Running a Half Marathon, Again?!

6am at the starting line along the Embarcardero

A year ago, I never would have imagined that I could run 13.1 miles straight, but I did.  After finishing my very first half-marathon, I was so insanely exhausted that I never would have imagined that I would put myself through all that again…. but here I am, less than a year from finishing the US Half Marathon, and I’ve finished the San Francisco Half Marathon.

I am a little embarrassed by the pictures, because I looks so puffy in them.  I had to dress in layers and unfortunately, it never reached a point where I could take any of those layers off. =(  Even though the weather seemed warmer than last year at the US Half Marathon, it actually wasn’t.  The sun barely came out and at one point in the race, my hands were numb.  The race ended in Golden Gate Park, and I was seriously freezing. I really abhor the weather in that part of town!

Running across Golden Gate Bridge

For whatever reason, even though I am more used to the whole concept of running with masses of people now, I don’t think I felt as comfortable this time around.  Last year, I felt a lot of anxiety because of the claustrophobic feeling of having so many people around me, and there was just a fraction of the runners, somewhere in the realm of 2000.  This year, I was a little bit more used to running with the mob, but I think I felt more stressed.  I think it was the pressure of trying to beat my time that made it hard for me.   I felt like I had improved, but in spite of training, it was still painful, for sure!!! Everyone talks about how murderous the hills are. In fact, I think the Wall Street Journal referred to the San Francisco Marathon as the “race even marathoners fear.” I actually prepared for hills (or so I thought), but it was still a killer. I seriously wanted to just give up all along the last part of the race, but I have to hand it to Pdho, once again, for keeping me going even though he kept telling me it was “all down here from here” when it ABSOLUTELY wasn’t. If anything, it was ALL UP FROM HERE!!!

Can you see how painful it was?!?

Last year,  I had to take a really long bathroom break in between, so if you subtract out that time, it was still longer than what I came in at this year which was 2:30.  If you take out my water breaks, I was probably closer to 2:28.  I’m actually pretty proud of myself especially given the incline of the hills that characterized the entire last part of the race.  Pdho actually gave me a goal of coming in at 2:15 which is part of why I felt so stressed, but since my multi-marathon running cousin came in at 2:05, I figured my time was pretty decent for me.

All in all, I have to admit I am glad I did it.  The training, the preparation and the actual race wasn’t easy, but seeing myself improve so noticeably made it all worth it.  I’m still not as fast as I probably could be, but the pure fact that my recovery is so much better makes me feel good and then, when you think about how I was over 2 years ago when I really hated running…. Leaps and bounds, folks!!!  Granted, I don’t dislike it as much now, but I still don’t love it.  I probably never will, but at least I can do it.  I guess the moral of the story is “never say never.”  😉


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