So I wasn’t really sure if I was going to get a bib for The Giant Race this morning. And even if I did, when my alarm went off at 5AM, I wasn’t sure if I was actually going to go. My preparations this week consisted of a couple of normal runs and no advance planning. After 11PM last night I threw the gear together.
Twitter encouragement and thoughts of a Tim Lincecum Bobblehead got me out the door at 5:45 into the pitch dark and fog so thick it felt like it was raining! Three buses later and I was at Starbucks on King at 6:29a (opens at 6:30) to steal some warmth beforehand and eat breakfast. I didn’t know why I was on the bus at 5:45a and I was even more confused who the other people on the bus were—if you’re not running, why are you awake??
I also got to meet up with my friend Sam from HS and her friend Kelly, who were running the 10K!
Check out these Giant colored shoes! I’m a stalker but couldn’t help it.
I lined up with Aron and Kristine and ended up running the whole thing with them! This was the best part of the whole thing. I haven’t done that before, and we just settled into an easy pace and managed to stay together despite the occasional weaving that was very necessary on the crowded parts of the course. We just chatted and the miles went by really quick, down the Embarcadero, over the Fort Mason hill (felt easy today!) and out past Chrissy Field. Brian Wilson was there! I was a few people out from the edge so I didn’t get a hi-five. #regrets
Before I knew it we’d passed seven miles and were turning around. It felt so easy! But then around mile 8.5 my legs started feeling tingly. It wasn’t the speed—we were all running conservatively—but then my arms started feeling it too and somewhere right past mile 9 I got hit with a wave of dizziness so hard that I almost fell over right there. I realized I was dehydrated and it’s hard to work your way out of it in the last 4 miles of a 13.1! I felt dizzy and lightheaded and kept lightly bumping into Aron. I would say “sorry” only because I didn’t have the effort to say “sorry, truth is, my brain is fuzzy, I feel like I’m starting to go under and that I might eat pavement any second, but I hope the rest of the race goes well for you guys.” Ugh! Aron and Kristine were so great and easily could have left me in the dust but didn’t! I was frustrated because my legs and heart rate etc. were totally fine but I just needed more water. I sweat SO much, and was also wearing a long sleeve shirt so I was trapping in a lot of heat—I wanted to take it off, but I knew if I stopped to do so I’d lose the girls and thus any motivation to push through the rest of the miles. Good reminder that I am someone who needs to drink a LOT and I need to walk through aid stations so I actually get liquid down instead of one gulp in my mouth and the rest down my shirt
The last 1.5 miles were really hard as the 10K walkers, the 5K runners and the half-marathoners just trying to finish all converged on the Embarcadero at once. We had to weave like crazy and I more than once bumped into someone else with a bit of force in a last-ditch effort to finish alongside Aron and Kristine and redeem how crappy I was feeling there at the end!
But before I knew it (okay, lie, it seemed like a long time when I felt like passing out) we were headed into AT&T Park! Then we get to the finish. OK. Backing up—Aron mentioned earlier in casual conversation that if we finished together we’d get a finish-line picture! This was 95% of the motivation for me to not stop and seek water at mile 11, that and the fact that I knew I’d be annoyed all day if I finished in 2:01. So we get to the finish line and…
One, no camera. Two and more importantly… the finish line was backed up 10+ people deep! You couldn’t even get across it. So that didn’t happen, but I decided to make my own artist’s rendition of what WOULD have been our finish line picture.
As you can tell, I studied Art in college. We all finished together in 1:58 something. A 14-minute PR for Kristine which is AWESOME! I’ve only done one other half and ran in 1:57:51 so this was right on par with that. So technically I PW’ed and am very fine with it
I immediately downed the bottle of Dasani and felt 598373% better. Note to self: work on hydration strategies for the next race! Then, as if the finish line congestion wasn’t bad enough, the organization in the stadium was terrible. TERRIBLE! Thousands of people were supposed to go to three different spots to get T-shirts, food, and coveted Bobbleheads. It was so congested that there would have been no way out even if I had tried! We were probably in there for 40 minutes. Finally, we got our gear, Aron took off on a couple more miles, and I hung out waiting for Naomi and Audrey, who were also caught in the mess.
Despite the horrendousness of an uncrossable finish line and an extremely claustrophobic and fire hazard post-race situation, I had a GREAT time at this race! The course was great, each mile was intimately familiar to me and people seemed to be having fun. And running with Aron and Krisitne was icing on the cake and made the whole thing so much better and really got me through my dizzy spell.
Afterwards, I went to Momo’s with Audrey, Naomi, Sam, and Kelly, and ate a very delicious side order of mac and cheese. It’s exactly what I wanted.
Went home with good swag and in a great mood. I really like the half marathon distance and this race. Hopefully based on feedback they’ll improve the post-race organization next year.
Now I’ve got a free afternoon and don’t know what to do with myself! Have a great Saturday everyone!
And so it grows…