As you can see from the title of this post, I have not yet run a marathon. The eye doctor told me to take two weeks off when I started seeing occasional spots, so I missed weeks 7 and 8. No big deal, but I decided to gradually step up the long run to match the plan after about 3 weeks, since I didn't want to jump from 10 miles to 16. I got to the point where my longest run was 14 miles, which left me zombified, and then everything went crazy with my classes. I've learned not to do two projects at once, especially not when one of them is as intense as building an autonomous robot that plays basketball with a team that's counting on you, and especially when one of the teammates can't stand to work with you anymore (the feeling was mutual, but that's a whole other story that does not deserve to show up on the internet).
Long story short, the weeks when I was supposed to be running the most and pushing 40 I instead ran 0. I spent the three weeks left leading up to the race trying to get my cardiovascular fitness back, and I didn't do too badly, eventually getting back up to speed on short runs. But I didn't hit double digits with my weekly mileage until the actual race, which would have worried me a lot more had I still been insisting on running a full marathon. As it was, the messed up schedule was sort of like an extremely long taper.
Anyway, the race! Austin and I get up at 7 am and leave around 7:30 to drive to the Marin Headlands, Rodeo Beach, which is about an hour away. The night before I had already packed my fuel belt, Gatorade, GU, granola bars, Body Glide, jacket, extra water, and no sunscreen (oops...). The weather was going to be about 55-60 degrees and partly cloudy, which was perfect for a race. I got very excited once we pulled into the parking lot and I saw all the "real" runners warming up along the road.
|Eventually I realized I was a "real" runner too, even if my warm-up routine was improvised.|
|A tiny glimpse of what was ahead of us|
|Game face. Note my super-cool fuel belt.|
Then everyone gathered around for pre-race announcements. Literally gathered around. The guy who organized the race stood up on a rock and talked loudly as we all clustered around. He joked that we had chip timers because the little running dude in the Envirosports logo on our bibs was named "Chip." He urged us to stop and take in the view and told us that the "chip" would stop timing while we were stopped, then resume when we started running again, so we shouldn't worry about taking time to enjoy the run. He told us that on a lot of the back section, we would start asking who the hell designed this course. "My name is Dave," he said, and raised his hand. "You can take my name in vain as much as you want." He also said that the prize for the winner of each race would be a rubber chicken for the men, and a rubber chicken purse for the women, "since people complained we didn't have a prize purse."
The marathoners started first, after a countdown from 10 (and I think Dave actually did yell "GO!" at the end while we all cheered them on). Then the half-marathoners got in a much bigger cluster (there were over 200 of us, and less than 40 marathoners) and shuffled around until we felt like we were in the right place for our pace. Then we waited about 10 minutes for our own low-tech countdown.
To be continued after I run and go to class...