SF Marathon Weekend + Fabulous 5k

A little (okay, a lot) overdue, but better late than never, right?!

From October 2013 through this past June, I had the opportunity of a lifetime – to be a SF Marathon Ambassador.

ambassador_badge2013-1Along with a number of prior running friends, and new running friends, I was given the opportunity to promote, be a part of, and just have months to get excited about the wonderful SF race.

Fellow SFM Ambassador Meg & I post-race

Fellow SFM Ambassador Meg & I post-race at SJ Giants Race

Duties included writing blog posts, wearing SF Marathon gear (provided by SF Marathon), tweeting about the race and working expo booths at nearby races.  I had a blast doing all of the above, and one of the best perks of all of the above activities was getting to know fellow ambassadors from all around the country.  I had the opportunity to get to know via the Twitter and Facebook, and sometimes IRL, a number of the ambassadors who have definitely inspired me over the past year with all of their accomplishments and perseverance in running, other sports and life in general.  It was truly an incredible group of ambassadors.  And of course, all of these wonderful experiences culminated in the fabulous SF Marathon race weekend June 14-16.

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Decked out in SF Marathon gear

Friday, June 14, Meg and I headed up to SF after our morning run to work a shift at the Tech Center with fellow ambassador Chris M.  The 3 of us, aka #teamninja, had a chance to tweet up and meet up a number of times throughout the course of ambassadorship, and it was exciting to get together again.  And of course, get together with all the other ambassadors and tweet lots of photos…

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Alisyn, Bruce, Meg & I at the Expo (Photo: Alisyn)

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Bruce and Chris M at the Expo (Photo: Chris M)

After working the tech booth, we hit up the Expo to pick up race bibs and eat our way through the Expo (that’s what expos are for, right?!) – or at least Meg & I did, and the 3rd ninja just mocked us mostly in his blindingly bright Sketchers.  Afterward, Meg & I picked up lunch, headed to my friend’s house where we stayed and then got ready for the Ambassador dinner, which was a ton of fun.

Basically the dinner was an opportunity for the SF Marathon to say ‘thanks’ for all of our work, and for all of us to get together and for many, finally meet IRL for the first time, and for others to catch up.  The dinner was held at Osha, the food was great, and the people were even better.

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All the ambassadors who were able to make dinner at Osha (Photo: Someone)

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Typical. (Photo: Albert)

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Alisyn, Daniela, Me and Meg (Photo: Daniela)

Saturday, June 15, Meg & I got up bright and early to do our shakeout run before heading to the morning info session where we helped runners figure out logistics for race day, and answer pretty much any other random question runners might have.  After a loooooong morning, we had a tweet up at the tech center, which involved more tweets, photos, and lots of tired ambassadors.

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Exhausted at the Expo. (Photo: Albert)

Then, it was time to hit WholePaycheck with Meg & Daniela and we headed back to eat sushi dinner before hitting the hay at — yes, yes this is completely true — 7:00pm.  But hey, with a 3:45am wakeup call, it was perfectly acceptable.

Sunday, June 16 was raceday and we had to be there briiiight and early for the 5:30am start as Meg was running the first half and in Corral 1, so her start time was 5:32am.  Since I was only running the 5k, I had until like 7:30, but it was still fun to hang out and see everyone get excited/ready for their events.

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All smiles at 4:30am…and actively tweeting

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Me, Paulette and Alisyn before they headed out to the 2nd half marathon start in Team Sparkle skirts!

And then finally after hours of hanging out in the VIP area (as ambassadors we were gifted free access, which was amazing and totally worth the $100 — if I have extra income in the future and am presented with the option of VIP, I will TOTALLY take advantage of it.  Clean, FLUSHING toilets?  And delicious pre- and post-race food?  Sign me up!), it was time for my 5k.

I had my sights set high for the 5k.  It was flat (my dream 5k course), and I my paces had been increasing, however as soon as the gun went off, I knew I was doomed.  My legs were heavy as cement.  And holding a 7:00 pace (10 seconds slower than my PR pace) was hard.  I finished in 22:30 (which is NOTHING to cry home about), but it was about 1:30 off my goal time.  But still, I pushed as hard as I could, and that’s all that I can ask for.  I didn’t leave anything behind — a 22:30, that was all I had.

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Meg & I just after I finished the 5k (and after she had finished her 1/2 marathon)

Afterward, we headed over to the marathon finish to see some of the ambassadors finish.  Chris K was pacing the 3:05 team, and Keith S. came in just ahead, and Chris M. finished right behind with a nice PR.  And then we hung around a little bit longer, before heading out.  But not before taking a few shots of the am-BADASS-adors…

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Am-BADASS-adors Mary Kelly, Me and Meg

And not before I was able to see Pavement Runner finish while running my cooldown.  And he knocked out a fantastic course PR!

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Pavement Runner & I at the finish (Photo: Pavement Runner)

And then, Meg & I hopped in the car (which was parked at our super rockstar 4-blocks-from-the-start-on-the-street-so-we-had-free-parking parking spot) and headed home.  We were both exhausted, but it was a wonderful, fun, friend-filled, race-tastic weekend.  Let me tell you, SF Marathon knows how to put on not only a fantastic race, but an incredible race weekend.  I am definitely looking forward to another SF Marathon weekend (whether its next year or further down the road) and tackling another one of the courses — whether its the 1st half, 2nd half or full.  Its definitely a race I’m going to keep coming back to.

Have you ever run the SF Marathon?  What is your favorite race weekend/race ever?

SJ Giant Race

Last week, after some convincing by my good friend Leslie, Meg, Hillary and I found ourselves signed up for the SJ Giant Race on Saturday, June 1.  Yes, my first race in over two months (the last one was when I PRed at the 5k before giving in to my injury.)  With all of two days to mentally and physically prepare myself, my goal was to run hard, to see where my fitness was at.

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Race morning came and we met at 6am, and headed over the hill to San Jose.  We arrived and parked with only about 25 minutes to spare, and by the time we hit the bathroom, Leslie and I only had about 5 minutes to warmup for our 5k before we had to make our way to the front of the pack.  Hillary and Meg were running the five mile race as a progression run, so I did not get to run with them.

I started off really strong in the race.

Mile 1: 6:40

I felt good, and heading into the second mile I was still running strong.  But then, then it hit me.  The stomach of death.  And I started feeling crappy, and slowing down.

Mile 2: 7:01

By the time I was running the third mile, my body was dragging, my stomach was winning, and then we hit some grassy portions and cobblestones that made me watch my step as I was running.

Mile 3: 7:24

Then I saw the mile 3 sign and I started picking up pace — just .1 to go!  Oh wait, it was really like .2 to go.  Though I did love how we finished by running into the outfield of the SJ Giants stadium.

Time: 21:30

Hillary, Meg, Me, Leslie post-race

Hillary, Meg, Me, Leslie post-race

Though it wasn’t my best race, it was a fun one for sure.  I loved spending the morning at a race with my favorite SFM ambassador Meg, and two of my favorite SCE ladies, Hillary and Leslie (who won the 5k with a time of 19:40!!).  And officially meeting another fabulous Santa Cruz runner, Trinity, who took second in the 5k!

Meg, Leslie, Trinity, Me, Hillary post-race

Meg, Leslie, Trinity, Me, Hillary post-race

Once the results were posted, I was surprised to find out that my 21:30 got me 5th woman OA and 1st in my AG!  Nice surprise for a not-feeling-so-well race.  Yay!

Fellow SFM Ambassador Meg & I post-race

Fellow SFM Ambassador Meg & I post-race

I don’t want to downplay this, I know that I have become much faster and a better runner over the past year. I mean a year ago I was excited to run a 22:50 5k.  And now a 21:30 is ‘not-so-good’ race.  I know that I have come a long way, and am so proud and happy of my accomplishments.  But, I’m working hard for — and am really trying — to become stronger and faster.  I’m not disappointed in my performance, I’d just like to (for once) not have a stomach problems and perform to the best of my ability.  One thing is for certain: I need to figure out what the heck is up with my stomach these days.  I even took 2 immodium at 5:30am, and the only thing that did was make me constipated for the next two days.  TMI, you’re welcome.

What’s up next?  The Fabulous 5k at the SF Marathon on June 16, 2013.  And then, I’m headed south to Peru for a month, where I’m trying to find a road race, but will otherwise be focused on crosstraining sightseeing and getting in short runs when I can.

Will you be there SFM weekend?  If so, come look for me and all the other ambassadors at the Expo Friday & Saturday — and on the course, race day!

A Moment of Silence

The past few weeks, my town has experienced a number of serious crimes, from murders to rape, to burglary and yesterday this all culminated in the shooting of two police officers — the first two ever lost in the line of duty in Santa Cruz.  I don’t know if this is the end of a set of tragic crimes, or just the beginning.  But I’d like to ask everyone — far and near — to take a moment of silence today for the families, friends and community of these officers.

To say this has hit home, is an understatement.  Many of these crimes have happened within just a few miles of my home — and the rape happened very close to where I spend most of my time on campus.  I run through the locations of crime on a weekly basis, and its terrifying to think that it could have been me or one of my running friends.  Its been a reminder that although I live in ‘paradise,’ I need to remember to be safe when I’m out and about — especially while running.

Fellow SFM Ambassador Meg, who is one of my favorite running buddies and lives just a few miles away from me, also had these crimes hit home.  And she just wrote her latest blog post on Running Safe for the SF Marathon.  I recommend checking it out for some ideas of things you can do to ensure your own safety while doing what you love.  And I’d love to hear some of your tips:

What do you do to ensure that you run or train safely?