on the south side of the park. The north side of the park heading west is primarily downhill. This means the south side heading east is primarily uphill. I do lots of training on these hills so knew they shouldn't be a problem, but they are long and steady and wore me down a bit.

I didn't take many photos in the park after this since I run here all the time. Sorry about that, since it is probably the more picturesque areas of the park coming up. We ran by the 1st half finish (grr), up and around Stow Lake (you can refer to my Strawberry Hill photo from a previous entry) then past all the museums and the Conservatory of Flowers before leaving the park.

After leaving the park, running down Haight Street.

After the initial incline of Haight there is a quad-smashing screaming downhill. After this, I got a second wind which amazingly lasted the rest of the race.


You are now entering the ugly part (both scenery-wise and feeling-wise) of the San Francisco Marathon.

This part of the race last year was a real bummer for me. All of the little hills crushed my spirit (I was under the very wrong impression the second half was flat) and I had no clue where we were going. This year I felt stronger the second half than the first. While I couldn't wait to hit the finish, my legs felt like they could go on forever.

Bleh. BUT, what is that up head? Could it be? I can see the water again! (Hard to tell with the fog, but believe me, the water is out there)

More of San Francisco's finest scenery.

I saw the Bay Bridge and could hear the "Hallelujah! Hallelujah!" in my head. I knew the finish was right by the bridge. I actually thought the finish was before the base of the bridge and was wrong about that. But whatever. I had a visual of the finish in the distance.

The last few miles I let myself get way too fast. I just wanted to get to the finish. I felt good and let myself go with it.

AT&T Park

Band playing before AT&T Park

Another view and the 25 mile marker sign. The race winds around AT&T (there are runners running towards the right of the photo across the water)

At mile 25 of marathons I switch my Garmin from the "distance" display to the "time" display. Since most races measure longer than 26.2 miles on my Garmin, I detest it when my watch says we are at 26.3 and there is still no finish line in sight. So I switch to time and get an idea of what my estimated time of arrival will be instead. I switched over right after taking the above photo and realized I was easily going to come in under 4:40.

Yeah, so I was wrong. The finish wasn't before the bridge after all. Keep on truckin'.

My Garmin beeped at one point (which I knew meant we were at the point he thought I had run 26 miles) and there was still no finish in sight. Bleh. In the end my Garmin measured out almost 26.6 miles which in my opinion is more than the average standard deviation fudge factor (read, I really think SFM runs long). I didn't mean to, but I couldn't help pushing the last mile or so. Something about the pull of the finish line and all the people cheering that gets you going.

I crossed the finish with an official time of 4:38:10. I felt okay towards the end but I struggled a little in the beginning. I made the conservative time goal but honestly probably couldn't have done a lot better on this day if I had been trying.

With this race ends a little streak I've had going. Every time I've run a course a subsequent time, I have always beaten my previous time. I knew going in I'd lose that with this race (ran a 4:27 last year). Am a little sad about it, but it had to happen sometime. Mine as well happen when I did it on purpose, right?

Snapped this after crossing the finish. You can see the balloons from the morning.

The finish line

The race shirt. Gender specific XS! Not a huge fan of the design this year, though. BUT, I did get my Headsweats SFM hat!! I went to the SFM expo in 2008 just to shop and saw they had race-branded Headsweats hats. You know what a sucker I am for those. When I trained specifically and hard for the race in 2009 I was so ready to reward myself with a Headsweats hat. But the race went with a stupid, inferior hat instead. I was so sad. But this year, they strayed out of the dark side and came back to the goodness which is Headsweats.

Garmin satellite map of the course. I dislike running in familiar areas since I know how far something is from where I am. "I have to run from here to where now?!"

The night of the race I knew I had gone too fast for the course/day. I don't know why but I forgot how many hills there are in this race. And it isn't even the uphills. There are a few screaming downhills that really beat you up. In retrospect I should have gone for a 5 hour finish with some walking mixed in and I probably would barely have been sore the next day.

I am really glad I did the full again this year. Last year since I felt so badly at the end, I had a very sour view of the second half. That isn't to say that the second half of the race isn't blah blah boring or bleh bleh ugly, but I think I looked down at it more than it deserved. It is hard for a city marathon to run in only beautiful areas and I think SFM does a good job. After 2009's race I didn't care if I never ran the full again, but now I think I'd like to run the full again.

A report wouldn't be complete without a shout-out to all the awesome runners I got to hang out with this weekend! There are way too many to list but I know you all know who you are :) Thanks, everyone!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday Mario

I try to throw a magazine into Mario's pen as a toy for him to rip and shred. Due to their persistence, Victoria's Secret sends umpteen catalogs a month. So Mario often has one of their catalogs to peruse and enjoy.

The other night Boyfriend and I were eating dinner and had a good laugh at how Mario was lying on the magazine looking at a panty spread. I really wish I had gotten a picture because a few minutes later I heard a rustle. I looked back over and Mario was in the exact same position he had been in previously, but he was now looking at a different photo.

He had turned the page.

Guess he got tired of butts and wanted to see some boobs.

This is the post-page turn shot. But the pre-page turn shot would have looked just like this except with a different page of the catalog. I have no idea how he turned the page so neatly.

You can read about other Mario and Victoria's Secret hi jinx here.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Change of Plans

I creamed this nail at the Wisconsin Marathon in early May and the sucker refuses to fall off (the above photo was taken probably 2 weeks ago). It is barely hanging on at this point. From all this multiple marathoning, everything seems to be holding up reasonably well except for my toenails. 50% of my toes are in some state of disrepair.

Sunday: 9 miles @ 10:06 pace; Love my Sunday runs -- well rested and no pressure.

Tuesday: 10 miles including 8 miles @ 9:02 pace; This went pretty badly. First, I was probably 15 seconds off pace. Second, I took about 5 scattered walking breaks. This was supposed to be a tempo run but what with all the walk breaks it felt like an interval workout. Third, if it was an interval workout it was a pretty sad once since I was running so slowly even with the rest.

Thursday: 8 miles @ 10:13 pace; Since I felt so off Tuesday I took Wednesday off and ran Thursday instead. I felt a little sluggish and I wouldn't classify it as a psychological come-back from Tuesday's run.

Friday: No running because...

So there has been a little switcheroo to my upcoming Sunday race. I have been thinking of this for a few weeks and just never got around to posting about it. There are a lot of reasons why it made sense to do so, therefore I've switched from the half marathon to the full marathon tomorrow. I switched around a few workouts the last two weeks anticipating being able to switch (they were doing at-the-expo switches only at this point so I didn't find out for sure until yesterday). Two days notice for a marathon? Why not?

Understandably most people switch at the expo from the full to the half. The women who took my transfer request said, "Oh, what fun! We don't get a lot of these. Good for you!" Most people think it is kind of kooky, but I am trained to run 26 miles at this point. In fact, I was supposed to do 20 miles this coming Friday and I assure you 26.2 in a race situation is much more enjoyable than 20 solo. Also, I already had to wake up at dark o'clock tomorrow and running the full allows me to take a further-from-home race off my calendar for the year.

This is going to be a totally different race than last year. Last year I trained specifically for this race and it was definitely one of the A-races of my life. I am in better shape right now than I was a year ago and could probably set a course PR if I put my mind to it. But, I am looking at the race tomorrow as a long training run and am going to challenge myself to hold back and take it really easy. I want to be able to slip right back into training next week. Santa Rosa next month is still the next mini-goal race.

I haven't decided for sure yet if I am going to run with my camera, but am leaning towards that option at this point. Hopefully I'll be back with some fun photos.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday Mario

This little guy waltzed into the apartment yesterday:

Do you see those teeny-tiny little green clips that are keeping the orchid attached to those sticks? They are like miniature hair clips!

Hmm... What to do with tiny hair clips??