No Playing Around — SF-US 1/2 Marathon

4 11 2007

 Here we go a-gain! 

There was something about wanting to walk across both sides of the Golden Gate Bridge that held some magic for this displaced Native San Franciscan.  When I was here after the SJRNR, my bud Heather and I drove what we thought to be the route.  Made me a little nervous, however if she’d not driving me all over the place showing me how the Nike used to be run, I would have gone face first into some unknown hills!  I honestly thought I had a couple of scary hills, but after some nervous e-mail consultations with Brandon, Dave, Mike, Alicia and more … I visualized my getting up the little nightmares and getting a shiny new medal for my bear.

I got the medal … but it was a bit of a strange tryp!

Mom and I went in on Saturday to Fort Mason to pick up my packet.  It was a pretty laid back affair.  You had to go to the back of the Quonset hut for the packet pick up — through all the various vendors.  Mom’s curious, but more a people watcher.  She waited outside the pick up area … which was kind of a good idea.  How it worked was I went over to where 1975 should be, got my bib (“Dizzy Ms. Liz” … didn’t have enough room for “Dizzy Ms. Lizzy”), then over to where the chips were — they were on Velcro for around my ankle … very similar to the one we’d used for the Colfax Marathon Relay.  Bounce to the other side of the aisle for a really pretty nice, definitely Guys Cut, tech shirt-blue and black w/o advertising and then the bag o’crap before I exited and saw Mom.

The 1/2 was the only thing, I guess, that was chipped.  Not exactly sure.  The shirt was really quite nice and in the bag there was this cream that my folks like for aches and pains.  I could have used a coupon for shoe inserts … but I got a new set before we left.

You can live in the Bay Area for over 40 years and be surprised.  Mom and I drove down to where the start was at the pier then turned around to find the end.  She had no clue that Aquatic Park had an amphitheatre!  They’re working on the Maritime Museum, but there’s this wide sidewalk that leads into the finish.  Still marveling at not knowing about the amphitheater, Mom and I figured out that I was going up one hill at the beginning and then going to come down a big one leading in to Aquatic park on the end.  This is important at the end of the story.

We drove back to Marin as I was trying to figure out how we got from the East side of the Bridge to the West.  I thought I’d had the roadway up to the bridge already sussed out … didn’t like the steepness of it, but sussed it was.  The last mess was how we were getting to the other side.  As we were driving across the Bridge, I noticed there was this access road that lead under it.  Learn something new every day.  The thing I didn’t know was what the turf was like.

We got back home and I pulled out my maroon St. Jude’s Hospital singlet.  Mom looked horrified with how the maroon clashed so spectacularly with the green skirt she so liked. I had my Team in Training Team Captain shirt at her house, so that was what I was in.

Clocks changed … 4 a.m. up.  YAWN!  The cat fully decided I’m insane.  Dad had a meeting in The City around the same time as we had to get going, so it was a busy house at 5:30!  I’d had some shoulder problems, but was taking care of that and I also clipped back a toenail so I didn’t have a nasty problem again (Thanks Babysitter Brandon!!!).  Dad was the first one out then Mom and I ventured out into the darkness. 

Driving in, Mom told me that she wasn’t surprised how much I was loving my walking.  I never really liked running … I was told I was a good sprinter, but I think I completely sucked at it.  “It’s no wonder you’re a walker, Lizzy.  You didn’t crawl … you just stood up one day and started walking … it was scary!  You were 8 months!  You stood up and” she laughed “you haven’t sat down sense!

The race started at 7 and I like getting places an hour early … parking, potty, resting.  Adventures started with Parking as Mom realized that we weren’t finding anything in the non-metered areas.  We didn’t want me to have to walk too far after the event, so this was a bit trying.  Seeing cars ticketed and towed from the race route was a little disconcerting.  The thing about SF is that the meters work EVERY DAY.  When we found a spot (1 hour parking for $1.50), a couple of guys who were going to do the race parked in front of us in a 30 minute spot.  Mom and I told them that the meters worked every day and they quickly bit the bullet and parked in the nearby Ghiradelli parking structure.  Mom decided she was going to see me off and then do the same.  This was crazy.  (personally – the $22.50 it cost to get the car out of car hock at 10:30 was worse!)

We wandered down aquatic park, marvelled at things and I said “Potty!”  The lines at the Green Palaces were nothing … something that was going to change in less than 20 minutes.  According to the map, there were no facilities on the route and I didn’t want to depend on anything.

This go around it was Cytomax and water.  I have gotten very sick on Cytomax, so I was carrying Cliff Shock Blocks and weak Gatorade.  I was very frustrated when the girls handing out the water said “Gatorade” because another gal had gotten sick several times on it and almost grabbed a cup.  I handed her one of my bottles and said “It’s Cytomax for the entire race, these kids don’t know the difference.”  She was really thankful … came in behind me … and I gave her a bottle of water.

I started out slowly.  The initial hill was really good for that.  Start on the pier and go up a reasonably stiff walk on the bottom part of Van Ness to Bay.  Up and down and all around.  I knew the first mile usually is where I get myself set AND I’d seen the first mile marker when we were driving in …

This walk was a mile at a time.  It was going to be far more difficult than San Jose because of the hills, wind and the fact that there was going to be next to nothing spurring me along.  I got to mile 1, felt good, hit the lap key on my watch and went for mile 2.  I decided I wanted to see how I did in segments — and using theirmile markers and not my watch’s would be a good thing. 

We boogied along the Marina and then straight through the buildings just near the underpart of the bridge.  Before we got there, I looked up and saw people snaking in some very strange directions.  I thought we were going up a hill to the left then turning right onto the Bridge.  Um … no.  We went up a hill then down the backside of it under the roadway that leads to the Marina off the Bridge and then up a nasty longer hill … turn right and there’s another one!  When I was just starting into the downhill, I was passed by some guys I’d met in line.  One is the TNT triathlon coach and the others were his pals.  They were in the last bit to the Bridge … “THERE she is!  Our Walker Chick!  Go Dizzy Ms. Liz!”  The Tri coach was a smidge behind saying “Ok Girl … Pick it UP! You’re doing GREAT!”  Made me feel good … almost as good as the folks cheering playing Eye of the Tiger from the old Rocky movies leading in to the hills!

Under the roadway is the Precidio Pet Cemetery.  Ok – Had to snap a shot with the cell phone.  Nobody would ever believe me.

Up, Up, UP to the Bridge we go! 

It was a little windy up there and kind of blowing me backward slightly.  I worked on cutting tangents going around the Bridge’s stays … and getting ahead of some folks.  Last time I was up there was to watch Marque, George and gang sail under … I was happily carrying coffee with Heather … who sent me a text saying she was throwing up and cheered me on from San Rafael!

Off the Bridge at Vista Point and then it was … that stupid rocky gravel crap.  Sure it was a downhill to begin with but we were going up on the other side and I swear I had 1/2 the track in my shoe!  I got on the bridge with my new pal Jenn (we’d been playing leapfrog through the entire event) when I couldn’t deal with it anymore.  I stopped and dumped out a pile of rocks before I kept going.

Ever try to tie your shoes when your hands aren’t working well?  Not a fun thing … and I’ve got this stupidly complex way of tying my shoes. Jenn was stretching just a little ahead and I realized I needed to too … so I asked her if she’d shoot a photo with my phone:  Native SF Gal — Stretching on the Bridge 

At mile 7, I was getting tired.  I couldn’t drink the Cytomax, was trying to conserve my Gatorade mix and was popping a Cliff Block every four miles.  I felt pretty good and knew my form was ok.  After stretching, things felt a bit better — but I knew the last hill was coming. As long as I didn’t have to deal with any more dirt I would be happy.

Stuff happy.

We came down the hill off the Bridge, did a somewhat stupid turn around by where Jimmy Stewart fished the gal out of The Bay in Vertigo and headded for Chrissy Field.  What was the tread … a long nightmare of dirt and small rocks!  I had to stop three more times for BOTH shoes to dump out rocks.  I knew I wasn’t going to beat my San Jose time, but I wanted to get close.

When I realized we were close to getting off the rocks, I just knocked my toe to get the gravel out from under my heel and put it in a place it might be useful — under my toes since I’d stopped feeling them properly at mile 10.

Mile 12 is magic … but in this case it was the gateway into the last hill.  Ok – I know I hiked a bit of this.  Put a fork in me, I’m done!  I was moving, but done.  A guy made me laugh saying “I can’t drag you up, but I could give you a push!”  That was all I needed … Heel first, knee straight … let’s tie this up with a bow!

When I was coming down from the final hill, I felt reasonably confident. There were a lot of folks around and I knew Mom was at the end.  It turns out she could see my white hat and green skirt coming down the hill “You looked good, Lizzy!”  I knew precisely where mile marker 13 was and I got there, hit my watch, and had a VERY determined look on my face.  I didn’t realize quite how determined until Mom shot a photo of me coming past her … back straight, feet kind of low, but knee doing what it’s supposed to!  I’ll post it when she sends me a digital copy.

I jammed through the finish and there was a photographer in my face … go away!!!! 

Since I usually do things alone, I’m not usually looking for someone.  Mom was there and after I had to ask someone for my medal, I started looking around.  She didn’t get my Mile 10 call, but knew I wanted a sup 3 hour.  I looked over at where the water and stuff were housed and coming cross country is this cute blonde in a sweater set.  My Mom just charging right on through and coming in to the barricaded security area.  “Oh!  I’m not supposed to do that?”  How often am I going to be able to get a finisher’s photo with my Mom?

All in all – it was a good event.  I want to do it next year because it was a challange … but I’ll know it better.

Gotta walk — Lizzy

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3 responses

4 11 2007
Steve

Hi Liz, Congrats on yet another finish! Glad you enjoyed the race. Kinda like a trail race huh?
Did you cross paths with Ann Broadwell?

28 11 2007
Cuz Petey

What an adventure. Finally found a minute to do some reading. Loved the stretching picture. Can’t wait to see you and your Mom. Let me know when it is up. Congratulations on a great walk.

28 11 2007
Cuz Petey

Great walk. congratulations. Loved the stretching picture. MORE ..MORE

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