Well, I can finally call a destination marathon a "work" trip - I hope Revenue Canada sees it that way, as I have a large variety of questionable expenses that will likely be claimed for fiscal year 2015.
Overall, the race was definitely a success for both my wife and I. Both of our times were better than anticipated - Kelly even ran a personal best on a VERY hilly marathon course. Most people shooting for good marathon times would definitely not chose this marathon, so Kelly was pumped over her result.
The course was never boring as it took us on a pretty thorough tour of a beautiful city. Two miles in we passed by the biggest sourdough bakery in the city and it was in full production....a collective groan went through the pack as breaking through the doors and devouring fresh bread seemed a better option than 24.2 more miles.
After that crushing blow, we gradually made our way up to the Golden Gate Bridge. It was an out and back - the bridge is over 2.5km long, so I was able to see Kelly on the return trip - it is always an energy boost to see loved ones on the course. The morning was overcast and a had a bit of the typical San Francisco fog which made the scene even more surreal as Alcatraz Island was visible but oh so spooky looking. The rest of the course meandered through beautiful Golden Gate Park, past the lazy hippies on Haight and Ashbury, eventually looping past the Giants baseball stadium and back downtown to the finish line. I could go into exquisite detail about every mile (as you get to know them intimately during a marathon), but I have to leave some material for my memoirs.
My training for this marathon was derailed with a pretty screwed up hamstring this spring, so I was continually monitoring how they felt, hoping that they would hold up. Little did I know that their best friends - the quads - would be more than a little needy on Sunday. Mile 15 came and went and I felt what runners would refer to as a little niggle coming from my right quad. Biking on a regular basis provides some great cross training, so I have never experienced the common runner issue of having quad problems on a long run, and really wasn't concerned. Well, well, always a first time for everything. Mile 18 approached and my quad basically stopped working. Full stop. No more steps. A lengthy downhill was approaching and I knew that there was no way to make it down gracefully, so I pulled off to the side, took in some electrolytes, massaged the quads, and tried to stretch out the hamstrings to help things along. This by no means fixed it, but it allowed me to at least get back to cruising speed. Each step hurt, but I figured it wasn't ligaments, bones, or anything that I was going to permanently destroy, so I yelled at myself to suck it up and made sure I didn't skip any water/electrolyte stops, took in some extra salt (from a well timed energy almond bar....I think that guy was offering it to me) and hoped for the best.
Things ebbed and flowed after that, but my energy levels were high, and nothing else was hurting, so I managed the elusive negative split (second half faster than the first), and crossed the finish line in just over 3 and a half hours. Kelly and I had splurged for the VIP package, so I filled up with some pretty top notch post run grub, espresso, and whatever other fluids I needed, got a much needed massage, washed up, and waited for Kelly to cross the finish line. She gracefully crossed in just over 4 and half hours, and proceeded to do much of the same.
Recovery day was spent walking the hills of San Francisco for 10 hours the next day.....what else were we going to do? Watch reruns of American Idol all day, or take a culinary walking tour? Calories were required, and we got to see even more of the city.
You can probably guess I didn't take this photo, but I'm likely in it somewhere.
And here I am, proudly representing the Play team!
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