Monday, September 19, 2011

The Marathon-Turned-Half-Marathon-Turned-Spectating-A-Race Recap

Rewind to the beginning of 2011:

My goal was to run the May 1st Big Sur 21-miler as a training run for the July 31st San Francisco Marathon. I then wanted to run SFM as a practice run for the NorCal Marathon, where I was going to attempt a sub-4 as my main goal for the year.

I ended up running the full marathon at Big Sur and accidentally got my sub-4 there, then went on to get a 3:44 at San Francisco, and decided I was going to go for broke at the NorCal Marathon to see what I was made of.

Well, NorCal was this weekend, and what I wasn't planning on happening was coming down with a major case of burnout paired with a minor case of anemia (more on that later). Last week I decided to officially drop to the half marathon. Further confirming my decision was the fact it was a billion degrees when we got to San Jose; it was a first-year race; and it was a confusing route with out-and-backs, gravel, and sharp turnarounds.

My "go for broke" marathon turned into a "just do the mileage" half marathon. Nothing more, nothing less. Yesterday morning, I made it to the starting line.

That was as far as I got.

Ladies & gentlemen, boys & girls! I present to you... my first DNS!

About 5 minutes before the race, I made the executive/medical decision to not run. I stepped to the sideline, hung out with Page's husband Chicken Face, smothered their adorable dog Lola, and cheered on my friends who had more balls than I did. I even ran into the super cute Audrey, who was out on a run of her own -- and then realized she was running with a cowbell just to make some noise for the racers!

The starting line -- a pretty great turnout for a first-year race.

Me and Miss Lola, cheering on runners! Lola definitely stole the show at the race.

Weeee! Happy 2nd birthday, little Lola!

Chicken Face and I made our way down to the mile 3 marker so we could watch for our friends. Page and Katie baaaaaasically led the way.

Alisyn rocking some stellar running form in her hometown race!

True: Kristin has never taken a bad running picture. (Actually, I don't think she's taken a bad picture period.)

After all our runners came by mile 3, we made our way over to the finishing area to watch people start crossing. Because there was prize money on the line, a few Olympic Trial runners showed up and it was incredible to watch them zip through. There's something about elite runners that's so beautiful and graceful to watch -- those gazelles make running look effortless. I was glad I had the chance to see this. Obviously, it's something I wouldn't have seen had I been on the course myself.

Katie & Page finished side-by-side and placed 6th & 7th female, respectively. This was by far the coolest thing to watch -- two really good (and really fast!) friends pushing each other to finish a really tough race. Page even walked away with a new PR, and both left with age group prizes.

Alisyn kicking major booty.

See? Kristin always looks good.
After the race we all met up for breakfast & bottomless mimosas. It was the greatest plate of food I never worked for.

Alisyn, who's prepping for the Half Moon Bay marathon next weekend; Katie, who's prepping for the Portland Marathon in three weeks; and me, a lazy slacker who's enjoying every minute of throwing training plans straight out the window.

Key takeaway:
  • If going for broke at this race was truly a test of what I was made of... I guess I'm made for spectating.
In all honesty, though, it was nice to be a part of a race in a non-running/non-volunteering fashion. I must do more of it, only next time I need to remember to pack a cowbell in my sweat bag.


  1. so funny. and sounds like a great time. who needs running anyway? :) I give you an overall AND AG award for Best Spectator.

  2. 1) Thank you for calling me super cute! :P (lol)

    2) My family and I also use the term "smother" when discussing our behavior with cute pets and little babies/kids :P

    3) Yes, a cowbell is a must have! I leave mine in my car :P

  3. +1 to Courtney's comment. You were smart to listen to your body and not push it when you knew you didn't want to. There's always another race, but the worst thing is to get further burned out or worse, injured and not able to run.

    You'll be back when you're ready.

  4. I think you made the right decission! I loved pre and post hanging out with you! And oh my gosh - You actually snapped a good running picture of me! Unlike Kristin, I don't look cute running! Thank you love. And thank you for your awesome support! CIM won't know what hit it! :)

  5. aw, ha! sounds like you had fun anyway, and sometimes you just have to throw everything out the window. you took some great pics, though!

  6. I'm so glad you had so much fun spectating! Makes me want to become a spectator this Sunday! :)

  7. It is fun to spectate sometimes! I hope your anemia gets better, I suffer from that occasionally. No fun,

  8. come down and run the LA R and R with me!!!!
    Sorry you weren't feeling up for racing. I think we gotta go easy on ourselves sometimes :). Glad you had a good time.

  9. Seems good that you listened to your body, no? I have a Portland Marathon bib that I can't use? Interested? I wish someone could use it but I know it's no fun to run a marathon under someone else's name... Let me know if you want to take a trip up north though!

  10. Kudos. Making the decision NOT to run or to STOP is something we runners are not very good at. We're a stubborn bunch. Listening to your body is the most important step to staying healthy (physically and mentally). Keep doing your thing and great photos!

  11. Hope that you're feeling better soon and that you can fight off the anemia. Take care. And I hope to show you some east bay running routes soon.

  12. New to your blog, but sounds like you did the right thing listening to your body - and besides cheering people on is FUN! Looking forward to reading more. Oh, and btw, great job busting apart your goal to go sub-4 this year - you blew it out of the water! :)

  13. First - spectating is one of my favorite sports. It's right up there with running...though some days I think I like it even better! :)

    But more importantly, it sounds like you made the right choice. I'm struggling a bit right now too, and trying to avoid burn-out as much as possible so I can make it to the starting line of MCM in a few weeks. So I can understand a bit of what you're going through. There is no shame in not racing, and I'm sure your body will thank you for it later. You've had some super awesome races lately! So now I think it's great that you've thrown training plans out the window and I hope you're focused on getting some rest and getting better. There will be other races to run.

  14. I sooooo want to spectate a race--but I live in BFE, so there aren't many near me :( I love how you went with your gut and spent some QT with Lola!!

    Yay Page! Look at that running form to the end!!!

  15. Watching races can be just as fun as running them. I'm going to my sister's first race this Sunday, and I am more excited for this one 5K than any of the races I've run this year. Seriously ... I'm putting together a goodie bag for her. :)

  16. Oh, and has anyone ever told you you look like Scarlett Johansson? No joke, I have been busting my brain for a while, trying to figure out which celebrity you remind me of.

    Also, I keep seeing Katie at races. She is so fast!

    XO ME

  18. You are the most awesome spectator ever! Look how you managed to not only SEE the people you went to watch but you also got PHOTOS of them!!!! It probably helps that you knew them before you went to watch them :P Look! I'm commenting!!!!!!!!!

  19. Soooo, Lola told me this morning that she missed you. True story.


    Thanks for being the best spectator EVER!

  20. It seemed like you had a great time even without the running. Can't wait to read your next race report.

  21. Personally, I think it takes guts to sit out a race. There's so much pressure to run through the pain and fatigue and force yourself to finish, but sometimes running can end up making you feel more injured and actually be worse for you in the long run! I wonder if I wouldn't be injured right now if I had skipped SF.