One complaint I got about the San Francisco Marathon was
transportation. SF is notoriously difficult to find parking.
(I later learnt from a pacer that since the races started so
early, it was actually not that hard.) So I decided to take
the BART bus leaving Bayfair at 4:05am. I had to get up at
3:00am to get ready. I couldn't get to sleep last evening
before 12:00am. So all I got was 3hrs sleep before my first Marathon.
I made one cup of coffee and washed down some home-made
gimbap and some junk food from Costco and got out of the
house. It was dark but not as chilly as I expected. I drove to the
BART station, got on the bus, and rode to SF, all in a half-sleep mode.
I registered for the race 6 months ago and was conservative
too. As a result, I was assigned to wave 7 toward the end of
the pack at the starting line. My running sandals got a lot
of attention. People asked about how I felt running in them
and if I needed to develop callus to run comfortably in
them. They knew "Born to Run" but not many practised
We started at 6:22am in perfect running weather. The air was
cool and the sky grey. I first tried to stick with the 4:55
pacers but soon left them after Port Mason center.
The best part of the run was on the Golden Gate bridge when
I was hit with runner's high. After getting off the bridge,
we went downhill at the Presidio. I was flying. My quads were
strong enough to handle the downward pressure and I was able
to do huge strides. My sandals made slapping sound when
hitting the road. It was a great feeling.
The good sensation carried over to the 2nd half of the race
but soon went out after mile 16. I struggled to maintain a
decent pace but by mile 20 was no longer able to. The feet
and calves started to hurt and the muscles tightened up.
The strides were short and every step painful. I vowed not
to walk and only did for several yards at each water station
I stopped at.
With the finish line in sight, I was able to speed up with my
glutes, passing many in front. I was very happy about the
explosion over the last 100 yards.
Overall, it took me about 4:30 to finish my first Marathon,
or over 10min per mile. Since switching to BFT, I had never
run longer than 14 miles. Today's run was a great challenge and I made it.