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Adventures of Oregon Laura A San Francisco Treat
 Posted By: Laura Luksich
 Posted On: Nov 4 2010 12:29AM
Ever wonder what it's like to run a marathon?  Click here to check out the pictures and video!

April 2010: Our group registration entry was drawn in the San Francisco Nike Women’s Marathon Lottery – Brooke, Kouba, Courtney, and I are in!

July 2010: Brooke, Kouba and I ran the SOB 50K and took the rest of the month off.

August 2010: Brooke, Kouba, and I ran Hood to Coast as a training run (well, and for tons of fun too) for the marathon.

September 2010: It was hard to get back in to it, but the long runs are finally starting to feel better, and I’m finally feeling ready for this marathon.  Kouba gets diagnosed with an Achilles injury.  Courtney’s knee is giving her problems.

October 15: Road trip to San Francisco!  Seven hours later (and a great dinner) we arrive in the city.  My first non-airplane view of the city was coming across the Bay Bridge at night.  I was mesmerized by the city lights and nervous about the hills I was starting to notice.  Actually, I think it would be better described as-steep-as-you-can-pave-a-street-and-not-have-your-car-flip-over-backwards-hills.  After a few wrong turns, my iphone finally led us to the house we were staying at – a friend of Brooke – a cute row house across from the San Francisco Zoo, about two miles from the finish line.

San Francisco Bay Bridge (from
October 16: Play day!  When I woke up in the morning I stretched and thought, oh this isn’t so bad, I’m not nearly as stiff as I thought I would be.  I had a dream I had already run the marathon.  That bubble burst pretty quickly and it was time to be a tourist.  After our visit to the Expo and the four story Niketown (the start line), we headed out for some shopping, a trip down Lombard St, and bought some souvenirs from Chinatown.  We talked about our goals: Brooke – have fun and finish, Kouba – run as long as she can (with her Achilles injury) and finish, Courtney – finish under 5:45, Myself – Finish under 5:00 with no injury.

(not my pictures)

Niketown                           Lombard Street

October 17 - the day of the race.

4:50am – Alarm.  Cab is picking us up at 5:30 to head to the start line.

5:35am – No cab.  Courtney and I start pacing outside considering our back up plan.  We can drive her van, but then have to find a parking spot (it took about 20 minutes to find a spot the day before, after a 30 minute drive to the parking garages), pay for it (probably around $50), and figure out how to get back to pick it up after the race is done.  I call the cab company.  They let me know we are on a “wait list”.  Our order is the system and we have to wait our turn – no guarantees, the system is overloaded.

5:40am – Nervous stomachs are turning.  It is cold outside, it’s too quiet inside.  We don’t have a ride to the start line.  Supposedly traffic is a mess with 20,000 runners (half marathoners and marathoners start at the same time) trying to get to Union Square and all cabs are booked.

5:45am – I call another cab company and after my polite words of understanding and a few “sorry to hear that sir” with the stressed out dispatcher, we have a guaranteed cab coming within 15 minutes.

6:03am – The cab arrives.  We are on our way.

6:40am – The cab drops us off and we walk to the start.  It was amazing.  Thousands of people have taken to the streets in a one mile radius of Union Square.  Condo and apartment residents were staring down from their high rise windows at the chaos that had woken them up.  There is a main stage with a DJ near the start line and speakers on every corner blasting out “Nike Power Songs” which were voted on the day before.

6:55am - A 16 year old high school student sings the National Anthem.

7:00am – Go time!  Well, kind of.  We were in the midst of the 4:05/4:15 pacers around the corner from the start line.  We didn’t move.

7:05am – Finally, we begin to move forward.

7:07am – We cross the start line, 26.2, here we come.

I won’t go over every mile of the race, I always feel like it is so much of a blur when I look back on it.  Honestly, the first 10 miles did go very fast.  I felt good, the hills were minimal, and the views were gorgeous.  Brooke, Kouba, and I stayed together until the Half Marathon split.  Kouba needed to walk and I couldn’t keep up with Brooke anymore.  Courtney began the race at a slower pace, although we happened to see her at one of the first aid stations, we knew she was behind us.

My good friend, and fellow SOB’er, Julie Nor was running with a group of her friends too.  I was able to give her a hug across the divider on an out and back section of the course, and then carried on (she finished in 3:43:36).

11:42am – I am done.

Around 1pm  – we had to walk back to the house we were staying at.  Yes, walk two + miles in the pouring rain after running a marathon.  I would say this was the hardest part of the day.  They had run out of emergency blankets by the time I finished (which means Kouba and Courtney didn’t get one either).  We were freezing, tired, hungry, and cold.  Thankfully, people were generous and gave us their blankets after they were changed.  We all felt dizzy and it seemed as though I would never see another hot shower again.  Looking back, it was probably the best thing we could have done for our weary legs.  With a six hour car ride ahead of us, that two mile walk probably prevented a lot of soreness and cramping.

I do remember the rain.  It started around mile 13 and wasn’t a constant downpour, but enough to soak my clothes:
  • Headsweats Clear Water Outdoor visor: it was raining hard enough the water was dripping off the front. 
  • Brooks Podium Tee: bad choice for a rainy day.  After it got wet, it felt heavy and the fat seams combined with the rain rubbed my inner arms raw. 
  • Mountain Hardwear Pacer Run Skort: I had worn this for the SOB 50K as well.  I had changed at Mile 20 of that race because it traps heat.  I figured for this race, the heat may feel good (high of 60 and we started at 7am when it was in the 50s), and it was the only thing I could find that had a good pocket for my iphone.  The phone didn’t fit in the pocket all the way, but it was enough that it didn’t bounce out, wasn’t against my skin, and I still had easy access.  Nothing fancy about keeping the phone dry – a Ziploc baggy.  It did its job, but wasn’t easy to use the phone with for video and pictures.  I tested out the Dry Cases at the Outdoor Retailer show this summer, and I will definitely be investing in one of those for future outdoor excursions. 
  • Swiftwick Socks Zero Merino Socks:  I am in love.  These socks are really amazing.  From Swiftwick Merino Wool fibers are so fine that five strands equal the width of a human hair with one pound of wool spinning into 20 miles of fine yarn.  Nice!  I got my first pair a few months ago and they are definitely in the wash (usually after two wears because I cannot be without them) every week.  No, I don’t run in them every time, but I have been running in them more often than not.  They are the perfect height on my ankle, feel great around my foot, don’t slip, no extra fabric in the toes, a perfect amount of fabric against my heel, and best yet, don’t feel bogged down when wet.  After running for over four hours, two hours plus in the rain, I only had two very small blisters – which I blame more on my shoes than my socks.  Keep your eye out, they just might show up at Clear Water Outdoor in the near future (the socks, not the blisters).
  • Brooks Glycerin 8: my distance road shoes.  This is the first time I have ever owned a pair of neutral shoes.  I had gone to Rogue Valley Runners, got my gait analyzed and found I am a truly neutral runner.  (hhmmm, might make me an excellent candidate to test out barefoot running in the future)  I have a very slight pronation on my toe off, but not enough to justify any kind of guidance in my shoe.  I had done a few training runs (including a long run of 12 miles) in my new shoes and they felt great.  I always have an issue with shoes in the toe box and that’s why I blame them for my blisters.  Most running shoe toe boxes are very narrow.  I have a narrow ankle and don’t size up in my shoes – too many issues with the heel cup then – so my toes suffer instead.  I have long toes, not fat toes, just long toes that always seem to find their way to the edges of the toe boxes on long runs, giving me little, sometimes big, annoying blisters and missing toenails.  Finding the right pair of socks has definitely cut down on this, but it hasn’t solved the problem.  Overall, I like the shoes.  They felt cushy, light, responsive, and protected my feet enough so they weren’t sore.  I’ll write more about them in my shoe reviews to come.
4:00pm – Pizza, lots and lots of PIZZA! and an ice cold Coke.  Sooo good after such a long day.

5:00pm – Drive back to Medford.

12:30am – Home and to bed.  Done.

Brooke: 4:19:42
Laura: 4:35:09
Kouba: 4:56:52
Courtney: 5:31:06
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