With the sound of thousands of Nike Women's Marathoners!!
This particular race will always have a special place in my heart since it was my very first marathon and my first visit to San Francisco. I was absolutely thrilled to cheer for some pretty awesome ladies this morning :)
Did I mention this was my first time as a cheerleader? Yeeeah.
Since I was cheering on a bunch of half marathoners (real life friends and a Twitter/blogger buddy!) and a super speedy solo marathoner, I needed to do some serious planning. Naturally, I ran to the cheering spots (gotta multi-task!) and managed to rack up 8 miles with a few pauses here and there. Not too shabby for my first post-Chicago, post-sick run.
On my way to cheering spot numero uno, I managed to see one of the first runners as she zoomed past the 4.5 mile mark.
So fast, you can barely see her! I thought it was kinda cool since I've never seen the front of the pack before :)
I veered off the course for a bit to run along the Crissy Field Promenade before cutting across to the runners' giant climb. I really really wanted to park myself at the top of this hill because I remember it being the steepest, longest, most brutal climb of the race. I also remember thinking the hill was totally worth it for the view.
Amazing. I only wish it was a clearer day!
This was also the last major incline I remember from running the race. Seriously, everything else was a speed bump compared to that monster. Three years later, I ran up a dirt path alongside the runners and it was still tough!
SO, my sign said 'Last Hill'...though, now I know I probably should have specified, last super steep hill. Some people were really not nice about it. I got called liar a bunch of times and some people were REALLY snippy. Meh? So I kept yelling 'I mean, last big, steep one!' Ah well. You win some, you lose some.
I had a tough time spotting people, but luckily I told friends what to look for and they ended up having to shout my name so I could see them!
(yeah, I braved the chill just so they could spot me and maybe so I could finally rock my gear from Chicago ;p)
Wooo! Two out of four rockstars charging it up the never ending incline!
I hung out until a little before 9am and started my run toward Lake Merced to cheer on my full marathoner buddy. I ran back down toward Crissy Field and saw more runners as they started their ascent (so many runners!).
Rocked out to the song that was stuck in my head all afternoon because someone had it on repeat at the bottom of the hill...
I might need to add it to my running mix. haha.
One hour to make it to Lake Merced...it was a tough call. Run? Cab? Take a chance w/the rerouted bus routes and then run?? I planned on running to a major street and hopping into a cab, but I managed to get to a bus stop just as one was pulling up. Sweet!
See, Lake Merced was another rough spot for me when I ran 3 years ago. It's a 4.5 mile empty stretch along the lake's perimeter and you run right next to traffic. Since it's so far out, there aren't a ton of spectators out there...and it pops up right when you need people the most - miles 19-23.5!
A friend of mine agreed to come out and cheer with me so she parked herself with a sign around mile 22 just in case I couldn't get there in time. We were equipped with water and Chomps just in case our runner needed them!
My bus dropped me off just north of the lake and I ran along the eastern side...little did I know I would be running alongside the marathoners for TWO miles. Flashbacks!!
Everyone was looking great and so strong, despite the change in weather (at this point, it started raining and the temperature dropped a little)! So many purple TNT singlets...so proud of everyone for fundraising AND rocking the challenging course :)
I eventually made it to mile 22 and we waited for speedy to come by. We saw her after awhile and it was like we were two proud mommas! She looked FABULOUS for 22 miles in...chipper and fast! We ran with her for a minute or two, but she was too fast for us...we were worried that we were slowing her down. Still waiting to see if she made her goal of 4 hours :)
Congratulations to ALL the half marathoners and marathoners!! You guys tackled some serious hills and bad weather and still looked amazing. I loved watching you all and taking a little side trip down memory lane :) Enjoy the recovery and the sweet necklace...you earned it :)