The other day I was asked, “How many marathons have you run?” What came out of my mouth surprised me, “Oh, I’ve done five and one ultra.” That sounds pretty good… five and one ultra. It makes me feel legit.
I will never go back and write a report on all my past races, but I thought I’d do a round up of the marathons.
San Francisco 2005 – My first marathon. Best swag by far. Beautiful — of course. At the time, I didn’t think of it as hilly but I now realize it wasn’t easy. The best part was crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, but it was also very congested as they only closed half of the car lanes. I remember the sun rising while on the bridge. Very special. My kids and husband met me at the finish and after a nice bath, we shared a HUGE breakfast. Also very special. 4:23.
Prague 2006 – Living in England at the time, I had the pleasure of traveling to Prague and it was love at first sight. I knew I wanted to run a marathon there.
It is a smaller race; I believe 4000 runners. It starts and ends in historic old town square and I managed a small room literally a stone’s throw from the finish. Prague is a small, quaint walkable city. There are cobblestones, but it isn’t as bad as it sounds. I was trying to break 4 hours, but fell shy. 4:05.
London 2007 – This marathon was different. First, I was raising money for a charity. Second, I ran it in pain. About two months before the race I injured my IT band on a PCT run. I went to physical therapy twice a week, every week for eight weeks. I considered bailing, but I had raised thousands of dollars and I was moving away from London that summer. I wouldn’t have another chance. I am so glad I did! It was the single most exciting run I have ever done! I believe the field is about 40,000. The BBC covers the run live and the entire course is lined in crowds 5 to 10 to 20 people deep…the whole time. People high-five you, they call your name and yell out, “Pain is temporary”. It is a HUGE deal. And it is London by foot: Tower Bridge, Tower of London, the Cutty Sark, Parliament, Big Bend, you cross the Thames and you literally finish at Buckingham Palace. If I had to recommend one marathon, it would be this one. Due to my injury, it took me a LONG time, but it was totally worth it. 4:56.
Silicon Valley 2007 – Small, simple, low-key. I really enjoyed this one. It is in my own backyard. I know the course pretty well and only 1500 people run. I have no idea why that is, by the way. The Expo is so old school that you check in by finding your name and number on a 8.5×11-inch list on the wall. A couple things to know.
There is a hill right after the half-marathon point. Pace properly. Also, it gets crowded and can be frustrating through Los Gatos Creek Trail, especially if you are trying for time. It ends at the Discovery Museum, a place I have taken my kids about 20 times, and they were there again to see mommy finally break 4:00. I smoked my goal. 3:52.
Way Too Cook 50K 2008 – One day I am sure I will do a proper entry on this one, my first ultra. But in short, run it if you have the chance. Registration opens in December and sells out within minutes.
San Diego 2008 – I have covered the emotions of this one in two prior blogs, but not the event itself. There was a not-so-nice gradual incline that goes on for a few miles, which I think can kill someone’s time if they don’t pace for it. It was also hotter than I expected and a large part of it was on the freeway. But, like all Rock N Rolls, it was a fun and festive race and there really were a lot of nice views throughout the relatively flat course. The Expo was killer. I could have spent a lot of money, but settled on a pink running hat and fab non-running shirt! The best part for me was the weekend around the run.
My husband, three boys and I stayed right on the water, spent Saturday on the beach, Saturday night in the Gas Lamp district, Sunday post-race at SeaWorld (where I proudly displayed my medal), and Monday at the USS Midway. Great way to spend the weekend!! Crashed and burned in the race, but at least I stayed under 4 hours. 3:56.