the night before, we'd made a stop at the walgreens across the street in search of a throwaway hoodie or something. since all of the sweatshirts were $20 - which i wasn't willing to part with simply to stay warm for about an hour - i settled on a $5.99 pashmina. i figured i could drape it around my shoulders and clutch the ends together to keep from freezing my ass off. i looked silly as hell, but at least i was somewhat warm.
as we made our way to our corral, though, it became clear that there was enough body heat to offer a decent amount of insulation.
this is pretty much the last time our whole group was together until meeting back at the hotel room after it was all over.
and then just before the start:
like with most races i run in, i found myself caught up in the rush of adrenaline after crossing the start line. instead of going with my run/walk intervals i'd trained with, i was running happily with the faster half of our group and managing to keep up for a good chunk of time.
i'm so bad at my san francisco landmarks. i saw this and thought "hey! coit tower!" uh, no. it's the transamerica pyramid center, dumb ass.
right about here, there was one hell of a foul stench in the air.
church choir! they sounded awesome, and we all cheered as we ran past them.
fisherman's wharf. oh, the food i could be eating here.
(just kidding about that last one)
the 3-mile marker was the first one i saw. either i'd zoomed right by the first two, or they simply hadn't bothered prior to the 5K mark.
neutrogena had set up a booth with lots of volunteers offering sunscreen and face wipes.
and every so often, a giant screen with what looked like the nike running app was posted on the side.
not long after that, the fun was over as i encountered the first hill. and it looked like a killer.
more mile markers.
the fog was so thick that this is the closest i got to seeing the golden gate bridge.
the best part about going uphill? heading back down. along the way, there was a huge setup of personalized signs and another of those nike running app screens.
i know i wasn't going particularly fast or anything, but it did seem like i was coming up on those mile markers fairly quickly.
somewhere near mile 8, i found mr. lilcee and mini cee. this was lilcee's very first half marathon, so they were set up with lots of encouraging signs for her.
one of my favorite parts about running races like this is the fun signage all along the course. these were part of a "10 reasons to run" set from kaiser permanente.
just beyond that, they had a station with tons of orange slices for the runners.
i, of course, didn't partake. instead, i reached into my armpocket and pulled out some of my own fuel:
although i did stop to grab a mini luna bar at that station.
instead of ghirardelli, whole foods was the sponsor of this year's "chocolate mile."
even more mile markers, plus the half/full marathon split.
and then finally, finally…
i wanted to be with my friends to see the hot firemen and accept my prize. i was freezing my ass off within minutes of crossing the finish line, but those mylar blankets that you usually see at the end of long distance runs were nowhere to be found. i did manage to score a bottle of water, though.
by some miracle, i managed to find lilcee just as she crossed the finish line. she was really emotional, and although i was gross and sweaty, i had to give her a hug because i was so proud of her. unfortunately, she and kelley had had to part ways somewhere around mile 11 because kelley's knee had begun to hurt. and when we found her, she was in tears both from the pain and the realization that she likely wouldn't do any more half marathons. and i'm completely kicking myself for not making sure we got a group shot.
but here it is - the thing that kept me going through all 13.1 miles:
we stood in the longest line for the post-race photo op with the hottest firemen in the group. here's my silly shot:
and the prize.
looks good against my "fuck yeah, i finished that shit!" shirt, huh?
it was one hell of a run. and yeah…i want to do it again. i hope i can get in for 2014!