Giant Race Half Marathon Recap

In case you don't read this blog obsessively, I will start out by repeating that I ran The Giant Race half marathon in San Francisco on Saturday, after winning an entry on Wednesday (read: 3 days prior to the race).

The entry was generously provided by the Refuel With Chocolate Milk campaign.  And oh yes, there was plenty of chocolate milk after the race.

I woke up at 6:35 a.m., consistent with my risky almost-missing-the-race-start behavior.

I ate some tart cherries and cherry juice; a banana; red bull; and licorice.  The Gentleman and I were out the door before 7:00 a.m.

The traffic-free trip over the Bay Bridge got us near the start line at the Giants AT&T Stadium at about 7:15 a.m.  We parked on the street, and I jogged about a mile to the extra-crowded starting area to begin the hunt for my Bib.

The start and finish of the race.

You see, the plan was that since I was entered so late, I had no choice but to pick the bib up before the race.  Never my first choice, but as I said, I had no choice.

So, from 7:20 a.m. until 8:02 a.m. (ALERT, ALERT, race start time was 8:00 a.m.), I wandered from wrong line to wrong line, trying to figure out where to get my bib.

Once I was in the right line, person after person was turned away as their name was not found on the registry list.  I knew that did not bode well for me.

Indeed, my name was nowhere to be found.  And unlike the others before me who were turned away, my name was also not on some extra-special back-up list that we were sent to another table to find. 

I explained my situation: I won an entry 3 days prior, I received a confirmation but no bib #, etc.  Their response was "I believe you, but there is nothing we can do".

So at 7:58 a.m., I resigned myself to not running the race.  We decided I would drive back home and go on a solid long run in our hood.

At 8:00 a.m., someone working at the bib table found it in the goodness of their heart to give me a bib number.  I grabbed it, pinned it on in some sort of disarray, and paced towards the start line where the Star Spangled Banner was being sung.

The Gentleman's view of the start off yonder

I snuck in to the 1:30 pace area near the front of the pack, looked down and realized I had no chip on my shoe like everyone else, and with my hands shaking with anxiety peeled my chip off my bib and threw it on my shoe.

I stood up, and we were off!

The weather was perfectly overcast.  I was very, very confused while standing in all those bib lines as to why all these girls were *shivering* like it was 30 degrees.  It was a comfortable 60 degrees, and unless I have a thicker blubber layer than the average girl, I'm not sure what was going on.

For the first quarter mile, I let everyone shoot past me and caught a comfortable stride.  I felt slow, like I was running in slow motion.  I was completely content with that, and kept telling myself, "run a 6:40 mile or slower, do not go out too fast.  Run 6:40 or slower, run 6:40 or slower."

Gentleman didn't see me until he heard me laugh at him as I ran by.  Where am I?

Aha.  There am I.  Bright green.  Dang I look short...

I was satisfied that I was taking it easier than I had on my last 3 half-marathons, where I shot out at between a 6:19 and 6:35 min mile, which could only be sustained for the first few miles.

Garmin beeped at mile 1: 6:25.

Aghhrhhgrffr.  Ok, well, I feel great, maybe I've just magically gotten faster!? No big deal, I'll reign myself in a little.  Steady, steady.

Runners around AT&T Park, mile 1


Mile 2: 6:25.

Dammit, all these 10kers surrounding me are making this pace seem very normal.  While running by the Ferry Building and the other piers, I continued to try and slow it down, as I knew this pace was not sustainable.

Mile 3: 6:35.

Ok, I was getting there.  Still feeling great, totally comfortable.  No hamstring pain. 

A little thirsty; the first water stop made me and the surrounding 10kers laugh out loud with confusion, because the volunteers were sitting on the ground pouring water into cups.  They definitely weren't ready for us.

Mile 4: 6:44

Here is when my hamstring screamed for the first time.  I pouted.  I decided to drop out.

Truly, in the middle of this mile while passing Fisherman's Wharf, I decided to earn my first ever DNF and drop out.

I figured I would push it a little more until I knew it was time to pull over and stop; until my hamstring demanded NO MORE.  In the meantime, I adjusted my stride (never do this!! it only leads to other injuries!!) to try and minimize the aggravation to that hamstring.

Mile 5: 6:58

My focus on the hamstring was interrupted by the very steep but thankfully short Fort Mason hill.  I took it very slow, then glided down the hill, happy to have a sub 7:00 mile on a super-hill mile.

The steep but short hill is hit twice

By this point, I was running solo.  There were 2 guys I had my eye on about 10 yards ahead of me, and as far as I could hear there was no one behind me.  And no women as far as the eye could see.

Mile 6: 7:03

Eh, don't remember what made this mile slower.  Can't really remember a single thing about it.

Mile 7: 6:55

Hamstring is unhappy, and I kind of hate running around Chrissy Field.  I know it is a popular route, but the never-ending gravelly trail that is often whipped by wind is one of my least favorite areas to run.  I was thinking that once I hit the turnaround, I could consider finding a medical stop and dropping out so someone can get me back the start. 

The turnaround was right around mile 7.

BY THE WAY, I have heard from multiple sources that somewhere around here, Brian Wilson was cheerleading by giving high fives.

Allow me to gently give you a high five, ma'am
He was sure as a beard NOT around when I was passing through.  Hurts my feelings that he was too busy for the front pack.  I'm sure his high five would have given me beard-superpower for a 5:57 mile.

Mile 8: 6:56

Something interesting happened at Mile 8.  A pain came along and superseded my hamstring pain, to the point that for the entire mile, I forgot about my plan (or maybe my need) to drop out.

I had to go to the bathroom, like NOW.  Oh, and to backtrack, I knew this would happen; I could tell I had to go a little before the race started, but thanks to the bib debacle, did not have the time.  I anticipated a bathroom stop along the route.

Finally, I spotted a port-o-potty.  Unfortunately, I also spotted a very thick crowd of half-marathoners stomping out their 5th-6th mile in the opposite direction, so that port-o-potty stop had a line.  I gritted my teeth and passed that thing.

Mile 9: 6:49

Must. Find. A. Port-o-Potty.  guess it helped me pick up the pace.

Where Art Thou!?!?!

Mile 10: 6:59

This mile contained that same steep but quick hill, and luckily I didn't lose too much time.  I took the hill very slowly again, and then flew down the other side.

I did, however, lose time when I spotted another port-o-potty around mile 9.8.  I jetted in, and my Garmin went on auto-pause, so my 6:59 mile doesn't reflect how much time I lost.  I'm thinking 30-40 seconds?

Listen, this may be TMI, but 'tis the true life of a runner.  Bathroom stuff happens during races.

So guess what happened? NOTHING.  NOTHING HAPPENED.  I sat there, mentally ticking away the seconds I was losing, while nothing happened.  So I burst forth from the port-o-potty and chugged back to the course, thinking 3 miles of miserable stomach pains is just 3 miles.

Mile 11: 6:44

Trying to make up for lost time, I picked up the pace a bit.  It was also back to a flat course.  Still consumed by my bowel issues, I was fully unaware of whether my hamstring was even still attached to my body.

Mile 12: 6:50

I'm thinking, maybe I can make it under 1:30:00 and call it a decent-yet-somewhat-horrible run?

But then again, I have no idea how much time I lost in that bathroom.  Could it have been 2 minutes?! yeesh.

Mile 13: 7:10.

Everything comes crashing down here in a cesspool of pain.  I suddenly notice, near the very beginning of this mile, that the entire length of my upper left leg from my lower hamstring up to the underside of my butt is on FIRE.   Really not comfortable.

I mentally give in to the pain and decide I don't give a $#!t about coming in under 1:30:00.  I don't care about running this last mile fast.  I just want to be done, and to chug some water.

Mile 0.27: 1:45

I don't know how this happened, but the small crowd of people/volunteers standing in front of the sharp right-angle turn into the Giants stadium for the home stretch stared at me silently as I ran past them.  Then I realized I had passed the entrance, spun around and turned into the stadium.

That's me on the jumbo-tron

It was very quiet in there, as only the first 50 or so half-ers had made their way to the finish.

As I was handed my water, medal, and Chobani yogurt, I was saddened to find how much I was limping.  It hurt much worse now than it had even in that last mile, where adrenaline was still hiding the pain.

Two days later, my leg is doing very well.  I took a warm bath after the race, and that helped a LOT.  I managed to run a slow 10 miles this morning (Monday) pretty much pain free.


13.27 Miles.
avg pace: 6:49

My bib is currently in limbo and unattached to my name, so I have no place/official chip time.  I have been in contact with peeps who are working on it.
My projection, based on the information available on the results page, is that I will be:

8th place woman out of 1398
2nd place in age group out of 349

I'll take it.

As a final note: I heard that the half marathon later got so crowded at the finish that runners couldn't walk through the finish line!! Astonished, I told the Gentleman, who said "I would have taken off my chip/shoe and thrown it through the finish".  hahaha.  Did anyone try that I wonder?

The Giant Race Pre-Recap

Something about a race being free really takes away all the anxiety! 

Free half-marathon in San Francisco thanks to Aron, who got me a free entry 3 days ago through a giveaway.  Sad I wasn't able to find her at the crowded race :(

Today was confusing, fun, relaxing, painful, and full of free goodies.  Full recap to come!

My time is somewhere between 1:30:15 and 1:30:40.  The discrepancy is due to an "attempted" bathroom stop that lost me some time, and my garmin auto-paused, so I'm not sure how much time I lost.

Garmin read: 13.26 miles, 1:30:15.

I think I read about 1:30:40 on the ticker as I ran in.

My hamstring does hurt, I may have been stupid to finish....more details to come, I promise.

And although I don't have any pictures yet (the Gentleman caught one I think, but is now at work) I promise if you just NEED a visual, that I looked something like this:

(I wore these shorts, shoes, and sunglasses)
 Mixed with this:

(I wore that crazy top)

The rest of me is the same.  same old face, same old ginormous calves.

Happy Saturday!

The Giant Race Dilemma

I almost have great news to share, but then again I’m not sure.  It might be bad news.

It went down like this.  I woke up Wednesday morning, at the blissful time of 8:10 a.m., since the lucky Gentleman and I took the day off in celebration of his birthday.  

I woke up with this calm feeling that I would be racing this weekend.  I had a hunch I won RunnersRambles' giveaway: a free entry into the Giant Race, a ½ Marathon celebrating the San Francisco Giants.

After waking, I congratulated the birthday boy, ran a lap of sprint intervals around the lake with the Gentleman, came home and checked my mail.  Sure enough, I won Aron’s giveaway! I would be running a half marathon this Saturday, August 27th!

I was pretty much buzzing with happiness.  I love free stuff. No listen I LOVE FREE STUFF.  I eat 6 samples of everything at Costco, even the stuff I dislike.  I am famously known to be a sucker for Clinique’s Bonus Time incentives.  

I was also stoked because this race could be a perfect kick off to my training for the California International Marathon in December.  It would be a challenging workout, and a nice guage of where my speed is at.

The rest of the day was more loveliness.  We ate a big breakfast, went on a 3 hour hike through our pretty city and stopped at parks.

our hood

a hood much richer than ours

At this pretty park, Gentleman ordered me to do 10 push-ups.  With bad form.

And I ordered him to make fun of yoga (sorry yoga peeps)

Next, we enjoyed a 1-hour couples massage (one of my gifts to him).  I was a little anxious beforehand, because being the non-meditator that I am, an hour of sitting still and having a stranger touch me is not my idea of a good time.  However, I really enjoyed it.  This was my fourth massage of my life, and my favorite.

We went out to dinner at Rivoli in Albany, a restaurant that was new to us, but we had heard good things about it.  We like to go big for birthday dinners, and this was a little bit on the milder side.  Our check was under $100, which is rare for our twice-annual-nice-dinners for birthdays.

There is fish under all that

I woke up this morning, thinking there is nothing I can or will do, taper-wise, at this late hour to prepare for the ½, so I would just run as usual.  I headed out for my normal 13-15 mile run.

I had to stop at mile 7.  My hamstring was being a little bitch.

Moral of the story: THE CURSE IS REAL.  No matter when, how late, how early, I sign up for a race….I get an injury scare the days before.

I'm icing and wishing for a quick turnaround, because I always want most what I can't have: and the threat of an injury makes me WANT to run on Saturday.

IF I can run, I don't think the course (a decent hill is hit twice on the out and back course) or my fitness calls for a PR attempt.  I will probably safely be able to aim for between 1:30 and 1:35, and call it a good tough training run.  hoping hoping hoping...

I have so much more I want to write about.  I have all these almost-posts written.  I'll get there, I'll get there.  For now, I'm milking my lazy relationship with the internet.  It really is refreshing.

Anyone running the Giant Race?
Have you ever played hooky on a Wednesday? It makes the week VERY nice.

Take My Cute Dress

I have acquired at least 4 new dresses this summer that I really adore.  In with the new, of course, means out with the old.  So I have slowly been investigating my closet for neglected clothes.

cute new dress

cute new dress

cute. new. dress.

I like the idea of schlepping over to Buffalo Exchange, handing over my beautiful but unworn clothing, and getting a wad of cash in return.

However, Buffalo Exchange staffs a bunch of snobs whose sole purpose is to look as incredibly hipster and Berkeley-rebel-student as possible, and then turn their nose up at all the clothes you brought in.  Dammit, nothing is EVER good enough for Buffalo Exchange!

But hopefully, this dress that you will find below is good enough for you.

Something as cute and unworn as this doesn't belong in the reject pile at a consignment store.  I'm also not E-bay savvy anymore.  So I'm offering my #1 inappropriately neglected dress to anyone who wants it.

I'm doing this as a trial.  If anyone bites, I'll probably try it again in the future with other cute, unworn clothes.

If more than one person bites, I'll pick randomly.

The Dress:

If you've done your homework, you know I have an affinity for Target dresses -- and especially the designer Go! International line of dresses.

I bought this hot little Erin Fetherston dress years ago.  I'm thinking 4 years? 3 years?

And sadly, I never wore it.  The tags are 100% still on.  It is literally brand new.  The tag says $45, size one.

Anyone who wants it can have it, for $10.  I'm throwing that price in to cover the cost of shipping and to encourage my lazy butt to get to a post office, because I don't have it in the kindness of my heart to have a full on giveaway.

Stats: It is a size one.  BUT, it fits me with plenty of room to spare, and I would not normally consider myself a size one.  Maybe a 2-3 depending on the brand.  That is to say, the dress runs a little large.

Any other questions, feel free to ask.

Let's do a quick breakdown on my life this past week.

1) I ran several days (shocking, no?).  Last Sunday = 19 miles.  Tuesday = 14 miles.  Thursday = 18 miles.  Saturday (today) = 19 miles. 

All runs are hovering between a 7:30 and 8:15 pace.

I'm definitely not doing anything to help myself get a PR for CIM in December.  I haven't done any sprints; I've done a few 6:50 miles here and there just to get my sweat going, but in general it's just been too early for me to want to push it hard during these runs.  Bah.  I need to start picking up the sprint workouts. 

2) I saw Crazy Stupid Love last Sunday and made a mental note to remember that there is a reason I don't usually waste $10 on rom-com's/ chick-flicks / whatever you want to call it.  70%+ RottenTomatoes? YEAH RIGHT. 

It was really boring.  And no, Ryan Gosling shirtless did not make it worth the $.  And Emma Stone is officially not working for me.

3) I have been making secret plans for the Gentleman's birthday this coming Wednesday, August 24th.  I am taking the day off and am making him take it off too.  I reaaalllly want to tell you my plans and ask you for advice, but Mr. Gentleman reads this blog.  Oh heck, give me advice anyway. If you had a FULL free day to celebrate, what would you plan?

the birthday boy. jebus he is cute.

Crazy Facebook Dress

Wonderful dress made by Romanian fashion designer Lana Dumitru looks like a Facebook profile page.

The girls who are brave enough to wear this memorable dress in public will get plenty of “likes” and “comments”.

Craziest Photos of Bicycle Couriers

French artist Alain Delorme broke the rules of documentary genre by enhancing images in Photoshop to present us how Chinese workers transport unbelievable piles of items on their bicycles in Shanghai.

My Chin Hoits.

There were a number of occasions this week where I couldn't bring myself to write a post.  I took a 2.5 day break from the computer (except for work, which is pretty much strictly Westlaw and Outlook and Word).

At home, reading.  In 1943.

It was nice.  Life is much simpler when you only have your real self to worry about, instead of your social media self.  Facebook has definitely waned away the past year, I never touched twitter, so now my only real internet concern is this here sucker.

I've debated axing the blog, because it really is much simpler to have one less reason to sit in front of a computer.  But I know that the accountability and the desire to share good news will keep me on here at least through the December California International Marathon.

(I have not signed up yet, but I have a guaranteed slot through October 15 as do any women runners who ran a sub 3:45 in the past year.  So I'm dragging my feet, but absolutely plan to enter).

In other running news, I was slowly trotting to the gym Friday morning around 6:00 a.m. (I live 1/2 a mile from the gym) when I experienced my once-to-twice annual running fall.

I'll spell that out for you: once or twice a year, I fall while running.  Sometimes there's a tree root or crack in the sidewalk to blame, but more often than not my lazy foot just didn't lift high enough.

A classic roserunner fall involves sore and scraped palms and knees, and occasionally elbows.

This time I fell on my palms and my chin.

Long story short, I have had a minor headache since Friday morning and chewing kind of hurts.  I called a nurse to rule out a concussion or a Natasha Richardson-style fatal head injury.  I think I'm in the clear unless the headache gets worse, but I think my brain is bruised.  If that is a real thing.

I now have a band-aid beard, which is, surprisingly, not cute.

No Saturday long run because of my wimpy brain :(  Instead, the week looked like this:

Sunday: 18 miles
Monday: none
Tuesday: 14.7 miles
Wednesday: 13.8 miles
Thursday: 19.2 miles
Friday: fall on chin like a chump


Since I have been AWOL for the week, and it will likely happen again, I thought I'd share some Non-Running Blogs that I really enjoy.  Because sometimes, reading about other people's runs is really, really not interesting.

*****ALL pictures are swiped from the blog mentioned.  Duh.

1) Cupcakes and Cashmere

This blog is simply eye candy.  It is low on words, and when she does write, the words are carefully chosen and even seem graceful.

More importantly, she is a fashion genius (so I understand. Fashion is not really my forte but I think her model-ish pictures speak for themselves); she is a rad photographer; an exceptional interior designer; and she bakes.  really well.

Hi, I'm perfect

I love pastels.  Her blog has a "beauty" aspect to it as well

I want a home where this kind of decorating is appropriate

homemade poptarts.

2) Eden Eats Everything

She's sassy, gorgeous, crass, and she hates almost every blog that exists and devotes 73% of her blog complaining or bagging on someone.  And I just can't look away.  She's unique.

And I met her in 2006 when I lived in Los Angeles. 

And she hates exercise.  I think that means she hates runners.  She hates everything! Except cooking, and inventing pretty interesting recipes.  And her Jewish heritage, which on occasion may be blamed for her quirks.

Above all, she puts a lot of time and effort into her amusing and entertaining posts, which is pretty remarkable given the tough year she has had with her only parent falling ill.

3) Midwestern Masticatory Musings

The author of this blog is a young doctor who takes a lengthy vacation once or twice a year at a destination with serious eating options.  By serious, I mean seriously fancy, expensive, or just delicious and highly rated.

fancy stuff

He journals detailed accounts of his meals, down to the hostess, the decor, and whether he was sitting near obnoxious people or not.  At times he will dine alone, which leads to extra careful observations of his surroundings and the food -- and to good conversations with his server or the chef.

I trust his opinion, because when he visited the bay area, his meal at Chez Panisse was a disappointment.  I felt the same way at the uber-hyped Berkeley Restaurant. 

And he has a runners appetite.  Most his days touring the best restaurants start with an early run.

4) Matt, Liz and Madeline

This blog has simply taken on a life of it's own.  It evolved from a true story too tragic for me to really delve into here, but suffice it to say that the author, Matt, is a recent widow raising a 3 year old adorable girl.  His wife Liz died shortly after giving birth. You may have heard of him, as he has been on Oprah and People magazine -- and recently released his own book.

Matt with Liz, pregnant and glowy.

Madeline, who has won over the hearts of the world

I went to Law school with the sister of Liz.  She is an awesome friend and awesome Auntie.

5) High Boom

This is my source for keeping up with the cool kids.

It is authored by a friend who will always be 37 tiers hipper than me.  He posts daily the coolest new music, fashion, and art...mixed in with the latest adorable picture of an animal or most recent hilarious newscaster flub (a side of the blog which may or may not be accredited to his animal loving girlfriend).

Is ANYTHING better than inter-species friendships??

Confusing piece of art

In short, he scouts the best of the internet and posts it in a simple and easy to enjoy venue.  I appreciate that.

Do you fall while running on a predictable basis?  

Share any awesome non-running blogs, please.