We spent the entire day in San Francisco, checking out the sites, having fun in our Halloween costumes (see above), watching the World Series and partaking in a couple adult beverages at a local speakeasy.
Still feeling a little drowsy from an eventful Saturday, Lindsey and I headed to the start line. For the first time ever, I was able to walk to the start line...and it took less than five minutes! A welcome change from the usual early morning wake-up call, traffic/shuttle to the start.
Trying to maximize every second of sleep I could, I arrived to the start line just a few minutes before the race began. Not leaving enough time for nerves to kick in, we were off. We made our way through five or six miles of San Jose streets before embarking on about 14 miles of paved trails.
The weather was beautiful, around 60 degrees with limited cloud cover. The trail was perfect with rolling hills and some trees to provide a little shade.
About seven miles in I was amazed at the people around me, it seemed as if everybody had decided to run the same exact pace. Nobody passed me and I hardly passed anyone. If you've ever run a race before, you know how rare this is. This went on until the half-marathoners split off at mile 13.
Passing the half-marathon finish line was like seeing the end of the movie half-way through. A big part of me wanted to cross that finish line and call it a day. Nevertheless, I made a right turn and kept on with the running. In perfect timing, I was greeted with a few large hills immediately after passing the half-marathon finish line festival. Turning around wasn't an option, as badly as I wanted to I forced myself on.
Around mile 20 my legs were still feeling pretty good and I was staying ahead of my target pace. I briefly thought to myself, "Maybe this gets easier the more I do it...maybe this won't hurt so bad this time".
Coming up on mile 23 my body started its usual slow and methodic shutdown. (I'm being a bit dramatic here, it actually isnt as deadly as it sounds). My right calf tightened up and I felt a sharp pain in my left groin, not enough to make me stop but more than enough to bring a grimace to my face.
With the Catalina Marathon 13 days away, I wasn't interested in being prideful and pushing myself to the point of injury so I took my time the last few miles. I encouraged other runners while slipping into a run/walk that probably looked more like a walk/stop.
The mile 26 marker finally appeared and I kicked it up a notch, making certain to finish at my goal pace. It hurt just as bad as my previous marathons, but the feeling of finishing was worth it.
Finishing number six was special to me for a couple of reasons. First, because it was the first marathon I ran as a "training run". I was able to enjoy myself and not worry at all about my time. More importantly, I was able to share the experience with two very important people in my life, Mario and Waldo. Thank you both for being there to support me. Knowing you were at the finish line motivated me more than I could ever tell you.
With hardly enough time to think back on my experience, I have to look ahead to my next race. In 11 days I will be hopping on a boat for Catalina to take on the hills and earn myself a buffalo.