OK. So I'm running down the lane just about to exit the transition. I usually start putting on my visor and tucking my gels in the waist of my shorts... then I put on my race belt. I think it saves some time coming out of T2... and it usually does... unless of course you've dropped your number belt somewhere and can't seem to find it! Yeah. Seriously. I'm not kidding. I didn't even drop an "F-bomb" this time... I just started laughing and running back along the same route that I took to get out... head down... running into people... yelling to volunteers to help me find my number! I got back to my bike... no luck... out again... no luck... back to my bike... no luck... back out to the end of my row... BINGO! ARG! Put that sucker on and I'm GONE! Just take a wild guess how long it took me to get out of transition? Go ahead... guess. 2:31! Yeah. Holy CRAP right? But what could I do? I rookied the HELL outta the transition but the only thing I could do was run... so that's what I did! Put it behind me, put my head down, and took off!
After the adrenalin wore off from the number belt fiasco... that's when I felt my legs. Uh. Geesh. The twigs are TIRED! I have to quote Liz here, because her words came right into my head as I ran back out onto Marina Drive, "I'm guessing that your legs will feel like ass after that bike course. Don't even think twice about it, just run." She was SO right. The DID feel like ass... but I didn't give a crap. The first mile or so is completely flat and on a crushed seashell trail... I'm turning my legs over fast, passing people by the dozens and looking out onto the bay on a gorgeous sunny day with the Golden Gate bridge in the back ground. Unbelievable! At this point... I was still able to grin a bit.
Looking up ahead... and here comes Potts... haulin ASS! "Get it Andy!" Yeah... I actually said that... like he's my buddy. He is, he just doesn't know it. A slight variation for Crowie. "Make him earn it Craig!" I rolled my eyes at that one... I'm such a dork!
Once you reach the Presidio proper, that's when you start heading uphill... or rather... "upstair". The volunteers were yelling, "STAY TO YOUR LEFT" on the stairs... but I happened to get behind some people who it seemed were out for a nice Sunday jog. I couldn't handle it! I got to the right on the stairs and sprinted up passing about 12 people. At the top it turns to a narrow dirt trail... hillside to your left... cliff to your right. I looked up and saw Leanda Cave barrelling down the hill, then I saw a AG woman start to try and pass on the right... she shouldn't have done that... her head was down and she was not paying attention at all... I look further up the trail and here comes Becky Lavelle... who politely goes around this dip-shit woman instead of launching her off the cliff. Lavelle was down 15 seconds from Cave at the finish... hm... makes ya wonder doesn't it? Then... of course... here comes Mirinda Carfrae... yeah... mmmmm... gaga... "Get 'em Mirinda!"... yeah... once again... DORK!
Liz had warned me that this run course was NOT a rhythm course. In other words, once you DO find a rhythm and your strides... the terrain changes and you have to adjust. This course has everything: a bit of flats, stairs, big fat hills, a tunnel, sand, AND the "dreaded" sand-ladder! The most frustrating part of the run for me was not being able to pass at will in the narrow parts of the trail. My pacing really suffered in the first half of the run b/c I just couldn't get past some people! AND, everyone was so tentative coming down the trails and stairs. GRRRR! Hated that! Freakin GO man! No matter... worry about what you can control right.
Fast forward to the decent to the beach. This was fun! Basically you got to head down a steepish-wide swath of packed dirt... and I was flyin! SO fun! It was just like high school cross-country... again... I was smiling from ear to ear! Once I hit the beach, the smile faded and I slowed down considerably. Running on sand sucks ass... there's no sugar-coating it. The only thing that was cool about the beach section was the view... gorJesus! Then of course comes the sand-ladder. I won't spend a lot of time on this... it was hard. It was steep. It was long. I walked it. Nuff said.
Got to the top of the ladder and it was back on the narrow dirt trails again! ARG! People were suffering from the sand-ladder so I was passing... on the left... where there was no guard rail... just a cliff. Pucker factor was high... but it was SO fun! After a bit of climbing, the rest was downhill/stair and then flat to the finish! It got pretty hairy on the down-stair parts. Managing a quick turn-over on steep stairs with tired legs was interesting... but I came through it just fine. Coming out at the bottom you're met with an amazing view of the bay! People were really slowing down here and I kept checking calves for people in my AG. I counted 12 passes in the last mile of the run... people were just done! I was getting tired... but I could hear the crowd... and the trail was lined and packed with screaming people! I even got to give the Kool-Aid guy a high five! The next thing I know... there's the finish shoot... and my time.
I swear, I did my best NOT to come across with a frown on my face! I didn't do a very good job of it. I had to have a moment of dejection before I was able to embrace the fact that I had just finished one of the coolest races EVER!
Here's the stats for the run:
- Time: 58:36
- Pace: 7:19/mi
- Overall Rank: 117
- M35-39: 25
Overall I'm happyish with this run. You know me... never really satisfied... especially with the run. But looking back, I'm not sure I could have gone any harder than I did... well... I take that back... there's always more to give isn't there? That's not really the point though. The point is that am lucky enough to have come to SF and race this race to the best of my ability on that particular day.
This is an experience that I'll carry with me for the rest of my life. Will I come back? Maybe. With a vengeance? Possibly. For now... I'm just happy to have been there and to have finished.
Here's the final stats:
- Time: 2:46:48
- Overall Rank: 281 of 1,620
- M35-39 Rank: 64 of 287
Thanks for taking the time to read and comment over the last few days! You know what's weird? I thought about all of you out there on the course! That's just plain WEIRD! Focus problems? I know... shocking. Thanks for coming along for the ride!